John Walton: Making new friends but lagging behind in the Single Payment stakes

THE start of a new year, indeed the start of a new decade, what better time for a bit of wishful thinking and unadulterated optimism?

We had sun in summer, a cracking autumn, snow and frost in winter and now the start of a new decade when the industry is about to see better times.

There, done it. Now I’ve got your attention, apparently the country is officially coming out of the recession so, with a bit of luck, is our industry.

I was recently asked how the recession had affected farming, which threw me for a while. I think we all know the answer - we have been in one for much longer than we care to remember.

Maybe now with a bit of that optimism we can take the lead, get people on our side, believing agriculture is imperative in getting food on the table. With that said will somebody please tell the RPA to send my SFP before I go bust.

On a positive note, I’ve made new friends in Newcastle while tracking my claim’s progress, although I did question one operative’s parentage when they suggested I ring the Samaritans if things were so bad; I just politely asked them to send the money.

So on to a bit of farm news. We now know which water pipes had not been lagged ready for winter. In summer when the work is being done, it doesn’t seem quite so important, but at 18 degrees below, a nagging doubt appears in your mind as to why it wasn’t done.

The cows have also now finished auditioning for dancing on ice, for the time being.

We are now in the closed season with the open farm so we now have time to add a few new attractions and smarten the place up a bit.

No matter how hard we try there always seems to be a mad rush the week before opening to get things finished, and the speed with which January has gone means I don’t see this year being any different; watch this space.

We have had a bit of bad news on the farm regarding the sprout saga. I’m afraid we have had to accept defeat as the extreme cold spell turned them to mush, luckily it was after Christmas and not before.

On a positive note from my Christmas cracker: ‘What do you call a snowman in the summer?’ “A puddle” … and on that note!

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