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Interview with Clive Hawes, farmer




Interview date: 29 May 2002

Interview location: Grange Farm, Little Chesterton, Bicester, Oxfordshire. OX25 3PD.

Interviewee: Clive Hawes

Interviewer: Andrew Wood

Transcript key: AW: Andrew Wood; CH: Clive Hawes; CHS: Clive Hawes son




3.0.           AW: I'll take this off so I can see ma, it keeps the time


3.1.           [Interviewer removes watch]


3.2.           AW: Okay, it’s err Wednesday 29th of May. I'm interviewing Clive Hawes at Little Chesterton, Grange Farm, and this is Andrew Wood interviewing


3.3.           AW: Clive, if I asked you to introduce yourself what do you think you'd say


3.4.           CH: Umm, my name's Clive Hawes, as you just said, I live at Little Chesterton, Grange Farm, Little Chesterton, um, I'm forty eight years old, I've been farming here all my life


3.5.           [Clive Hawes’s son enters room].


3.6.           CH: Umm, live here with my wife and two sons who are thirteen and fifteen, is this recording all the time


3.7.           AW: Yeah, I mean we can stop it


3.8.           CH: Right, keep out


3.9.           CHS: Sorry


3.10.       AW: So, um, how did you get into farming


3.11.       CH: Um, through the farm, family farming business, my farther was a farmer and my grand farther before him, um, probably, five or six generations, as far back as local, err, family knowledge goes


3.12.       AW: So you've been farming at this farm throughout your working life


3.13.       CH: Yup, and lived here, yes, yup


3.14.       AW: And err, has the farm changed much in that time


3.15.       CH: Um Yes. Farm's changes dramatically, farming has changed dramatically from, as I mentioned to you earlier, because the motorways come through as well, umm


3.16.       AW: Go back to when you started working here with, you were working with your farther here, on the farm


3.17.       CH: Yeah, umm, a lot, lots and lots of labour, umm


3.18.       AW: So let's see, that's about fifty, what is that, forty eight, forty eight years ago


3.19.       CH: Well I was born forty eight years ago, I suppose, I started going down the farm, I was always taken down the farm as a baby because my mum and dad were milking down there, um so I can remember from about three years on and they were milking in a very old, fashion parlour and very unmechanised, where as today its totally changed round the other way


3.20.       AW: Was it a small hear


3.21.       CH: Um, it would be considered a very small heard today, but in those days they considered it to be quite large. I think they started with about fifty cows, and built over ten years to, about two hundred, which in those days was considered large, today, of course, a thousand is large and five hundred is probably a fair sized heard, um, saying the way it's gone


3.22.       AW: So was it, it was a mixed farm at that time was it


3.23.       CH: Err very much so, I mean my farther was into, the dairy side of it and pedigree fresian cattle, that was his hobby and milking, umm he then started up a small pig heard, umm, which he built up to about a thousand pigs, producing pork pigs umm and when I first left school, prior to leaving school, I started with sheep because he hadn't got sheep enterprise on the farm and he was very keen that I did something on my own, so by the time I'd left school, I'd got about a thousand ewes of my own which were on rented land and just came back here for lambing


3.24.       AW: And umm, where were those umm, where were those cattle and sheep sold, and pigs, were they sold locally


3.25.       CH: All through local markets, in those days, hmm, there wasn't, umm or certain there was very little direct selling to the abattoirs because the multiples weren't involved. I mean that's probably the biggest transformation that's happened in the last fifteen years, is that the multiples of supermarkets, when I say the multiples of supermarkets have taken all the buying power, so consequently the little markets, i.e. like Bicester market, which traditionally we all went to, I mean it, it was the day out, where you went and you might have taken you ten pigs and four lambs or whatever, and you'd see everybody and chat about all these things, those markets can't survive because there aren't the little butchers who went there to buy, umm, and it's not possible for them to survive, so it's probably one of the biggest changes that we've seen, is the actual marketing side of it


3.26.       AW: And, were, were there any crops grown here, you said about some of the livestock, you, you kept some sheep


3.27.       CH: Yeah


3.28.       AW: Your father had cattle and pigs


3.29.       CH: We didn't start keeping, we didn't start doing any arable until I guess, about, it would be about, twenty years ago, and then the corn prices, if I remember had become very lucrative, and so it looked more profitable then to go into the arable side of it, plus the arable could be done using contractors and outside labourers, rather than having the high staffing costs, because we had, when we had a lot of livestock here in the, in the old days we had a lot of labour, probably had five or six guys working here full time and although the wages were comparably low, it was still a lot of money going out, each week


3.30.       AW: Did they live on your farm, or were they


3.31.       CH: Yeah, they all, they all had tired cottages


3.32.       AW: And do you remember what umm, what crops, were first grown, arable


3.33.       CH: I think the first crops that were grown were probably wheat, umm, we grow continuous wheat for probably four or five years. Umm and then, after that, I believe set-a-side just came in, and at that time you had a set-a-side option where you could put a hundred percent into set-aside


3.34.       AW: What, do you remember what sort of rough date those would be


3.35.       CH: I would guess it's about ten to fifteen years ago, as I said, we started growing wheat about twenty odd years ago, we had continuous wheat with oil seed rape, we did grow oil seed rape, for a couple of years when that was good and, umm, then we went to a hundred percent set-a-side which was by far the best thing as far as I was concerned, umm, once that, that finished we then grew hemp one year, I grew three hundred acres of hemp which was quite an amazing crop, umm, again for the subsidy, there was a two and sixty three pound an acre subsidy on it, err


3.36.       AW: Did you grow wheat initially because of the subsidy or the market price, or


3.37.       CH: No, initially, it was the market price, I mean in, in those days, going back twenty five years ago before we got involved with the EEC really, the old efficiency payments that had come-in post war, had more or less been phased-out, and our prices had reached a sensible level, so there was very little subsidies about, there were a few subsidies for um, buildings and improvements and that sort of thing, maybe a bit of conservation subsidies as well, but very, very little direct subsidies, which is how I think it should be now, I mean I think it's a prime example of if bureaucracy gets involved with trying to manipulate the prices, they make a total cock-up of it, that's a personal view


3.38.       AW: Hmm, so, when you started going to arable, did the farm large get larger, did you take on more land


3.39.       CH: Uhum, yes


3.40.       AW: I mean, you've been farming for about thirty years, roughly, is that about right, here at this farm with your, your father


3.41.       CH: Well, my father died when I was about eighteen, so I've been doing it in on my own for about thirty years, umm, we, once we went to arable we did take over a lot more land, umm, as farms a became available and guys retired, we would take over the farms and contract farm it or share farm it with them, and um, we would have ended up I suppose, or I would have ended up, in about umm, what would it be, twenty, yeah, about fifteen, twenty years ago I’d have had about a thousand acres, all under arable


3.42.       AW: That's, that’s quite a size, err, for this


3.43.       CH: Well it was then,


3.44.       AW: Was it


3.45.       CH: But now a days of course, it's not, I mean now you're looking at guy's in the area probably doing five thousand acres, umm, and they'll be the people that continue, and I guess in ten years time and they'll probably have twenty thousand acres, because it will go in multiples, you know, because the machinery is that much bigger, I remember fields that I used to bail, I used to do the bailings because we needed a lot of straw back here for the live stock, and umm, there's a farm between here and Bicester, which was four hundred acres of arable, and it would take me about a month to bail that, now with the big high density bailers, like last year I saw the guys go in, they'd bailed and cleared the whole farm in three days, and that was one man, whereas when we were doing it, we'd have, like, me bailing, three guys pitching and loading the bails and another couple stacking them back in the barn, and so, five men, working for thirty days, you’ve got a hundred and fifty man days replaced by a three days. It's just incredible, I mean it’s fundamental difference


3.46.       AW: When you started going to arable did you, err, was that all sub contracted or did you use the, or were the employees who lived on the farm, were they, started going into that, or


3.47.       CH: No, we always used contractors, because we see from our point of view it was far cheaper to go there contract route than it was to have hour own machinery


3.48.       AW: So would those be neighbouring farmers, people from the village


3.49.       CH: No, they were specific agricultural contractors


3.50.       AW: So they, they, could be working nationally and, how would you find those, how would you find those people?


