Family’s 500-mile tractor drive to new life abroad

A Devon farming family is preparing for a 16-hour, 500-mile tractor journey to begin a new life on a farm in south-west France.

Mike and Clarissa Jordan have decided to leave their 500-acre dairy farm at Langaford, Halwill, for a 1,000-acre arable unit in Angouleme, just north of Bordeaux.

The farm’s three tractors will be driven in convoy by Mike, his father Reg and a friend, while Clarissa and their two children will travel down separately.

Mike told Farmers Weekly: “We can start annoying the French as soon as we get over there. Although they’re a lot more tolerant over there.”

“I’m going to drive the tractors from here to the south of France, with my father and an Irish, friend who’s as mad as me. We’ve worked out it will take about 16 hours.”

It will be a big change in weather for the Jordans, said Mike. “They expect to get 300 days of sunshine there, whereas here we expect about the same number of rain.”

He explained the family’s decision to move. “We’re at a crossroads with my father at 67, my uncle 66, and some of the staff on the farm off to pastures new.”

“I don’t want to stay here all my life. Everything I’ve wanted to do, I’ve done. Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Mike said.

“Cow prices are right for us to go and my boys are young enough not to be affected by the move,” he added.

Reg who speaks with a broad Devon accent said the language challenge would not be a problem. “One bloke in the pub said it won’t make any difference to me, as I don’t speak English either.”

He added that he had no hesitation about making the move.

“It doesn’t phase me at all. I’ve done my farming and now it’s up to the next generation.

“The people in France I’ve talked to are very nice.”

The family has begun dispersing their 400 dairy cows through Kivells at Holsworthy market and are negotiating with potential buyers for Langaford and its 500 acres.

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