As this is my first blog for the NFU I thought it only fair to tell you a little bit about myself so that you can qualify any outlandish statements that might come from my two itchy typing fingers over the next 12 months.
For example, any comments I might make about livestock farming can be taken with a pinch of salt, because I haven’t got any animals. “No Livestock on an organic farm?” I hear you cry, “surely with no muck, your whole system has to be based on mystery”. On many of the farm walks we have held, some might have arrived with that misconception, but hopefully by the time they have left the farm, they will have seen that we tackle stockless organics with a comparatively conventional and straightforward approach.
As I no longer follow the traditional ‘East Anglian Cereal Barron’ three course rotation of winter wheat, winter wheat, winter cruise, any claims on my part about being able to compete with the likes of our own Barley Barron NFU President on his latest holiday on Queen Mary 2 amongst the Caribbean Islands, should be treated as unlikely as continuous cereal cropping on this farm. I favour a fertility building rotation which includes clovers, green manures, compost spreading and other nutrient building activities that you’ll all be doing when the oil runs out.
However, the reality is that like you, I am trying to make a living out of the business of farming, listening to my customers needs and providing them with a product that meets their requirements within the realms of good agricultural husbandry. I believe that conventional and organic (or should that be unconventional) farmers have a huge amount in common and an awful lot to learn from each other. There is no “I’m right and you’re wrong”.
And the little bit about myself? I farm 700 hectares in Suffolk with a further 300 hectares under farm management contracts, all farmed organically, with 2 full time staff and 3 tractors. I’m married with 3 children, balding and play the bass guitar badly.
Blog for for the National Farmers Union - Originally published on 22nd November 2010