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Phil Latham: A new position means rethinking how the farm and business works

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We have gone clear on our latest TB test, spring is coming, equestrian clients are coming back to Kelsall Hill and soon the grass will be growing. It is an exciting time of year as we gear up for a new equine event and hopefully better tactics to cope with the inequitable share of the margin which is available on milk.

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I am not sure quite how it happened, perhaps I was the last one to put my hand up, but I have been appointed as vice-chairman for the NFU for Cheshire. In the long list of previous chairmans there has not been a Latham and I am delighted I should have the opportunity to add my name to the list and hopefully fulfil the role to meet members expectations; time will tell but I think it is quite a privilege.

 

There is no doubt this will add to the pressure of work, so I am focusing on trying to structure the business to cope with this. In conjunction with our consultants we have analysed all the enterprises and time I have available and there is no doubt it will be a challenge for all of our team, as devolved responsibility will have to be shared by those which are happy to carry the burden.

 

Job satisfaction

Phil Latham, Cheshire

Phil Latham farms 385ha (950 acres) in Cheshire, split between the family farm on Lord Cholmondeley's estate and Organsdale Farm near Tarporley. He milks 300 cows, mainly pedigree Brown Swiss, as well as diversifying into business units and an equestrian facility. He is also a Nuffield Scholar.

I hope as the team and I adapt this will create an added sense of job satisfaction for those involved. There is a danger though I might end up trapped in my office, or locked in it, and I wonder if the symptoms are already kicking in as for the first time in my 45 year life I have been called fat by one of our event caterers.

 

I am not sure that has helped with her cake sales, but I have started for the first time ever to read nutrition labels; perhaps the solution is to eat less chocolate and drink more milk, in a world of obesity I wonder if that would catch on?

 

With the national election coming up it is interesting to see what the political parties are offering agriculture. I have been delighted to host a meeting for our local Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Eddisbury who came to listen to what farmers need from their local MP.

 

One thing which is definitely needed is a devolving of TB control policy to an independent body. The party political divide on culling policy is in my opinion based on the appeal to voters rather than science; it is a disgrace.

 

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