Farmer Focus: In basic terms, what we do is most vital

After four years I’m sitting to write my final article as a Farmers Weekly contributor.

I’m shocked at how quickly the time has passed, yet, on reflection it is equally amazing how much has changed and what we have managed to achieve as a business and as a family. 

None of this would have been achievable without the constant commitment, skill and hard work of everyone involved in the business, to whom I am extremely grateful, and the constant support and trust of my wife, Sarah, and family in what we are trying to achieve.

See also: Dairy conversion trebles output by focusing on milk from grass

The writing is a process I have thoroughly enjoyed. I started off by trying to convey how we try to run our system and cope with day-to-day challenges. However, I think this became repetitive and weather-orientated.

About the author

Johnjo Roberts
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Johnjo Roberts converted his family’s 250ha beef and sheep farm on Anglesey to an 800-head spring-block calving dairy in 2014. Maximising grazed grass and good milk solids are priorities.
Read more articles by Johnjo Roberts

I have grown frustrated with my own reluctance to tackle some of the issues we all face as an industry on a regular basis, for fear of raising my head above the parapet. As such, this is a good time to step away before temptation gets the better of me.

Looking to next year, we can already see some of the challenges that lie ahead of us in the form of increased costs generally, high fertiliser prices and labour shortages. 

In the medium term, we need to remain focused on sustainability, retaining control over the carbon value of our land and trees and remaining light-footed in the face of impending competition from cheap imports and “free from” alternatives. 

Farming can feel a lonely place at times. We farmers have a poor track record of seeking help when needed. This hasn’t been helped recently with agriculture seemingly in the firing line when it comes to climate change or not being in line with the latest influencers’ diet choice. 

However, if I ever feel my belief wavering or feel ground down by the negative press, I just remind myself that when everything is reduced to the bare basics of life, oxygen aside, food and water will be the last things that people can go without.

As such, we will have a vital role to play for many years to come. Thank you.