3.51.       CH: Umm, at that particular time, because there were a lot of people doing similar to us, there were a lot of young guys that were farmers sons that started up contracting, there were, lots and lots that started up contracting, so there was never a problem to find them, umm, and also in those days they were going through all, the country was going through very high inflation, they could go out and lease their machinery, and like five years later they'd sell the old machine on for the same money they'd bought it for, but of course, the next five years they caught a cold because suddenly that didn't work any more


3.52.       AW: And as far as the machinery goes that must err, that must be a big change, when you started at eighteen umm, there were obviously tractors, err, at that time, umm combine harvesters, have you seen changes, any big changes in that, has that changes a lot


3.53.       CH: Well yes, I think I touched on that before, for example, the old, the old bailers which made the small bails that were sort of man-handle-able because they were designed to be handled by hand, umm, are so totally different to today's bailers, I mean I think an average straw bail would probably, you'd probably get about fifty to the tonne, whereas with these high density bails now you'd probably get three to the tonne, and obviously its designed for machines, you've got teleporters, fast track JCB's that can travel on the road


3.54.       AW: Sorry what are teleporters


3.55.       CH: Teleporters are four wheel drive loaders effectively, which, are all singing, all dancing, with electronic controls where as any loaders we had, in the early days they hadn't even got hydraulic tilts, I mean you, you drove your little old tractor and you had to steer it into the heap of bails or whatever, so, it's a totally different ball game


3.56.       AW: And has similar, there been similar changes with stock, I mean, err


3.57.       CH: I suppose the most dramatic change in stock, was probably the different breeds that have come-in, umm, because, again, and that’s, that has almost turned full circle interestingly enough, because, initially we would have been all the Old Dutch type of friesians, umm the beef would have been nearly all have been Hertford and Angus crosses, none, nobody had ever hear of a Charolais or  Continental beast, and of course when they first all came over, the traditional butchers hated them because it was lean tough meat, but of course it was exactly what the supermarkets wanted, they wanted a high lean ratio that could be sold very quickly, they didn't want to see any fat, and so I think with the livestock it would definitely be the breeds that have changed so dramatically, but interestingly enough, suddenly the supermarkets have realised that, I think general public become more affluent, and so they are paying premiums, I think you mentioned earlier that you got, a previous interviewee that had got, umm, a premium job with Sainsbury's and umm they're paying premiums for the Old English breeds again, which is great, they're coming back, but it's because it eats better, its higher fat content, slower growing, its got more flavour


3.58.       AW: Does your family help out on the farm with, with you at the moment much


3.59.       CH: Yeah, umm, not so much so much as historically because there isn't the manual work to do


3.60.       AW: Umm is that, is that your, your wife, your partner, or your err children


3.61.       CH: One son is very keen, one son would love to be a farmer, um


3.62.       AW: What sort age are they, if you don't mind me asking


3.63.       CH: He's thirteen, umm and, I mean it's in his blood, I've sort of, in one way I'd like him to do it, on the other hand I'd like him not to do it because, there's an awful lot of other things that one can do, and umm farming isn't the romantic thing that it used to be, umm you know there's so much bureaucracy involved and, so many people who are 'anti' what your doing, that it is, a bit of a liability


3.64.       AW: But you think they, they might follow in your foot, footsteps


3.65.       CH: I think the young one would if he can get the land, if it's viable enough, probably, probably more likely to, be part-time, because we're not big enough now, umm I think, as I mentioned before I've sort of diversified over the years and luckily my income isn't totally dependent on farming, if it was, we could live in the lifestyle that we all, we've got other income, thank God


3.66.       AW: Does your, does your partner, your wife, help out on the farm at all


3.67.       CH: Yes she does, she helps out, but she's, she's got a full time job as well, hum, hum


3.68.       AW: And does she play a part in decision making as far as business decisions you might call them


3.69.       CH: Umm


3.70.       AW: What sort of thing does she do if you don't mind me asking


3.71.       CH: She does all the bookwork, umm, she pays the bills, she runs the ear tagging for the cattle and, that BCMS thing umm, if we've got a lot of sheep to move and that sort of thing, she'll be out there helping with the sheep, umm yeah whatever


3.72.       AW: So the only, so you have subcontractors who work on the farm but apart from that and the assistance from your family there are no employees, um, does, I don't know if you've got any family, brothers or sisters who


3.73.       CH: No, no, nobody else, no


3.74.       AW: So what's, what’s a typical working day for you, I mean this might have changed in the last year but, I mean you can say now, or a year ago, what, what do you think is, what is a typical working day for you


3.75.       CH: Umm, well again, I think, my day is split up into, five or six different entities because as I said I'm not totally dependent on the farming issue, if we, if we were busy lambing, for example, then my whole day would be looking after the sheep, in that instance I'd be up, not that early, probably seven o'clock and probably working through with the sheep to, probably check ’em at nine o'clock at night, just to see everything is okay, umm, but my typical day is, I'm sort of fetching materials for the builders that I've got working for me, umm, shopping for the nursing home, doing these other different things, fetching and carrying, and if there's a problem anywhere then I sort the problem out


3.76.       AW: And you, and you'd hire the subcontractors, etc if they where, I don't know, if when you had the sheep, you where, umm


3.77.       CH: If we were shearing then I'd have sheers, and I'd get the sheep in, you know, I'd get the sheep in on my quad bike, set the guys up in the morning and, leave them to it


3.78.       AW: So normally you can, umm, plan your day, set it going in the morning and then, umm, do that, come back in the evening, see what's happened and tell them what to do for the next morning


3.79.       CH: Yeah, to a degree, I mean if we were sheering, I have that option but I'd be about because I enjoy it, you know I used to do the sheering myself, as a boy I was contract sheerer, umm, it would do me in now if I did it, but I still like to be involved because it's, it's a traditional thing that, you know, you relate to, you relate to these guys who are incredible, craftsman, breaking their backs, you know, doing a job which is, part and parcel of the romance of it, if that makes sense. I don't know if it does or not


3.80.       AW: So when you started at eighteen or so would you be doing the sheering


3.81.       CH: Oh yeah, I went around contract sheering, I started doing that when I was about thirteen in the umm holidays


3.82.       AW: And what sort of size of flock did you have in those days


3.83.       CH: Umm


3.84.       AW: When you started at eighteen or so, you started


3.85.       CH: I would have had in those days, no I had about a thousand sheep of my own when I was eighteen, but when I started, the first sheep I was seven, I had about a hundred ewes at thirteen, but if you're asking me when I went around sheering the local farmers, a big flock would have been about a hundred and fifty, in those days


3.86.       AW: So you started, you were quite big, quite early on really


3.87.       CH: Well because I started, I started with the sheep very early, and because as I say my father always made me keep it as a separate business, umm, because he hadn't got any sheep then it was quite easy for me to identity my own, obviously when I was at school, umm, then if there, he'd go round looking at that them for me, that sort of thing, for me, umm, but in the holidays and that you could cover most of the work, hum, hum


3.88.       AW: And were there other aspects of the work that you would have done yourself which you now, put out to contract.


3.89.       CH: Oh all of it, yeah, we would have done all of it, we wouldn't have had any contractors historically, but as, as I tried to explain earlier, as the wages got higher and the costs of employing somebody got higher, we found it far cheaper to, to employee a specialist guy that could get through the volume, err, it's logistics isn't it


3.90.       AW: So over a period of years those employees became subcontractors in effect


3.91.       CH: Some, yeah, some, some became subcontractors, umm, some of them went on to do other things, but I guess if you look at the, the umm, employees in agriculture over the whole country, sort of today, well, say 2000 as against 1965, I'd guess there was only twenty or thirty per cent of the guys working, I don't know, I don't know if that's the statistic, but


3.92.       AW: When, when you started farming, were there, were there other, umm, were there other food products produced that where produced here on the farm, butter, maybe cheese or umm


3.93.       CH: No, err, um, we would have been producing, err, pork, we were selling pork pigs, milk from the cattle and beef from the cattle, and then later on, when I had my own sheep, we'd have been selling the lamb as well, so I mean it was meat, all those four meat products, we weren't doing any value added work on the farm at all, if you go back a generation, then I know from what I've been told, that my grandmother, in the sort of the war years, and in those years, they would have been selling butter, they would have been selling eggs, they would have been selling wool, in those years they would have been doing all those sort of things, umm, and I think when you, when you hear what they had to say, there was quite sort of black economy in the war, and they did very well out of selling eggs, I mean they'd always got eggs and things that people wanted, so, you know they probably did quite well in those years


3.94.       AW: As far as keeping, sorry did you say you used to keep a dairy


3.95.       CH: Yup


3.96.       AW: Yeah, umm was there, why did you decided to stop keeping dairy


3.97.       CH: Umm, the margins were getting tighter and tighter, I personally didn't like milking, err, as I said earlier in the interview, it was my fathers hobby, breeding pedigree cattle and milking was his, love


3.98.       AW: Did he, did he win any county prizes and that sort of thing


3.99.       CH: On yeah, we've got a load of cups and that sort of thing, umm, from sort of 1950's to the 1960's


3.100.  AW: And where would those been, Royal Show or Oxfordshire


3.101.  CH: Probably Oxfordshire, they were local, they tended to be Berks, Bucks and Oxon, obviously there were the Royal Shows and that kind of thing going on, but there were a lot more local competitions that people were going into, because travelling then was a big thing, I remember, as a kid, the sort of annual day out would be going out to Reading Horse Show and Sale, which seemed like the end of the earth go there, I mean we’d preparing for it for about a week, whereas now you go to Reading in an hour and a half, you know


3.102.  AW: Was the transition from err churns to err tanks, was that, did you make that transition on this farm


3.103.  CH: Yea, yeah, umm, yeah that seemed quite a miracle really, I can remember that because, rolling the churns out and putting them up on the old milk stand was, hard work


3.104.  AW: And similarly, umm, the, the change from keeping corn in bags to err bins, silos


3.105.  CH: I can't remember doing that, because we didn't have any arable when I was young, we only went into the arable, as I said before, you know, when I was twenty, twenty-ish, so it was all bulk then


3.106.  AW: And in terms of the machinery I mean it’s obviously got larger, can you, err, within err when you from when you started farming can you remember any machinery that had previously you hadn’t used before


3.107.  CH: Umm, well, I guess there’d be no end of different machines if we start thinking about corn drying, there were the umm batch dryers which were the gas dryers which came in


3.108.  AW: These were all things that you had here on the farm where they


3.109.  CH: Yeah, umm,  that was quite a miraculous  thing when we first had it, umm, because, it circulates the corn and just blows it dry and polishes the corn, umm, farm hand loaders, which now are very outdated but we were pitching bails, when I say pitching, you have a fork, and you throw them onto a trailer, and then the farm-hand loaders came in and they were like a flat eight you had a sledge that initially, well initially you didn’t have a sledge, you laid them out , you laid them out in flat eights by hand, but you had this grab on the front of the tractor which picked up eight bails. Well you could just sit on your tractor and pull a lever and eight bails went up onto the trailer, if you were lucky, umm, that was a miraculous thing, umm rotor spreaders, I mean a simple thing like a rotor spreader, I don’t know if you ever heard of that, but that’s like a umm, old very old fashion now muck spreader which was like circular and it had chains, which flung the manure out the side whereas the old ones you had to sort of stake it all in by hand well these you could load and put slurry in or whatever and it would still come out the side, umm so that was another one, but the change in the machinery would be just too numerous to, to even think about in the, few minutes, hum, hum


