August 2017 at Wark Farm
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There's a fine line between sense and gut led passionin developing a business like Wark Farm. A mixture of idealism, vision, practicalities and reality checks. When going counter to the general trend in agriculture of course you want to be the part of shape of things to come, rather than the one steaming off in the opposite direction. There is of course no knowing on which path we are on. Food is a global business and as supply, demand, protectionism and free trade ebb and flow along with the unknowns of climate change, population growth and the role of new technologies, only time will form the prevailing shape of agriculture through this century. So while we wait to see if we are visionary or mad, it's nice to get the occasional boost at least for the present state of play.
I had an inspection recently from the agriculture department in relation to the conservation plan for the farm. They were sufficiently enthused by both the quality of the habitats we have created and the way they are fully integrated into the productive farm system that I was asked if they could bring other members of staff out to see it as an example of working conservation. At the other end of the scale I was catching up on news and views in the farming world with the farm manager for a very large intensive agriculture operation recently. I learned some thought provoking things from him but was surprised at how interested he was in what we are up to, to the extent that he remarked that, maybe in ten years, certainly in twenty, many farms would be having to farm in ways much more like we are today. I'm sufficiently bloody minded that even if he thought I was completely bonkers, I'd just keep on, but it was an encouragement nonetheless to get positivity from such a polar opposite business. Another little bit of encouragement came recently in the form of the award of a Royal Warrant for the supply of organic meat to HRH The Prince of Wales for seven years now. I think we are probably on the same page there, but from such a long standing and passionate advocate for organic and local food and the preservation of traditional livestock breeds long before such things were in any way trendy, it's a welcome affirmation. All nice for now, but the Wark Farm project is far from finished, on we go.