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Interview with David Orpwood, farmer




Interview date: 4 June 2002

Interview location: Woods Farm, Watlington, Oxfordshire. OX9 5HD.

Interviewee: David Orpwood

Interviewer: Andrew Wood

Transcript key: AW: Andrew Wood; DO: David Orpwood




4.0.           AW: Itís, err, Tuesday 4th June, Iím at Wood, is it Woodís Farm


4.1.           DO: Woods farm


4.2.           AW: Wood Farm


4.3.           DO: Woods


4.4.           AW: Woods Farm,


4.5.           DO: Woods Farm,  Watlington


4.6.           AW: With David Orpwood, and this is Andrew Wood interviewing, umm, David if I asked you to introduce yourself, how would you, how would you do that, what would you say


4.7.           DO: Well, Iím a farmer a full time professional farmer, umm, whoís just exiting the industry, Iíve, had pigs and sheep, umm, due to, the, total collapse in the industry, or the commodity price of the industry, I couldnít continue, any longer without loosing everything Iíve got, I sincerely hope I wonít loose my house, although, Iím prepared, well not prepared, Iím aware in the meek and misty background that I might loose it because of the, amount of debt built up, umm, I just hope that wonít happen


4.8.           AW: Letís start at the beginning, how, how did you, can I just move this slightly closer


4.9.           [Microphone is moved towards David Orpwood]


4.10.       AW: There we go, umm, how, when did you start in farming, how did you get into farming


4.11.       DO: I got into farming, I, I went to a school called Christchurch Hospital, in Sussex, and umm, when I went to see my Careers Master about what I should be doing in life, he said I should be a, go into, into commodity, I think it was, commodity or something like that, anyway, umm, I thought it was fantastic, and after about three weeks of, you know, saying look, I think it was commercial or commodity, I realised he didnít know what he was talking about, so I decided to go farming, worked on a farm that Easter holidays, liked the environment I was working in, and moved out, when I left school, I went and worked for the farm for a year, then I went to agricultural college


4.12.       AW: Err, what day, what age did you leave, err, school, commodities you mean, do you mean commodity trading, do you


4.13.       DO: Iíve no idea what he meant


4.14.       AW: Ooh


4.15.       DO: Iíve no idea what he meant, umm, it was a chap called Stan Malone, the, the physics master, and he got paid an extra two hundred and fifty quid a year, to do, to do, careers and he hadnít the faintest idea what he was talking about, umm, so I, I, I never got involved in the commodities or whatever it was he was suggesting I went to, commerce, it might have been commerce actually, commerce, I think he was suggesting I went into, but Iíd no idea what he meant, still donít, umm, such a broad spectrum, but umm, I think I made the right decision, and, had a very good farming life in the Ď80s and Ď90s, but err, mid, late Ď90s I got decimated


4.16.       AW: What sort of age, did you leave school, sixteen


4.17.       DO: Seventeen, seventeen, yeah


4.18.       AW: And was that near here, where you living around this area


4.19.       DO: Yeah, I was born and breed in Newham, which is about umm, which is in South Oxfordshire about six miles from where we are now, umm, but I went to school as I say, in Horsham, I boarded, was a boarding, a  boarding school,  hmm, hmm


4.20.       AW: So err, were, were any of your farmer, sorry, family in farming


4.21.       DO: My farther, my farther farmed, umm, until, I was six, in 1953, Ď4, sorry, until I was three, in 1956, he had a brain tumour, he had a pioneering operation which saved his life, but the farms went, my grandfather farmed, umm, and that was sold and my great uncle farmed, and that was all sold, so by, by the time I was four years old, or five years old, all the farming interests we got had gone, which was a bit short sighted, considering there was myself and, and a brother, umm, but thatís life, and so, although we lived in the country, I actually had no contact with agriculture on a day to day basis, umm, for any of my formative life, and, err, I, I, still consider myself to be a umm, first generation farmer, all be it my father farmed before me


4.22.       AW: So, you, you went to err, boarding school, did, was that err, what age would have, did you grow up on a farm, were you actually, living on the farm


4.23.       DO: No, no, no, no, we lived in the village, we lived in the village not on a farm


4.24.       AW: Ah


4.25.       DO: I went to boarding school when I was nine years old, umm, then my mother died when I was twelve, so it was all quite a change in all our lives, and umm, my father remarried when I was fifteen, and they moved to, to Gloucestershire, and umm, it was very, sort fifteen year old teenager, and step mother situations isnít always the easiest situation, so err, I spent, may have spent a fair bit of my time back here in South Oxfordshire


4.26.       AW: And did you, did you, volunteer or help out at a local farm, when you, when you were


4.27.       DO: No, no


4.28.       AW: Growing up, or


4.29.       DO: No, no, no, no, not at all, didnít do any work on a farm, didnít have any farming involvement, until I was seventeen


4.30.       AW: And err, how, how, did that start


4.31.       DO: How did what start


4.32.       AW: Your, your, farming involvement


4.33.       DO: Umm, I suppose


4.34.       AW: Someone you knew was it


4.35.       DO: Yeah, yeah, it was through a contact, indirectly through my father, who he knew when he was farming, umm, I worked in the, in, in the Easter holidays, I mean, I thought I ought to give it a go, thought it might be something for me, and also of course, as a school, a school boy, I had no money, you know, we, I, we had about a quid a term or something, pound a term, and umm to spend at the tuck shop or what have you, so to actually go and work on a farm, and earn five quid a week, was, was, you know, like I was in cloud nine with err, you know some cash in my pocket, umm, but I, you know, the weather was terrible when I worked on the farm that Easter, one of those old fashioned Easter holidays, when it was cold and snowy and everything, and it was horrendous bloody job, but in the last few days, weather was fantastic and, Iíd, Iíd, just, just got me, and I think I farm, not because of my love of farming, but because my love of countryside, excuse me, I like umm, I like to see the, umm, you know, whatís about me, I like the wildlife, umm, whether it be fauna, flora, insects, or whatever, I love it


4.36.       AW: So you like being outside


4.37.       DO: Yup, I like being in the countryside, yeah, I like being in the countryside, great country sports chap, I support all of that, umm, spend a lot of time, outside or have done, I spend less now, I spend more time in my office now, umm, Iím forty nine years old, my backs given up on me, and umm, I can do less physical work then I used to


4.38.       AW: So when you started what sort of work would you be doing then



4.39.       DO: Err, when I did my first


4.40.       AW: That Easter


4.41.       DO: Oh, that Easter, umm, I think I spent most of my time, digging out a drain, and it rained like hell, and filled it back in, I had to dig it out again, umm, might have done a bit of cleaning of the grain store, umm, I, I remember when the whether was nice we, were putting a brick wall up, I was helping the mechanic put a brick wall up, that I, for some reason I quite enjoyed that, umm, but you know itís a long time a go, I canít tell you exactly what I was doing, you know weíre talking about twenty years ago, thirty years ago


4.42.       AW: That farm then, can you, if you think back to it, err, how, how it was and how farming is now, would you say thereíd been many changes? Iíd say the changes had been chalk and cheese, you wonít recognise, one of the thinks, and I know that farm very well now, umm, the number of labour units on the farm was much greater than they are now, umm, the reliance on large heavy tractors, as, as things have turned to now, you know, then there was, much smaller machinery, many, many, many more men, umm generally a mixed farm with, you know, different sorts of livestock rather than specialist in one form of livestock, umm, and of course, your talking about the, umm, late sixties, early seventies, umm, when farming was very profitable, umm, you know there was a, you knew what you were going to get for your crop before you even planted it, so, yeah, times have changed dramatically, umm, there was profitability and there was development, umm, food was still wanted, farming was, farmers were, considered to be a, very important part of the community, which I believe they going to return to be, umm, we, you know, we had, we, we werenít affected by things like, umm, the strength of currency, interest rates were pretty stable then, so yeah there were lots of things, umm, that were different, we didnít have this globalisation when people thing they can grow something half round the world and then transport it, umm, hmm, and personally I think weíre going to see a return to some of that


4.43.       AW: So there were lots of other farm labourers at that time, how, what sort of, do you remember what sort of size that farm was, in terms of your own career, so, you were in that, that Easter was that formative do you think, in your decision to, to go into agriculture, it sounds like it was


4.44.       DO: Umm, I donít, I honestly canít ask that, and the reason being is that, because it was such terrible bloody weather, and it was such hard work, and Iíd never done a days work in my life until then, umm, and I had some pretty shitty jobs, that to, to say that, made or broke whether I went into agriculture or not, Iím not sure that is correct, but I suppose it didnít put me off, umm, I think probably if, if, I had my hand on my heart, because my family had farmed and my brother was farming, I sort of thought it was a direction that I thought that Iíd go into, because then, unlike now, they had very poor careers structure, in the schools, I mean I went to one of the formative public schools in the Country, there was eight hundred and fifty of us there, and the careers master, I mean the careers office was tiny, absolutely tiny, and, you know


4.45.       AW: Which school was that, sorry


4.46.       DO: It was called Christ Hospital, itís the blue coats school at Horsham, you know, they wear the long blue coats and the yellow stockings, they, they, their band often plays at Lords or at Twickenham, umm, March to London once a year, it was founded in 1553, incidentally, the year, two year before, no the year before I left, I broke the record at the school for the mile, the fastest miler ever since 1950, since 1553, and then the following year a chap called Bertie Freeland broke my record, and the year after that, they then went from the mile to fifteen hundred meters, so to this day, since 1553, Iím the second fastest miler every to go to Christ Hospital, there you go, a bit of history for you there


4.47.       AW: It sounds like something youíre proud of


4.48.       DO: Yeah, I find it quite amusing really, you got to add a bit of humour, I mean Iím a great person for humour, umm, I, I, I think lifeís pretty tough out there and if you let it get to you itís hard, err, come from a very Christian background and I expect some of that was formed at school, although I didnít realise it, and I believe that youíre put on this earth to help each other and, I think if more people took that angle and worked with, rather than against each other, I think, weíd be a much happier place both in the city and in the rural areas


4.49.       AW: So presumably youíre boarding, the boarding school there had people from all over the country did it


4.50.       DO: Yup, yup, yup, yup, it, it was founded, as I said in 1553 by Edward Sixth, for vagabond and down and outs, which is probably how I got there, umm, there was lots of clergy sons and umm, err, people from the forces sons, umm, but yeah, all over the Country, and Iíve kept in touch with virtually none of them, which is rather sad, whereas my college days, Iíd kept in touch with quite a few, umm, stronger, stronger links


4.51.       AW: So, then you went on to college, did you study, umm, agriculture at college


4.52.       DO: Yeah, yeah, I went to a place called Shuttleworth College, which is in Bedfordshire and I did a three year course, OND, Ordinary National Diploma, which was one year in, one year out, umm, on a farm and then one year back in, and umm, I, that, I think that was probably the making of me really, umm, just left boarding school, although I worked on the farm the year, when I left boarding school, prior to going to college, um, it was a very, very, integrated farm and there were three sons on the farm of farm workers, there, so they worked their with their fathers, and one of them, or two of them, with their grandfathers as well, and they never left the umm, they never left the farm, in fact the previous year theyíd never left the village, so they had no idea of the outside world, so it was almost like being at boarding school still, so umm, when I, when I left there and went to college, I mean, I really let my hair down, yup

4.53.       AW: Did you specialise, or was it, a very general course, did you specialise in livestock, for example, or


4.54.       DO: No, no, no, no, no, no, the first year was general, although I did move towards livestock in the second, in the second, the final year, yeah, and the middle year, the middle year I worked on an arable, diary farm for umm, in Hampshire, a place called Ashley, for a guy called Keith Bromley, who was Bromley of Russell and Bromley, the shoe people, and umm, yeah I loved it there, absolutely fantastic, I had a ball, and there was an old chap there called, George Barns, who was the foreman, and umm, I donít know he must have been fifty five or sixty then, and he, he just knew every trick in the book and it was just a great learn curve, loved it


4.55.       AW: Why do you think you liked it so much


4.56.       DO: I just, I was given, freedom, umm, I was given responsibility, umm, it was fantastic, yeah, yeah


4.57.       DO: Ginny, come in, can you switch this off


4.58.       [Family member enters room]


4.59.       AW: Okay, umm, so on, on, on the Bromleyís farm you worked there, was it in effect, a day release, kind of


4.60.       DO: No, no, no, no, no I worked, I was there, for a year


4.61.       AW: Oh, okay


4.62.       DO: It was the middle year at college, so you went to college for a year, then you went out, a placement on a farm


4.63.       AW: Oh


4.64.       DO: You worked there full time


4.65.       AW: It was kind of like a sandwich course


4.66.       DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it was a sandwich course, yeah, and then , umm, Iíd looked after, the young calves, got involved in a fair bit of ploughing, which Iíd never done before, umm, and I enjoyed it, yeah, good crowd, locally, motor bike boys, I was in the motor bike sense then, yeah, it was good


4.67.       AW: So at that time, umm, if you think back to that, that farming, then , on that Bromleyís, err, can you see things that, err, in agriculture now, which are, substantially different err, you obviously farmed with tractors and ploughs, umm, maybe thereís other farm machinery that has come in


4.68.       DO: Oh yeah, I mean there, there were, it was a, although Keith Bromley was a wealthy man, the farm was under capitalised, umm, the machinery they had there was pretty ropey, and when I was there, they put in a new herring bone milking parlour, I think it was a, err, ten, ten  or twelve, twelve, or something, umm, and we were still, I think we were, I think there was still, umm, loose house rather than cubicle house the dairy, umm


4.69.       AW: Was it a mixed farm


4.70.       DO: Yeah, it was dairy and arable, umm, a lovely, lovely position, it was a gentlemenís farm really, it was, it was, not a massive farm, I suppose, six, seven hundred acres, umm


