Fortunately it did not arrive at Ote Hall until the outdoor wedding ceremony was over, the photographs taken and the happy couple, family and guests were safely within the shelter of the marquee. It was a close shave but timed to perfection. Anyone would have thought I had had a hand in arranging the weather as everyone kept thanking me for ensuring the rain did not interrupt the all-important ceremony. I know we do our best at Ote Hall but for the record, controlling the weather is not on our ‘can do’ list.
It seems that Owen Paterson the DEFRA secretary and NFU president Peter Kendall have reached a truce regarding their disagreement as to the distributions of funds following the CAP reform. They have now issued a joint statement along with the CLA and Tenant Farmers Association saying “no surprises” for farmers in the implementation of the CAP reform.
I have no idea what that means, they have been at loggerheads for months over the government’s plans to transfer 15 per cent of direct farm payments to rural development measurements. As far as I can see nothing has changed, so I wonder how long this truce will last.
The news is good for livestock farmers as the anticipated grain harvest in the UK is improving by the day. The recent warm weather has encouraged crops to recover well and fields which looked poor with a thin crop some weeks ago now have potential.
It seems that the good weather has lifted spirits and brought with it a sense of optimism. The increase in yield will continue to depress grain prices for arable farmers, but livestock farmers who need to buy in feed will be relieved that prices could fall as much as 15 per cent.
Many livestock farmers are still suffering financial hardship following the long harsh winter when they had to buy in expensive feed and cope with thousands of fatalities as livestock were buried under the snow, should not be forgotten. Any reduction in costs for this sector must be a welcome relief.
Balcombe hit the headlines last week following what the Sunday Telegraph reported as ‘a mutiny in Middle England’. This was somewhat surprising as the residence of Balcombe are not generally considered to be an unruly lot but in the circumstances some considered organising a whip round to help bail the fifteen protestors who were unceremoniously arrested and removed by Sussex Constabulary. But then it transpired that these protestors were not in fact the good people of Balcombe but seasoned professional activists.
It seems that some local residents were quite happy to make these people cups of tea and bowls of borsch soup, and lend blankets to keep them warm overnight but were not inclined to make such a nuisance of themselves and end up in the clink.
The Battle of Balcombe, as it was called, was the clash between protesters and around 90 police. The protestors are concerned for the environment and believe the process will contaminate underground water reserves and springs. The government and commercial energy companies are concerned that unless natural resources can be identified and captured to ensure the country can supply an adequate energy supply, it won’t be long before we have to rely upon imported energy, which is expensive and unreliable.
Both sides have their points and understandable concerns. It is of course vital that all opportunities are investigated to increase the safe, dependable and affordable energy supply so vital to the country. It is also important to ensure the job is done safely.
It would seem that the anti-brigade are resourceful, determined and somewhat cheeky. They have attached an ant-fracking poster to one of my roadside farm gates without asking permission. It has been duly removed as I am sitting this one out, well sitting on the fence actually but I thought gates and fences might be a bit confusing for some!
Carola Godman Irvine