The power of vibrant rural communities has been on my mind over the last couple of months.
It has been a period of highs and lows of late, but, through it all, community has shone through, either joining the celebration of success or standing side-by-side as we hit the lows.
Thankfully, looking back, I think the highs have outweighed the lows, but they hurt nonetheless.
Highs have included finishing the week-long CowsOnTour Roadshow, telling the farming story to more than 2,000 school children from 17 schools with the help of more than 200 farming and rural volunteers.
CowsOnTour has since attended its first wedding, supporting the family of an honorary member.
As part of our Open Farm Sunday 2019, our fifth year, we received more than 1,900 visitors to the farm and were helped by more than 20 farmers from the local rural community (and slightly further afield).
Lows have included the sudden death of a dear member of my community David Tew, an excellent AI technician, but more importantly a friend. He was someone who took the time to help and encourage me during difficult times on-farm.
Our farm also came down with bovine TB for the first time in eight years and the first time on my watch.
Watching two cows and one heifer due to calve being shot in the head on-farm and saying goodbye to another eight who went off on the lorry for slaughter was heartbreaking.
Picking up the pieces is what all of us at Goldsland Farm are focusing on right now. It is even more disheartening to hear a number of other farms in my relatively clear area have also gone down with the disease.
Our farm was visited by one of the Vice-Premiers of the People’s Republic of China; yes, you read that correctly.
Late one afternoon I found myself stood outside the milking parlour, with police protection officers, wearing white bio-boots (which slightly ruined their image, but they handled it well) watching a motorcade leading five shiny black Range Rovers and two large minibuses down the drive.
It was a huge honour to meet someone of such prestige and I absolutely loved every second of it, especially as the Vice-Premier clearly loved farming.
I did have a real grilling about farm standards, to which I talked about Red Tractor. I was also grilled about disease control, so I talked about Cattle Health Certification Standards.
The knowledge of my bTB status made me uneasy, and makes me wonder if this could be a barrier to trade in the future.
The visit also included an unexpected detour to my house, the entourage led of course by the lead motorcyclist, followed immediately behind by me in our very battered W-Reg Hilux, then the Range Rovers, then the minibuses, with a bike bringing up the rear.
I like to think I added something ‘extra’ to the moment.
To finish on a true high; next week the agricultural community will gather at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show to celebrate 100 years of ‘pure magnificence’. A chance to meet up with old friends and new, and enjoy being part of everything rural.