Farmer Focus: Reminiscing in the lull before the harvest rush

July has been a busy month in the Thomson family. It is the month Barbara and I were married, and this year our two daughters each celebrated a landmark birthday – 21 years ago, our eldest daughter Becky was born, and 18 years ago our second daughter Kate came along.

It is fair to say there has been a bit of reminiscing and one or two tipples taken. I am so proud to have two wonderful daughters that are enjoying the various excitements in their lives.

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

You would think I planned it to have two children at a time of year in the lull before the storm of harvest, but that would be crediting me with something way beyond the control of most blokes.

But that is what it is – a lull. The vegetable crops are planted and despite our atrocious weather here in the North, they are growing. They need a wee bit of tending here and there and we await harvest.

We took the chance to take a holiday and it was nice meeting fellow farmers. I hope we keep in touch (hint-hint Nigel).

I feel a sense of achievement at having endured the various challenges we have had to face in the past 21 years since we had our kids.

We have seen some very good harvests and prices, but also the opposite with Mother Nature wreaking havoc in several years. It is a worrying time when you see prices where they are.

My friend called me the other night grumbling that he couldn’t move around Brittany because of rioting farmers.

It made me wonder how the French government can suddenly pull a package that is worth £780m out of the hat in an attempt to appease them.

Is there any likelihood of some of us taking action like the French farmers? As much as I respect their position and stance, I hope not, for it will surely come back to haunt us. However, it is up to our representatives to ensure we are listened to.


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 is let for potatoes, and the farm also has cattle and sheep.