4.71.       AW: Was it still, was it using churns at that time, had they gone to tankers


4.72.       DO: No, no, no, no, no, no, Iím not that bloody old


4.73.       AW: Ha, ha


4.74.       DO: Umm, there were, umm, all bulk tank stuff, yeah, yeah, no, it was good, it was good, I enjoyed it, and they had a, had a pedigree, umm, Fresian herd there, whereas modern day youíd have Holsteins, cause of higher milk yields, umm, maybe not quite so good milk, not such good calves, um, they had, he had an Angus herd in Scotland, an Angus herd of cattle, err, an award winning herd called the Ashley herd, and so we used to use an Angus bull on the heifers, so we, had, looked after those calves and everything, he had an old fashioned Scottish, umm, steading by the house, very labour intensive, umm, you know if you mucked in without, a lot of it was done by hand, you know, with a four end  loader whereas now it would be, you know, umm, fork lift trucks and all this sort of thing, so, yeah, things have changed round just so dramatically, also I suppose then, it was, umm, hedgerows have changed, the hedgerows used to be bigger then, umm, but I suppose that was basically when the grass fields, umm, I canít actually remember when the hedges were laid but you, you never, this day and age see hedges laid to keep cattle in, umm, you only see them laid, maybe because they can get a grant for it, but itís all, cattle are all kept in with barbed wired, err, which I think is rather sad because you loose some of the, some of the old umm, skills, but I suppose if the farming community hasnít got the staff, umm, and itís not profitable they canít afford to use contractors to lay it so itís probably cheaper to put up some barbed wire, which is rather a shame, umm


4.75.       AW: Who, who would you have been working with at that time on the farm, would they be staff or would they be contractors


4.76.       CH: No, no, they were staff, yeah, staff, there was umm, there was George and Bingo and then there was the cow man, and the manager, and the boy, it was me, umm, and no I was, yeah, very much staff, the fact, I say very much staff, the, the dairy, the cowman, came from a contract, a company called LKL, which was, umm, they contract out, people to go milking, so you know, if the guy walks off the farm today, LKL will guarantee someone in, to do the milking the next morning, and things like that, umm, but yeah, it was, good team, you know, although bingo was a bit of a gypsy, umm, wasnít really liked by George, but the other theorists, used to have a lot of fun, I men it was really good fun, you know, it was time when you had time for a bit of fun, we had, we had some potatoes, we used to have the women come in from the village to come and sort the potatoes, and of course as the boy they used to give me heaps, you know, sort of things that you, character building really


4.77.       AW: So they were growing vegetables as well


4.78.       DO: No, potatoes


4.79.       AW: Okay


4.80.       DO: Yeah, yeah not, it wasnít a vegetable farm, I think vegetables would be sort of, if youíre talking about vege, youíre talking about things like lettuces and carrots and that thing, so, yeah, hmm, it wasnít, terribly, wasnít big, only about twenty acres, you know, youíd get about four hundred tonnes or something, but it was, umm, yeah, it was something to do in the Winter, sort spuds, and umm, get ribbed mercilessly by these women


4.81.       AW: And err, so they were growing cereals as, as well, was that wheat or barley, do you, do you remember


4.82.       DO: Yeah, wheat and barley, umm, I think we grow some oats, but I canít remember why, umm, yeah, so yeah it was, it was, conventional sort of umm, arable side of it, yeah, although, quite frankly, although I did quite a lot of ploughing, I canít remember us having a combine or doing the combining, we must have done, I just donít, I canít recollect that in my mind


4.83.       AW: And you said it was a gentlemanís farm, does, did that, reflect in any, in any other way, or just the sort of pace of, things


4.84.       DO: The, the farmhouse was very much a, umm, you know, very lovely, farmhouse, that, that, the farm wouldnít be able to keep the farmhouse, also Keith Bromley Was very into ornamental ducks, and he had what was called a duckery, which is now given to the National Trust and he had umm, I donít know, about fifty, or sixty, different pens all round the house, all with water and everything, umm, we had different sorts of ducks from all over the world, umm, so that was, and there was, two guys or three guys running that, umm, so yeah, that was, umm, was, also he had a shoot, umm, umm, on the farm, which, I mean, I got involved beating I couldnít really tell you how good it was, although I know the person, Iíve meet the people who bought the farm subsequently and I think theyíve got a very good shoot there, I havenít been back to look at it yet but I will do one day, umm, and, they, they had a lot wealthy people around, I mean, James Robertson Justice, err, lived in one of the cottages, umm, with his, with hi lady, the baroness, umm, yeah, it was, interesting time


4.85.       AW: Do you think umm, working on that farm, it err, decided what direction you wanted to go in farming, I mean


4.86.       DO: Not really, no because Iíve never got involved in dairy subsequently, umm, I, Iíve always gone down the line of, of animals and I suppose, because the first, my first year on farm, on a farm, which was the year between school and college, umm, I worked on a farm which was pigs and I worked with the pigs nearly all the time, and I expect that formulated where I was going to go, and it was, sort of, a pretty old fashion farmer, a guy called Roger Bitmead, who unfortunately died a couple of years ago, and umm


4.87.       AW: Was that close to here


4.88.       DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, a place called Choolsey in South Oxfordshire, and err, I came back, my father picked me up from school, an bought me to see him, for an interview with him, and he said, boy my men work hard, I expect you to, and I thought, crikey, what does work hard mean, and the first day I was there, we were throwing, bails of straw, off a trailer onto the front of a rick, and the back of this, on the front of this shed called a cart hold which is a long thin shed, and err, Tommy was at the front of the, on the trailer, chucking it off and Tommy was one of these three sons, saying who never travelled anywhere the previous year, he chucked the bails off the trailer to me and I chucked them to, to the back to David Harris, and umm, after about twenty minutes of doing this, old David Harris told me, youíll never keep that up, so I was throwing them right from the front to the back, and bearing in mind Iíd never done it before, it was absolutely knackering me, he said, youíll never keep that up, and Iíve used that as a model for my life, that I will keep it up and err, I think itís important to keep it up and have resolve and determination to get where you want to get to, so, yeah, I think probably that, that first year, err, influenced me more than the pigs and also pigs became a big thing in this area, umm, I been born and breed in South Oxfordshire, although, you know, I was away in school, for eight, nine years, boarding school, and I had a year in Australia, umm


4.89.       AW: Was that farming as well


4.90.       DO: Yeah, yeah, foreign farm, did lot of different things out there, umm, so although, although Iíve never moved my roots very far, Iíve actually travelled quite well, umm, you know, went to college for three years, worked in Hampshire for a year, so yeah, so, although Iíve been involved in lots of places, this is my roots and pigs have become, as it was quite a big thing in this area


4.91.       AW: Why, why  do you thing that is, that it was a big thing in this area, South Oxfordshire is that


4.92.       DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, sort of the land type and also the technology that was developed around here, by a guy called Richard Rhodonite, he put outdoor pigs on the map, and umm, and I got involved after I left college, it took me a while to relive, realise what I wanted to do, but in fact Iíd worked for a chap called Roland Harris who took over the, his fathers farm, and his fathers farm was the farm that I did that first month with, between school and, school holidays, and he, I went and worked for him running his outdoor pig herd and looked after eight hundred sows, did that for two years and when I umm, err, then Iíd decided I wanted to start my own pig herd, so I went to Australia for a year, and had a break, got away from it all, came back, worked with my brother for a year while I set up, excuse me,  I hope the yawns donít come out in this bloody thing, umm, well I set up my won pig herd and I started my own pig herd on 5th November 1979


4.93.       AW: So you, your brother had a farm here in, in


4.94.       DO: He rented land and kept pigs on, the same way that I did


4.95.       AW: Right


4.96.       DO: Yup, yup


4.97.       AW: And, and that was close to here was it


4.98.       DO: Yup, yup, yup, yup


4.99.       AW: You said that there were some, err, technology or some, some reason why, pigs had developed particularly in this area, what was that


4.100.  DO: Well, the, hmm, keeping pigs, pig, if you go back in time, before your or my time, err, as I understand it, most farms had a bit of this and bit of that, you know, they might have half a dozen sows in a sty and then, you know, you went on to work for the second world war, people had a pig, two pigs, down the bottom of the garden, theyíd feed scraps, one theyíd sell, one theyíd have for themselves, umm, and thinks moved on, and farmingís got more commercial, I mean, especially since the second world war, there was sort of you know, a, a, the Government wanted this country to be able to feed itself, and so instead of sort of having bits and pieces, people started to go down the line, a bit more specialist way, umm, you know, gave them hand milking cows and to  machine milking, you know, having more, having a bigger herd of cows, not maybe having the pigs and sheep, or whatever, anyway, round here, a guy called Richard Rhodonite Saw a sow living in an orchard one day, with a litter of pigs, and he thought that was quite interesting, and a sow can live two days without umm, sorry, two weeks without food, two days without water and two minutes without air, and he thought, well the airís the cheap bit of it and we can get that in, by putting them outside, so he developed this outdoor pig system, using tin huts and umm, you know, he had quite a big, big enterprise and I suppose people saw it and sort of copied it, thatís generally what happens isnít it, and umm, but thatís why outdoor pigs became, a big thing in this area


4.101.  AW: So until then pigs had been kept inside had they


4.102.  DO: Well, err, I, until then, probably there werenít big herds of pigs, thatís what it boils down to, and this is a way you can have big herds of pigs that were cheap, cheap to run, I mean, to put up buildings, to put up buildings now, for, for pigs is really expensive, umm, in this country, but to put a tin hut, tin huts outside, excuse me, but to put a tin hut, tin huts outside isnít quite so expensive, not the capital costs


4.103.  AW: So pig, pig umm, the size of pig herds, do you call them herds


4.104.  DO: Yeah, pig herds, yeah


4.105.  AW: was increasing was it


4.106.  DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was, I mean, Richard Rhodonite, in fairness had a big herd and so did Rowland Harris, the guy I worked for, umm, when I went into it, I started with two hundred sows


4.107.  AW: What sort of date do you think that would be, roughly?


4.108.  AW: What sort of date do you think that would that be, roughly?


4.109.  DO: When I started?


4.110.  AW: Yeah


4.111.  DO: 5th November 1979, umm


4.112.  AW: Gosh, you can remember that very clearly!


4.113.  DO: Well Yeah, it was a big step in my life wasn't it really, you know, starting up my own farming enterprise. Um


4.114.  AW: Was that


4.115.  DO: 5th November is not difficult to remember is it, because it's fireworks day.


4.116.  AW: Is that because you had to sign a contract, or


4.117.  DO: No,


4.118.  AW: NO


4.119.  DO: No, no.


4.120.  AW: Thatís


4.121.  DO: It was the farm sale, farm sale, and I bought two hundred sows at the farm sale, and the farm sale was, was the guy I used to work-for, Roland Harris. He was getting out of pigs, so I bought two hundred sows out of his business; well I bought, I think I bought ninety eight sows in pig and um a hundred and ten guilts that, umm, hadn't been served yet. So umm, yeah I went into it and I worked bloody hard, you know, I worked seven days a week, like I still do, unfortunately, and um, I was on my own to start with, with these two hundred sows, on some else's land, which I rented, umm and it was, very exciting.


4.122.  AW: Now youíre herd size today is larger than two hundred isnít it


4.123.  DO: No, no, no


4.124.  AW: Is that right


4.125.  DO: The figureís Iím giving you


4.126.  AW: Sorry, Iím just


4.127.  DO: I'm getting out of agriculture at the moment, I've got five hundred and seventy pigs left to sell, that's growing pigs, all my sows have now gone, they went by end of, I donít know, end of April, and err we, we built a heard up to twelve hundred sows, and err, in the beginning of umm 1998, we sell what we call straw pigs, which is a pig at 32 kilos that someone else buys and fattens, we haven't got the facilities or the room to fatten them, and um, we were selling pigs at forty pounds a piece and you know that was, that was, good, good business, um, and within six weeks they'd dropped from forty pound a piece to eleven pound a piece, which is equivalent to two pounds of bacon, umm, and umm, you know I'd got umm, I'd got a years supply backed up you know from when they were bought, growing and everything, and so I couldn't stop it, you know I couldn't say stop, you know, I haven't got a widget factory which I can stop today, um anyway so I was, and, that, that gave me a big loss, I mean my, umm, Iíd built my business up, err, out of profits, which I thought was the right thing to do, umm and some of it was borrowed money as well, so I'd built up a strong viable business with a turnover of a million pounds, which in agriculture is quite a lot.


4.128.  AW: That was when you had twelve hundred


4.129.  DO: Yeah, yeah, I had twelve hundred sows and five hundred ewes, and umm, sheep, and umm


4.130.  AW: How long do you think it took you to get from two hundred to twelve hundred


4.131.  DO: Well it was just actually, ha, ha, it was a freak, because, we were cleaning out one bit of land and moving onto another one, so, there was, a year span, so we actually would, where, would have had just umm, err eight or nine hundred sows but because one herd hadnít gone, and the other got put in, but Iíd gradually, gradually developed since 1980 umm, the five hundred sows were I was at, I was quite comfortable at in the beginning of the Ď90s, and then I got some more ground and went to a thousand sows, and then we had to get off the ground we started off, and so I set up another herd, so we had about thirteen hundred sows, but as the oneís were getting out, I was killing out one herd and got a new one going and umm, umm, we just got blown apart and Iíve never been able to recover, from that looses and then foot and mouth last year, umm, was the final blow, foot and mouth took a third of my income last year, umm


4.132.  AW: You said you never recovered from that loose, that was when had


4.133.  DO: Five sources, yeah, twelve hundred sows


4.134.  AW: Twelve hundred and the market price dropped


4.135.  DO: Dropped, yeah


4.136.  AW: Do you know why the market price dropped so much?


4.137.  DO: Yeah, it dropped for a number of reasons. The pound strengthened against the, the umm, Deuchmark, um, the Russians, um suddenly became bankrupt and they couldn't afford to buy any meat, so pig meat suffered, and the tiger economy went through a depression too and they were big pig importers, importers of pig meat and so those three things took us apart and the fourth one of course was the EU had quite a lot of pig meat, we were over supplied of pig meat, and we lost all our export markets, so you know, total supply and demand, because the pig industry has no subsidy.


