Farmer Focus: The hunger to learn about farming is vast

I can’t quite believe where 2019 has gone. We will approach 2020 as “glass half full”, and be positive as we move into another calendar year.

As uncertain as the future looks, we will control as much as we can and be prepared for anything else.

In 2019 Lockerley Estate became a Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf) demonstration farm, of which we are extremely proud.

See also: How catch crops cut one grower’s costs and improved soils

We welcomed the Countess of Wessex who, as patron of Leaf, recognised us as the 39th demo farm.

We completed our first attempt at Open Farm Sunday, where the whole team pulled together and enabled 720 visitors to see a working farm up close.

BBC Countryfile spent a day with us discussing how we work as part of the Wallop Brook Farmers, a 5000ha  catchment project. Personally, this is one of the best things I’ve been involved with.

We also had more than 1,400 visitors onto the estate including Defra, numerous schools, chefs, scouts, Women’s Institute, student groups etc.

Our lambing day and community hedge planting days have been well supported, and the hunger from local and wider communities to learn about what we do is vast.

Key learning points

My three key learning points from 2019:

1. Normality is taken for granted! Having lost one of my closest friends a few months ago, I will never, ever take for granted the privileged position I find myself in today.

The ability to jump in the truck and go for a walk with the dog round the crops, or wander up to the lambing shed with my son and daughter for a final check are moments to be appreciated.

2. Setting personal and business objectives, short- and long-term goals and listening to a trusted mentor.

I thought this all sounded a bit corporate a few years ago, but having recently completed an advanced course in agricultural business management, I can see why this is so important.

3. Learn from others. I was lucky to see three great arable farms when judging the Farmers Weekly 2019 arable farmer competition and being able to look around their businesses and listen to all three finalists was a great experience.

I wish everyone a happy new year and good luck with 2020 and all she may bring!


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