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Farming Matters: Rona Amiss - 'Let's put the fun back into farming'

The last few months have seen farming and farmers blamed for most things that are wrong in the world.

Climate change is the fault of the cows, the sheep are overgrazing the uplands and causing floods in Yorkshire, while in Lincolnshire it is the arable boys’ fault for just trying to produce food.

 

Of course Chris Packham, George Monbiot et al have the solutions as nice soundbites and, if you read a paper or switch on the TV, you are likely to catch someone talking about rewilding, tree planting and of course the ultimate solution, going vegan.

 

Suddenly every area of the media seems to have become an anti-farmer platform. When they do talk about farmers it is to tell us we are more likely to commit suicide and we are struggling with our mental health.

 

No wonder farmers are struggling with all the garbage that presenters and do-gooders come out with; it would send the sanest person mad and it is certainly making me grumpy.

 

Scout camp

 

Recently, I went to Scout camp. First Lizard Scouts meet at our farm and they light a lot of fires, eat a lot and have a huge enthusiasm for having a good time.

 

The camp was cold, wet and muddy, then they all went swimming and jumping in ice cold quarry water. It was pretty grim, but they did not care, as kids seem to find the fun in most things.

 

So when did we lose the ability to be positive and play? Is it age or circumstances? Maybe it is a bit of both turning me into a miserable old git.

 

But this week I am going to be more like a scout by embracing adversity and having fun. We have had rubbish times in farming before, but we survived. We had to change direction a bit and it was hard, but things do get better.

 

So let’s look for the positive in everything and here are my reasons to be cheerful:


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1 Elections are fun. Really they are. Have you heard what the candidates say when they desperately seek your vote? Do not worry too much about the outcome and just enjoy the chopping and changing of policies along with the aspirational promises.

 

If you need some exercise choose a party and offer to deliver leaflets or canvas. Once you have looked for letterboxes on housing estates you did not know existed, you will have deep respect for your postman and will be glad to get back to your lonely farm existence.

 

2 Accentuate the positives. This is an old farming trick of talking big. If you tell your neighbour enough times about your 250 per cent lambing and no dead ewes you will start to believe it yourself. Positive talk breeds positivity and the bank manager will surely be impressed.

 

3 If all else fails, tell jokes. Even better, tell jokes about vegans. Here is my favourite: ‘What do you get if you cross a turkey and concrete? Gobblestones of course’.

 

On the theme of being positive, here is wishing everyone a very (early) Merry Christmas and we hope for better fortune in 2020.

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