4.138.  AW: Has is ever had any subsidy


4.139.  DO: Umm, the only subsidy it would have had, would be on buildings, umm, and thatís going back before, before my time in farming, probably in the sixties, umm, I canít really answer questions about that


4.140.  AW: When you set up, how, how did you umm, where there grants for you to, umm


4.141.  DO: No, no, no, no, no I had seven thousand of my own money, umm, a chum of mine, farming chum of mine


4.142.  AW: Was that through your, your own work, or what


4.143.  DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah a little bit of inheritance I think, umm, I canít, canít just remember, err, all I know is I had seven thousand pounds, so a farming chum of mine, guaranteed, ten thousand pound to the bank and the bank, umm, lent me a bit against my umm, business plan, etc, and the guy I bought the pigs from gave me some credit and, yeah, I just, you know, ducked and dived really, to, to, get started, and I have no regret in doing that


4.144.  AW: You say it was an exciting time for you,


4.145.  DO: oh yeah, I mean setting up your own business, umm, going into a, commercial world, umm, really moving from being one of the workers to one of the, the umm, leaders in the industry, well I wasnít as, as I started, I mean Iíve certainly become umm, a leader in the agricultural industry, and umm, I think itís something thatís worth fighting for, and I canít do it without the prior knowledge of actually being involved, at, day to day, umm, thereís no experience, thereís compromise for experience, and what Iíve done and what Iíve learned by setting up a business from nothing, fighting the good times and the bad, you know, getting my hands dirty seven days a week, umm, frank, you know, there is no compromise for that


4.146.  AW: In terms of umm, pig farming, youíve said about increased size of the herd, I mean, was that partly about you growing your business


4.147.  DO: Yeah


4.148.  AW: or a general trend towards larger


4.149.  DO: I suppose it was me thinking, that was the way to go, you know, to have a bigger business, I wanted to be in a position where I could have, done a little bit more management, a little bit maybe less day, hands-on day to day, but never got to that, Iíve always been hands on day to day, umm, and I saw that err, I thought if I had a five hundred sow herd Iíd have a good business that, umm, you know would stand up, stack up, anyway and if I could help develop my business to a certain size, and then, obviously, not at the expense of cost, but time to develop up to a size when I could probably concentrate more on making that unit, umm, very efficient, umm, but I think probably in terms of my hands on farming, Iím more, umm, Iím more of the hands on, than the management side in farming, I, I find some of the management side of farming, I mean itís not rocket science, umm, and it isnít necessarily mind testing, in fact some of it quite bloody tedious, when you think about it, umm, but to sort of work out, where you need your pig huts, and all this sort of thing, you know, once youíve done it a couple of times, youíve done it, havenít you, and so, I, I suppose I wanted to move onto other things and umm, little did I know, you know, what I was heading for, umm, and err, you know, although Iím forty nine years old, my careers going to completely change and I think, everything that Iíve done up to now, has, will bear me in good stead, for what Iíve been doing the last three or four years and where Iím going


4.150.  AW: In terms of keeping pigs, did you see changes in, umm, err, husbandry, breeds, feed, markets


4.151.  DO: All of it, all of it, yup, umm, the, the breed side weíve definitely gone from umm, traditional type breeds to hybrids, trying to get, better pigs that produce more pigs per litter, that grow faster, that are leaner, umm, in terms of the feed, itís become much more concentrated, umm, you know, moved away from the swill side to the, the, um, compound foods


4.152.  AW: Were you, were you using much swill at that time


4.153.  DO: No, never ever used swill, Iíve always used bought in feeds, compound foods, I did a little bit, but umm, no Iíve, yeah the, the industry has changed and still is, probably, umm, I mean itís got, because there is no subsidy in, in, in pig keeping, and, and, nor do I think there should be, umm, you know itís got to be a, a stand, a stand alone business, so itís got a, you got to keep moving with development, I mean you look at the IT business, how quickly thatís moving on, a computer is out of date within six months, well you know, thatís business, thatís how businesses develop, they keep going forward, and I think in agriculture, in the pig industry, they have, although Iím saying that, in the last, err, four years ago, four, three, four or three years ago probably, we were selling three hundred and twenty thousand pigs a week to be killed in this country, umm, last week I think, they were down to a hundred and sixty five thousand, so weíve seen, weíve seen the industry half, umm, and of course with that, all the technology and the development is going to be halved because it doesnít matter what company you use to, to provide you whatever, the, any research and development they do is out of profit from the money youíve given them, and so youíre not seeing that in agriculture like it was, especially in the pig industry, and umm, although, err, some of the people we use, especially in the breeding side, pig improvement company, although it was started here in Oxfordshire, itís a multinational company now, and itís called err, Profit Bays I should think itís in America, I think, if they havenít already, I suspect their going to move their head office over there, umm, so weíre loosing, quite a lot of the umm, advancement in technology that we built up in this country, umm, which is rather sad


4.154.  AW: Has the place where you err, bought and sold your pigs, the markets, has that changed since you went into pigs in Ď79


4.155.  DO: Myself, yeah it did, because when I first went in, the farmer who, who actually gave me a ten thousand credit to the bank, who sort of gave me a guarantee, was actually buying my pigs at three weeks off me, off the field, Iíd, Iíd take the trailer down to his farm and buy them, in fact the first lot of pigs I sold, was 89 on 31st of December 1979, umm, in other words, the same year in which I started and, he, he sort me out and umm, gave me a cheque that day which is rather sweet so in fact I put money in the bank from the sale of my pigs in the very first year I started, which was nice, and you know, Iíll never forget that, umm, but, I was selling to him to start with, umm, and he was a member of a company called Thames Valley Pigs, which was a marketing group, umm, which is still going to this day, err, which I subsequently became a member and then a director of, umm, that company, and itís basically, the large pig farmers round here put together, umm, setup  an office, set up an marketing manager, and umm, market the pigs to the best ability they could, umm, and thatís, thatís been a very, very strong company, and then, umm, actually when I was a director, about six years ago, no five years ago, we amalgamated with another company called, CAMBAC pigs, and we took it over really, it was called Thames Valley CAMBAC, umm, because were loosing some of the members from Thames Valley pigs, umm, and we wanted to strengthen, umm, keep our numbers high, anyway we took over Thames, we took over CAMBAC and then, umm, over the last three years, since the demise of the pig industry, and it really has been a demise, the pig industry, weíve lost a significant number of the people, umm , in the industry in this area, and umm, many of those were CAMBAC members and so weíve in fact, amalgamated and now we sell pigs, umm, right the way down to Cornwall, we market pigs, we have a, have a, umm, a western division too, umm, and so weíre marketing pigs really in the south of England, Thames Valley CAMBAC is one of the largest, well it is the biggest independent marketer, we sell eight per cent of the pigs in the country


4.156.  AW: Who are those pigs sold to, to abattoirs


4.157.  DO: To abattoirs, yeah, err, which is one of the sad things really, I think that we should have a closer connection, liaison, with the, umm, the end user, the retailer, and thatís where, what Iím doing now, umm,


4.158.  AW: Has that always been, sorry


4.159.  DO: And weíve been discouraged, weíve been discouraged from, from having a relationship with the, err, retailer by the process, abattoir processors cause they think thatís their domain, they deal with them, umm, we deal with the, with the abattoir processor, and I think thatís one of the weaknesses in agriculture


4.160.  AW: Have pigs been sold in markets, I mean


4.161.  DO: Yeah, but not many, not many, itís not a big, you donít get many pigs sold in the market, I honestly couldnít tell you how many, you know, if itís a couple of thousand a week Iíd be surprised, you talking about livestock market


4.162.  AW: Yeah, yeah, yeah


4.163.  DO: No, most of them go through some form of, some form of marketing group


4.164.  AW: Oh, because there used to be several markets in this area, there arenít now, Banbury market was the largest one


4.165.  DO: Yeah, Banbury market, Banbury marketís closed and that was a pig, a big pig market, we got Thame market, umm, Thame Farmers Auction Mart, which is good, umm, and thatís been sort of kept alive by farmers, Bicester is still alive I think


4.166.  AW: Thatís a


4.167.  DO: In Northampton somewhere


4.168.  AW: Am I right in thinking that Thame market is owned by a farmers Co-operative


4.169.  DO: Yup, yup, yup, thatís right yeah


4.170.  AW: Is that a similar arrangement for the marketing company, CAMBAC that you told me


4.171.  AW: No, no, no, no, no, I mean I donít know the structure of how, umm, Thame farmers auction market, I donít know the financial structure of it, but as I understand it they, they sort basically have to raise some money to buy the auction market, not the premises, buy the, buy the, the auction side of it, um, and a whole lot of farmers put money in and theyíve all got a shareholding in it, and itís, itís, the Chairman called Brian Lloyd who I think is a very good man, umm, theyíve got good staff running it, and I wish them luck, whereas Thames Valley CAMBAC Started off with about, a dozen farmers who set it up, and then when I joined it, I had to pay five and half thousand pound to become a member and I was the last one, of who had to pay that sort of money, because they realised, I mean, it was hard to find then, I mean, five and half thousand might not sound like a lot of money


4.172.  AW: What sort of date would that be, roughly


4.173.  DO: Umm


4.174.  AW: Can I just check was it 1979


4.175.  DO: About 19, umm, I canít remember exactly when I joined, I could probably look it up somewhere, but itís probably about 1987 to Ď88


4.176.  AW: Right


4.177.  DO: I would have thought, no, no, it would have been later than that, Iíll tell you when it was, it was 1990, 1990, thatís when I did it, because I bought this, bought this area, here, in 1979, 1989 this is now where I live, I bought this, sixteen acre field and there was a telegraph post and a water tough in, and umm, pig prices were coming good, I found some, weener accommodation to wean my own pigs into this accommodation and fatten them, so I put that up here, then I put some barns up, so, um, um, that was an exciting time too, it was good money, bloody hard work though, because we had these buildings that werenít really the proper, proper buildings, and we had to develop them, and was, umm


4.178.  AW: Do you mean the building for the pigs


4.179.  DO: Yeah, the pigs, yeah, yeah, the pigs, yeah, and we gradually developed this, this, umm, this farm here, as I say I started off with a telegraph post and a water trough, umm, Iíve built on it since


4.180.  AW: And including the farm house


4.181.  DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I, I built umm


4.182.  AW: Where weíre sitting now in this office



4.183.  DO: Yup, thatís right, yeah, I built umm, thereís about thirteen and half, fourteen thousand square foot of barn space up there, umm, which has got livestock in, and thatíll be umm, once I get out of agriculture, thatíll be used for, for, other things, and then, I built this house down here, umm, I had to go to appeal, I mean, the planning authorities made it, very, very difficult for me, umm, took me to appeal, umm, and I won the day, and then they wanted to try and stop me building, the, I went for an outline planning permission, and umm, I went to appeal that, won that, and then when we went for actuals, they were going to turn me down on that, and umm, anyway, I said, I told them, that if they did that it was going to cost them a significant amount of money and they actually conceded, umm, to do it, but, but, one of the, one of the sad things in the rural economy, especially in the last three or four years, in agriculture plainly, on a downward turn, is that the, the planning, the planners, and I deal with them quite a lot, umm, wearing many hats, have a negative approach, and I think thatís when, one of the, I think when you look back historically, if you look at 1998 to 2002, 3, maybe even 4, umm, the planners have made some serious errors in the fact that they, are not prepared to allow peopleís businesses continue profitably, by converting barn space into umm, into err, profit centres for the farm, umm, and they just make it difficult, and I think thatís something, I mean, I know a lot of people have followed me on this one and itís something Iíve worked hard, Iím working hard at the moment to try and get planning planners to actually take a different angle


4.184.  AW: Which planning authority are you in here


4.185.  DO: South Oxfordshire District Council, itís know as sods round here, and it is, they are sods, yeah


4.186.  AW: And you say you, youíd, umm, err, what, your, so youíre actively trying to change err, the err, the way that farmers err, diversify in business, putting up building, etc, are treated, is that


4.187.  DO: Well, umm, thereís, thereís a, we havenít touched on yet, and I donít know if you want to or not, but Iím chairman of the National Farmers Union for Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire, umm, Iím in my second term, itís the first time anyoneís done two terms, umm, the reason Iím doing the second term is because last year we had foot and mouth, err, and I didnít really spend much time doing the work I wanted to do within the Union, umm, most of it was fire fighting, because of the foot and mouth, umm, now, the, certain members, of the, of the Council, I mean, I meet with the District Councils, umm, three or four times a year now, the staff, the rural development officers, and itís, theyíre a fantastic group, and what Iím trying to do, is to create in their mind, that actually they all want the same thing, which theyíve accepted they do, umm, and they, thereís limitations in what they can do because of their money, but West Oxfordshire District Council have just got some Leader Plus money, through William Bartonís, who are organising it, and that money could be used in Oxfordshire, umm, so I have, Iíve got a good relationship with them there, Iím also umm, politically active and,  wearing my non NFU hat I get involved with them, because Iím trying to change, those, actually I, Iím wearing my NFU hat, I want them to get a mindset that they want to look at thinks in a positive note, not a negative note, umm, because looking on negative note and drawing things out, itís just jobs for the boys, umm, and itís a waste of resources, itís a waste of time, and it causes farmers a lot of upset and, and, and grief, and err


4.188.  AW: When you say jobs for the boys, do you mean within the Council


4.189.  DO: Yeah, within the Council, yeah, yeah, you know, they just want a, you know, turn over bits of paper, really, umm, where they can, no, what they could be doing, they could be putting energy and time and money into much more sensible things, I mean, one of the things Iíd like to see happen, umm, is the use of bio-mass in Oxfordshire, umm, and itís something thatís got to happen, I mean, in Sweden, any new housing development thatís put up they use, err, renewable energy sources to heat the houses, well we should be looking at that here, and you get, you get a lot of these politicians, and bear in mind politicians are only there for four years, and then theyíve go to get re-elected, so theyíre in a situation where they actually, are only looking at a very short period of time, and it needs some brave people to look long term and say right, you know, we want a, we want renewable energy, you know we have, weíve, weíve got a, we havenít got a, umm, infinite amount of coal and oil and everything, if we can grow energy and save, you know, money, carting it, and, keep growing it year in, year out, thatís got to be a way we should be going, and I mean Iíve got, Iíve got three children, age between twelve and sixteen, umm, and I think that we want to have a future environment for them rather then just, umm, you know burning the whole bloody lot up from our point of view, and thatís one of the problems weíre got with the Government, system weíve got at the moment in the world, because if theyíre only there for four, knowing, knowing theyíre going to be there for four years, or umm, you know, the maximum time that the American can be in power is eight years, they want to make a mark, umm, and the mark, unfortunately, is generally a black mark, umm, and I think that we need, to look, to the future, umm, in a more responsible manner


4.190.  AW: Do you grow any renewables or use bio-mass, at all on this farm at the moment


4.191.  DO: No, I donít, but I mean Iím not a, Iím not a arable farmer, I mean, the only bio-mass we might grow if some woodland when we go and cut our, pea sticks out of the woods, you know, umm, bean sticks, I mean, a bit of kindling wood, etc, thatís all renewable, but I mean, basically no, Iím not an arable farmer, umm


4.192.  AW: Why do you think the Council Officers were resistant to you putting up those buildings, because, because of the location of this farm, or were the buildings particularly large, or