3.110.  AW: And silage I suppose as well, the move from hay to silage, was that, I mean err on farm was that something that happened


3.111.  CH: Yeah, well silage umm, particularly, we, we used contractors for the silage making, from about, again I would guess, twenty five years ago, prior to that we had all our own little silage machinery which was direct chop umm, New Holland’s with a little old tractor and little trailers that you trail-towed behind, and again to do a ten acre field would probably take you, two days, and then the contractors came in with their bigger machines, which today don’t look very big, but of course they’d do a ten acre field in half a day, and that’s increased and increased to such a stage now that they can probably do two hundred acres in a day now


3.112.  AW: And other feeds, for, for cattle and sheep that must of changed, has that changed in the, in the time that you’ve been farming much


3.113.  CH: Yeah, I think umm, when we first started, there were an awful, awful lot of course mixes, you didn’t see so much cake, which is quite, quite an interesting factor I mean I can remember that, the course mixes used to be, we’d roll it ourselves on the farm, you’d have rolled barley which would be the base of everything, and then you’d have linseed cake and locus beans and all these sort of beans that, come from foreign countries, but wonderful, wonderful food and of course all prime stuff because in those days they, they couldn’t extract the oil and that to the extent that they do today out of it, so it was far better quality than it is today


3.114.  AW: What about occupational hazards, umm, lifting, farm machinery, umm certain chemicals you might use here, on the farm, have you had any, umm, problems with that yourself, or


3.115.  CH: Umm, just the usual I mean, I think every farmer gets a bad back, umm so yeah so that’s probably that’s the only one I’ve had, I’ve been poisoned with dip which was my own fault umm but it’s never bothered me since, I had err umm OP poisoning or whatever one day after I’ve been dipped all day but I was stood on the side of the dip, got my shirt off, getting covered in dip as the sheep were jumping in, housing myself off because it was hot and getting covered again and of course that night it, I’d taken so much in I was in, like delirious,  I was in a hell of a state, but luckily it’s never sort of bothered me since


3.116.  AW: So there’s no, nothing recurring


3.117.  CH: No, and it does make me wonder as an issue because I’ve got friends who have been mobile dippers all their life, I say all their life twenty years and covered in dip and it doesn’t bother them, and yet some other poor people seem to have been exposed to it once or twice and it makes you wonder whether there’s a hereditary thing involved, involved as well, but that’s another issue, it’s not for me to say now


3.118.  AW: Err, there’s been some farmers, some farmers considering changing from OP dips umm, to, oh I’ve forgotten what they’re called now but umm


3.119.  CH: Err, is it carbon


3.120.  AW: They’re not OP


3.121.  CH: No, I know what you mean


3.122.  AW: There’s something that’s slightly less effective but, umm supposedly umm it doesn’t have the same problems that, you know


3.123.  CH: Yeah


3.124.  AW: That supposedly people pick up


3.125.  CH: Well


3.126.  AW: Have you been dipping with OPs since you’ve had sheep


3.127.  CH: Umm, no because when we first started we were still using dieldrin which was an amazing product, I mean it was wonderful, because you could just tip a bit on its head, on a sheep’s head, and it would be maggot free for, probably five months, and of course that was banned, which was fair enough, but umm, we then went on to the umm, OP dips, which seemed useless in comparison to dieldrin  but now of course they seem a lot better than some of the things that are on the market today because its very fashionable not to dip sheep, umm which is why we’re got so much scab and sheep lice that are all coming back because the only way to protect the sheep properly is to dip them, and dip them properly


3.128.  AW: And did you, have you seen any change in the, in the sheep products, I mean, you were shearing your sheep throughout


3.129.  CH: Yeah


3.130.  AW: umm


3.131.  CH: Umm, well a shearing machine is actually very, very similar to what it was forty years, I mean that’s suddenly changed from being a hand shearer, to an electric shearer and the electric shearer is a little more stream lined and maybe a little bit wider cutter but umm, very, that hasn’t changed much at all, because some of those very basic jobs, so far they haven’t managed to change from being manual to mechanical, I mean, they’re trying but never seems to work because you’re dealing with such an irregular product, I mean, a sheep’s body, a sheep’s body is different so you can’t have a machine that does it, unless you’ve got a sheep that’s exactly the same, umm so that ware hasn’t changed, chemicals have changed, as we mentioned before, umm, but no I think actually from the husbandry side of it, it probably hasn’t changed that much, umm, the rules and regulations have changed, err, like now it’s very difficult to get hold of err penicillin or antibiotics to treat, sheep, umm, which may or may be a good thing, personally I find it very frustrating that I can’t go to the vet and say, could I have a bottle of terramycin cause I got a lane sheep and the vet’s fine to give it to me because he wants to come out and look at them, if he comes out and looks at them then he’ll change me a hundred quid, so you know, there you go


3.132.  AW: How do you keep in touch with what’s happening, umm, in the UK and abroad as far as farming goes


3.133.  CH: Umm, I suppose the biggest medium would be the press, umm


3.134.  AW: Is that Farmers Weekly


3.135.  CH: Farmers Weekly, I take Farmers Weekly, the Farmer’s  Guardian is very good, you get various free mags, umm, but because now particularly, all my life I’ve sort of been going abroad to Europe and that sort of thing I’ve trading, I’ve got good trading partners in Europe, then I’ve always my ear listening to what they say, so it’s word of mouth as well, and umm, you know at the moment, particularly France is very, very pro-farming and umm, certainly if I was going into farming now, if my boy goes in, then I’ll encourage him to go over there, because the Government there really want you, it doesn’t matter if you’re French, as long that, your going into the farming, umm, they’re very pro, and it’s really quite refreshing to see it


3.136.  AW: And that, there are other ways of keeping in touch of course, I mean there’s, there’s other media, there’s umm, radio, Farming Today, I don’t know if


3.137.  CH: I don’t listen to that, hum, hum


3.138.  AW: Umm, there might be web sites


3.139.  CH: Yeah, I find, find the websites, I’ve yet to find a good website, in, in farming, umm, I mean we use the err Farmers Weekly Interactive, umm I use the Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ marketing one, they’re got a new computer sales thing which is quite interesting and they putting a lot of money into trying to promote that umm, but whether or not it will ever take off I don’t know


3.140.  AW: And then of course, there’s umm, there might be associations, producer associations, I don’t know if you’re a member of any producer associations


3.141.  CH: No I’m not, I’ve always tried to, for whatever reason I sort of paddle my own canoe to be honest, I’ve kept away from that, but of course the biggest media, the biggest way to learn what was going on was the markets, the livestock markets, because then you would meet everybody else, you’d all picked up a bit here and there, if there was a new subsidy or a new rule coming out, it would be discussed in the bar and everybody that went was switched on, and of course that’s gone


3.142.  AW: Has, has, presumably umm, farmers go to the market or used to, did their frequency in which they went to the market did that change, over err your faming livelihood


3.143.  CH: Well definitely, yeah, because the markets gradually shut down, um, I used to be at, in the markets at one stage, I would have been in the markets five days a week, err because as I said, I also digressed into the meat trade so I was purchasing livestock as well as selling livestock, so I would have done a different market five days a week, and from that I was obviously meeting different people from different areas, well, of those markets I used to cover, there's probably, probably only Thame that's still going, and Thame's going purely by chance because a group of farmers got together and bought it as a co-op, and I think if any survive they probably will


3.144.  AW: What were the, can you remember the names of the other markets you used to go to


3.145.  CH: Yeah, I’d do umm, Bicester market on a Monday, err  Stratford Market on a Tuesday, umm Aylesbury Market on a Wednesday, Banbury Market on a Thursday and, Friday, I think Andover was probably a Friday, but Friday was like a bit of iffy day, could sometimes it'd be Chippenham, I don't know if Chippenham is still going


3.146.  AW: I think Banbury used to be one of the largest


3.147.  CH: Banbury was the largest livestock market in Europe and


3.148.  AW: Were you surprised when that closed


3.149.  CH: Um, I could probably see it coming, umm, and the reason it closed, at the time the guys that were running it were blamed for closing it because it would, it would appeared that it was political, but, with hindsight it closed because the business wasn't there to be done. There weren't the buyers, and without the buyers, there's no point in having the market, I mean, I've been in Banbury Market when there'd be two thousand fat cattle, ten thousand sheep, a couple of thousand pigs and, five hundred barren cows, not to mention a few bit's and other pieces that was there, on one day, and there’d be like hundreds of people there, all trading, which  made a very healthy, in my opinion, a very healthy community, that's what I used to enjoy, that’s to me what it was about, you know, mixing, interacting, to me, to be stuck in one place just looking after my sheep and that romantic thing is not what I want


