It really has been a busy month so far. Firstly, I am delighted to announce the arrival of Poppy Sophie Howe, who was born on 28 March, weighing a healthy 7lbs 8oz.
Fortunately, this time there was no spraying to be done or hangover to recover from, so I was a participant in the whole drama, although possibly cast in a supporting role.
When I announced the arrival of my son Freddie in a previous article, we had just gained planning permission to build the house on the farm. This time we have been granted planning permission to build a new grain store. This means that soon I will no longer need to slalom around parked cars when entering my yard or fill the grain store with antiquated elevators fed by trailers tipped at precarious angles. We are also extending my wife Vicky’s kitchen into the last bit of the unconverted barn and expanding the parking area to make the kitchen area more user friendly.
Meanwhile, as we try to drive our businesses forward, it is a shame that the usual incompetence is being shown by the authorities. The start date of our ELS renewal has been compromised due to a misunderstanding with the vendor number at Natural England. To compound matters, I am one of the unlucky farmers whose single farm payment has been delayed.
What galls me the most is that they can continually and habitually make the same errors and nothing of any consequence is done. In any other industry, this would be deemed unworkable and the book would be thrown at them.
On a brighter note, all the field work is up to date, Poppy is enjoying her first spring, and I have even had time to do some contracting with my new direct drill. The only missing ingredient for a bumper harvest is rain. What’s the betting my next article mentions floods?