4.193.  DO: No, they werenít, in fairness to them, they werenít um, they werenít too bad about the farm buildings, umm, in fact I put one up without planning permission and umm, itís now been up ten years so thereís nothing they can do about it, umm, but I, Iíd, landscaped the site so it was, in the way that it wouldnít be offensive to anybody, umm, and also we had a lot of tree planting and everything, which Iím very glad we did, because obviously, the length of time it takes trees to grow, if you, as soon as you plant them, as soon as you get on a place, if you can start planting up then you, you reap the benefits more quickly, umm, there werenít a problem with that, there were a problem the house here, but umm, when I talking about, umm, SODC and their, and their planning attitude, Iím not talking about D J Orpwood, Iím talking about generally, talking about, you know, how we need to see things, change, because, I think itís imperative, I mean, Iíve got a lot of friends out there who are, who are, starving, you know, their business is starving, because theyíve, umm, theyíve just got no money, and err, I donít like it, umm, you know, Iím there as well, and know what itís like, I donít like it, and umm, I think, I think, what happened last year with foot and mouth, has made a lot of, sort of, people whoíve got very Christian beliefs, got very emotionally, umm, instable, unstable, because of the, just the shear, devastation that was caused, umm, you know, I, Iím fortunate, I havenít got any friends of mine who committed suicide, but Iíve got friends who have friends, who have committed suicide, umm, you know Iíve, Iíve, because Iím, not that far from London, only forty five minutes from London, forty five miles from London, umm, you know, I was having people up in, in, in, Cumbria and Northumberland who, were, not getting paid by the Government when they were having their animals killed or cleaning and theyíve got no money, and umm, and because of my NFU connections, and because Iím not really a shrinking violet, umm, people, would, would, get hold of me to see if I could help get the money and Iíd, umm, you know, they, they werenít getting money for maybe, I donít know, umm, they just werenít getting the money, and I could get it for them in twenty four hours, so it was umm, it was worth it, and umm, Iím quite


4.194.  AW: Your position


4.195.  DO: Iím quite, go on


4.196.  AW: Youíve position within the NFU, thatís for this, is that the, local branch or do you


4.197.  DO: No Iím Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire Chairman, three counties, thereís only, thereís only two, two, umm, NFU chairmans in the country who have got three counties, and Iím one of them, and I, I continually tell the president, that Iím one of his most senior, umm, chairman


4.198.  AW: Are there many members, in, in those three counties


4.199.  DO: Thereís two and half thousand, Iíve got two and half thousand members, yeah, umm, and umm, yeah, Iíve, Iíve enjoyed serving them, Iíve enjoyed the job, Iíve made a lot of friends in agriculture and in the rural economy, umm, throughout the country through it, umm, and itís something that, I hope in history, itíll go down that Iíve, sort of, contributed well, I hope I have, I mean Iím a giver not a taker in life, umm, I think its very, very important, you know, thereís givers and takers, and Iím definitely, a giver


4.200.  AW: What lead you to stand, err, as the err, NFU umm


4.201.  DO: Chairman


4.202.  AW: Chairman is it


4.203.  DO: Yup


4.204.  AW: Itís Chairman,


4.205.  DO: Yup, umm, because I was disillusioned with what was going on, and err, it was either, get in, in, in, influence it, or get out, and I decided to do, to do, the former, and I was, I was proposed by my local branch, which was Henley, to be deputy Chairman in 1999 I think it was, so umm, there was three of us who were put forward to be Deputy Chairman, you go Chairman, Deputy Chairman, then Vice Chairman, or other way, Vice, Deputy Chairman, and anyway they, they then Regional Director said would we be prepared to stand for Vice if we didnít get the Deputyship and the other two said yes and I said, Iím very sorry, I canít, because Iíve only been nominated by my branch to Deputy and so if I donít get Deputy Iíll, Iíll bow out gracefully, so anyway, we went for the, the, we, the voting for the, the two, the posts, was half way through the meeting and so I asked a question early on, making it quite plain, in my question I was putting my name forward, for, for Deputy Chairmanship, and then when it came to the um, voting, we had to stand up and promote ourselves, so the other two got up and said what good chaps they were, and I got up and said, my name is David Orpwood, Iím a member of the Henley-on-Thames branch of the National Farmers Union, if you want the same as before, donít vote for me and sat down, got the job


4.206.  [Inaudible comments, probably offering refreshments]


4.207.  DO: Do you want one


4.208.  AW: umm, yeah, I wouldnít say no


4.209.  [inaudible comments]


4.210.  DO: Youíre not cleaning those things are you


4.211.  [recording paused]


4.212.  AW: Whatís a typical working day for you


4.213.  DO: Now, or when I was full time farming


4.214.  AW: Err, you, you, you were full time farming until when


4.215.  DO: I suppose, until about three months ago


4.216.  AW: And at that time

4.217.  DO: Oh, itís umm, I was, was, looking after my animals, umm, I was spending a lot of time, hands-on with the pigs, umm, obviously a degree of office work goes with it, umm, and I suppose, yeah, I was, was just full time farming, working dawn to dusk with my animals, feeding, cleaning, checking, moving things about, umm, yeah


4.218.  AW: And until three months ago, you would have had, was it, five hundred or one thousand two hundred


4.219.  DO: No, no, until, until, err, in December 2001, umm, we decided to go out of pigs, so we had four hundred and twenty sows, we had tow men looking after the outdoor sows and I looked after all the growing pigs here, so I between a thousand and fifteen hundred pigs here to look after myself


4.220.  AW: And umm, where those two employees, or was those contractors


4.221.  DO: No, theyíre both, both employees


4.222.  AW: And how, how, long have they worked with you


4.223.  DO: Ones worked me since, umm, September 2000, err, 1991 rather, and the other oneís been with me for eighteen months


4.224.  AW: And they live locally do they, in their


4.225.  DO: Yeah, in their own houses, I havenít got houses to, to supply them with, yeah


4.226.  AW: Is that something thatís changed a lot, err, since youíve been in farming


4.227.  DO: What housing your own staff


4.228.  AW: Yeah, yeah


4.229.  DO: Umm, I suppose the majority of people still house staff, yes, because the farm structure is such thereís farm cottages, umm, you know, especially if youíve got livestock, umm, you know, you need people on, on, on hand


4.230.  AW: Do you think thatís a difference between cereals and livestock, that umm, maybe people in arable have gone, they no longer, itís all contract now they no longer have tied cottages


4.231.  DO: No, I wouldnít agree with that at all, I think, there is a degree of contracting but umm, most, most farming is, most farms run their farms, you know, with their own staff and with their own machinery, they might use specialist machinery hedge cutter, or umm, you know big bailers or something like that, but basically they, they either, do farm themselves or they farm, some of them farm, err, in, in co-operation with the, neighbours, and one might have a combine and one might have a big tractor and so they, sort of, share the two, umm, but err, I think your see more of that, or I think, I think, youíll see some of that, but youíll see, umm, also, contract farming


4.232.  [Telephone ringing interrupts and David Orpwood answers it, recording interrupted]


4.233.  DO: When your home is also your office, umm, you know, sometimes itís difficult to get away from it all


4.234.  AW: Yeah, yeah, Do you, do, are your dogs, umm, do your dogs work on the farm, do they play an active part in the farming


4.235.  DO: Umm, my sheep dog did, but unfortunately I ran my sheep dog over and killed her with a fork lift and umm, err that was a major loose, that was a pretty traumatic experience for myself and my family, umm, but when we, we had, err, four hundred ewes last year and umm, sheep dog was, was, was a crucial part of it, now, now Iíve got, a meant to be a sheep dog but heís useless, and heís just a pet, and Iíve got two chocolate labradors who I use for shooting, and a spaniel whoís a very old dog now, umm, and we always used to have spaniel and in fact I ran over the previous spaniel and we, my, eldest son got very upset, so we had to replace it pretty quickly, with one weíd bought in, umm, which is the one weíve got now, whoís now, twelve or thirteen I think, so she wonít last that long, err


4.236.  AW: You were saying, about your, typical working day, when you had the pigs, so what is it now, whatís your typical working day


4.237.  DO: Umm, well, I, I do the pigs first thing in the morning, umm, and then, err, Iím moving umm, Iíve set up a company called, called Local Produce for Local People, and I fundamentally believe that, agriculture cannot survive in itís present manner, umm, we have, a situation at the moment when we have a strong pound and a weak euro, and it is cheaper, in many accounts to import food than it is to produce it in this country, purely on the exchange rate, and unless we can differentiate,  differentiate, our produce in the UK, where farming is going to get itís just got nowhere to go, so Iím trying to put local produce, in a designated isle, in major supermarkets, and Iím talking to them at the moment, and Iíve been advised by the directors of one of the biggest ones to go, just for, just for meat to start with, because if your going to go for other things besides meat, which would be bread, umm, potatoes, vegetables, umm, milk, etc, etc, then Iíd be talking to too many director levels and that would be very difficult, so what Iím trying to do is to develop this company called Local Produce for Local People, and Local would be within the County, or twenty five miles from that particular store, err, and I want to get away from fast food which seems to be moving food from all over the world to wherever, back to what I call slow food, or what the Italians call slow food where we, we generate more, umm, jobs, err, in our own areas, because weíre doing the processing and developing of food in, in that area, umm, the consumer, err is, over half the consumers are interested in local food without being able to get it on the major supermarket stores, so if we can, promote, produce it, and promote it, I believe that theyíll be a big take up for it, and I believe thatís the way agriculture got go in this country, umm, weíre going to get less subsidies in agriculture, which I donít have a problem with, as long as we can get a fair price for our produce, and Iíve done modules, both working, umm, from the supermarket shelf back up to the, farm gate, and vice versa, and err, I believe that we can put food on the shelf


4.238.  AW: When you say modules, what do you mean by that


4.239.  DO: Well, what Iíve done, Iíve, Iíve, Iíve taken a pig and a sheep and a beef and worked out all the cuts, Iíve had some help from the meat and livestock commission, and weíve broken the carcasses down, evaluated them, so I know exactly what cuts I can get out of what animal, umm, and, so I can then know, go, because what , what we can put on the shelf, you know, how many pork chops we get and, etc, etc, on the shelf, and umm, so Iím basing it on, retail price minus, in other words we know what the, the, the, the retailers sellers it, the maximum amount that they believe they can sell it for to the consumer, umm, and whatís happening is the farmers getting, not getting enough, umm, in fact the farmers making a loose out of nearly every thing that he produces at the moment, and I believe that, thatís short sighted, umm, irresponsible view, and I want to put, local foods, as I say, back into the community, umm, I have a lot of help and a lot of backing, umm, none of the supermarkets can kick me out the door, because, that would be politically, umm, dyn, dynamite against them, umm, while its not happening as quick as Iíd like it to do, setup my company, it will happen, and thatís what I want to do, I want to, I want to move back to, something, which youíre doing and you touched on and thatís best practice, and I want best practice to look at things like food miles, animal miles, umm, sustainability of oneís local economy, umm return profitability back to the countryside so that we can have the environment, as we have known it and we want it, and I think, that umm, the best way you can have the countryside to  develop is out of profitable agriculture, err, and I think the rural economy relies on profitable agriculture


4.240.  AW: Who, who else works in your company at the moment


4.241.  DO: In terms of who works for it, itís just myself and my wife, but I use outside consultations such as the Meat and Livestock Commission who have done an awful lot and theyíve given me, eighteen thousand pounds worth or work, umm, Accenture which is a London based company, the largest firm of consultants in the world have given me twelve thousand pounds worth of help, umm, Iíve got a, a, market consultant who helping me, Iíve got a, umm, human resources person, who sort of, given me direction on, on staff, umm, and Iíve got some private people who want to invest in it, the sad thing is that, itís almost impossible to get public money, umm, even though itís meant to be there, for, you know, some ones, you know, small person like me in terms of scale of business, to get money out of the Government for the DEFRA funding for marketing grants, that are meant to be there, err, are just, are just, very, very difficult, Iíve tried and failed, so far, but I mean, Iíve been advised by the people who know that Iíd be much more successful to go for private money than ever I would for public money


4.242.  AW: If that because, the, the conditions for the DEFRA grants are too onerous, or


4.243.  DO: Umm


4.244.  AW: Theyíre lead time is too long, maybe, what reasons


4.245.  DO: Well, I, hmm, I applied to DEFRA for grants umm, I canít remember what it was now, November I think, or may have been, might have been February, and umm, I put a business plan in, they came and saw me, they gave, gave me direction, on how, what else I need to put in it, I did it, they came back with one or two suggestions, which I did, umm, but I failed to get the grant, and I think itís umm, they, I, I failed because they, they felt that I needed more professional help, which is precisely what I was applying for the  grant for, umm, I, like most people in agriculture are very short of working capital, umm, I canít afford to go out and employ people to do this for me, umm, Iíve got, Iíve got to do it, the, the best way possible myself and I feel that the, DEFRA have not helped me, get it, but following that, err, Iíve got the support of the Government in what Iím trying to do, and umm, Iíve recently been called up to Margaret Beckett, whoís the DEFRA Minister, DEFRA being the Department, umm, Environment, Food and something or other, umm


4.246.  AW: Rural Affairs


4.247.  DO: Rural Affairs, err, I thought youíd have it, yeah, and err, Iíve been called up by her special advisor, a women called Shelia Watson, to, to Margaret Beckettís Office, to discuss it with her, sheís shown interest in it, umm, obviously they canít, just give me money, the Government canít, but Iím hoping that I can use that contact and, and, umm, power base to help me go forwards, Iíve got the support of the, umm, agriculture shadow secretary, err, agriculture secretary Larry Whitty, Lord Whitty, Iíve got the support of the shadow DEFRA, Peter Ainsworth, and Iíve got the support of Colin Breed Whoís the shadow, umm, DEFRA for the Liberal Democrats, so, yeah, Iíve got a lot of people behind me, Prince Charles, is umm, on board with me, he supports what Iím doing, heís given me some help


4.248.  AW: Have you meet all these people that youíve mentioned


4.249.  DO: I havenít meet Prince Charles, I met the rest of them, know them well, yeah, yeah Iíve spent a lot of time, umm, networking, I suppose one calls it, but Iíve done it, not in order, just to, get to know people, Iíve done it because I think Iíve got something to offer, and I want to discuss with them, and, and, and, umm, direct them in agriculture, I mean Iíll give you an example, umm, Ann Winterton Was sacked by Ian Duncan Smith, I donít know, three weeks ago, from the shadow agricultural umm, minister, and he, he, was replaced by David Liddington Two days later I was in David Liddingtonís office discussing with him, where we should go, and heís very keen that I should work with him, umm, and thatís come through my position in National Farmers Union, because heís actually Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury I think it is, umm, MP, and because Iím Chairman of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, but Buckinghamshire in his respect, umm, Iím someone who he needs to work with, so Iím very keen to do that