3.150.  AW: So what's replaced those markets


3.151.  CH: Um, I think, obviously direct selling has now replaced them because the foot and mouth issue, really, forced what was happening anyway, probably forced it on ahead, by two or three years so people had no option bar to sell their livestock to the abattoirs during the foot and mouth thing, um, producer groups, which is a good thing, um and various co-operatives that are selling direct to the abattoirs anyway, but effectively if a farmers got a contact with an abattoir and he actually goes, or he or she goes there and wants to see his livestock graded and how it comes out as a carcass, then he should be marketing it direct to the abattoir, I mean, he’s got to shop around and see which abattoir suits him the best, the markets in a way used to cushion the farmers, and me included, because you could send, take to Banbury for example, you could send two hundred sheep there and they could be two hundred sheep of different qualities, but there would be a man who would buy any one of those two hundred sheep, if you send two hundred sheep to an abattoir of different quality and you don’t know what that abattoir wants, you’ll get the top price for twenty but you’d probably get nothing for the twenty that you didn’t want, so in a way they’ve got to learn to market a different way


3.152.  AW: So do you think it was err, it was better for farmers then, or


3.153.  CH: I think it was an incredibly much better system, yeah


3.154.  AW: Because of the, the communication that happened


3.155.  CH: Because of the communication, people had, people had, people could interconnect, on the news that was going on, in the, in the, nationally and internationally, umm, because there was competition, and without competition this job is shot, you have to have competition, you know, the stock market in London is called the stock market because it was based on livestock trading, the dealers in the London City are treated like heroes, and they’d they’re only, they’re only doing what livestock dealers used to do, if the trades bad, if the trades bad, they’d, they’re will go ahead and think, oh this is cheap, we’ll buy a certain percentage of the shares, and they maintain an equilibrium, and if you take all those guys out, you have no market and that’s where we’re at now, you have no market


3.156.  AW: How do you think farmers communicate today if they don’t have that forum that they would meet


3.157.  CH: Umm, if you’re lucky, now, you might see somebody in, umm, for example, I saw a guy that I hadn’t seen for about a year, in umm MSF, the country, the farmers shop, effectively, and I happened to bump into him and umm, I would normally have seen him once a week in a particular market, you know, umm I’ve known the guy since I was eight, nine years old, and probably seen him on a weekly basis over those years and that was the first I’ve seen him in twelve months, so that’s how it’s changed


3.158.  AW: So, I was going to ask you about this actually, farmers in other countries


3.159.  CH: Yeah


3.160.  AW:  You said you had contact with them, how did that come about


3.161.  CH: Umm, well I, I have, like last year I had sheep myself, in France, so I’ve got some guys down there that look after sheep for me, umm


3.162.  AW: How do you manage that, It must be quite difficult, err


3.163.  CH: Well through contacts, I mean, I’d, I umm, knew a chap that was selling farms over there and got a lot of young English couples that were going over there, buying farms and they’re looking to earn money, so I was exporting sheep to there and, they were then looking after, fattening them for me in their sheds, umm, so yeah, I talk to them, umm and other, other different people, and you were going to ask me how do they interact, is that the next thing


3.164.  AW: Yeah, err, do those markets happen abroad that used to happen in England


3.165.  CH: They do, they do but not quite the same way, they’re more, they’re probably fifty years behind us there


3.166.  AW: We’re talking about France are we


3.167.  CH: In France in particularly, in Ireland, I’ve done quite a bit in Ireland, in Ireland the markets are a very big thing there but they’re now, they’re now going more to direct selling but their store markets are very big, because Ireland still exports a lot of store stock, their, their store markets are still very big but their fat markets for the stuff that’s going straight for, for again for the supermarkets that more or less nearly all goes dead weight


3.168.  [mobile phone buzzes]


3.169.  CH: That’s typical isn’t it

3.170.  CH: Go on, start again


3.171.  CH: I’ll turn it off


3.172.  AW: Does, hmm, is there, hmm, is it, how much communication is there via the internet, I mean in terms of selling and marketing, or is it over the phone, when there’s communication with, with the


3.173.  CH: No, I think, I think I mentioned this Aberdeen and Northern Marts site, which is trying very hard, umm, if you go back ten, err, fifteen years, all the markets tried to get very heavily involved in  these telesales operations, I don’t know if you’ve heard about those, umm, whereby they would, they were, it was done on the television screen, you could see like, ten guys bidding for your stock, somebody came round with a cine-camera and all the big markets thought that was the way forward, they spent a fortune doing it, but it all failed because there wasn’t the interaction between the individuals, you know people need to be, you need the hype to make a market, you need the hype, Aberdeen and Northern Marts are trying, they’ve got a very good site now, and they’re doing it on the internet with a disk, umm, Farmers Weekly have got a site, there’s a lot of different people trying to do these sites, but I feel with the internet, and this is just a personal view, and it’s not only with livestock, but unless you get one model, or one sales site that everybody is using you’re not exposed to as many people as you think you are, you know, who’s reading the Farmer’s Weekly site, maybe twenty other farmers a day that are looking for sheep, whereas international there’s probably twenty thousand, so you need to be linked somehow to the whole market place, which is what the internet was supposed to be about, but it doesn’t actually work, at least I’ve never make it work that way, perhaps it’s me, but


3.174.  AW: There’s a social side as well to those umm, those markets


3.175.  CH: Umm


3.176.  AW: Has, that’s gone as well has it


3.177.  CH: Well, I think I’ve already expressed, expressed my view on that, I feel very, very strongly, my way of life has totally been destroyed, that was, the markets were my way of life, and err


3.178.  AW: Do you think farming is more isolated now


3.179.  CH: Oh definitely, definitely, but I’m not isolated because I’ve done other things


3.180.  AW: Sure


3.181.  CH: If I was just farming, as, I feel, Government would like to see me, then, I’d be very isolated, bio-security and all the rest of it, you know, they’d prefer I didn’t come off the farm


3.182.  AW: And, and, there’s even now a rural stress line, I think, that was umm, that was certainly running during the foot and mouth


3.183.  CH: Oh yeah, umm, I mean foot and mouth was very stressful experience for everybody, whether you had it or not, it’s very stressful because you couldn’t market, you couldn’t move, you know


3.184.  AW: So, with that isolation do you, do you think, umm, do you think it’s made farming a less attractive career


3.185.  CH: I think, umm, yes I think it has, yeah, I don’t think it’s specifically the isolation but probably, you said about the stress line, I think if you look statistically farming has got one of the highest suicide rates, but, it’s even higher if you analysis that, because normally these guys are on hill farms that are totally isolated, you know, they’re probably three times as likely to kill themselves as somebody that’s like, like me that lives in suburbia or, you know I’m like the garage guy up the road, you know, that’s probably the percentages, but there they are very isolated and depression sets in if you’re, isolated and you feel bad, don’t it


3.186.  AW: How, how much information do you have with neighbouring farms, around here, how many farms are there that border on you here


3.187.  CH: There would be, that actually touch me, one, two, and if we count the motorway as the other boundary, three, four, so four farms that actually touch, if we include the motorway, and how often would I speak with them, not at all


3.188.  AW: Are they, do they farm, err, what do they farm, are they in a similar kind of crops


3.189.  CH: Err, one farmer, he’s got a mega farming enterprise, do an exceedingly good job, they’d have a lot of employees, I guess they’d farm, five, ten thousand acres, umm, I put my hand up, we pass in the vans, you know, we put our hands up, umm, the other guy is purely arable, and he would have, probably about a thousand acres of arable, umm, one chap’s got a small suckler herd and, the others would be, can’t remember which one, oh yeah the other ones an absentee sort of corn farmer


3.190.  AW: Do you think you would have previously met them at the market


3.191.  CH: Definitely


3.192.  AW: So it


3.193.  CH: Not all of them, but some of them in different markets, and of course the guy who has the five thousand acres, historically that would probably been, not fifty different farmers but it might have been forty different farmers who would have been farming that land, so he’s replaced forty people that would have been at those different markets


3.194.  AW: Are you, are you a member of the NFU


3.195.  CH: No


3.196.  AW: You’re not, have you, have you, sounds like Mc Carthy, have you ever been a member of the NFU


3.197.  CH: No I haven’t, no


3.198.  AW: Do think it’s a useful organisation


3.199.  CH: No I don’t


3.200.  AW: And have, is that an opinion that you’ve held since you started farming


3.201.  CH: Yup


3.202.  AW: Why do, why do you say that


3.203.  CH: Umm, because I don’t think you’ll ever get, farmers to, it’s a different world in the UK, because farming is so varied from the people that are small family farmers on rented land, to mega wealthy enterprises and they all have a different agenda, Unions are only good if people stand together, umm, if you take France for example, because there’s such a large percentage of the population that are, the voting population, if the French agriculture wants something, and, and the, if the French public support the French farmers, I think there’s something like seventy six percent of the umm, French public think that they should have more subsidies over there, whereas here you probably say it’d be ten or fifteen per cent, but umm, if they want something they’ll all, they’ll all blockade the roads, tip potatoes on the road, whatever, but here, it will never work that way because there’s, it’s such a small population in, overall, and they’ve all got different agendas, they’re, they’re all varied so it’s so different varied, varied


3.204.  AW: So the NFU, the NFU offers quite a number of services umm, like insurance and, etc, I don’t know if you have to be a member of the NFU to take those out


3.205.  CH: I don’t think so I mean they spent a lot of money advertising on tele didn’t they with their NFU insurance, I would think that’s, I don’t even know if that’s part of it now


3.206.  AW: So you’ve never needed to, or wanted to approach them for any of those kind of services, or


3.207.  CH: Umm, I think maybe once or twice over the years I might have rung them for advice on something, umm, and they probably been quite happy to give it to me, you know, although I’m not a member, you know, although I’m not a member I still think it’s there, it’s a body that’s there, umm

3.208.  ??here??


3.209.  AW: Can you think of alternatives to the NFU, or do you think if it’s such a broad, so, there is so, it’s such a broad swath of farmers it would be better to have err, a number of farming unions?


