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Farming Matters: Rona Amiss - 'I want to show compassion to walkers who stray off a footpaths'

My goodness, even my relentless cheerfulness is struggling as wave after wave of bad news on Covid-19 is broadcast each hour.

It is easy on the farm, busy with lambing, to ignore the devastating effect it is having on people. Hotspots seem far away in urban areas and the sun is shining.

 

There is lots of space in Cornwall and people are making the most of the weather to exercise, maybe even taking more exercise than they would normally.

 

With no tourists, our farm has very few walkers compared with normal and it is wonderful to have some peace.

 

I am feeling blessed that we have the space for the children to pretty much carry on as normal. The loss of the tearoom income is a shame, but I should be entitled to some Government help.

 

Self isolation comes fairly easy to farmers and I am so glad that I am not in a tiny house with little or no garden.

 

Social media is thriving and on local Facebook pages tempers are being tested; if it is not about second home owners, dog poo or camper vans, then it is farmers complaining about people using the footpaths.

 

My granny lived through two world wars and a flu pandemic, she was opinionated, political and born before her time.

 

When I said I was going to be a farmer she left me in no doubt about how she felt about farmers and their ability to make money out of crisis and suffering.


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We should not demand to close footpaths in these difficult times, says Rona Amiss.
We should not demand to close footpaths in these difficult times, says Rona Amiss.

Compassion

 

People with far more influence than me have said we will be judged on our actions and compassion in the coming weeks. It is not the time to demand to close footpaths and deny people something good in their difficult lives.

 

It is not a time to expect thanks for just doing your job. We may be seen as key workers but it is hardly frontline stuff like nursing or caring where they are, daily, putting their lives at risk.

 

Maybe it is just a time to shut up and accept we are all in this together while doing what we are best at: producing good food.

 

The economy and political landscape in the last few weeks has shifted so far and I know the NFU and our other industry bodies are working hard to make sure that farming is recognised as crucial in this crisis, but we just need to be mindful that history looks at us kindly.

 

I am worried for my family, for my 90-year-old father and also for my 21-year-old daughter who is working on-farm miles away. I am worried about lack of money, poor prices and what on earth is going to happen next.

 

There is not much I can do about most of it except to keep lambing, but I am able to show some compassion to my community and not rant if they stray off the footpath.

 

I can also educate some of the children on their walks with signs explaining what is going on in the fields.

 

And at least we can all celebrate that veganism seems to have been dropped as the BBC’s favourite topic.

 

Stay safe, both from Covid-19 but also work safely in this busy time.

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