Downing St vision intrigues Neil Thomson

Neil Thomson farms 607ha in partnership with his father and brother from Caverton Mill, Kelso on the Scottish Borders growing combinable crops and brassicas.

Some of the mainly medium loam and is let for potatoes, and the QMS ‘Monitor Farm’ also has cattle and sheep.

The appearance on our TV screens of our country’s top bankers marching into No 10 Downing Street for a crisis meeting with the PM reminded me of 2001.

Then, in the foot-and-mouth crisis, our farming leaders were pictured in almost exactly the same spot, doing exactly the same thing. Haven’t times changed?

Bankers have gone from heroes to zeroes. But where do farmers fit into the Prime Minister’s thoughts now?

I suspect that in 2001 we were closer to zeroes. Now, with headlines throughout the world relating to food price and security issues, surely he can’t afford to treat us with the disdain he once so obviously did.

Zero also describes what I imagine has been the average temperature since my last column.

We have had yet more rain, sleet and snow and after a long enforced pause, we finished drilling barley on 21 April. Others less fortunate in the Borders had only just started by then.

Crops look backward and anxious to get hold of nitrogen applied weeks ago.

Now, with temperatures rising and ground drying, there is much renewed field activity. Spreaders and sprayers are in action all around, getting second nitrogen dressings on and playing catch up with agronomists whose lists were piled high.

We have, after much wrangling, agreed with our landlord the rent we will pay for at least the next three years.

I hope the figure has not pleased him, like it hasn’t pleased me.

I’m thankful that I did as this magazine advised talked to other tenants openly about this often thorny subject.

I know the people sitting on the other side of the table talk to each other. So I’m glad more of us this side of the table now seem able to do the same.

Neil Thomson

See more