4.250.  AW: I was saying about your typical day, no, and err, you said that err, first of all, you would look after the pigs in the morning, umm


4.251.  DO: Yeah


4.252.  AW: Do what you need to there


4.253.  DO: Yup


4.254.  AW: Is most of the rest day, err, taken up with, the project you just told me about?


4.255.  DO: Yeah, yeah, very , very much, so I mean, you know, I might be in London two days a week at meetings, umm, you know, seeing one of the major supermarkets, talking to investors, umm, getting advice, from  people who are there to give advice, like the IGD, Institute of Grocery Distributors, Government bodies, umm, yeah, you know, umm, err, what Iím trying to do, this company Iíve set up is, is a limited company, itís not a farmers co-operative, and itís to utilise the best, umm, advice and direction, I can, from people who have been doing it longer and probably got a greater understanding of the business side than I have, so I think thatís very, very important, umm, I have complete confidence that itíll succeed, umm, I mean Iíve taken issue with err, Keith Mitchell and Charles Shoulder, the, the leader and the Chairman of the Oxfordshire District Council, because I want them to use, Oxfordshireís talking about trying to promote, umm, local foods and I want them to put their money where their mouth is, and buy local food into the places where they put food, such as schools, hospitals, old peopleís homes, etc, umm, and there is a best practice thatís meant to be used by these Councils which I donít believe is, the only one thatís looking it at the moment is Norfolk and they look at food miles and local, umm, produce and, umm, umm, sustainability of their, of their, farming in their counties and I think more should, should do so, and thatís something that I will challenge


4.256.  AW: Was your decision, to, umm, to get out of pigs, would you say that was getting out of farming, for you, or


4.257.  DO: Yeah, Iím giving up the sheep and the pigs, yeah


4.258.  AW: Was that, err


4.259.  DO: Front line farming, I mean, the marketing will be involved will be involved with the rural economy and with, umm, umm, trying to develop, err, agricultural profitability, umm, which, which,  obviously aligns with rural profitability


4.260.  AW: Was you decision to, get out, well, farming in a sense, err, mostly due to foot and mouth or had you made the decision before that


4.261.  DO: No I hadn't made the decision before that. Foot and Mouth cost me me, um last year, err, on, on my budgeted income it cost me, seventy five thousand six hundred pounds last year, umm, and err, with as I explained earlier, the pig price from í98 going from forty pound t eleven pounds, umm, in, umm, I think it was the week of either the 15th or 20th February 2001 when foot and mouth came in this country we were just in the position in the pig industry of seeing then umm, our price for our commodity increase, quite a lot, we know it was happening that week, foot and mouth completely stopped that, umm, we've seen a lot of imports, increase in imports of food from the Continent in 2001, err, after Foot and Mouth was announced, umm the Minister of Agriculture, Nick Brown, who I know well, stopped, umm,  all livestock movement for a week, um when we got Foot and Mouth in this country, which I think was the right thing to do, um but what it did was it opened flood gates of, of food coming into this country and if you look in the first two weeks of March, umm, every motorway was an absolute quagmire of food, coming, you know from the Continent, and being spread over this country and it's done, horrendous damage to agriculture, umm, and it was the final straw, I just couldnít, I couldn't see myself to, to, to break out of, err, what I saw was a spiral down of my, of my net worth, um, I consider my bank have behaved particularly badly, umm, they could have helped more, umm, we went and something, you asked earlier about, umm, subsidies in the pig market, the only subsidy weíve had in the pig industry was, umm, I think it was 2001, well it was 2001, was, what was called the On-goers or the Out-goers Pig scheme, umm, and the on-goer was those who were going to keep in it, were given, I think it was, two percent or, four percent of their loan borrowing, by the Government for two years and the out-goers were given so much per animal, umm, I think the out-goers in this country, they got something like a hundred and twenty five pound per pig place, umm, where as in Holland they got seven hundred pounds, which I thought rather sums it up, and umm, I went on the on-goers scheme because I had every intention of continuing farming pigs and I had to convert my over-draught to a loan, and in converting it I had to have a pay back on that loan and umm, the amount I had to pay, because Iím paying capital and interest on the pay-back on the loan, umm, of course with foot and mouth my income suddenly got devastated, err, it cost me a lot of money and umm, a, with the loss of income and, b, with the bank, umm, making me payback capital and interest in that period of time, when, when, it was plainly obvious that the, whole of the commodity market, in, in livestock in this country was being decimated, I think they acted irresponsibly, umm, they should have given me, um, um, a window to pay just interest and not interest and capital, umm, because I was so heavily involved politically in foot and mouth, and because I was so depressed about the whole situation, like many, many farmers were,  I um, I wasn't astute enough to realise the problem, I think certainly the bank should have come to me, they should have helped me and they didnít, and umm, you know I, Iíd been with that particular bank all my life, my father before me, my mothers family, had been with that bank, umm, my


4.262.  AW: Did you know the bank manager personal


4.263.  DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yup, yup, and I would, you know, I think heís behaved, appallingly, quite frankly, umm, and, when youíve, they say when you owe a bank a hundred thousand pounds youíve got a problem, if you owe them half a hundred million then theyíre got a problem, well unfortunately farming is in the former, you know, weíre umm, weíre um, we have problems with them, and I personally do


4.264.  AW: Do you think the Government or someone, err, some other body could have, err, done more to help farmers


4.265.  DO: I think they could definitely help us, and the ways Iíd like to see them help, Iím not a great believer in subsidies, umm, Iíd like to see that first of all, that they insist that their armed forces are feed with British food instead of buying-in umm, beef from Argentina, from where theyíve got foot and mouth, umm, New Zealand lamb, umm, and the rest, I expect theyíre buying their chicken from Thailand and Brazil, umm, I think we should see that, I think we should see the Government pushing in the House of Commons that they should use British food, I took issue with Gordon, with umm, Nick Brown about this, who was then Agriculture Minister and he told me that he could tell, the thirty four catering companies in the House of Commons what food they should source, well, I think that umm, they jolly well should, can you see the French allowing, their Government and their armed forces being feed on food from other parts of the world, while thereís, their farmers are going to the wall, I think, I think itís totally immoral, I think that thereís no, thereís no, set strategy in Government at the moment, and I, umm, I think probably, umm, both parties have got a bit to blame for this, err, both, the, the, former party, the Conservatives and the, and the Labour, but I think, umm, in the terms of the last five years, that the amount of money that, has been, lost in agriculture, I think that definitely the labour Government should have done more, I donít believe that umm, there was any political will in the Government to help agriculture or to see it, see it, succeed or get out of the present situation, and, Iím, Iím very well aware thereís only one person in Government that has any time for agriculture and thatís the Prime Minister, umm, thankfully, umm, although I think on his own he canít do enough about it, thereís too many other things to do, so yeah, I think the Government has got, got a responsibility, and I think, by having a slightly, changed mind set, that doesnít cost money, but by applauding British food, and pushing it and working it in every possible area they can, including your own Council, umm, I think that things could change dramatically, umm, your own Council all itís food, umm, to all the areas, that umm, you supply, schools, hospitals, old peopleís homes, etc, comes through one company called Brake Bothers and people canít umm, break into that, because they say that if they took, say the bacon away from Brake Bothers then, they, would loose a degree of their discount, so in other words, for someone to put the bacon in, itís got to put it in at almost, nothing, and umm, itís the wrong way to go, I think itís an irresponsible, umm, attitude to have, for the long term good of the Countryside and the rural population


4.266.  AW: How did you first hear about foot and mouth, on the radio, TV


4.267.  DO: Err, probably, I, I, I just, I donít remember, but all I do remember is hearing that there was something like four hundred and, four hundred thousand animals were killed in í67 with foot and mouth and I just hope and prey we never get any where near that, umm, was it four hundred or forty two thousand, anyway, it was a pittance to what was killed in foot and mouth last year, umm


4.268.  AW: Did you hear about it through the NFU


4.269.  DO:  I


4.270.  AW: In the general media


4.271.  DO: Probably in the general meania, err media, obviously, initially, like most people I didnít have a full understanding of the implications were going to be, umm, but little did we know what was going to happen, umm


4.272.  AW: Were you surprised, err, that, thatís how you learned about umm, foot and mouth in this country, through the general media


4.273.  DO: How else should I have found out about it


4.274.  AW: There, there could have, umm, well, there maybe other channels, that err, maybe the farming press, umm


4.275.  DO: Oh yes, but these things happen, umm, the farming press comes out once a week, I mean, Iím sure that I was, umm, circulated immediately by the NFU, I mean the NFU, we use umm, emails, umm, which we find a very satisfactory form of communication, umm, the umm, Iím sure, I mean I donít remember how I found out about it, but I probably, got a briefing, instant briefing from the NFU, umm, obviously heard it on the radio, umm, one of the suspected farms, umm, in Buckinghamshire, was a person who I know quite well, umm, so that had an immediate interest in me because it was local and fortunately it turned out it wasnít his farm that had it, umm, I, I honestly canít remember, umm, I expect I heard about it from, through many, many, ways, like, you know, like we all did, umm, but you know, if, if, I heard about the September 11th bombing, of the twin towers because I happen to have, the television on as it was happening, umm, thatís instant, instant media report, umm, the answer to your question about how did I hear about umm, err, foot and mouth, I, I honestly canít remember, itís not important to me



4.276.  AW: In terms of keeping in touch with whatís happening with whatís happening in the UK, abroad, in farming, umm, is the NFU the err, most important err, means for you, or is it umm, through particular media or could be anything really


4.277.  DO: Well, umm, obviously, I have a privilege position in the National Farmers Union being Chairman, so I have, I have, instant briefings, umm, things that important, I get weekly updates, both from my own region, which is the South East and also from London, umm, if thereís a, I mean, umm, part of my job is the NFU chairman is to feed information to people so we have, we have meetings with senior members, umm, of the industry, I mean, Iíve got the CBI coming next week, girl called Mindy Jones, um, Lynda Wilson


4.278.  AW: Let me just ask you, how often, how often, do you meet err, with your own branch that you represent in, in Bucks, Ox


4.279.  DO: Well itís not a branch, I mean itís an area


4.280.  AW: An area


4.281.  DO: Berks, Bucks, Oxfordshire is two and half thousand people, and itís not a branch, I mean itís a, you know


4.282.  AW: A region


4.283.  DO: Itís an important module, of a region and umm, we, we, we have, about four or five meetings a year, for the County but Iím probably doing, a day a week of NFU work, umm, somehow or other, I mean a fortnight ago, was fortnight ago, no week ago on Friday, we had a, a, meeting all day in London with the President, all the County Chairmanís throughout the Country, I think in ten days time, Iíve got a, meeting with the Meat and Livestock Commission, with all the Chairman throughout the Country, umm, I, I had a meeting on Friday, I think it was, last Friday, with Preydinal Naywoods whoís the new Chief Constable of, of Thames Valley, with my regional director, I talk to my policy advisor for Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire, most days, umm, yeah, I keep in touch, I mean, you know itís important, I need to know whatís going on, I also talk, talk to colleagues of mine in other sectors of agriculture, milk, potatoes, dairy or whatever, arable, so I, you know I, I know in my own mind, that when Iím talking about whatís going on, that I umm, that I, I, I come from a sound knowledge and every month, I, I write an article in our, in our magazine, umm, err, about, itís called the Chairmanís Comment, it was called the Chairs Comment, when I umm, became Chairman, but I donít believe, I, Iím an inanimate object, Iím a Chairman, not a Chair, umm, I do it in my own particular way, I like to add humour into it, I, very, very rarely, if ever talk about myself in it, umm, what I do, do at the end, the, the last paragraph of each article I talk about my children, umm, people enjoy that, umm, and I try to get some things going through umm, so let people have an idea whatís happening, I mean, an example, on the 26th of March, Sir Don Curry, who wrote the first Food, Food and Farming Commission report, umm, meet with Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street for a summit on the future of farming on the future of farming on 26th March on the day, and in the evening he came and addressed Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire, I mean I have that, I have that influence, umm, on 12th April I set up an Any Questions, I had Lord Whitty Here, whoís the Secretary of State for Agriculture, umm, Peter Ainsworth Whoís the Shadow Secretary of State, umm, George DíSilva whoís Director of Compassion in World Farming, Clive Aslett The Editor of Country Life, and a guy called Eric Mont Gregory Whoís a research student in Oxford, whoís a world expert on foot and mouth, umm, and I organised that, with the chairman was Jeremy Paxman, umm, Iíve got, as I say, Iíve got this girl called Minsey Jones, Minsey Wilson, coming from the CBI


4.284.  AW: Was that the meeting


4.285.  DO: In June


4.286.  AW: Sorry, was that the meeting that was held at Oxford Brooks


4.287.  DO: Thatís right, yeah, I organised it, I set it all up, I know all those people, umm, and I got them there, umm, where you there


4.288.  AW: I wasnít, but I, I, know of it


4.289.  DO: Yeah, yeah, it was very good, umm, then my final AGM, as Chairman, when I stand down is 26th November and Iíve got Lord Plum whoís an ex-president of the National Farmers Union, ex, um, MEP, err, heís a leader, he was the, umm, the leader of the European Parliament, heís come to speak to my AGM, umm, Boris Johnson been umm, Baroness Byford whoís the Shadow, umm, Agricultural Spokesman in the House of Lords, yeah, I make sure I get the right people there, because I thing itís important that I should do the job to the best of my ability, umm, I have these contacts, I know these people, and umm, you know it works both ways, I use them and they use me


4.290.  AW: So when you speak, I, I, um, when you talk with them, that, I, is it, in your position with the NFU, it is presumably


4.291.  DO: Not necessarily, umm, I know all these people personally, umm, I, I mean, Iím sure your find this hard to believe, but Iím thought of in some areas, as a bit of a loose cannon, in um, in my thoughts, a bit outspoken in some areas, um, Iím, Iím, one of the things Iíve learnt in my term of being the NFU Chairman, is to listen, and umm, if only more people would learn to listen, the world would be a better place in my opinion, and so not only do I go to give information I also go to receive it, umm, I do, you know, I met, as I say, I met, um, Shelia Watson whoís Margaret Beckettís special advisor, I met her, that was through my business, of setting up, um, Local Produce for Local People, I then meet, I then had lunch that day with Peter Ainsworth whoís shadow DEFRA, both on agricultural matters, through the NFU and also this project Local produce for Local People, because I need the support of those sort of people


