Farmer Focus: First Time Farmers show lacks realism

Normally, September dictates the length of the winter we are about to receive. This year’s is proving to be an excellent extension to summer, providing us with a much needed increase in grass growth and hopefully it will continue well into October.

As usual, though, there is always something to bring you back down to earth, and in this case it’s the current lamb price. To add to this replacement ewe prices have risen, and while this has suited us when we’ve been selling our surplus breeding ewe lambs, it’s not so favourable while we are increasing our ewe numbers for the coming season.

We have had to undergo a third Glastir (the sustainable land management scheme for Wales) inspection in as many months, the latest one being an inspection to judge the performance of the first inspector.

Surprisingly, the visiting official was also accompanied by a representative from the Welsh government, who was judging his performance.

How much money is being wasted on enforcing these schemes? With the ever changing rules and conditions, I’m not sure if the people charged with assessing farms actually know the exact rules they are trying to enforce, making Glastir as farmer friendly as a protester during the recent badger cull.

Another controversial topic that has been debated during the past month is the way young farmers have been portrayed in Channel 4’s First Time Farmers. It’s hard to put into words how irritating it was to watch the majority of the episodes. It only briefly touches on issues that the industry is trying to draw consumers’ attention to, instead focusing on glamorising the social life of these young farmers.

On rare occasions it did show some of the hardships faced by young people trying to climb the farming ladder and you couldn’t help feel for the girl who had to explain to her father on his return from holiday that things hadn’t gone well in his absence, as we’ve all been in a similar situation.

I’m sure Channel 4, with the help of farming bodies, could have found some more suitable people to demonstrate the hard work and dedication required to enter and be a part of this industry.

Tom Jones lives on a 200ha upland beef and sheep farm near Lake Vyrnwy, Montgomeryshire. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally.

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