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Ian Garnett: ‘My general outlook for the future is one of optimism’

I am currently Grinching my way towards Christmas, with the turkeys in full swing here.

Every year we think we have prepared for every eventuality and every year something from leftfield surprises us. This time, our highly sophisticated scales decided they would do everything but weigh when we tried them for our first order.

 

There then ensued a lively few minutes until we ‘re-energised’ them, which I believe is tech-speak for switching them off and on again.

 

Let us hope all our challenges are as easily overcome.

 

Turkey issues aside, I will be interested to see how the new majority Government gets to grips with some of the agricultural issues of the day.

 

I am hoping Boris Johnson is as keen to work with the NFU to support British farmers as he seemed in his letter replying to Minette Batters in June when he was canvassing support.

 

Electioneering promises of the Conservatives were to match the current level of funding for every year of the next Parliament and to ‘encourage everyone, including the public sector, to buy British’. Both of these must surely be welcome.


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Likewise, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) sounds promising, yet the devil may be in the detail. I hope grassland farmers’ feedback on ELMS has been digested.

 

The BBC show Meat: A Threat to our Planet? served to remind me of how far ahead in sustainability terms we are in the UK compared with other agricultural economies. So, if we can use a new ELMS scheme to improve yet further, thus ensuring we are seen as ‘best-practice’, then this must be a good thing.

 

My general stance in life is to be optimistic until all avenues have been thoroughly exhausted, by which time I usually am too. So while I am cautious of any change as significant as Brexit, done right there should be opportunities for learning and improvement.

 

It would not be December without the odd reflection or two and I am pleased we extended our auto-scrapers significantly, as this has been in parallel with installing mattresses and the cows definitely seem to have benefited from both.

 

Time spent on staff mentoring also seems to have been time well spent. I do, however, regret having not been on much shorter payment terms when Tomlinson Dairies went into administration and I will be pleased when I have delivered the last of this year’s turkeys.

 

Currently, our sitting room looks like Blackpool illuminations as we have gone for the ‘more is more’ approach to entice Father Christmas to us, rather like a glitzy landing strip.

 

I would like to thank our whole farm team for their hard work and support, and I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas. Here’s hoping 2020 is an excellent year for everyone involved in British agriculture.

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