In Your Field: Mike Harris - We have never seen so many skylarks or swallows on the farm

Every time I come to write my article, there seems to be more and more upheaval in the world.

clock • 2 min read
In Your Field: Mike Harris - We have never seen so many skylarks or swallows on the farm

Every time I come to write my article, there seems to be more and more upheaval in the world.

A month ago Queen Elizabeth II was on the throne and Boris Johnson was Prime Minister.

Now we have King Charles III and Liz Truss.To describe this moment in time as uncertain times is a probably a huge understatement.

And that is without mentioning the other issues that we are collectively facing, such as the cost of living crisis and the ever more threatening language used by Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.

The fact the very sad passing of The Queen was greeted with such an enormous out pouring of national grief was, in no small way, due to the fact she provided a calm hand on the tiller of life in this country.

Wanting stability in life is only human nature and as a nation we now have a new captain at the helm.

As farmers we are also facing the prospect of even more uncertainty, with the recent news that the newly devised Environmental Land Management scheme might be scrapped in favour of an old fashioned acreage based subsidy.

I, for one, will not be losing any sleep if this change in policy does come about.

I am a farmer and an environmentalist and the two should go hand in hand, but the way farming policies are written in this country, you would think the two words do not belong in the same document.

Policymakers seem to lurch from one extreme to another, with the all too familiar rewilding terminology now taking centre stage. The fact farmers have become used to producing food with a subsidy system in place is not the fault of the farmer.

The public, for a long time, have wanted cheap food, preferring to spend disposable income on electronic goods and holidays, leaving farmers having to deal with this mindset.

We have done so much on our farm in a relatively short space of time to show current farming policy does not mean a nature-free, soulless green desert.

Abundance of Skylarks and Swallows

This year alone, we have never heard so many skylarks and, only last week, swallows gathered on the farm in such large numbers that have never been witnessed before. These are just two examples which show we cannot be doing everything wrong.

After my last article, a friend of mine jokingly complained there seemed to be too much doom and gloom, and he may well have had a point.

I think, as farmers, we get sucked into so many pressures, whether they are physical or mental, and we have to take a step back sometimes and see what is actually in front of us.

With the fantastic autumn weather at the moment, life on the farm has been easy for our cattle and for Kate and I. Long sunny days exploring the Dorset coastline and socialising with family and friends have been a reminder of the good things in life.

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