4.292.  AW: Let me ask you about, the, the neighbouring farmers, err, the neighbouring farms, how many, how many farms are abut your, your farm here


4.293.  DO: Umm, I donít know three or four, five


4.294.  AW: Are they livestock farmers as well


4.295.  DO: Not all of them, no, one grows Christmas trees, heís a specialist in Christmas trees, umm, one is a large arable farmer, who fattens pig, he would buy the sort of pigs like I produce, umm, another ones, got a breeding herd of pigs, and also got cattle, another ones got umm, a lot of the land let out, but they keep their own flock of sheep, um, and ones, um, doesnít farm themselves, itís all contract farm for them, so, yeah, you know, diversity


4.296.  AW: Do you see them through your work in the NFU, how regularly do you think you, umm


4.297.  DO: You mean my neighbours


4.298.  AW: Hmm


4.299.  DO: Well, not really, I mean none of my neighbours I would thing, are particularly strong NFU people, umm, they err, Iím sure they support me being Chairman, umm, in fact one of them was a person who put me forward to be deputy chairman, umm, err, I see them more socially, you know, in the street, or on the roads, umm, donít really have streets in the Country, umm, than I would do through my NFU role


4.300.  AW: So maybe you see them in the lane, when you pass


4.301.  DO: Yeah, yeah, yeah but I mean, they would, they would contact me and they do contact me, if theyíve got an issue, umm, that, they thing I can help them with, through my NFU position, yeah, and I would do


4.302.  AW: So images of farmers, leaning over the hedge discussing err, how their, livestock are, are, just err, something in the past, it just doesnít happen


4.303.  DO: Yeah, sadly it is, but umm, the best way you learn about your livestock is leaning on the gate and watching them, umm, sound, sound a silly thing to do but err, umm, observation, is terribly important umm, of livestock, umm, but whatís happened, is umm, you know, you asked me earlier on, how Iíve seen agriculture change, is that the, umm, number of livestock kept, per man, has increased dramatically, almost to the point when some of the, what I would call, old fashioned good husbandry, of, of, looking at your stock, umm, there isnít the time to do it, but I mean, Iíd, Iíd, I would err, myself and also my, my, Derek who works for me, umm, both of us, would, would feel pretty confident that we could tell a sick pig just at a glance, u mm, you know, you donít need to, to, spend a, lot of time looking at it, but, umm, maybe if you had more time, youíd catch that, sick pig a little bit earlier, I donít know


4.304.  AW: You have some sheep as well, when did you decide to, err, keep sheep


4.305.  DO: Umm, I canít remember when I started keeping sheep, I should think it was the early Ď90s, umm, some land, two hundred acres, a hundred and eighty acres of land became available, umm, to me, and I decided to take it up and have a flock of sheep, so I bought, I built up a flock of five hundred ewes, which we kept on that land, and a bit of other stuff, and umm, I then, because of the demise in í98 or í97, í98, I actually reduced my, my numbers of pigs, numbers of sheep dramatically, to help pay off some of the, immediate debt, but I mean obviously, the amount of money you get for sheep isnít a great deal, so although I did that, it didnít actually save me, make me a lot of money, it was almost, almost hand-to-mouth at that stage, in fact, I would say since 1998, my livelihood and my living has been hand-to-mouth


4.306.  AW: So since í98, would, did you, err, thing about, err, diversifying, giving up farming, umm, going into other crops, or livestock


4.307.  DO: Umm, I certainly didnít think about giving up farming until, probably, October last year, 2001, umm, yeah, I mean, Iíve had, had this, buzz, to, do something about the marketing of produce, for quite a long time, but itís actually trying to work out how to do it, so yes, I mean, that I would see as a major part of my diversification, yeah, yup


4.308.  AW: But you decided to stay in pigs


4.309.  DO: Yes, because thatís what I knew, umm, yeah


4.310.  AW: Do think generally thereís a, thereís a crisis in farming in the UK


4.311.  DO: Definitely, without any doubt what so ever, you canít run a business, umm, with the capital requirements of agriculture without making a, without making, making a profit, and umm, profitís not a dirty word, itís a  word that I think is terribly important, all businesses need to make a profit, umm, otherwise, they, they go to the wall, and I think it would be absolutely criminal, and I think it would be the legaslee, the legacy, of any Government or Prime Minister to let agriculture to get to the state that it is at the moment, and umm, I think err, you know, it is a renewable source, of course, and we, we were talking about renewals sources and we should be making sure we use ours to the very best of our ability, and instead of you know, shipping, umm, organic vegetables from Spain, at God knows, how many calories per unit we bring them over here, umm, you know, we have the ability to do it here, we, we should have encouragement and direction to do it, and farmers need direction at the moment



4.312.  AW: Do you think the crisis for you, err, what does the crises mean to you, umm


4.313.  DO: What the crises that Iím saying is in agriculture


4.314.  AW: Yes, yup


4.315.  DO: Well, the fact that Iím getting out, I mean Iím getting out because I canít continue to have a living, and doing it, itís not a, itís not a chosen source, itís one Iíve, to some extent, been driven towards doing, umm, and err itís been devastating on myself and family, umm, over the last three or four years, I mean as I said just now, living from, hand-to-mouth is not the way that anyone wants to live


4.316.  AW: Does your family help out much with the farm


4.317.  DO: Yup, yup, yup, my umm, my youngest son is very keen, heíll help when need be, my wife, very helpful on the farm, my eldest son isnít particularly interested, although heíll help if he, I need a hand, umm, and my daughterís twelve, sheís not really that interested in it, sheís got other things on her mind, got a horse, yeah


4.318.  AW: How, how does your wife help in the farm


4.319.  DO: Well, for instance at lambing time, I mean she was, sheíd spend an awful lot of time up on the farm, I mean, if err, because, because up until a month or so, ago, Iíd been looking after the pigs here on my own, if I need a hand, if it needs two people to do something, you know, she might well help do it, umm


4.320.  AW: Does she play a part in the business decisions as it were, what you might call business decisions


4.321.  DO: Umm, in a limited level, a limited level, not a great level, you know, I discuss things with her if needs be


4.322.  AW: And err, your children, they also play a part, sorry, I canít remember their ages


4.323.  DO: Err, Thomas is, seventeen, umm Jamieís fifteen, Elizabethís twelve, umm, yeah, sorry what was the question


4.324.  AW: Do they play a part in


4.325.  DO: No, no, not decision, not decision making, they, theyíre at school so, you know, theyíre, theyíre at school from eight in the morning to eight at night, umm, five, six days a week, so theyíre, theyíre want their own time, but I mean, yeah theyíre help if needs be, you know, if, if Iím going to London for a meeting or something and the kids are here, one of them will do the pigs for me, yeah, can we just stop a minute


4.326.  AW: Yeah, sure


4.327.  [Recording paused]


4.328.  DO: Jamie


4.329.  AW: So they do play a part, part in the farm

4.330.  DO: Yeah, they do umm, you know, Iíve umm, this morning Iíve been, had to clear up from the do we did last night, which was a do, which I did as a commercial, umm, contract for, for cooking two pigs for six hundred people, and umm, then youíve turned up and err, I havenít had time yet, to go and do at the pigs, and umm, itís Tuesday, itís a bank holiday, and I probably donít want to work all day long, yeah


4.331.  AW: You were doing a pig roast last night, is that right


4.332.  DO: Yeah, yeah, I did two, yeah, yeah


4.333.  AW: Does that, does that, kind of work, umm, form, a significant part of your livelihood


4.334.  DO: Hmm, no it doesnít, umm, itís something I quite enjoy doing, itís for a local event, I was asked to quote to do it, umm, a lot of people there I knew, so it was quite fun, I like being at, I like doing things, Iím not a great, umm, cocktail party sort of person, so if Iím working, and, you know, doing all that, and meeting the people, then I get the best of both worlds, as far as Iím concerned, and also I make a bit of money out of it, umm, I do a farmers market, twice a month, or have done, up to now, umm, and thatís been something which I would say, umm, I didnít realise at the time, itís been invaluable to where I want to go, in terms of my marketing project, because itís taught me a bit about the consumer, and the retail trade, umm, and err, I do it, umm, the main benefit to me, is, is getting cash, pound notes, but I mean I, I declare, I declare that, so I donít have a tax advantage on that, itís just nice having some pound notes in your pocket, especially, if it donít go to the bank account, with this bastard bank manager


4.335.  AW: So it works for you financially, err, the farmers market


4.336.  DO: Yeah, in fairness, I mean, I donít make a lot of money out of it, umm, the costs, you know, the costs are too high, umm, especially the processing costs, too high, killing and cutting, but umm, yeah itís something that Iíve learned, it, I would say is helping me a great deal with my next stage in my life


4.337.  AW: So itís not a significant part of your income, it sounds like, but it sounds like the, the feedback, or the direct contact you have with the public is useful


4.338.  DO: yeah, very, very useful, you can find out, the sort of, what people want, umm, learning about packaging, learning um, thereís forty percent of my customers in Henley and Wallingford where I do the farmerís market, are one or two people households, so, you know, youíve got to, got to, relate to that, they donít want to buy, you know, two kilos of meat, you know, they want to buy smaller bits, so you learn all this, and thatís, thatís very useful


4.339.  AW: So, presumably you, you arrange, err, err, for the pigs to be killed, err


4.340.  DO:I take the pigs to the abattoir


4.341.  AW: Right


4.342.  DO: To be killed, then I have to get back, sometime in next two or three days, pick them up, bring them to a butchers shop, umm, we then, the butcher then cuts them up, we pack it, and price it with him


4.343.  AW: Have you ever thought of doing any of that err, yourself


4.344.  DO: Umm, well Iím not, I couldnít do the killing, because you need a, need a licensed premises in which to do it, umm, and itís got to be cut in a licensed premises too which I obviously havenít got and itís not really an area I want, want to move towards, umm, umm, because I, umm, why donít I want to move towards it, I, just, donít, umm, it, itís so expensive because youíve got to put in cold room storage, youíve got a, umm, have plastic walls, I mean it, you know, the cost is just, just too great, I mean the only that, that could be done, umm, is for a group of farmers to get together to do it, and that, was, something that, that you know, going back to co-operation, collaboration, thatís something that could, that, is probably worthwhile considering in an area


4.345.  AW: Are you, do you have any farm assurance schemes here


4.346.  DO: Yeah, yeah, both FABL and the, umm, pigs scheme, ABM, yeah


4.347.  AW: And why did you decide to join those


4.348.  DO: Umm, well the, the pigís scheme, umm, because,


4.349.  AW: Thatís the FABL one is it


4.350.  DO: No, pigs is ABM,  FABLís umm, Farm Assured Beef and Lamb, umm, the pigs scheme was actually, initiated, and set up and developed by Thames Valley Pigs, which I was Director of, and we thought it was imperative we should do this so it gives us a market advantage, in fact weíve never gained from the market advantage, umm, we actually thought we were never going to get more money for it, but what we did thing we were going to do was that, it would be a criteria that you had to have to sell your pigs, and that we are right umm on, and umm, I think itís the right way to go and I think we probably need to strengthen it and with my marketing scheme Local Produce for Local People, umm, being a member of a quality assurance scheme will be, crucial to being able to sell pigs or sheep or cattle through our business


4.351.  AW: You say umm, itís important to, be as assurance scheme as a criteria, is that, is that, err, demanded by the, the abattoirs, or


4.352.  DO: No I think the consumer, I think the consumer, I think, and also to some extent the retailer, umm, I think, they want an independent verification that, that the farmís being run in a welfare friendly correct proper manner, and I think, I donít have a problem with that, I mean, I personally, umm, and in favour of, licensing farms, umm, and Iíd like to see farms being licensed, Iíd like to see them being licensed, umm, paid for by the Government, err, and, a neighbour of mine, whose the Pig Veterinary Association, is actually, a person whoís very keen on this, and put it in my mind and err, I see that could work to the benefit, the great benefit of, not only the farmer, but for the umm, the processor, the retailer, consumer, and also the Government, because one of the things that came to light when we had foot and mouth disease, that the Government had absolutely, what animals were where, the movements, or anything, I think to have, to have that knowledge, umm, and a strong bio-security system set up on our farms would be, would be, very, very beneficial, and the, goodness knows how many billions itís cost, this Government for, for foot and mouth, that money could have been, you know, you could save that money, umm, by doing it, and I think because of this, umm, this translocation of meat, all over the world, a lot of it from unknown sources, means that the fact of having, umm, other such diseases as foot and mouth, SVD, swine fever, or whatever, are more prominent with this lacks import rules on food, so I think itís important we know what weíre doing


4.353.  AW: So some of some your pigs, umm, but not many


4.354.  DO: Not many, no, about, umm, about ten or twelve a month


4.355.  AW: And the rest are sold through, Thames Vally


4.356.  DO: Thames Valley CAMBAC Marketing Group, yup


4.357.  AW: Okay, and they would, they would, err, take the pigs from you and they would sell them on to the abattoirs, etc


4.358.  DO: No, no, no, no, excuse me, they would umm, I sell my pigs to another farmer who fattens them, we donít fatten pigs, umm, at the farmers market what we sell is suckling pig, something completely different, umm, the Thames Valley pigís, I would ring them up and say, Iíve got three hundred pigs to go next week, they would then, have, have a buyer, theyíd match the two of us together, theyíd organise a lorry for me, err, the hauler would ring me up and say weíve coming to pick them up at seven oíclock tomorrow morning, weíd then have them sorted and weíd load them on the lorry, and they would go to the, the buyer, purchaser, umm, we would, the purchaser, or the lorry driver would give the, Thames Valley CAMBAC, the number of pigs on the load and the weights, and umm, I would be subsequently paid


4.359.  AW: Have you considered diversifying, umm, obviously your livelihood is now changing, err, with the work your doing, your local food work, etc., umm, but have you considered diversifying, out, outside of pigs and sheep, into, into err, well, could be Christmas trees


4.360.  DO: No I havenít because, umm, err, I havenít got the land, the land where I keep my livestock on, is grass land, that is rented from other farmers, okay, so Iím, Iím not in the position to do that, the only land that I own, that I have total control over is my own land here, which is where I live and Iíve got the barns, which is a total of sixteen acres, on that Iíve obviously got may house, my gardens, my barns and everything, roadways, so no, Iím not in a position to do that, the only diversification that I can do within my own farming, is to let my own barns, for, for umm, non farming use, which is what Iím doing


