He joined Hurstpierpoint Young Farmers, and in due course acquired Wyndham Farm, Wineham where he managed a very successful Jersey dairy herd along with some beef cattle. And Wendy his wife, ran a very popular Tea Room.
Despite retiring from farming some years ago Michael continued to take an interest in all things agricultural, and he always attended the Hurstpierpoint & District Ploughing Match.
Sadly on the day of the Match in October last year Michael died, despite making every effort to attend.
This year’s match day must have been a poignant occasion for Wendy and their four daughters. However, to honour his memory and many years of involvement with the Hurstpierpoint Ploughing Match, they generously donated a silver cup. ‘The Michael Gunn Memorial Cup’, awarded to the winner of Class 44 - Best Beef Stores.
The cup was presented at the Ploughing Match dinner last week at Pangdean Barn, Pyecombe. I had the privilege of receiving this beautiful trophy on behalf of Ote Hall Sussex beef cattle.
I think Michael would be content knowing his cup was presented to these superb Sussex cattle, some of which have spent the summer grazing at Randolphs Farm!
Farming and the countryside continue to hit the headlines in the national press. The Agriculture Bill debated last week, is perhaps top of the list, as concerns regarding the government’s lack of recognition of the importance of food production, is deeply troubling.
Mr Gove plans to end direct payments to farmers over the next seven years, replacing the system by rewarding them solely for ‘looking after the countryside’.
His dogged urbanised approach confirms that he is not listening to those entrusted to speak for the farming community. As NFU President Minette Batters said: “We are the National Farmers Union – ‘F’ is for farmers. We are not the National Park-keepers Association, and we have no intention of becoming it.”
French farmers are erecting fences along their border with Belgium, in a desperate attempt to prevent their wild boar, many of which are infected with African swine fever, getting into France and infecting their domestic pigs. This has happened in Belgium, where 4,150 commercial pigs have already been culled. One has to wonder how this African disease arrived in Belgium in the first place.
There are few if any hares remaining in Sussex. The national population has been in decline for years, and now we hear distressing news that hares are in danger of being wiped out by an outbreak of Myxomatosis, which has spread from rabbits.
The iconic hare with their black tipped ears and long legs, has for decades been decimated by illegal hare coursing. Now it seems that disease could be the final straw.
Whilst sticking to the rural theme, it appears that Jeremy Corbyn has become increasingly ‘agricultural’. At his first post-party conference meeting of the Shadow Cabinet, he insisted that no one speak for more than 10 minutes. It was reported that he droned on for 15. The Labour insider said, “It’s beginning to feel more like Animal Farm. All of us are equal in Jezza’s world but some people are more equal than others!”
It is deeply concerning that Mrs May is determined to lock us into the EU Customs Union indefinitely. Meaning we will never be able to take back control of our borders, laws and trade.
Could it be that she is taking the view that if the rumours of an attempt to unseat her are true, she will take the United Kingdom down the plug hole with her?