3.210.  CH: Well, I suppose there is now. If you look at the CLA, the Country Land Owner’s Association, you know then that’s one extreme. We have, I have been a member of the CLA and they have helped historically on different things, umm with legal points and that sort of thing, and then you could go the other extreme maybe which is the Tenant Farmer’s Association, but that just supports what I was saying earlier, it’s such a varied group of people and now even more isolated than it was before, because there’s no coming together point and I don’t see how the NFU can get people together


3.211.  AW: So there isn’t, there isn’t umm, obviously there’s a local branch of the NFU but umm that isn’t something you’ve ever thought was important really, at all, well, I don’t know, is it?


3.212.  CH: It’s not been important to me personally. If it is for other people then that’s great, it’s great for them, I don’t, I don’t knock it at all, but for me personally it’s not been important.


3.213.  AW: Do you think it’s important in farming at all, in


3.214.  CH: I don’t think they achieve very much, personally, I think, you know going back to my own experience on the foot and mouth issue, which I’ve no doubt we’ll come to in a while, umm, the NF, the local NFU guy, I think David Orpwood  isn’t it? You’ll interview him no doubt, he made some most unfortunate comments about two pet lambs that I was supposed to have had up the road, but, which he hadn’t even checked it out, and he put his name to the NFU and I’d got the, he, he’d got me working with the ministry against the local community, you know, well it was ridiculous, I mean the guy, he, he just something off the cuff, in a position of power, and as a politician if he’s put himself in, head of the NFU, he should research it first


3.215.  AW: So he should have contacted you?


3.216.  CH: He never contacted me once. He was quite happy to make comments in the newspaper on, on behalf of the NFU, that I’d got two pet lambs that hadn’t been destroyed and I’d deliberately with held these pet lambs from the Ministry, you know, absolutely ridiculous


3.217.  AW: Where other farmers supportive of you, err, your neighbouring farmers, during that crises


3.218.  CH: Not very. One or two were very nice, generally pretty hostile, some actively offensive that I got nasty phone calls at night, you know, for about a fortnight from some people


3.219.  AW: Could you see a pattern there, were they livestock owners and the other ones not


3.220.  CH: They were usually, they, they weren’t usually like serious farmers, umm, it was usually somebody that got, like there was one particular lady, and I won’t mention any names, who gave me a lot of hostile phone calls and she’s got five cows, you know, totally a hobby farmer, and, ranting and raving at me, oh you’ve got all these sheep, you got, you deal in sheep, it’s your fault, you bought it on, blah, blah, blah, well, it could have been anybody couldn’t it


3.221.  AW: I’m going to go onto this now and this is about the crises in farming, well do you think there is a farming crises, in, in this country, in the UK?


3.222.  CH: Umm, I think farming is evolving and I’m not sure if the politicians are, controlling how it’s happening, to how they want it to happen, err, I think the way that it’s going at the moment, the UK will probably be producing a lot less in a few years time than it is at the moment, if we’re going to go the environmental route then I think we should have a direction from Government that’s what we should do and do it at a stroke, umm, my personal view is now on, I don’t know if you want to put my view


3.223.  AW: Oh absolutely, it’s what you think


3.224.  CH: My personal view on this is I can’t for the life of me understand with this crises with the foot and mouth, at a stoke Government should have said, right the whole of the UK is going to be organic, we will use no sprays, no fertiliser, period, we will have no production subsides at all but, we will pay you conservation grants, your conversion grants for five years, and our production in the UK would have fallen by, probably sixty percent, I think the general public would have loved it, the Government would have had the power to control imports on health basis because we’d be virtually the only, we’d be the only country then, certainly in Europe, one of the only ones in the World apart from one or two of these banana islands that have gone totally organic, and they could control imports to control our price, now there’s only one fault in that, and that is the oil companies wouldn’t sell the sprays and the fertilisers, so simple


3.225.  AW: And do you think, would, do you think that would have been profitable for you, if you’d gone organic


3.226.  CH: Umm, I don’t think it would have made any difference to me, because the market would have found it’s own level, as I say, the Government could have controlled imports, to have fixed, okay if you want to, same as the American’s, to have fixed your home price


3.227.  AW: Now there, there’s, people are saying crises, foot and mouth, BSE


3.228.  CH: Yup


3.229.  AW: They might be talking about crises in general, I mean can you think of other things that, might be considered a crisis


3.230.  CH: umm   


3.231.  AW: in farming


3.232.  CH: Salmonella in chickens, err SVD in pigs, it’s going to be scrape in sheep, BSE in cattle, foot and mouth was the last thing, you know, I speak to, going back to these French guys, you speak to French farmers, they say, well all your meat must be terrible, you know, cause all our press wants to do push all these things, but they’ve got all these diseases over there just the same, but it’s not political thing, umm, so there’ll be a crisis every week but the amazing thing out of these crises to me, is the general public, because a lot of these crisis are farmer made, you know the general public to me have been incredibly supportive, and we’ll come on to that when we go back to the foot and mouth thing, but it’s quite touching, you know, I said that I had hostile reaction from some farmers, umm, I had sixty letters sent to me from general public who didn’t even know me, saying, oh we’re so sorry, we used to see your sheep, we love to see your sheep in the field, you know, can we help, do anything? Very touching


3.233.  AW: Were you surprised to get those letters?


3.234.  CH: I was absolutely gob smacked, absolutely gob smacked, to the extent that the best one I had was, and it’s worth mentioning, I have the Oxford Bus Company Metal Detectors come round metal detecting, and there’s probably sixty of the guys that come round and every time they come they give me two quid, each, which is quite nice thank-you, and umm, course they couldn’t come, they called an emergency meeting, put their two quid in and sent me a cheque for sixty quid, saying take your miss’s out for dinner, salt of the earth guys


3.235.  AW: Did you, you were surprised at that public reaction? Were you


3.236.  CH: I was gob smacked, yeah, I mean you’d expect the ones from the religious people and that sort of thing, had various religious people writing, you’d expect that, but not from the people that drive up and down the road, and quite a few people sort of rang me as well, and said where can we buy local produced meet, you know, the general public don’t make the crises in this country, it’s the farming community that do themselves. Personal view


3.237.  AW: Sure, absolutely, well that’s what it’s about


3.238.  CH: Yeah, yeah, I understand that, yeah


3.239.  AW: So you, it’s the farming community, what about the rest of the world, do you think there’s a crisis outside of this country


3.240.  CH: I think umm, for the affluent countries, there’s an over production of protein at the moment, in the world, umm, now I can’t quite understand myself, I suppose it’s because there’s so land worldwide that’s under agricultural production that wasn’t forty or fifty years ago, umm, but one would think as the world becomes more affluent you would need more protein to feed the world but it doesn’t seem to be that way for some reason, umm, if you look in places like Canada, I was in Canada three, four years ago and it’s so vast that they, they could probably produce enough food in Canada to feed the world anyway, if they put it all to proper use, umm, so probably what we produce here is totally insignificant world wide, umm, I think I might have gone off on a tangent now, but I mean the other thing that’s just going to come in as Eastern Europe comes into the EEC, their going to be able to produce food there, far cheaper than we can, umm, for many years to come, because their land is more fertile, they capable of growing root crops, double cropping this sort of thing, the climate’s probably better in many places, umm, going back to what I say, if you take England as a whole, England is a prime place for going organic, all the hills, what percentage of the UK is hill land, vast percentage, Wales, I say England, Wales, the Pennines, Scotland, it’s virtually organic now anyway


3.241.  AW: Going back to the farming crises, presumably, foot and mouth, was for you, the most significant and important, is that right?


3.242.  CH: Umm, in, yes, definitely, it was, it takes over your life totally


3.243.  AW: Take me through what that was like, when did it start, when did you become aware of it?


3.244.  CH: Umm, well became aware of foot and mouth in the Country, I believe it was towards, can’t remember towards the beginning of February, middle of February, when the first outbreaks were diagnosed, I mean the whole thing to me seems most peculiar because we hear all these stories about the Government checking out for railway sleepers and the availability of railway sleepers pre-Christmas, and it all seems most peculiar that


3.245.  AW: These were used in the pyres in


3.246.  CH: Yeah, that these things were going on and nobody new about it, and I can’t understand for the life of me why foot and mouth hit this country and no other countries in Europe, I’m, you know, I’ve had various veterinary umm people who have studied foot and mouth worldwide that have come here and interviewed me as well about this foot and mouth thing, and there, there’s a lot of them doing their own private studies into it, and they all find it incredibly suspect that it suddenly happened here, I, I’d personally don’t believe it just happened I believe it was a deliberate thing, now I don’t think that’s a, a Government promoted thing, I think it was probably an ALF or something like that promoted thing that started the job off, but anyway going back to that, we first umm, were aware of it when the first outbreaks happened, and I had some sheep, some in-lamb ewes which had been away on keep in Norfolk, and


3.247.  AW: Did you hear about that on the, the national news?


3.248.  CH: The national news


3.249.  AW: The television news do you think?


3.250.  CH: Yeah, the television and in the various markets that we were going to at that time, but I had some ewes that had been away all winter and bought them back here for lambing and, unfortunately for me, the lorry that picked them up had taken ewes from Northampton market to an abattoir in Romford, and then gone from Romford to pick up my ewes and brought my ewes back here, and the ewes they picked-up from Northampton Market had got foot and mouth, now I didn’t realise that but when the ewes came back here, obviously I was watching them, because you do, I was feeding them and umm, the third day they were here I said, I’m not quite happy with them but you’re always suspicious of your own because you’re in the trade, you don’t want to be the idiot that says, oh I’ve got foot and mouth and you haven’t, and umm, the third day I wasn’t happy with them, so I rung the local vet and said I reckon these sheep have got foot and mouth, and he said, oh, no, no, they’ll be alright, anyway the next day, I spoke to one of my friend, he didn’t even come out, he was that laid-back about it, the next day I spoke to one of my friends that had seen it before and he explained the symptoms on sheep to me, and that convinced me that I had got foot and mouth, so I then immediately rang the ministry, ministry vet up and he came out, well he’d never seen it before either so he didn’t know what he was looking for, he was looking in text books you know, and so he took a blood sample away


3.251.  AW: Are they, are they, umm, are they close the ministry vet, where, where about’s, do you remember where they come from?


