Maud Old,

31 December 1999




RESOLUTIONS for 2000…

Making resolutions is as much a part of New Years Eve as drinking too much

and making a half-hearted attempt at singing Auld Lang Syne. Hardly

surprising – the arrival of a New Year is, after all, a time of fresh starts. And

never has that been more so than this year. So, as the Millennium Wheel

begins to turn in London, and one century turns into another, Tim Relf asks

farming personalities about their resolutions. Some are personal, some are

professional. Now its just a case of keeping them. Good luck

Geoff Burgess, chief

executive, Royal

Smithfield Club

We will be taking a much more proactive role in promoting the very best of British meat – and one of our intentions is to create a totally new national carcass meat competition.

"My wife, Ann, says one of my resolutions should be to spend a bit more time at home and tackle some of the 943 jobs that have built up over the last three years."

June Small, Womens Food and Farming Union, Somerset branch chairman

I must spend more time getting people to buy British produce. Farmers markets are an ideal place to meet – and talk to – consumers. If they dont eat more British fruit, growers will continue to leave the industry – and theyre already going out of business like confetti. If we were butterflies, wed be an endangered species."

June will be spending New Years Eve at home. "Well be having a bonfire and letting off fireworks. Itll be fun and very practical – itll get rid of a lot of the rubbish."

Brendan Loughran,

chief executive National Federation of Young Farmers

Brendans going to try and communicate more with people on a one-to-one basis. "When you spend all your time answering e-mails, its easy to forget how good it is to meet and talk."

More work needs to be done to guarantee a future for youngsters in farming and the land-based businesses, he says. "The speed at which young people are leaving the industry is alarming. We have to get the government to take this challenge seriously."

Brendan plans to celebrate the millennium afloat on the Norfolk Broads. "Well go to the boat – with as much booze as we can carry – and look up at the stars."

Rev Nick Read, Rural Stress Network director

The challenge ahead, says Nick, is to help people face up to reality. For a lot of people in the countryside, there is no easy solution to the problems and, for many, the answer could be to get out of farming. "We have to help people do this as gently as possible."

Nick, who plays the melodeon and is a member of the folk band The Shropshire Bedlams, also has a musical resolution. "To practice at a convenient time for my family. They always complain that I wake them up."

Charles Runge, chief

executive, RASE

Making sure the Royal Show is a big success is a key goal for Charles. "Plus, we want to apply as much pressure on government and other opinion formers to ensure that they understand the true position of what is happening in the countryside – which, judging by their reaction, isnt always the case so far.

"And, for the 57th time, my personal resolution is to give up fat foods. Its a resolution which can be very satisfying to break!"

Chrissie Green, Farmlife diarist in France

Chrissie hopes to go more high-tech in the coming year. "Neither of us are computer people," she says of herself and husband, Tim. "We like the pen and paper. We havent got a computer on the farm but well have to look at getting one."

She also plans to knuckle down to paperwork more diligently. "We are hoarders – we have urgent piles, covered by more urgent piles. We are going to get rid of the backlog."

Another resolution is to bin the accumulated catalogues, special offers and free-gift correspondence. "Its taken over the kitchen. I am going to bin it without even opening it – but itll be very hard. Im a catalogue-aholic."

Judith Morrow, Farmlife diarist, Ulster

Im going to buy myself a bunch of flowers every week. Just to brighten the house up – and brighten me up. Itll be my reward after doing the shopping – which I dont like doing.

"Ive also decided to try and think of all the open-farm regulations as a challenge, rather than a millstone. To think positively about them. I think I will manage the flowers – but the regulations resolution will be more difficult to keep."

Maud Old,

Farm Womens Club, Cornish correspondent

Id like to do some of the things Ive been saying for years Id do – like take up golf. Maybe also go up in a hot air balloon – I cant tell you why, its just something I want to do. Time just seems to fly – but, like most things, if you really want to do them, you will."

One thing Maud – busy with a caravan site and holiday lettings – wont be doing is more hands-on farming. She leaves that to her husband and sons. "I never have and Im not starting now. My hubbys probably very relieved about that."

Maud Old,

Farm Womens Club, Cornish correspondent

Id like to do some of the things Ive been saying for years Id do – like take up golf. Maybe also go up in a hot air balloon – I cant tell you why, its just something I want to do. Time just seems to fly – but, like most things, if you really want to do them, you will."

One thing Maud – busy with a caravan site and holiday lettings – wont be doing is more hands-on farming. She leaves that to her husband and sons. "I never have and Im not starting now. My hubbys probably very relieved about that."


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