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Will case: 'Our new Minister at Defra might be happy to listen to farmers'

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Will Case farms 300ha (750 acres) in partnership with brother Simon and parents William and Margaret at Ulverston, Cumbria. Land is divided between Plumpton Cottage Farm and Robbs Water Farm, Barrow-in- Furness. They farm 1,000 lowland ewes, 90 pedigree Texel ewes, 65 Salers suckler cows, fatten 150 store cattle, 12,000 freerange laying hens and 100 dairy cows milked by robots.

 

The weather is feeling more like January than June at the moment. Heavy rainfall and strong winds seem to be all we are getting at the moment. Hopefully things will improve soon as the sheep we are about to shear will not be thanking us.

 

First cut silage is now done on both farms, having luckily snatched the grass at Plumpton before the weather turned on us. Hopefully we have got a decent quality of grass and there was plenty of quantity. We got the pit sheeted up before the rain came, it is nice to get one over on the weather gods sometimes.

 

Most of the Salers suckler cows have calved and most cows managed to calve outside unassisted although we had to pull a couple of big Charolais bull calves. I was not too surprised at this after the condition the cows were in, but calving in general seems to have gone well. The pleasing sight of calves on the ground skipping about is hard to beat.

 

In May we welcomed some visitors from the Furness branch of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

 

They meet regularly through the year, visiting different businesses to learn about their supply chains. This was their first ever visit to a farm and I was not sure what to expect, but the meeting was booked up in record time with the organisers having to extend numbers to accommodate the interest.

 

I was encouraged by this and pleased to find everyone interested in farming and how their food is produced. Many had not realised the variety of tasks and buying decisions we have to make as farmers. I was as interested in their views of what we do, as they were in mine, and it was a satisfying experience. It is nice to know how supportive of British farming much of the public are.

 

The General Election has come and gone and the political landscape seems to have altered again. A softer Brexit now seems possible and given the current political uncertainty, sterling will surely remain weak. Even though our future agricultural policy remains a mystery, I cannot help feeling this has been a decent election for farming.

 

With a weakened Conservative Government needing to shore up its core vote in case of another election, maybe our new Defra Secretary might be happy to listen to farmers? Whatever happens, we will enjoy the good lamb trade and get on with it.

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