Thundering into my inbox at this time of the month is a document so unbelievable that I open it with the level of trepidation deserving of a recent glyphosate invoice, or a letter from HMRC.
Because what was a few months ago just a relatively innocuous electricity bill is now a monster three times its historic size.
Like those in many other agricultural sectors, I am a big user of energy.
It’s an unavoidable fact that keeping potatoes at 2.5C for up to 10 months makes the meter whizz round at a speed that would make an Olympic figure skater dizzy.
I built my stores to a decent modern specification just a couple of years ago. But a near-tripling of our electricity rates means that, even on my modest scale, I now need to budget for an annual bill deep into five figures.
Consecutive governments have failed to tackle the problem head-on, denying investment in both nuclear and gas fracking.
So I’m not the only one fearing that electricity prices will remain higher than a young farmer’s collar for years to come.
Yet, amazingly, the economics of investing in on-farm renewables are still sketchy.
Much of my usage is in the dark days of winter when solar is about as much use as a Conservative trade deal.
Wind fits my demand profile better, but scale is important, and you could buy a nice house for the cost of a genuinely economical turbine in this area.
Too late to benefit
Many farmers invested during the heady days of the government’s Feed-in-Tariffs subsidy scheme. Young businesses such as mine arrived too late to the party to benefit.
I would argue that as we switch to electricity as a power source across our businesses, a really useful addition to future grant schemes such as the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund would be to help partially fund farm-scale renewables generation.
Until then, there’s little choice but to swallow these energy costs or pass them on as best I can.
At least HMRC won’t need to worry about writing to me much this year.