Farmer Focus: No longer a PowerPoint virgin thanks to OFC

I hope you all had a great Christmas and new year and are ready to take on the next 12 months.

We had a good finish to 2018, even though the hinds that are meant to be heading to Germany were inseminated using what turned out to be poor-quality semen from abroad and were less than ideal.

We had a positive response from our leader grant application, so all systems are go on the abattoir.

This is exciting. We feel it is vital for us to be able to keep deer farming down here in the West Country.

See also: 8 Farmers Weekly Awards finalists give their diversification tips

The new year has already been quite busy as I was invited to speak at the prestigious Oxford Farming Conference (OFC). Being so far out of my comfort zone nearly made me sick.

I didn’t even know what a ‘PowerPoint’ was, but can now say I’m no longer a PowerPoint virgin!

Once presenting was over I really enjoyed the experience and got a lot from it, meeting some very interesting people.

There was a lot of good information and the prospect of exciting things ahead, but my highlight was listening to Sir Lockwood Smith from New Zealand speak about what we went through in New Zealand in the mid-1980s when the support taken away from farmers, and how farming grew from there.

I feel it was a very powerful and well-informed talk and recommend you listen to it on YouTube.

As I write this I am also getting ready to head back to New Zealand.

This is mainly for family reasons but also a little bit of business. This is very exciting on the sheep front but it’s a case of ‘watch this space’ because we need to make sure it’s possible before we get excited.

On return we will then scan the ewes and we need a good result. So far, there have been very mixed reports, some being well back on last year, so fingers crossed.

Read more by Matt Smith and see his biography.