4.361.  AW: Have you seen the wildlife change much on this, err, farm, since you, you took it on


4.362.  DO: Umm, not generally no, umm, weíve got a good diversity of livestock, err, wildlife here, anyway we, we got badgers, we got foxes, unfortunately, we got red kites, which youíd seen earlier, umm, we got a vast array of birdlife, umm, weíve got, orchids, weíve got, umm, fantastic, umm, fauna, flora rather, umm, no, I think, err, the only way I would say that weíve, weíve kept the balance going because we shoot the woodland, which, although itís not mine, I, Iím part of the shoot and run it, umm, weíve, weíve managed, with good shoot management you get, umm, an increase in overall wildlife, umm, and so, yeah weíve, weíve, yes, weíve helped with that


4.363.  AW: Is that shoot something that you would say is part of your livelihood, or just something you participate in


4.364.  DO: Oh, no, no, thatís just a hobby, itís just a bit of recreation


4.365.  AW: You spoke about the farming crisis, in this country, in the UK, do you think thereís a farming crises, elsewhere, err, in Europe, or in the World generally, whatís


4.366.  DO: Umm, no I donít think in Europe there is, I think the Euro, umm, has given us a thirty percent disadvantage, against other European countries, so thatís obviously umm, holding up pretty strong, umm, I would have assumed that Argentina, going through a particularly difficult time, umm, but then, their whole economy is going through a difficult time, umm, the Americans are, umm, have been, bailed out by their Government, their Government has given their given their farmers two point nine percent of their GDP, umm, whereas we get one point nine percent in Europe, umm, weíve got significantly more farmers in Europe than they have in, in America,  so theyíre been bailed out of it, umm


4.367.  AW: Can I just ask you, do you have much contact with farmers abroad


4.368.  DO: Not really, no


4.369.  AW: Theyíre, theyíre are some Farmers Links schemes I think or


4.370.  DO: No, no, Iím not involved, Iíve got a chum of mine, who used to work for me and farm for America, in fact sent me a postcard the other day, umm, coyotes are big problem to him, with their outdoor pigs, err, and who was saying theyíre brought their farrowing sows inside, and itís increased his number of pigs per litter by three pigs a litter because of the coyotes, so yeah, umm, so no I donít, I donít generally have much to do with farmers abroad


4.371.  AW: Let me ask you this, Iím not quite sure of this myself, but integrated farm management, thatís, is that, is that, just related to arable, umm


4.372.  DO: Integrated farm management, umm, could be interpreted two ways, couldnít it, it could be, umm, integrating your own farm management, within your own business, or, or integrating it in, in, in with other, other businesses, umm, I think, I wouldnít use integrated farm management as an expression for, within oneís own, umm, but in terms of co-operation, I think thereís a lot to be, to be, umm, to be said for that, I mean one of the things I want to do with my Local Produce is umm, to actually, umm, to have farmers groups, so you know, you, you can discuss, you know, if youíve got a group of farmers who are supplying you in an area, letís sit down and discuss what youíre doing, what, what you find, good out of what weíre doing for you, umm, and vice versa, where, where are pitfalls and strength and weak, almost do a SWOT analysis, umm, and you can use that in integrated farm management systems, umm, I mean, I donít, Iím not a hundred percent certain where youíre coming from, but thatís how I would read the question


4.373.  AW: I think thereís a scheme called Leaf


4.374.  DO: Leaf, yup, yup, thatís umm, really Leaf is to, umm, demon, to have farms that you, you, open to the public, umm, thereís a couple, couple near here, err, I think theyíre a very, very good idea, I think umm, agriculture is an incredibly business, whereby, everyone can see what youíre doing, but umm, no one actually knows what youíre doing, so I think itís got a double edged sword and I think to explain to people why youíre doing things, umm, is, is right and proper, umm, especially, you must bear in mind that most of the stuff that we produce goes into peopleís bodies, I think that itís important that we get it right


4.375.  AW: Are there many experts that help you, out here on the farm, for example arable farmers might have agronomists


4.376.  DO: Yup, yeah, we have vets, umm, yeah we have people who are specialists in their fields, feed, breeding, umm, nutrition obviously


4.377.  AW: Do you call on them, or, do, are you part of some programme or


4.378.  DO: No, yeah, I mean I do, I mean, going back to this, umm, licensing farms, one of the big problems I see it, is that, because of the quality assurance schemes, you get the vet out to do your quarterly quality assurance scheme and the vet charges whatever he charges now, I donít begrudge him, whatever he charges, but because weíre not making a profit, you said to the guy, right I want you to come out, I want you to do this scheme, and go, you know, I donít want any messing around, because every minute youíre here costs me two quid or whatever, umm, whereas what they should be doing, they should be coming out and they should be looking at the farm, the system, the bio-security, umm, the whole thing, and, and, that way, I think youíd get a, better, umm, youíd, youíd get safer food, youíd get, umm, why I say safer food is because then you can monitor, the pitfalls, etc, that are going on, in the business, umm, you know, where youíre looking after animals, your crops, etc, youíd also get, umm, better bio-security, umm, youíd have more transparency, although it could in a confidential way, so that there is a, there is a, very firm, clear, umm, cause of action, umm, where your animals are going or not going, umm, so, yeah, the flow is known, umm, you see most farmers donít know, where their produce ends up, when it leaves the farm gate, you know, they know itís going to Joe Bloggs, the merchant and he says itís going to such and such a mill, but apart from that, thatís all they know, they wonít know go on to a shelf of, at Waitrose and thereís one of their lambs on there, and I think until we know, have this sort of information, we canít really go any further forward, because you can look at a bit of lamb and say, oh thatís not very good, I wouldnít produce it like that, little do you know itís yours


4.379.  AW: Do you know where your, where your, animals end up


4.380.  DO: Nope, nope, no, umm, because the guy I sell them to, umm, doesnít really want me to know, anything about them, but also, you see, he doesnít, not, not only that, but I get no feedback about how well my animals do when they get to him, you know, if heís, heís loosing animals umm, or, they have a check, or whatever, you know I have no feedback at all, and I think thatís disgraceful


4.381.  AW: Is that because you donít sell directly to the abattoirs, you sell via the marketing, the Thames Valley


4.382.  DO: CAMBAC, no, no, because, I, I think Iíd have greater feedback from Thames Valley CAMBAC that I would through the abattoirs,  abattoirs do not want us to be involved beyond, beyond the farm gate, umm, and I think thatís wrong


4.383.  AW: Do you think they would have got that kind of information from markets at all


4.384.  DO: Livestock markets


4.385.  AW: Yeah


4.386.  DO: You could do if you went and talked to the buyer because what normally happens at the livestock market, and Iím not a livestock market man, but what normally happens is that you go in there, and umm, thereís three or four buyers, you know, theyíre buying for different abattoirs, or different, well theyíre buying for abattoirs going into a retail chain, so yeah you could do that, thatíd be more transparent, I think itís wrong, I think we should have, we should have a greater understanding, I mean one of the things, that they say in the curry report is, a reconnection to the food chain, umm, and no one wants it but farmers, the retailers donít want it, the processors donít want it


4.387.  AW: How much control do you have over setting the price that you get for your pigs


4.388.  DO: None, none, weíre price takers, not price setters, not price makers, weíre price takers not makers, and I, and thatís something else Iíve got a problem with


4.389.  AW: There isnít a period of time when you can decide whether to sell or not to sell, and so influence the price in that way


4.390.  DO: Well, things like milk, and pigs, and poultry, the answers no, because your, you know, youíve got a bulk tank for your milk and when itís full, itís got to go, otherwise you canít milk the next day, I mean we have pigs, weíre producing, or we were producing pigs every week, and we need to, you know, we need to move the pigs on to get the next lot in, umm, yeah, itís a chain, umm, they call it intensive farming I think, umm, I call it feeding a large population off a small island


4.391.  AW: What, what part do you think, err, supermarkets play, now, do you think, do you think they have an influence, and have they had, when you went into farming did they have much influence


4.392.  DO: Oh I think the influence of supermarkets has certainly changed, I mean, youíve got a, umm, youíve got a pyramid system now, which is very broad at the bottom and very thin at the top, at the bottom is the producers, at the top is the buyers, lots of producers, very few buyers, that gives you, a buyers, a buyers market, if it was the other way round, if it was a funnel system, with very few producers and lots of buyers, it would then be a sellers market, umm, farmers are, historically, umm, very, very poor to non existence in their marketing, and we, we need to redress this and, individual farmers wonít do it on their own


4.393.  AW: In what way do err, supermarkets influence you, here, on this farm, or have they done in the past


4.394.  DO: No way at all, not at all


4.395.  AW: Do they insist on particular breeds, weights


4.396.  DO: No, they wouldnít know


4.397.  AW: Assurance schemes


4.398.  DO: No,  no, theyíd have no idea, they, they donít buy pigs, they buy cuts, they sell product, we sell commodities, umm, I mean, Iíd, I donít have an axe to grind with supermarkets, they market eighty five per cent of the food thatís sold in this country, we should work with them, not against them, I had a meeting with one of the, umm, well it was Sainsburys actually, a fortnight, three weeks ago, and I was sat in the waiting room and umm, got talking with to two guys who are from one of the major processors, and they said what do I do, and I said Iím a farmer, oh youíve come to visit the enemy have you, well I think if weíve got that attitude going through our industry, weíre never going to go anywhere, I donít consider the supermarkets the enemies, theyíre very shrewd, very switched on businessmen, the problem theyíre got is their costs are too high, umm, and they, they pass their costs on down to us, umm, to take price out of our commodity, we need to have stronger, firmer, better marketing, and we canít have that if we donít have a relationship with them, we donít know were our products going


4.399.  AW: One of the assurance schemes, is organic, have you ever considered going organic


4.400.  DO: No, not at all, umm, I think the organic market, umm, I, I, I have no problem with organic production and I think organic production in this country is the best in the world, umm, one of the problems I see with the organic system is they bring in food from abroad, umm, with dubious organic credentials, to compete against ours and yet again weíre looking at this import situation which is undermining what weíre doing, err, Iíll give you an example, in Spain, they, they, produce a lot of lettuces out there, and theyíre, theyíre organically produced, they are irrigated with human sewage to the point of picking, umm, and, thatís what they call organic, I donít want it, I donít want it, can you just stop a sec, Jamie


4.401.  [Recording is paused]


4.402.  AW: Thatís Jamie, thatís your son is it


4.403.  DO: Yeah, yeah, his mates, mates staying with him today, his mates umm, actually the, the son of the, the umm, marketing manager, MD really of Thames Valley CAMBAC, whoís a very good friend of mine, guy Iíve got a lot of time for


4.404.  AW: Umm, you mentioned, I think, the exchange rate, earlier on, umm, it sounds like a very significant factor, err, for you as a, pig producer, or has been


4.405.  DO: Err, yeah, it is, if you track, if you track profitability over the last twenty years, it, it, tracks the exchange rate, if you look at the early nineties when the pound weak against the Deutschmark umm, farming was very profitable, umm, as the pound, umm, strengthened against the Deutschmark, and latterly against the euro, in the late nineties and early umm, part of the twenty first century, umm, we have a thirty per cent disadvantage against our competitors in Europe, umm, and we have something called Agrimoney compensation which the Government has, plainly, refused to, to draw most of it down, itís umm, itís drawn down some of it, but thereís seven hundred and fifty eight million pounds that they could have drawn down which they havenít, which I think should have been drawn down in the last two years because of the devastation in the industry, I can see of times previously when agriculture was profitable such as í94, í95, when the previous Government was there, and they didnít draw it down, umm, and I can sort of understand why they didnít, because the, the farming fraternity, it wasnít a crucial requirement, like it is now, umm, that seven hundred and fifty eight million, umm, could have done an awful lot of good to agriculture, because they havenít drawn it down, umm, theyíre, theyíre, if you donít draw down within a certain period of time, that particular, feasibility goes, umm, last year, the last fiscal year, umm, the UK got one point five billion pounds rebate from the European budget, and it got four and a half billion pound worth or rebate on the abatement system from the Fontainebleau agreement, which gives you six billion pounds, umm, and thatís money that the Government has already spent so theyíre going to double, double account it now, and that money could have gone back to agriculture, and I think it should have done, umm, you know, whether you say thereís twenty or thirty percent, of the population that rely on the rural economy, umm, if itís twenty percent, umm, that gives you seventy two billion, seven hundred and twenty billion rather, of which the Government umm, would have, got for agriculture, and of the agrimoney compensation our Government had to put seventy one percent in, and the, Europe put twenty nine percent in, thatís part of the Fontainebleau agreement, umm, the, the money we got back, the six billion would have paid for, you know, really, kept agriculture, umm, in a much stronger situation, umm, and of course theyíd have got some of that money back out of taxing profitability, I should thing they get very little money from agriculture at the moment, through taxation


4.406.  AW: When you started, umm, with your pigs, í79 was it


4.407.  DO: Yup, 5th November


4.408.  AW: Umm, how important do think, exports err, were then, and also applies to the exchange rate


4.409.  DO: Iíve no idea, umm, Iíve no idea


4.410.  AW: Were you aware of it


4.411.  DO: No, no


4.412.  AW: When you started


4.413.  DO: No, no, I was young, keen, twenty, thirty year old, and umm, or twenty eight, seven year old, no, I wasnít, wasnít interested in politics, I was much more interested in getting my business going, umm, I believe I had a market, umm, that I could sell pigs profitably at, and thatís all I was interest at the time, you know, as you get older, you get  involved in different things, and I got involved in, in, in politics


4.414.  AW: Where would you sell the, umm maybe itís a while ago now, but do you remember where you would have sold your pigs to, initially


4.415.  DO: Yeah I know exactly where I sold them to, I sold them to a farmer, as I explained to you earlier, umm, down the road at three weeks old and he fattened them, yeah, I used to take them down there, used to load up my tractor and trailer and take them down there


4.416.  AW: And would he have taken them to market, or was


4.417.  DO: No, no, he sold them through Thames Valley Pigs, he was a director then


4.418.  AW: Oh right, right


4.419.  DO: Thames Valley Pigs was a very important part of this areaís development, umm, in I suppose the Ď80s and Ď90s, no the Ď70s and Ď80s


4.420.  AW: When you retire, do you think youíre, who, do you think your children will take over the farm


4.421.  DO: Err, youíll have to ask them, itís not my decision, umm, Iíll support them in whatever they want to do, but no, I doubt it


