Neil Thomson celebrates farming mums

This month’s deadline for my piece happens to fall on the fourth anniversary of my mother finally succumbing to her very long battle with breast cancer. And as I trundled up and down seemingly endless, tramlines spraying – first the mid-flower spray on the rape, then wheat – trying in my head to compose this article, my thoughts continually returned to her.


She was, like my wife and the partners of most farmers, absolutely pivotal, not just to the family, but also to the smooth running of the farm. While not exactly hands on when it came to tractors, etc, Mum was always there to do the books, run errands or answer the phone. But more importantly she provided the succour a farmer needs when things got bad, and plenty of good, hearty food – often eaten in a nanosecond without any remark of gratitude. This farm would have been a considerably worse place without my Mum.

Lack of rain is making Caverton Mill a worse place at the moment, so I was somewhat worried when a friend told me that his highly respected farming father used to say “only bad farmers need rain”. Oh dear – I always suspected I would be found out eventually.

It’s also been four years of an SNP minority government in Scotland, and by the time you read this we may have a new first minister. In the past, I have been accused (by my neighbour) of sitting on the fence when it comes to telling you who, for example, my preferred choice of MP or NFUS leader might have been. But again I am faced with a dilemma over where to place my vote. My eldest daughter is about to embark on her university entrance exams. But, unfortunately, I think it would be like a turkey voting for Christmas if I were to vote for a party that is going to introduce tuition fees for students at Scottish universities.

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