Farmer Focus: Environment inspectors show farming interest

It has been a busy month since my last piece. Entertainment has included a couple of trips away from the farm.

I went to Krakow in Poland for my stag do, and then headed to Birmingham for the Pig and Poultry Fair.

They had two very different agendas. One was more inspiring and insightful – I will let you decide which trip you think that was!

See also: 7 ways to encourage a healthy gut microbiome in pigs

In all seriousness, it was fantastic to see so many people at the NEC for Pig and Poultry.

It felt as though visitors and exhibitors were in good spirits, and there was a remarkable sense of optimism, despite the pig crisis being not all that long ago. It was a reminder of just how resilient the industry is.

Our main reasons for attending were to look at robotic pressure washers, building manufacturers, different options on genetics, and ammonia reduction.

It was a refreshing few days off-farm, with Dutch feed company Swinco kindly inviting me to speak about milk cup systems at their conference, the day before the fair. Thanks to the team for looking after us so well.

Last week we had an Environment Agency (EA) inspection, which was a first for me. I know plenty of farmers who don’t like to open the gates with much enthusiasm for this sort of thing.

While I understand the defensive mindset, I found the EA visit incredibly useful, with lots of open and honest discussion.

I can say the same for the Health and Safety Executive inspection we had back in June last year, which was good.

I certainly got the impression that the EA staff were interested not only in seeing what we do, but understanding why and how we do it.

This was reflected by a good balance of walking around the farm seeing things, and reviewing data in the office.

Our discussions then led onto further developments we want to make as a business, and they were forthcoming with guidance on best practice and possible grant funding opportunities.

We must have left a good impression, with one of the two asking where they could buy our pork, to which I replied: “Here, if our planning system wasn’t so broken!”