Latest farming opinions

OPINION

Opinion: Neale McQuistin on living with Network Rail

I’ll be disappointed if transport secretary Chris Grayling is still in his job by the time this column appears. Travelling on the rail network has become a nightmare for many…

NEWS

Opinion: The pros and cons of chartered status for farmers

Here Farmers Weekly columnists Will Evans and Guy Smith consider whether farming should become a chartered profession.  While Mr Evans believes professional qualifications would lead to a better agricultural industry,…

NEWS

Opinion: Unity is key for 'health and harmony' after Brexit

Readers who have reviewed my thoughts expressed through these columns over the years may remember I have often called for bodies representing the various sectors of our industry to work…

NEWS

Opinion: What would Prof Nix have said about green Brexit?

Back in April, I went to the funeral of John Nix, emeritus professor of farm business management at Wye College, and the originator of the famous Farm Management Pocketbook. From…

OPINION

Opinion: Paying retired farmers could be a stroke of genius

I have recently reached the age of 59 – the average age of a UK farmer. How appropriate then that, as I start to count down the days to my…

OPINION

Opinion: Common sense must prevail on plant protection

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings; Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’ Shelley’s poem Ozymandias is a reflection on hubris – an excess of confidence or arrogance,…

OPINION

Opinion: The time is nigh to phase out direct payments

One of the joys of writing a column for Farmers Weekly is the occasional letter you receive from a reader. The views expressed in these letters are usually idiosyncratic, and…

OPINION

Opinion: Leaky pipe highlights need for good record keeping

Lessons in farming life can come in all shapes, sizes and unexpected guises. A persistent water leak has revealed a litany of shortcomings in our business. Whilst our seepage was…

OPINION

Opinion: Giving the game away through the medium of song

The big business news of late has been the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, something Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe described as good news because it would “cut prices…

OPINION

Opinion: It's time Mr Gove recognised true value of farming

Dear Mr Gove, while at first sight the ambition of the Health and Harmony consultation paper is commendable, there is a certain naivety of aspiration within it, more akin to…

OPINION

Opinion: What has been the greatest farming innovation?

A search has been going on at our Airyolland Farm to identify the greatest innovation that has appeared during our lifetime.  Our interest in all things innovative was spawned after…

OPINION

Opinion: Remember the farmers who died in the Great War

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to the Great War battlefields of France and Belgium. It's something that I've planned for a number of years and ties…

OPINION

Opinion: Planning and hoping in the face of climate change

I began my last column saying it looked like March would “come in like a lion, and go out like a lamb”. Well I was wrong – it didn’t go…

OPINION

Opinion: Be positive and honest about pesticide use

There seems to be a lot of chat in the media about farming lately. Some of it has been quite positive. The way farmers have faced up to some very…

OPINION

Opinion: Life used to be simpler, before civil servants

I seem to have more Victor Meldrew moments the older I get, when I find myself furiously muttering “I don’t believe it”. I set off reading Defra's How to check…

OPINION

Opinion: Farming is losing out to single-issue groups

Ploughing through Defra’s Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit consultation, I recalled the passage in Shakespeare’s King Lear in which the…

OPINION

Opinion: Longevity not the whole story with 4x4 ownership

Having imposed a moratorium on all further machinery expenditure on my farm until after Brexit, it’s not often that my eyes are drawn to the Machinery section of Farmers Weekly.…

OPINION

Opinion: No-till is no panacea

Few would deny Michael Gove is a switched-on politician who gets things done. In the nine months or so since he became Defra secretary he has learned his brief quicker…

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