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Farmer Focus: Threat of activism has me worried

Apr 01, 2023Apr 01, 2023

I don't know about anyone else, but the weatherman did us a disservice in mid-May by forecasting a couple of days of dry, followed by a fortnight of rain.

Given that the grass was starting to lay over, I decided to snatch it and hoped it would be dry enough to stay in the clamp. The grass yielded incredibly well – and I continue to hope.

See also: What causes silage clamp slippage and how to avoid it

Of course, after we had filled the clamp, the wet fortnight disappeared from the forecast. I think that's called sod's law.

When the wet disappeared we saw an opportunity to get the maize land prepared and drilled.

This was only three weeks late according to the calendar, but according to soil temperature I didn't think we wanted to be much earlier.

Within a week of drilling, the maize emerged and I’m hoping we retained enough moisture in the ground to see it get away.

There has been some worrying news from a few farms across the country regarding activists.

Hammers and angle grinders have been taken on to farms and milking parlour pipework has been damaged and loader hydraulics cut.

News of this was starting to get me concerned that we might be a target for these nutcases, due to the social media presence of the ice cream parlour.

After going over scenarios in my head of what might happen if they did invade the farm, I decided the only course of action was building a 3m (10ft) security fence.

I emailed my local MP Julian Sturdy and shared my concerns with him.

He had a visit on the farm scheduled a few days later with Dad and Arla, as it happened.

As a farmer himself, Mr Sturdy understood a lot of the issues we raised, including price fluctuations, legislation and activism.

All these issues are currently on the radar of the powers that be and I hope, if nothing else, that police can deal with farm invaders in a way that deters others.

Speaking of farm invaders, Open Farm Sunday is rapidly approaching and it's a mad rush on our farm, as I’m sure it is on many others, to get tidied up by 11 June.