Farmer Focus: First step towards rural phone utopia

Cereals 2017 – “the technical event for the arable industry”. It’s still one of the highlights of the farming year, but it faces an uncertain future.

With lots of big names absent, is this the last time we’ll see it in its current format — or will it just become an agronomy show? Will the AHDB still be the centrepiece?

On the other hand, why worry about one annual happening when we have a far more serious once-in-a-lifetime event approaching: Brexit.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

While pondering whatever the coming months may bring under a new or re-elected political regime, my mind went back to that strange Six Nations match when Italy frustrated England for 40 minutes with some original, out-of-the-box tactics.

Many of us were shouting at the telly with the obvious answers, but being too close to the coal face, doing what they had always done, the players couldn’t see clearly.

Maybe that’s us now approaching Brexit negotiations. Maybe the obvious solutions are staring us all in the face. The nation must decide – cheap food or high standards. It is not possible to sustainably do both without direct support.

Lack of phone signal

Another frustration of late is rural mobile phone signal coverage, or the lack of it.

I have always wondered why phone masts aren’t shared: it would make a lot of sense.

“You have a mast there, I have one here. Let’s share, increase coverage to keep customers happy and save costs.” Surely it’s a win-win if ever there was one?

Well, I might just have discovered a great step towards phone utopia — even if it is still not a perfect solution. Rural Sim is one sim card on three networks with just one user agreement.

Wow, progress at last, from a small independent firm that’s showing the big players a thing or two. How long before the concept really catches on?

Our much-loved dad, Andrew Wainwright, passed away recently. Many thanks for the myriad of cards and messages the family received.

Well-known and respected as a proud Yorkshire farmer, he will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his family and all who knew him.


Richard Wainwright farms 510ha in Ryedale, on the southern edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. With soil types ranging from heavy clay loam to limestone brash, the family partnership grows winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape, spring beans and rotational grass leys. The farm also runs a large beef-fattening unit.