Those of you who know me well will be aware I have the tendency to use the occasional ‘sweeping statement’.
Some of these proclamations have elevated to such standing that they have become more or less our ‘mantras for living’ and one such gem, that ‘you don’t buy farms going to the pub’ has been voiced with such regularity and conviction that it has served to suppress Bob’s sporting aspirations in the sphere of darts for a sustained period of almost two decades. That is until now when, under the influence of our neighbour across the valley, I find he slips away quietly, almost sheepishly, most Mondays to the ‘Shoes’ in Trecastle embarking on a journey of rediscovery of his sporting prowess.
It has been a sociable time for the rest of us alltoo. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of judging a superb entry of children’s cookery at Sennybridge Show and we had a successful and very enjoyable outing to our own Trecastle Show with our Epynt Hardy Speckles and a prize or two in the cookery section.
All this is a welcome distraction from the emerging agricultural malaise, the weather being about the only thing we can’t complain about – though it is getting too dry. It’s been sheep work every day and lameness has been a real problem as we get our ewe lambs ready for tack. Cash flow dictates lamb selling continues though our efforts are not being rewarded and lamb prices remain abysmal despite early promises it would not fall below £4/kg.
Current market difficulties are being augmented in Wales by Welsh Government who have opted for the highest rate of Pillar Transfer in Europe. The impact of this decision, financial discipline and together with the euro exchange rate will bite hard this December when we can expect a 20 per cent slash in payments.
On top of this our new Deputy Minister, despite listening to the concerns of moorland farmers’, has not heard and has chosen to disregard the evidence which shows the increased costs associated with farming in the hills. Hill farmers in Wales will have no ANC scheme.
Yes indeed, a distractions are is most welcome at the moment and while I still hold ‘you don’t buy farms going to the pub’, as Bobby says, a pint or two in the company of your fellow farmers from time to time can help to keep you sane when you’ve got one.