James Powell: 'In farming, we are all fortunate family is truly at the heart of our industry'


It is still uncommonly mild and on the fields without livestock, and the grass is freshening up. Most of our yearlings and ewe lambs have gone off on their winter holidays and I am sure they are enjoying some drier soils to flourish on.


This year’s lamb crop has all but gone, except for a trailer load which will grow on into the New Year. On reflection, our lamb sales have been stronger this year, due in part to the warmth giving an exceptional growing season, but lambs have been healthier, due to harder selective pressure in the ewes and being ahead of worm burdens in lambs has also helped a great deal.


We scanned the cows two weeks ago and are pleased with the conception rate of 92 per cent and a full 100 per cent in the heifers.


Our family home is now ready for the festivities with our three young boys fully aware Christmas is almost upon us. They have all been involved in the run-up, with the oldest two, of school age, having been in no less than three different community nativity plays.


In the highlight of any parent’s school year, the school nativity, we were treated to several frantic on stage wee breaks, the usual waving to parents and a cheeky cowboy pinching Joseph’s bum.


This was an extremely welcome sight, not just the bum pinching, but the school remaining open at the end of term, as plans to close our school appear have been shelved.


As our pupil numbers soar, fund-raising and general community support is at an all-time high and it is plain to see our communities have found such strength in unity.


It is sad to see this time of year tarnished with atrocities around the world in the last week. We can only hope things will resolve sometime soon but, for me, it really brings home the importance of taking the chance to spend time with your family and in the farming community, we are all fortunate family is truly at the heart of our industry.


Have a happy Christmas and a truly prosperous New Year.

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