One of life’s great mysteries!

One of life’s great mysteries, at least it’s a mystery to most people, is “ Why do we farm”. At the beginning of my farming “career”, and I use the term “career” advisedly since my life seems to bear a strong resemblance to that of an out of control show jumper careering around a ring, I thought I was farming for money. Clearly that is not the case. At today’s prices there is no profit to be made from cereals, and beef and looking at the figures from RABDF if you have to pay realistic wages to look after your cows there is precious little profit in milk either. Yet we are all merrily planting our acres and keeping animals regardless of the gloom that surrounds prices. So what is it that causes me, and thousands of others like me, to grow crops and produce milk and meat? I think it is something to do with the challenge. Apparently when mountain climbers are asked why they risk everything to reach a summit, they answer, “ Because it is there!” I suspect they would also say that the view from up there is pretty good too. And I think that just about sums it up. We farm our broad fair acres simply because they are there, crying out to be farmed, to be cut and trimmed and grazed and cropped. And, of course, because we enjoy the view. There is however a small requirement for a bit of cash to keep it all going. Quite a lot of cash actually. A few million wouldn’t go amiss in my case. Which brings me to the point of this perambulation. I feel like a mountain climber who’s getting a bit fed up with the same old mountain, I’ve been up and down it so many times that the sense of challenge has lost its frisson of excitement. I’m getting a bit tired. Any sense of fulfilment has been eroded by the frustration of form filling. The sense of frustration comes from the overwhelming paperwork. I have been so overwhelmed with booklets conforming to regulation, to the filling in of forms, to the dependence on government support. Regulation is a millstone I would like to throw off. To that end the Single Farm Payment is a step in the right direction.
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