3.252.  CH: Reading


3.253.  AW: Reading?


3.254.  CH: Yeah, he was very good, I mean, nice guy, umm, and he’d never seen it either so he, he hadn’t a clue what he was looking for, because I think like all of us imagine it’s a raging horrific disease and of course with sheep it’s not

3.255.  It’s just a flu, and umm, but the tell tale symptom is, they, they have a horny pad, they only have teeth at the bottom of the month, I don’t know if you know that, and they’d chew on a horny pad on the top, and that’s got a very tough skin on, but when they get the peak of the fever, which you wouldn’t diagnose, which lasts, half an hour, the roof of the mouth blisters, so then if you push it with your finger, it’ll just flake off, that makes their mouth sore, for a fortnight afterwards, so they won’t eat much, that makes them thin, okay, so that’s, that is the tell tale symptom, plus a little bit of hobbling if you catch them just when they’ve got this fever, then they’ll be better, umm, anyway, the Ministry vet took blood samples and he rang me on the Saturday and said it’s  positive, on the Sunday the slaughter men turned up, he took blood samples on Friday, Saturday it was positive, Sunday the slaughter men turned up.


3.256.  AW: Were you surprised when he found you and said it was foot and mouth


3.257.  CH: No. I knew it was foot and mouth, but I’d never seen it and if that makes sense, and as I explained to you before, I didn’t want ot raise the alarm for a false alarm, but once that guy had told me about this pad in the mouth, I know that was foot and mouth, umm, and I think because we acted so quickly we managed to contain it here, so, Saturday, umm, blood tests were positive, Sunday the slaughter men moved in, and we shot them all and Monday evening we finished the funeral pyre at like, two in the morning and set light to it and Tuesday they were gone


3.258.  AW: Were you, umm, was the shooting the sheep and the building of the funeral pyre were you involved in that


3.259.  CH: Yeah, and my boy, and my wife


3.260.  AW: and err, was that difficult for you


3.261.  CH: Umm, nobody likes killing animals for no purpose, seeing little baby lambs being shoot and even to shoot a baby lamb is very difficult cause baby’s are full of life and they don’t want to die, if you get an old thing it dies, I know that probably doesn’t make sense to you


3.262.  AW: Was it quite a young flock at that time, was it?


3.263.  CH: They were ewes and lambs, so you know, you got a ewe, and if you’ve had one in the kitchen like, my wife was in tears because you have pet lambs in the kitchen, you get them strong enough, you put them out on a ewe, you fight with that ewe for a fortnight to get her to mother them, then you put them on a field and she’s really proud of them and you walk them in and pop, you’re killing them, and you know it’s very emotional, don’t get me wrong, but then suddenly and I particularly took my young boy down there, who was into farming, cause I thought it was quite an experience, but then it’s like in a way climbing a mountain and, the objective is to get to the summit and our objective was to get the animals all dead, and to build a funeral pyre and get them burnt, and so we worked like, the first day we did twenty two hours getting, everybody worked really hard, the ministry and we worked hard, and because it was the first funeral pyre they’d built, they were doing it absolutely to the book, so they didn’t know if it would work or anything and I couldn’t believe for one minute that it would work, but I know this sounds totally weird but actually when we’d got it all finished and we actually lit the pyre, and it burnt, it was almost like a celebration. Does that make sense? Because we’d all worked so hard, and your human brain’s so focused, you know, it’s very emotional but then you’ve got a job to do, and you do it, and from my point of view, that was not the worst bit, my worst bit was, like about two days later, when the kids could go back to school, my wife could go back to work, but I wasn’t allowed off the farm, for two weeks, so I was suddenly here on my own, and that was pretty morbid


3.264.  AW: How many sheep came onto the farm to kill the sheep and build that pyre?


3.265.  CH: We had two slaughter men, and myself, and my boy, to kill the sheep, and umm


3.266.  AW: And how many sheep were there?


3.267.  CH: Err we had, I should think, about a thousand here, that’s ewes and lambs


3.268.  AW: And how long did that pyre burn for?


3.269.  CH: There wasn’t a lot left of it in the morning, so we set light to it about one o’clock and there wasn’t an awful lot left sort of nine o’clock the next morning, but having said that, it was still smoking for, two or three days, but I mean, do you want me to go into the design?


3.270.  AW: Yeah, tell me something about it


3.271.  CH: I mean the design sort evolved over the previous foot and mouth outbreaks and they dig a trench, or they were, they dig a trench about five foot wide and about five foot deep, and you put a railway sleeper over the top of that trench with a gap of about, three inches between each sleeper, and then on top of those railway sleepers you put broken pallets, and on top of the broken pallets you put a layer of straw and then on top of the straw you put so many tonnes of coal, and then on top of the coal, you put your carcasses, then they spray them with diesel and it’s just incredible, it burns to nothing, it’s gone, because what, what one never realises of course, flesh burns, cause there’s a lot of fat in it.


3.272.  AW: And what was left at the end, ash?


3.273.  CH: Yeah, nothing, just white ash.


3.274.  AW: Was it close to the house here?


3.275.  CH: No, umm, about half a mile.


3.276.  AW: And afterwards, did you go back and look at it at all


3.277.  CH: Oh yeah.


3.278.  AW: You were here on, what were you thinking when you were here on your own in the house?


3.279.  CH: Umm, I think quite naturally you think about the animals that you knew personally, err, doesn’t matter how hard you are, you still if you reared a pet lamb, if you’ve had sort, an experience with a sheep that was sick and you kept it alive like this year I had, for example, one ewe that had been in cast for about a week, I don’t know if you know what cast is, but it means they can’t get up, they get up on their back, couldn’t get up, and I perceived, and perceived with her and she got up and she’s had two lambs, well I know that ewe personally, you know, she becomes a mate if that makes sense, so you think about those thinks, but you get on with it and you go on, you know, umm.


3.280.  AW:  What was the biggest change that you noticed once, err


3.281.  CH: Nothing, nothing was here, no livestock, that’s the biggest change, suddenly there’s no livestock in the fields and, never in my life had I seen the fields empty


3.282.  AW: Would have, so there was completely silent


3.283.  CH: Well I wouldn’t say it was


3.284.  AW: Well


3.285.  CH: it’s never silent here because we’ve got a motorway by the side, but umm, from the point of view of livestock, yes, you’ve still got you’re birds and everything else about but it is, it is quite weird.


3.286.  AW: And what did you think at that time, immediately afterwards that you’d be doing. Did you think that was the end of farming here?


3.287.  CH: Well of course my, no I didn’t, umm, because my biggest problem then was I’d still got four thousand sheep away at different farms, at keep, so suddenly I was then in the trap, as other people were, where you couldn’t move these sheep, well the bulk of mine were up in Lincoln on vegetables and so within, like two weeks, they were starving, cause there’s no grass you can put them onto, so then for the next four weeks after that, I was working with the RSPCA getting them shoot and buried up there, on the welfare cull, which you know was again, I, I wasn’t, I had like a week here and suddenly that had taken over my life on that job so I was, suddenly involved with that, which one had to do, you know, it’s no good you can’t just leave them there.


3.288.  AW: And what happened to those sheep when they were shoot?


3.289.  CH: They were shot and taken to landfill.


3.290.  AW: Did you loose a lot of money?


3.291.  CH: Umm, no I think the compensation was, very fair for the market day value, I’m sure some people may have made money out of it and some people probably lost money out of it, but personally I believe that all the compensation money should have been published in the local papers, as each farmer got it, and the valuation sheets published, and then there could have been no back-biting, umm, you know I had about a thousand sheep killed with the foot and mouth down here, and I think, my, my bill, my cheque was something like thirty two thousand, so that’s easy to work out, that’s thirty two pound a head, umm, which included twenty six of my stock rams, which were valued at a hundred and seventy five pounds each, which on the day seemed like, a lot of money, umm, but with the benefit of hindsight you couldn’t go back and buy them for that money, in the autumn because then they’d probably have been four or five hundred quid each, so I was, I was not at all, displeased with the compensation money I get, I got, but of course, what  one has to remember is, from a pure farming point of view, you have no other income then for twelve months, so it doesn’t stop there, you’ve still got your bank, I’m sure a lot of people would have been in trouble with the bank where they’d had that one cheque in, the bank would have had a cheque and they probably won’t be allowed to restock, even now, you know, because the bank won’t let them go again.


3.292.  AW: You said about publishing the newspaper, compensation and backbiting. Was there much backbiting for you?


3.293.  CH: Umm, there was a lot of backbiting going on, yeah, a lot of backbiting, umm, you wouldn’t see it personally yourself, umm, I would have had one or two nasty phone calls from people, which I’ve told you about already, but I’ve got friends were still, like, Thame market, I explained to you was still going on, and, I had one particular guy there that was ringing me from, you know, the local gossip there, and there was a lot of people causing a lot, or trying to cause a lot of trouble, but that’s human nature, I mean I expect it’s human nature.


