Thursday, 29 April 2010

It just gets worse.... ****ing RPA

I have finally been brave enough to really look through the SP5(form for claiming subsudies) and my new set of maps and they are riddled with mistakes. We have had so many alterations of fields on farm over the last few years which have coincided with changes in the goverment agency that produce farm maps. The rural land register are having to re-map every acre of land to bring us in line with the rest of europe to process payments. They first sent me a set of maps back in 2009 which were so wrong it didnt even resemble our farm, in fact alot of the fields wernt, they were in Yorkshire. So I sent the maps back with the set i already had and told them that the set i have is right so change them!!! Me and about 5000 other farmers have then heard nothing, without the maps it is impossible to know exactly what size the goverment think your field is. So irritating.

Dad has found a novel solution with the power of the iphone. He has downloaded an app which tracks where you are and measures the area inside your markers. So with an iphone and a small garden tractor hes off, Robert Hancock for prime minister I say, you can solve anything with an iphone and an app!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The fens have never looked so good!!

I got the most amazing treat on Monday. A good friend and i were meant to drive to Rugby and to cut a long story short we went by helicopter.
To fly at 1000 feet across the country was a real honour. To see farms from the air and the quality of what farmers achieve is amazing. Rape has obviously taken a battering over the winter with all crops looking thin and pigions are taking advantage, they seem even more obvious from above! Seeing what our industry achieves made me very proud to be a farmer.

There were signs everywhere of environmental stewardship, with skylark plots and field margins mostly. With the knowledge that farmers have of there own land and the environments it surports I really hope that we get behind the campaign for farmed environment. Finding an alternative and environmental use for marginal unprofitable land is good practise as all farmers know that its nature that allows us to produce food. The more that we suport nature the more she will do for us.

Years of driving through the fens on difficult congested roads coupled with the bleak landscape have left me with very little love of the place. Since flying over it and seeing the beauty and the craftmanship that goes into food production in a very productive area, it was very very impressive.

Coming into land I managed to get a few pictures of the farm from the air which I thought i would share.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Busy busy!!

Monday morning has arrived and all of a sudden i am looking at a mountain of work!!! At least i have this to list it all out and record what i've managed to achieve!

Firstly its time to fill in my SP5 form. For non agriculturalists this is the subsidies from europe so we can grow cheap food. Unfortunatly it represents more of my turnover than i would like and this year the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) have thrown me one hell of a curve ball!! In the infinate wisdom of these bureaucrats we had to re map the farm to come in line with europe. I received my new maps on Saturday and was correct in my assumption that they are utter bollocks, instead of being a 20 min job it is looking like hours of time is going to be spent correcting there mistakes and praying that i dont make any resulting in a fine. Would a new goverment do any better??

I am selling more hay now than i have been all winter as the lack of growth has caught many on the hop.

The cattle all need rounding up and vacinating against this and that and testing how many of my November calvers are pregnant. 

I have two small streatches of fencing to do with my new fencing machine.

Time to stop typing and start working, first things first tidy the desk!  

Thursday, 22 April 2010

An introduction...

So here we are my first foray into the world of blogging. First things first i need to thank my little sister for setting all this up for me!! She really is super talented and you can see her blog here.

I am very fortunate to be a young(ish) farmer based in Norfolk working the family farm. I have a herd of cattle a few pictures of which i have put below,

they are Red Polls which are the regional native breed of Norfolk. I started the herd in 2007 with 50 head and now have 116. All the male stock are fattened and sold to a local bucher at around 2 years old and the heifer calves stay in the herd.

The plan is to keep increasing the herd and I look forward to blogging about the ups and downs of this journey.

I hope that this blog will give me a chance to vent my opinions on all things agricultural and to share the process of the life of a Norfolk farmer.