The forecasters offer little hope that things will improve in the near future which is frustrating to say the least. There is a suggestion that we may get a couple of dry days towards the end of the month and possibly a week in November but this is pure speculation and by all accounts wishful thinking by the ‘experts’. Knowing our luck probably unlikely.
The only saving grace is that the temperature continues to be unusually high for the time of year. This is helping to dry the ground fairly rapidly when the rain does stop, and a couple of dry days would enable us to get onto the land and finish the job. We can only hope the weather pattern, now firmly lodged over the UK will shift, but no doubt when this happens the temperature will drop and if the ground is still sodden the opportunity will be lost.
“You don’t need to be involved in farming to be a Young Farmer – just someone who appreciates the countryside and enjoys rural life.”
Young Farmers is one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK dedicated to young people who have a love of agriculture and rural life. It is led by young people for young people aged 10 to 26. These clubs offer a unique opportunity to develop skills, work with the local community, travel abroad, take part in competitions and enjoy a ‘dynamic’ social life.
It is a very long time since I was a member of Cuckfield Young Farmers. In those days Cuckfield was in East Sussex. When the county boundary changed, the club transferred to Wivelsfield, as a thriving, energetic, social and well attended club.
It was therefore with sadness and surprise that I became aware last week that Wivelsfield Young Farmers Club now has just one member!
The Sussex Young Farmers Club held a ‘crises’ meeting at Plumpton College, the purpose being to consider the possibility of closing the federation. What we heard was that numbers have dwindled, finances are dire and communications between local clubs, county and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs are at an all-time low.
The meeting was well attended by representatives of Sussex and Kent YF clubs, supporters, farmers and rural businesses, all keen to help. The facts were starkly explained, the problems aired and discussions were led in an attempt to find a way forward which will encourage recruitment, retention and ensure young people become more aware of the clubs across the county, if it is to survive.
It would seem that the clubs which are most active and well attended are those which help themselves and have a pro-active and attractive leadership. It would be a sad day if YFCs ceased to operate, thus denying youngsters the opportunity to be part of this unique organisation.
There are many alternative clubs and activities which appeal to the young today, but YFC offer something special. Use them or lose them is the message that we came away with. Let us hope the significance and seriousness of the situation is taken on board and recruitment is tackled robustly.
This autumn following a wet winter and a cool summer has produced some of the best natural growing conditions for wild mushrooms for decades. There have been countless articles in both local and national press encouraging readers to forage for fungi.
Foodies, countryside-lovers, urban romantics and household budget-cutters have all been rushing off to the woods to gather this bountiful harvest. Some are collecting for their own consumption and others take advantage of the ready market in top London restaurants and country-house hotels which are willing to pay more than £50 a kilogram for the best varieties.
In Wiltshire the police created a “magic mushroom” patrol force in the local forests after a rise in the number of people looking for hallucinogenic mushrooms! As well as being very tasty some mushrooms are deadly poisonous and highly dangerous. Those of us who have little or no understanding and knowledge of the type of mushrooms we are dealing with, do so at our peril.
I wonder if the people who removed six of my stone mushrooms (straddle stones) last week from the farm drive, fully understand the potential seriousness of their action. Perhaps these mushrooms should have been marked with a ‘health warning,’ to alert those responsible that when I find out who took them and where they have gone, they could well find themselves feeling very ill indeed!
Carola Godman Irvine