3.294.  AW: So of course you couldn’t go to those markets, you had to


3.295.  CH: I couldn’t at that particular time, no, well those markets were shut down, but they were still having their group meetings and that sort of thing there, and this guys was one of the directors, so he was always involved, and umm, equally because I was so closely involved with the Ministry, I knew more about what was going on politically than they would, so of course they were ringing me to see what was happening on the relaxation of the movement licences and all this sort of thing, because I was sort of like, in the middle of it, not only with the Ministry vets but with the, my local MP and the Ministry in London, you know, better stop this now, got a load of kids coming in


3.296.  AW: Okay, let’s.


3.297.  CH: We’ll stop and start again.


3.298.  AW: Yeah, that’s it.


3.299.  AW: Right, umm, you were telling me about foot and mouth, how it was, on this farm, and how it was for you, I want to ask you something, you said you had, I think, four thousand sheep in Lincolnshire, was it?


3.300.  CH: Yeah.


3.301.  AW: Umm, do you think when you started in farming, I mean obviously, you had fewer sheep then but, did you, where they taken off the farm, for winter, etc, or


3.302.  CH: Yeah, yeah


3.303.  AW: They were, so that.


3.304.  CH: You’re obviously talking smaller numbers then, umm, because haulage and that sort of thing was that much cheaper


3.305.  [AW picks up in-ear headphone from table]


3.306.  AW: Let me just, sorry, I need to put this in my ear otherwise, I can’t hear if it works. Yeah, that’s fine.


3.307.  CH: Yeah, as I was saying, we had fewer numbers, they still went away for winter keep and winter grazing, because we had so much livestock on the home farm we couldn’t keep it back here in the winter.


3.308.  AW: Would it be taken as, to Lincolnshire, or did you?


3.309.  CH: No


3.310.  AW: Have you always been


3.311.  CH: No


3.312.  AW: going to the same farms, or?


3.313.  CH: Umm, some of them, I mean, some of them, yeah, but there’s some very big estates there, one estate I’ve been using for, five years, six years, obviously, not going back twenty years, but that one estate there is thirty two thousand acres, which is like vast and it’s lovely dry land, they have a lot of vegetables, they have a lot of lucerne so there’s the sheep grazing in the winter for them is to make, a way of maintaining their growing crops, hum, hum, and obviously it works well for us as well.


3.314.  AW: So you had to kill four thousand sheep because, on humanitarian grounds cause they were starving, is that right?


3.315.  CH: Starving and we got some lambing, in mud, err, on the side of the road, umm, basically on the welfare scheme, yeah, we, we got our sheep in, onto the welfare scheme, we were the first ones I think, we actually killed, or the RSPCA, who worked exceedingly well, umm with us, err


3.316.  AW: Did you contact them or did they contact you?


3.317.  CH: They contacted me, and then I contacted a guy called, I think his name was, err, Wass, Chief Inspector Was, who was the boss up there, and I got him involved, and he went down and looked at these sheep, and he said, what’s going on, I said, I’ve said to the Ministry that they need killing, because we can’t move them, and the Ministry won’t let me kill them, because I’d offered to go up there with the slaughter men, because I got the slaughter men and, I knew I how to do the funeral pyre and everything from the experience here, I said, I will do it, but you need to tell me, that I can do it, the Ministry were dithering at that stage, they didn’t know what to do, when I say the Ministry, this was Government in London, I got this guy Wass involved, he went straight to Whitehall, and, he went into Whitehall and said look I’m going to kill these sheep if you don’t pay Mr Hawes and sort him out, then the RSPCA will sue you, and the next day he had the orders, orders the RSPCA out and by night they’d killed the lot.


3.318.  AW: How long did that take?


3.319.  CH: Umm, I think it took the best part of a day to, no he didn’t the four thousand but in this particular flock, which was about five hundred, umm, took them about a day to kill them, they put them in a heap and they laid there for about a week until I got the rest in onto the cull, onto the welfare cull, and then we picked them up, we picked those ones up but the others, when the lorries came in and they went to landfill.


3.320.  AW: So you were here, you were stuck on this house for two weeks, is that right?


3.321.  CH: Yeah


3.322.  AW: Immediately after


3.323.  CH: Yeah


3.324.  AW: Your flock at the farm


3.325.  CH: Something like that


3.326.  AW: Was killed, and then you went up to Lincolnshire and that was five hundred more


3.327.  CH: Well I wasn’t involved in the cull with the five hundred, but I was involved in the welfare cull with the rest, so when I got up there by the time I got up there, the RSPCA had already done their bit and, we then had like three days up there killing the other sheep that we’d got up there.

3.328.  AW: Was your family involved in that as well?


3.329.  CH: Yeah my son came up with me, err young son came up with me.


3.330.  AW: Do you think that’s a, do you think that’s changed his opinion of farming of sheep?


3.331.  CH: Umm, I don’t think it’s changed his opinion of sheep


3.332.  AW: How old is he by the way?


3.333.  CH: He was twelve then, umm, I don’t think it’s changed his opinion of sheep, umm, but I think it’s certainly broadened his outlook on life in general, umm, you know he’s worked with, a team of slaughter men, he’s seen the end results of foot and mouth, which, he’ll never forget


3.334.  AW: So that was five hundred in Lincolnshire, what about your other flocks?


3.335.  CH: Well we had another three and half thousand up there, which all went on the welfare cull as I say over the next two or three days, err, we had some more in Nottingham, which were ewes lambing, but they were okay, they’d got plenty of grass there, so we lambed those ewes down, and they stayed on that farm, and umm, the lambs and the ewes went for killing back into the meat chain, where everything got sorted out in June, I think they went in June, err, I had another about six hundred down in France, which I’ve said to you, umm, they got caught up in the issue because, they were sent to France before January 31st, any English sheep that were in France post January 31st, were automatically slaughtered, mine were there before January 31st so they were blood tested twice and, obviously proved clear, the local umm, they weren’t allowed to kill them because the French didn’t know what to do with them, umm, so we couldn’t kill them until, must have been about, the beginning of May when they said we could put them back into the meat chain, they’d been housed all this time, so what would have been like, twenty kilo lambs were about thirty kilo lambs, unbeknown to us, we sold them into the abattoir as English lambs, the umm, French wholesaler that we sold them to, he then sold, he then marked them up as French lambs because there’s always a premium, the local French NFU, got a tip off from one of the abattoir workers, he broke into the abattoir, the local French NFU broke in the abattoir that night, slashed all the carcasses, went to this young English guy who’d been looking after them, to his farm, held him at ransom, and they had to get the police out, so we then had a fortnight of stress, with the umm, local French NFU, cause they thought we’d sold them as French lamb, which of cause we hadn’t, unbelievable, and then when they did, when they realised that he hadn’t sold them as French lamb it was a French wholesaler who had sold them as French lamb, they actually did come back and apologise  to him, but umm, there was a lot of trouble down there, lot of trouble.


3.336.  AW: So you, you’d get any support from the NFU, you had that situation in France


3.337.  CH: Yeah, unbelievably in France, it was quite unbelievable, because there’s a lot of young English down there, and several of the other English farmers down there were actually picketing my farm down there, which it wasn’t specifically French against English, it was just interesting to see that they were part of that community, they felt threatened obviously, because, for whatever reason, and um, it was just interesting thing, there


3.338.  AW: Do you think you were shunned, during that time


3.339.  CH: Not personally, no, I don’t thing so, I mean some people were hostile as I explained, I had some hostile phone calls and that sort of thing, but I didn’t feel it, particularly, no


3.340.  AW: And what about since then, have, have you, you


3.341.  CH: I mean it’s a very stressful thing for other people, when we were killing, on the welfare cull, up in Lincoln there was one, farmer up there who land it was, were the sheep was, where the sheep were grazing, and, we got everything to kill these sheep, we told him we were going to, but because, we were actually going to do it and he could see it happening, he came out and started ranting and raving in the field, and saying you know, you can go, the slaughter men aren’t going to kill anything here, we aren’t going to kill any of these sheep, they should be going into the meat chain, etc, etc, because the stress got to him, he couldn’t coupe with it, but he went away, and we did the job, and then unbelievably, the next year he rang me, this year, and said, did I want his keep again.


3.342.  AW: At the time, how did you react to him?


3.343.  CH: I was just cool and, you know, there’s no point in everybody shouting at each other, I just said, you know, we’re here to do a job, they can’t go into the meat chain, you can’t move them, I tried to explain the reality of the situation to him, I understood his frustration, but you know, it’s no good everybody shouting and getting no where, umm, which I say, this year he offered me his keep again.


3.344.  AW: And since then, you, you, you haven’t restocked?


3.345.  CH: I have restocked, yeah.


3.346.  AW: You have restocked.


3.347.  CH: My view was that, working within the umm, time limits that were set by the Ministry from there previous experience of the foot and mouth, the sooner the got my farm’s, or land here restocked, the sooner we became officially clean, the sooner that the movement restrictions would be lifted, in this area, so the whole area would be a clean area and then everybody could get back to business as quick as they could, umm, so the Ministry at Reading, I think told me that it was six weeks, there was a period of six weeks after the, final cleansing, or disinfection, that I could restock after six weeks, which I, wanted to do, umm, and I’ve explained the reasons why I felt it was the right thing to do, because the sooner we were auth, officially clean then everybody could start moving again, of course that upset an awful lot of people, because I was restocking, again it was fear and, naivety, um, they thought.


