Wishing all our readers a very happy new year. I hope that Christmas was a joyous occasion and that nothing escaped or got broken. Fortunately for us this Christmas was uneventful (We shall always take a quiet Christmas in preference). 

While I write this article, we are waiting for Fergus to return from Australia. Ted is boiling over with excitement; he is of the opinion that he will have another Christmas when Fergus returns. Monty has been a superstar this holiday and having passed his driving test 21 days after turning 17 he can now drive the tractor and trailer on the road. This has been amazing when dunging out the cows before Christmas. 

For the first time in a very long time the milk price is good, although it would appear to be common practice for the milk price to drop in the New Year. Fingers crossed that they hold the price.

Over the past few months/years in many organisations the phrase “social licensing” has become commonplace in the vocabulary. As always in farming, change happens at a slower rate than in most other industries. 

At the annual Pony Club conference, there was an in-depth look at the current situation and a very good presentation on social licensing. The racing authority has been proactive for many years regarding these issues, including the new whip rules. Farming is also following suit. How the public view farmers and their practices will have a huge influence on purchasing products, so we must all be aware of the image we present to the wider community. 

Farmers are increasingly expected to demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility as a pre-condition to being allowed to carry out their preferred farming and commercial practices. A social licence to operate is created and maintained slowly over time, thus enabling a trust to be built between the consumer and the producer. 

Farmers must be seen to operate responsibly; taking care of employees and the environment while trying to balance the books at the end of the year is no mean feat. Open Farm Sunday organised by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is a fabulous example of this and will take place next year on Sunday 11 June.

This is an ideal opportunity to give visitors the chance to learn more about farming and its practices. It also gives British farmers the opportunity to boast about the thing they are most proud of, British food and farming. Please visit the website if you would like to register an interest – www.farmsunday.org 

With our best wishes for 2023.

Stay safe until next time.