Farmer Focus: At least I stockpiled some gin

I didn’t really want to mention the C-word, but my addled brain can’t actually remember a time BC (Before Coronavirus); it’s been all-encompassing hasn’t it?  At least the weather’s nicer though, hey?

Thankfully the impact on us has been limited so far. We’ve only had to rethink meetings and encourage staff to each keep their distance at breaktime. 

We have high hygiene standards on the broiler-breeder farms regardless, so my staff are au fait with it all; although we are having to ration hand sanitiser and face masks. 

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As I write this, we only have two members of staff in isolation – just under 10%, but a fellow pig farmer had a quarter of his 100-strong team off last week.

My work has totally changed, what with keeping up with the PM’s and chancellor’s updates, implementing changes to work practices, sorting contingency plans in case of delays in feed deliveries, reduced capacity at the abattoirs, staff absence, change in demand – the list goes on.

Two of the biggest changes I’ll see this week are a bit closer to home. Firstly, my 74-year-old dad has conceded that he should now be staying at home to enjoy his retirement. 

This is fine in principle, but in practice not so much. I’ve had to send him home twice after I caught him tinkering with computers in the office and pottering around chicken sheds. 

However, I’m not sure home is the best place for him. He’s driving mum nuts and is calling me twice a day to add single items to their shopping list – mainly beer, coffee and mini eggs, so I don’t really know how they are surviving.  

Secondly, I decided not to send my son to his school nursery despite him being classed as the child of a key worker. So, from tomorrow there will be an almost-four-year-old worker on the payroll, and he shall be remunerated with Pom Bears and Smarties. 

I really have no idea how this is going to work, but I envisage splashing in the foot dips 372 times a day, piglet cuddling and photocopying of body parts. At least I stockpiled gin.

Sophie Hope is a Farmer Focus writer from near Cheltenham. Read her biography