Nobody in agriculture needs reminding that June 2016 has been the wettest on record and coupled with the amount of hot air emanating from either side of the Channel following the referendum, small wonder very few of us with livestock can keep pace with the volume of grass. The late Bob Langrish frequently reminded me never to eat May grass in June, but this year I reckon I will be eating May grass in September. My 25 year old tractor is about to be breathed on at great expense so I can drag around the aged topper.
Well, what a surprise the vote for Brexit was. Following scores of discussions at Ashford on market days, it became obvious to me that at least 95% of small to medium farmers favoured Brexit and indeed many of those with large arable enterprises were of the same opinion. The real surprise was the strength of anti European Union feeling in the Midlands, the North and Wales.
No surprise however that Scotland voted en bloc to Remain. But if Nicola Sturgeon believes her people will vote to separate from the UK in her next referendum, so they can hitch a ride with the failing community, she is much mistaken. I am sure the Scottish people are really miffed that the other three home countries plus the Republic of Ireland, have all made it into the last 16 of Euro 2016, but I doubt the same people will vote for being in the last 16 of the EU.
Following the result of our referendum, the government now urgently needs to stop the opposing factions chucking stones at each other in a fit of pique, bang a few heads together and get on with the business of running the country in accordance with the will of the electorate.
Just one fact I would like to highlight before dropping the topic – between 2000 and 2013 the EU generated 52,183 legal instruments of which Norway and Iceland (outside the EU) adopted fewer than 10% – and the Swiss none at all. Britain had to apply 100% of them! Could there be thousands of thumb twiddlers looking for a new job?
If any of those soon to be redundant civil servants live in Braintree, Essex, they will have a real chance of a new job opportunity. Mourners are hiring trained performers to cry at funerals to give the impression that the deceased was popular. Rent-a-Mourner charges £45 an hour per “professional sobber” and the founder of the service said bookings were increasing dramatically.
I recently received the formal planning permission on the redundant barns owned by management and myself, and among the plethora of conditions that have to be obeyed by the developer is clause eight which says: “Prior to the occupation of the dwelling hereby approved, two permanent, secure covered bicycle parking facilities shall be provided and retained unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority.” I wonder if in the future, planning permission could be granted on them for low cost housing if they happen to become redundant! At home I have just had a count up – three bikes in the shed bought for the kids 30 years ago, two bikes for the grand children to ride round the garden on when they visit, one three wheeler scooter, a balance bike and a pogo stick. I wonder how much it costs to put up a small warehouse!
Overall, the prospects for England are looking good – the rugby is looking really good, cricket is on the up, the pound is down which could lead to increased exports of lamb and beef is getting easier to sell. You never know, having voted to leave the EU, we may soon be allowed to sell beef again to the United States. For my own part the ewe tegs are looking well, the scruffy couples I purchased are OK although with the long grass sore feet are a problem. The sheep dog is getting on a bit, but has at last slowed down to my pace and management continues to keep our large garden in good nick.
Whatever your harvest may be – have a good one.