Earlier this month I attended the Farmers Weekly Awards in London, having been nominated for the Beef Farmer of the Year. This was a complete surprise and I was so thrilled for all the staff that their hard work and commitment to my business was recognised. The awards ceremony is such a prestigious event in the farming industry, and full of innovative, inspiring and progressive individuals. It was a joy to be in the company of so many incredible people and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when our farm was announced as the winner! This is very much a team effort and I am so grateful to my staff for all their efforts – they focus on the details and show such compassion to the animals – which is reflected in our results. The title of Beef Farmer of the Year belongs to the whole team and I know it will give us all even more motivation to improve and develop the business.
As much as I enjoyed my glamorous night, it always good to get back to the day job, and I am delighted to report that we have now finished the 2018 harvest, which seems a good time to reflect on the year so far and think ahead for the winter. And what a year it has been. I don’t need to dwell on the unusual weather but that certainly has made it interesting! However, for us, yields and straw have been much better than expected. The straw harvest was also helped by the dry weather and we able to get on land without weather disruptions – a complete change from last year!
A challenging year does focus the mind and I feel more strongly than ever, that farmers like myself need to ensure they are heard in the supply chain. Getting involved and making sure our opinions are considered will ultimately mean a more robust, sustainable and profitable industry.
For this reason, last month I was honoured to accept the role as Chairman for the National Beef Association. The organisation’s role is to promote and support the UK beef industry at all levels and gives me an opportunity to engage with the Government to defend the interest of British beef farmers. Working at this level gives me a chance to put forward the views of beef farmers like myself and hopefully educate and influence future policy.
The next few months I’ll be watching the Brexit progress with interest – specifically the Agriculture Bill. We must make sure food production isn’t forgotten in this process. At the end of the day, we have a lot of people to feed and we must ensure food security is not compromised. UK farmers produce to an exceptional standard, and we need to compete on a level playing field to provide our consumers with quality food produced to a standard we have all come to expect.