What a great evening the Farmers Weekly Awards night is. Jane King and the team should be rightly proud of the showcase event they have created for British agriculture.
Having been nominated for Farming Champion, it was my first chance to experience what a great night it is – a positive theme ran throughout. The Farmer Champion award went to James Chapman; through his own misfortune, James has championed health and safety, and that night there was, no more deserving a winner.
Sadly, for me there was no time for sight-seeing or shopping. I had to be back on farm first thing in the morning, hosting Wiltshire’s NFU Countryside Day. This is a chance for the NFU to engage with others, and in my book could not be more important. We are all too good at talking to each other, but engaging with the wider public has never been more crucial. Among our guests were county councillors, MEP Julie Girling, wildlife groups etc, as well as the new Bishop of Salisbury. The Bishop, in particular, was eager to gain a better understanding of CAP reform and bovine TB.
We finished the farm walk with a look at 40 acres of our water meadows that are currently in HLS.
For farmers along the Avon valley in Wiltshire and Hampshire, Natural England’s policy for the river has been at best misguided and at worst disastrous. There has been talk of allowing the river to return to Roman times and also of finding a breed of cattle to eat sedges. Of course, any breed will eat sedges – only one criteria is needed – starvation. Somehow that doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly.
Farmer Focus Livestock: Minette Batters