It’s been on everyone’s lips for months. It’s divided friends, families and the nation – but take heart. The truth is, whether the country opts to leave Europe or stay, there are some things that definitely won’t change. Given that the big vote is on 23 June, it seems appropriate to list 23 of them
Andrew Meredith lives near Newtown in mid-Wales. After graduating with a degree in Agriculture from Aberystwyth University in 2011, he returned to the area and spends Mondays droving at Welshpool market and the rest of the week working with his parents on their upland beef and sheep farm
Conversation will revolve predominantly around one subject – the weather. Basically, whatever it’s like, it’s wrong. Too wet, too dry, too windy, too something. Of course, the weather forecast will continue to be nonsense anything more than two days ahead. And it will still rain when you put the mower on.
We will continue to underestimate what a tremendously fun, varied, and exciting job we have most days compared to those spending 40 or more hours a week trapped in a stuffy office while the sun is shining. If we can get by doing a job we love, we are better off than many.
Sheep will still find creative ways to die. Or escape. Or escape and then die. It doesn’t matter if they are a double-buttocked Beltex or a wild Welsh Mountain, their objective is to get horizontal. Preferably after you have spent a lot of cash on them.
4 General public
We will continue to overestimate how much thought the general public give to the type of food they eat and where it’s produced. Latest proof: Weetabix have (I assume) conducted exhaustive market research and concluded what people really want for breakfast is a Weetabix-flavoured breakfast drink. While commuting. Spare me.
5 Flat tyre
A puncture will never occur at a convenient time. Just put 15t of grain on the trailer? Storm clouds on the horizon? Half the field left to cut? Grain store six miles down the road? Saturday afternoon just after the tyre depot has shut? Bang!
Farmers will still be the biggest gossips around. Been to see a new tractor at the dealership, or walked a patch with a view to renting it? They’ll have spoken about it in the pub yesterday.
7 Show time
You will still get robbed at the annual show with what you thought would be your prize-winning ram. Don’t worry, there’s always next year.
There will still be vegans. And they will still want you to know.
Farmers younger than you will continue to quietly outnumber farmers older than you.
Contractors will continue to promise the earth and deliver it a clod at a time.
Salesmen will continue to promise the earth, deliver the moon, and charge you for the sun.
Good friends and neighbours will continue to be priceless.
13 Grass is always greener
There will always be someone who gets to market before you, someone else who is in a better place in the sale and someone else who gets a better price.
Most of the time you will still overestimate how well people you admire are doing and underestimate how well you are doing.
There will still not be enough time in the day to do all the jobs you want, speak to all the people you want, have all the fun you want, and sleep.
There will still be two types of change in your life and business. Planned stuff which occurs at a glacial pace and events which you didn’t see coming which hit you at 100mph.
17 Bovine TB
Bovine TB will continue to cause excruciating heartbreak for some, and an enormous pain in the backside for all cattle farmers trying to build a herd and sell livestock at the correct time for the food chain and their business.
18 Next Big Thing
There will always be a Next Big Thing. It will almost always make someone else richer than it makes you.
Supermarkets’ first duty will continue to be to their shareholders, and they’ll remain obsessed with increasing market share.
Big farms will get bigger and smaller farms will continue to disappear. Call it promoting efficiency, vertical integration or a return to the feudal system, but there’s no way that trend is going into reverse.
There will be peaks and troughs. Farming is a volatile industry. Many of the factors that are linked to profitability are beyond our control. Well-managed businesses will continue to outperform the rest.
The government will continue to pay lip service to agriculture, and continue to care very little until the scandalously low prices that suppliers are receiving affects the availability of food. What is needed is a long-term vision focused on creating a resilient rural economy.
23 No change then…
UK agriculture will continue to produce world-class food while adapting to a changing meteorological, political, financial, legislative and technical environment. Meanwhile, we’ll all grumble loudly but secretly enjoy ourselves a great deal. In other words, things will remain exactly how they’ve been for the previous few centuries.
See also: 25 pieces of advice for 25-year-olds