Farmer Focus: Will Howe has mixed reaction to snow

The blanket of snow was greeted with mixed reactions here. Luckily, all the rape was safely covered from pigeons. But the first white day meant that Rudolph, Dasher, Blitzen and friends had to be harnessed to the first grain lorry to extricate it from my slippery yard.

The fun was to continue. With schools closing as fast as the mines in the 1980s, many of my wife’s delivery drivers were unable to make it to work. So I had the pleasure of being white van man for a couple of days. For those who think the only way to overcome snow is with a £40,000 shiny new 4×4, think again. I can assure you that the humble white van will go anywhere.

All the kerfuffle in London got me thinking. If Home Counties arable farmers were paid retainers and supplied with snow ploughs, surely then the capital’s roads could be kept clear at a cost of far less than the estimated £1bn of lost earnings.

Thank goodness it didn’t snow during LAMMA week because the delays would have been even worse. Agricultural shows are becoming synonymous with congestion, which is a real shame, as it really does dampen the spirits more than the Thursday rain.

A positive side to this time of year is the chance to attend meetings to broaden one’s horizons. On Monday it was on NVZs, which I was surprised to leave feeling relatively buoyant.

Then Tuesday was a first for me on two counts. I attended my first Joint Venture Farming Group’s AGM and it was my first agricultural meeting where the cumulative number of blond and dark heads exceeded the grey.

All the speakers had something interesting to say and it really did get me thinking about economies of scale and the opportunities out there.

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