4.422.  AW: You, you donít have any particular expectations


4.423.  DO: I mean, Iíll have a house, and, and, where we live with, with a bit of land and some buildings, I mean, umm, if my children want to go farming, and Iíve made umm, money out of err, my Local Produce for Local People, Iíll help them, if I can, umm, but I have no intention of telling my children what to do, they must, they must do whatís best for them and what they want to do, weíll help them, weíll guide them, weíll support them


4.424.  AW: Have you seen, umm, you neighbouring, any of your neighbouring farms amalgamated, err, since youíve been here


4.425.  DO: Umm, to some extent, yeah, yeah, amalgamate or contract, contract some of their business out to other farmers, or whatever, yeah


4.426.  AW: And how much has this, umm, youíll probably draw on your NFU knowledge here, how much has happened in this area generally in South Oxfordshire, is that been a significant trend


4.427.  DO: Umm, I would think, umm, I couldnít put a figure on it, but yes, I would think, would think itís, itís, significance importance, and I would have thought, specially, and Iím looking in my crystal ball now, over the next two years, umm, most of the amalgamation is obviously in arable sector, umm, I think weíre going to have a very strong harvest this year, umm, I canít determine the quality of it, because that would depend on the sunlight we get between now and harvest, but I think weíre have a very good harvest, umm and I think weíll see prices down to probably the same price they were in the early Ď70s, with all thatís gone on with our costs, since then, umm and I think a lot of arable farmers are going to go through a, two, very, very difficult years, umm, I think, itís one of the areas where we need to concentrate on our marketing to make sure we get the best value we possibly can, because umm, you wonít see the price of a loaf of bread go down, but you might see the price wheat half, or has halved, and umm, thereís something wrong in the system isnít there, I mean at the moment, the average consumer, of their net, disposable income, one point two percent goes back to farmers, umm, of their net disposable income they spend ten percent on food, okay, of which twelve percent, of that ten percent goes to agriculture, hence the one point two percent going back to farmers, and umm, you know, that, thatís not sustainable, in 1971 thirty percent of it, that income went on food, umm, now itís down to ten percent, umm, and itís got to redressed


4.428.  AW: What do you think, the err, publics image of farmers


4.429.  DO: Very mixed I would have thought, hmm, very mixed I would have thought, umm, but I think we I donít think weíre perceived as the villains that we might have done a number of years ago, umm, but I think really to get the answer you ought to go and ask the public, I can only speculate


4.430.  AW: Do you think they have a realistic, err, err, understanding of farming


4.431.  DO: Iíve no idea, I would have thought youíd get a different answer for that from the people in the rural community and the people in the towns, umm, we are very conscious, umm, that we want to try and explain, best way we possibly can to people, what happens in the countryside, hence things like Leaf farms, umm, and we saw, a fortnight ago, the NFU launch, launching a umm, putting up signs on the, in fields telling people whatís going on there, we have, we have children out here, or have had children out here in the past, school children out here, on numerous occasions, about what weíre do in the farm and the countryside, we have a, we get the fox hounds out here, so they can, they can visit fox hounds, we donít err, we donít tell them whether to support hunting or not, they make that decision, we take them down to the woodlands, give them some woodland management, we take them through, umm, an area of chalk down land, with working ant hills, orchids, lots and lots of little, umm, plants and everything, kites and everything, umm, obviously take them to the farm, the pigs, the sheep, umm, hands-on, might have some shearing going on, or something, have chicks hatching, so yeah, I think itís very important that we, we talk to the public and, as I say you get PR of course


4.432.  AW: How did you make those links with the school children that came to visit, etc


4.433.  DO: Well first of all, obviously I use my own school, umm, my school my children are at, umm, and then it just sort of grew from there, thereís liaison officer in Oxfordshire, called Hailley something or other, who does, school visits, and err, we talk to her, umm, yeah, you know, use the resources that out there to do it


4.434.  AW: If you were giving advice to someone who was farming today, what would you say


4.435.  DO: Err, I, I, canít answer that question, because youíre, depends who, what their background is, their financial situation, whether theyíre inheriting a farm, umm, whether theyíre got the experience, itís, itís, I couldnít give that question, I couldnít answer that question, Iíd support them if they wanted to do it, umm, err, with the right resources behind them


4.436.  AW: Okay, this one is a complete change, did you, did you meet your partner, your wife through farming


4.437.  DO: Err, indirectly yes, my wifeís a chief, and sheíd, sheíd moved out of London, where she was cooking for the Guardian, the editor of the Guardian newspaper, umm, and umm, so she cooked for all the, the royal family and all the MPís of the day, and senior businessmen, and then she came out here to set up a restaurant for someone, and started it up, which she did, and she was living in the farm house, because, the hmm,  where I kept my pigs, because the farm was actually London based, umm, with a company in London, and so I met her in the farm yard and everything, and one day I asked her out, and it went on from there, really


4.438.  AW: I think I probably asked you all of the questions that I have, what do you think of the recommendations of the Food and Farming Commission to switch from subsidy production to environmental subsidies


4.439.  DO: I donít think thatís actually what it says, umm, I think weíre talking about modulation, umm, and modulation is not actually a word, in the err, umm, in the English language, umm, what concerns me about modulation is that, umm, at the moment, ninety percent, hmm, nineteen per cent of our agricultural budget goes to administration, umm, in foot and mouth, forty per cent of the foot and mouth budget went to administration, and as I interpret, in my own mind, is that theyíre going to take money out of direct subsidies, which will probably take them, cost them ten or twenty per cent to take them out of direct subsidies, and put them in, indirect subsidies, which will probably cost another thirty, forty percent to deal with, so if you take, a hundred million pounds, if theyíve umm, cost them say, ten percent, to take them out of direct payment, you then got ninety million pounds which is then going to cost them, thirty percent, umm, to, to put it into indirect payments, thatís another err, thirty million pounds, so your down to sixty million pounds, so the hundred million pounds, then becomes sixty million pounds, what Don Curries saying is that he wants to move a broad shallow system, whereby you use the administration facilities youíve got a the moment, such as the IACS form, whereby you donít loose all this money through administration, umm, I support the Curry report because I think if we donít support it then we wonít be in the top table to discuss it as the National Farmers Union, and Iím wearing my National Farmers Union hat now, umm, I would question certain things in it, but I think overall, umm, Don Curry and his team have my support and Iíve, Iíve publicly said so, umm, at the NFU AGM and at other meetings, umm, but I am sceptical about how Government will use modulation, but I am quite sure in my own mind, that what we are going to end up, in, in the umm, any form of subsidy coming from the Government in agriculture is going to be less, you know, itís going to get less not more, so weíve got to make sure that we, umm, involve an administration that we loose as little as possible, but on subsidies, itís one thing I feel very strongly about, and umm, hopefully, it will go down in prosperity, in your DVD or whatever youíre recording this on, is that at the moment most of the commodities that farmers sell are sold at a loss, if theyíre selling it at a loss, who is subsiding who


4.440.  AW: You say theyíre selling at a, a loose, is that, thatís because the subsidies support them in breaking even


4.441.  DO: No, no, the commodity price, if it cost for instance, twenty p, to produce a litre of milk and theyíre getting fifteen p, right, so you know, the farmer is spending five p a litre on milk to produce it more than heís getting, consequently heís subsidising the, the, heís subsidising the food chain, umm, you know, itís not sustainable, umm, you know, weíre, weíre loosing livestock in this country in droves, and, and I think itís umm, itís immoral and itís wrong


4.442.  AW: Do you know many other farmers that have got out of farming


4.443.  DO: Yup, yup, [inaudible], Iím not alone, by any means


4.444.  AW: Many


4.445.  DO: Umm, err, I couldnít, I couldnít quantify it, at the moment, I havenít really given it any thought, but err, I can think of a number just off the top of my head, yeah


4.446.  AW: Are you surprised by, by whoís getting out of farming, do you see a pattern


4.447.  DO: Hmm, no, no, I donít see a pattern, I mean what, what I think you probably see is people of my age getting out and younger, and yeah, I know some of them, thatís, thatís the ones that, Iím not happy with, umm, the older ones say, you know, fifty five got no natural heir, are milking cows, theyíre sick and tired of getting up at five every morning and they want a bit of time for themselves, I mean the last day I had off, was, itís now the 5th or 4th of July, of June 2002, the last day I had off from work was the second of, err, January 2001, Iíve worked every single day including weekends since then, and Iíve had a gut full of it, Iím tired, Iím knackered, err, and Iím angry with it, I suppose, umm, and I think a lot of people are in the same boat, um, you know Iíve got a young family, we, we canít afford to go on holidays, umm, and umm, I think itís rather sad, you know, someone, whoís,  whoís an opinion informer, proactive member of society,  and itís own industry is being driven out because of my own desire to succeed, what an indictment of an industry, I ought to have your job


4.448.  AW: One thing I havenít asked you is, is there much bureaucracy, err, in farming


4.449.  DO: Hugh, yeah, thereís a lot of bureaucracy in farming, you know that as well as I do, and a lot of the bureaucracy and form filling, fillinf, is just for the sake of filling in the forms, I mean, itís, for no sound, good reason, back to the jobs for the boys, umm, letís, letís make the thing clear, coherent, and simple to administer, I mean, I, people, farmers do not have the time, to fill in their forms properly, cause they get too many bloody forms, umm, and theyíre too tired


4.450.  AW: Actually one thing I was going to ask you is, were you here when the M40 was built


4.451.  DO: Umm, yeah, I, I was but I wasnít, not living here, no I wasnít farming in my own right, umm, it was probably built, in, about, umm, ooph, was probably built in, between í75 and í80 wasnít it.


4.452.  AW: Yup


4.453.  DO: I mean I can remember, I can remember, going to looking at the cutting through Stokenchurch, I remember going to look at them doing that and thought what a fantastic bit of, umm, engineering, but no, I mean itís had no influence on my life


4.454.  AW: Thatís what I was going to ask you


4.455.  DO: I mean the only influence itís had on my life is that I can go down to junction six, like you did, get the Tube to London, umm, donít pay for the car park, and spend nine pound for a, a, a return ticket, and I think thatís fantastic, and, and, that is the way that weíre going to reduce, umm, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, etc, because itís a user friendly system, I mean, what they probably want to do is move it somewhere, put a car park up and charge us to, to park there, umm, you know, then, theyíll loose all the good itís done, I think the way it works at the moment is fantastic and I think it should be encouraged, and I think if we had more, I mean thatís what I call, broad and shallow administration, something simple, umm, and at the end of the day, the more simple it is the likely we are to do it


4.456.  AW: Will you now be selling off part of your land, here


4.457.  DO: No, no, no, Iím giving up, the land I tenant, but the, the only bit that I own is in this ring fence where weíre sat now, which as I said is sixteen acres, umm, and I will, hopefully retain this, umm, I canít sell it off anyway, because, because of the dear old planning laws, umm, in, in, SODC have tied the house to the land, umm, which will be contested, or has been contested, umm, agriculture, because my house has whatís called an agricultural tie on it, itís been contested at the umm, European Court of Human Rights and I believe in 2003, umm, the agricultural tie on this house will, will not exist, umm, which will, obviously make me a very wealthy man


4.458.  AW: Are there other constraints


4.459.  DO: Or, or, not, a very wealthy man, more, give me more money in my pocket, I wouldnít want to be mis-interpreted, sorry, you what


4.460.  AW: Umm, are there other constraints on planning because of where this, err, where your farm is located, umm, is it an Area Of Outstanding Natural beauty


4.461.  DO: Yeah, yeah, itís an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, umm, but I donít see that as a criteria, because if you think about it, most of the listed houses, in fact all the listed houses in this country were built prior planning permission, or if you let people get on and build with the umm commodities in their vicinity, you end up with what people want anyway, umm, I think, what, I donít have a high regard for planners, umm, I think that they, umm, have a little understanding of how the community and the population works, and I think the most important thing is not where itís built, but how itís built


4.462.  AW: I think thatís just about it really


4.463.  DO: Well done


4.464.  AW: Whatís the greatest disadvantage of living here on this farm, and whatís the greatest advantage


4.465.  DO: Advantage and disadvantage


4.466.  AW: Yeah, for you


4.467.  DO: Both, no, both


4.468.  AW: Err, could be the same one


4.469.  DO: The greatest, the greatest advantage as far as Iím concerned is the older I get, the more reclusive I get, umm, I have my own little island here, I mean itís fantastic, umm, I live in a, an area of much wildlife, which I love, umm, security, my daughter can keep her pony here happily, my kids can ride their motorbikes round the farm and everything, I think thatís fantastic and that gives me a lot of pleasure and joy, umm, disadvantages I suppose the disadvantages, umm, of most country people, is that weíre, weíve now lost all our service in the countryside, no shops, no pubs, umm, and what goes with it and everything I want, I have to drive to, using fossil fuels, at umm, significant expense when I think the Government takes about eighty per cent, of every time, or ninety percent I fill my car up with petrol they take it in tax and I think there should be a two tier tax system


4.470.  AW: Youíre not far from Watlington here, is that, err


4.471.  DO: Iím in the parish of Watlington


4.472.  AW: Right, is that an important, umm, do you think of yourself as a member of a, a, the local community, does the village, umm, is it an important social centre for you


4.473.  DO: No, I mean, I have a, obviously, I have , umm, err, my chums around here, whatever, err, come from many different facets, I mean, Iíve got good friends in Watlington donít get me wrong, you know, and Iím one of the people who are probably very well known in Watlington, umm, as I am in the neighbouring villages here, umm, but, as I said earlier, you know, the older you get, the more reclusive you get and I have ample opportunity of being more reclusive by living here


4.474.  AW: Do you children go to school there


4.475.  DO: No my children, two go to college at Ship Lake college which is a secondary err, secondary private school or public secondary school at Ship Lake which is the other side of Henley, and my daughter goes to a school in Abingdon, which is also a private school, umm, Our Ladyís Convent, so yup


4.476.  AW: Did they go, I think thereís a primary school there, there must be actually


4.477.  DO: In Watlington, yeah, thereís a primary and a secondary school, yup, yup


4.478.  AW: Did you children attend that


4.479.  DO: No, never, theyíve been through the umm, they been through the private system, all the, excuse me, as I did, umm, I know no different, fortunately, Iím not sure I made the right decision, Iím not sure if I can afford, afford for them for them to stay there, but Iíll find a way somehow, of making sure they stay there


4.480.  AW: Thanks very much, David


4.481.  DO: Thatís alright

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