3.348.  AW: Do you think they blamed you personally?


3.349.  CH: Umm, certainly yeah, some of them, they wouldn’t think so now, but you know it’s put a lot of pressure on everybody, and, even if we hadn’t had foot and mouth they’d have still have the restrictions because it became a national thing, umm, I think with hind sight now the people would look back and all say that, they ought to say that if we hadn’t acted very quickly and properly then, there would probably have been, fifty, a hundred outbreaks in Oxfordshire, you know, I mean there were cattle the other side of the fence and they didn’t get it, so, had they got it, it would have spread to the next lot, and the next lot, and it’s only because people didn’t know what was going on and weren’t, they had got their finger on the button, in my opinion.


3.350.  AW: Where those cattle slaughtered?


3.351.  CH: No, no, they were monitored.


3.352.  AW: You said it was very upsetting for your wife, umm, how about your children?


3.353.  CH: Umm, I think the younger you are, yes I, definitely, the younger you are, the easier you can cope with trauma, umm, and, they see something happening and you accept it very quickly, without, looking at the, sort of, wastefulness of life and, you don’t look at the, sort of, deeper meanings of things, umm, and then once you, you start getting into it, it becomes, that is what you’re doing and just, it’s, that’s the purpose of the, you know, the exercise is to get the animals dead, get them burnt and, control the disease, hum, hum


3.354.  AW: How were the, how were the, how was the local, the school that your children attended, were they, were they sympathetic?


3.355.  CH: The school itself was excellent, umm, very, very, supportive, err some of the, again, some of the farming community were, a little bit hostile, they didn’t feel they should have been back at school, umm, so yeah, there was a little bit of, a little bit of needle but not from the school itself, they were incredibly good, and bearing in mind that we’re not really a farming, not really a farming school, I mean, there’s eight or none hundred pupils there, I guess and.


3.356.  AW: What were, your, umm


3.357.  CH: They go to Marlborough at Woodstock, brilliant school, and err, the kids were incredibly supportive


3.358.  AW: And their friends were they


3.359.  CH: Well I think the friends were, umm, disappointed that, they couldn’t, couldn’t come round here for a while, because obviously while we were under the restrictions they couldn’t come round, umm, so for there point of view, they missed doing that because being, being the farm, we’ve got the quad bikes and the scramblers and that sort of thing which they all enjoy, you know, they can do here which they can’t do in the village or the town.


3.360.  AW: Do you export any of your sheep? Do, when they


3.361.  CH: I used to, umm, as I explained that before, last year I had sheep fattening, umm, in France and historically I’ve exported pedigree sheep, umm, all over the world, when I say all over the world, to many countries in the world


3.362.  AW: Some farmers are concerned about, err the exchange rate and the euro, do you think that’s significant?


3.363.  CH: I think that is significant, umm


3.364.  AW: Does it put you at a disadvantage?


3.365.  CH: I think of more significance, is actually opening up the live export again, because going back to the points I made before, the, and again I think it’s a very political, that the multiples will always try to stop live export because it gives them a direct competition, for example, if live export was open, I could go into the market tomorrow, and I say the market place, and I could buy a thousand lambs and I could probably pay more than any of the supermarkets are offering and beat them by twenty pence a kilo, and immediately I do that I’m creating a market, which is more, much more important the exchange rate, it’s having the competition, creating the market place, if we allow the control in two or three different, I say five or six different hands, the jobs never going to work.


3.366.  AW: What about the euro do think that will make any difference?


3.367.  CH: When I travel over to France and Ireland and different places, the euro is so brilliant and easy to use, umm, but I think, yes from the trading point of view it would make it a lot easier and from the, and going over there on holiday, and that sort of thing it would make it a lot easier, but being British, I think the euro ought to be called the pound or you know, it’s just a psychological thing, and I don’t understand the, money markets in the world, but I mean, I think in England we got, we’re the fifth largest, largest GDP in the world, which must mostly come from insurance and money trading and that sort of thing, so, from an European point of view, if they could get sterling into their system I’m sure it would help the euro tremendously, from an English point of view, I think we’d make an awful lot of profits, from the financial markets, which maybe we might loose and, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. What do you think?


3.368.  AW: Well, umm


3.369.  CH: This is your interview

3.370.  AW: Yes, you’re right, it doesn’t matter what I think, huh, umm, one of the recommendations of the Food and Farming Commission is to switch from subsidising production to environmental subsidies, and it seems from what you’ve said that, that’s something which you support.


3.371.  CH: I would support it, I don’t agree with subsidising at all. I think subside is an absolute nonsense.


3.372.  AW: Do you think you could keep this farm without subsidies?


3.373.  CH: Umm, I think within a year we would know, and I think it’s more likely to put out, and this isn’t a personal, err, criticism, but your mega-farmers, and you mentioned your lady at, earlier on, that’s got six acres, without subsidies, she doesn’t get subsidies for I guess for her pigs


3.374.  [Note: the reference to ‘you lady’ here is to another interview with Jane Bowler]


3.375.  AW: For pigs, no she doesn’t.


3.376.  CH: But my neighbour up the road here, that’s probably got five thousand acres would probably be getting, a hundred pound an acre on his arable, or there abouts, well that’s five hundred thousand, umm, I’ve got a friend who’s got four hundred cattle that he grazes in the summer and, that’s all he does, and he said that as long as he breaks even on the cattle, he will make eighty thousand pounds a year profit, well it would hurt those guys, but I don’t think it would affect your, the person you were talking to, you know, back to the thing, I don’t thing it would affect me that much, because I would then immediately stop farming for subsidies, you’d get more people working on the land, and if you go back to your environmental grants, if you want to be, if you want to subsidise then, yes, you should subsidies what the public want, and they want to see people hedge laying, but why shouldn’t a guy, I mean this is a particular point of mine, why shouldn’t a man earn a hundred pounds a day hedge laying, it’s not unreasonable, so pay sufficient grant so he gets a hundred pound a day, you’ll immediately employee a million people hedge laying, because you can out and work six days a week and earn six hundred pound a week, so all winter you’re return people to the land, it’s much better than paying the guy up the road five hundred thousand for doing nothing, while my other friend eighty thousand for doing nothing, what a nonsense


3.377.  AW: Since you started farming here, have you seen, umm, changes in wildlife, I mean


3.378.  CH: Yeah


3.379.  AW: There used to be


3.380.  CH: Dramatically in this last two years I’ve seen a return of, umm, many, many, different species of bird and with the motorway coming through, lots of different species came back in, and that may sound a bit of a nonsense, but the motorway of course, you’ve got vast tracks of rough land each side of the motorway, which don’t get cut, they’re just left, and particularly with our farm last year and the year before we started doing, or when we were doing a hundred percent set-a-side, everything comes back, I mean we’ve got sky larks, the one think I have noticed is song thrushes, we have no song thrushes, which, for some unearthly known reason they have disappeared, but I mean we got the old fashion partridge, we got buzzards here which I’ve never seen in my life before last three years, we got barn owls, we got sky larks, just to name but a few, and, umm, it’s notable how dramatically they have increased


3.381.  AW: Has the field size increased since you’ve been farming?


3.382.  CH: I went through the same thing as everybody else did, which was take all your hedges out and have one big field, and field size would have quadrupled I suppose, hmm


3.383.  AW: Are there any


3.384.  CH: But then that’s a natural thing that happens with farming, I mean, when you, you wouldn’t have fields at all if wasn’t for farming, and err, one guy came up with a brilliant idea, talking about conservation grants, and he said you shouldn’t be paid by the acre, you should paid by the meter of hedgerow, brilliant, to my mind


3.385.  AW: Do you take part in any, umm, particular environment schemes, or?


3.386.  CH: Yeah, I’ve done two or three Stewardship schemes, umm, and any, any scheme that are available that look profitable I would do, we’re not, in an ESA, and umm we’re not in any other particularly sensitive areas, so it’s only the Stewardship I’m eligible for, at the moment


3.387.  AW: There’s the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, have you, you been in contact with them or any other similar organisation?


3.388.  CH: Yeah, because I believe they come out to the umm, they come out to assess the Stewardships, don’t they, I think they’re the people that actually approve or, refuse your Stewardship Application, because again there’s limited funding available, what a nonsense, you know it’s a political con, total political con, you get as much money as you want for producing food that’s not wanted and yet a stewardship grant for hedge laying or whatever, you have to compete for


3.389.  AW: Have you applied for those?


3.390.  CH: Yes, I have, yeah


3.391.  AW: And they’ve been granted, you, did you say?


3.392.  CH: Umm, I’ve got some approved and some, not approved


3.393.  AW: And what measures are those?


3.394.  CH: Mostly hedge laying, and, old pastures, umm, I would like to return, the arable land, I’d have an arable reversion, from the arable land back to grass land, but unfortunately my landlords on that one, won’t allow it to happen, umm, two reasons, one because that grant is the best and secondly, on a personal level I do like to see the bird life and that about, which since we’re had the set-a-side has dramatically improved


3.395.  AW: Would you put it down totally to the set-a-side?


3.396.  CH: Well no you put the old grass land down and umm, you, I, don’t know the exact rules and regulations but I think you, plant with the old grass varieties, and then you have stock at a low stocking density, you’re not allowed to apply nitrates and that sort of thing


3.397.  AW: Sorry, what I meant actually was, umm, the set-a-side that you have here, I think you said, in the last two years you noticed the wildlife, more wildlife


3.398.  CH: Yeah


3.399.  AW: And I wondered if you put it down to that?


3.400.  CH: Yes.


3.401.  AW: Set-a-side


3.402.  CH: Yeah, so the, the, when I say the, umm arable land that would include the set-a-side would go back to that arable reversion with the old grasses, which effectively grow naturally anyway, I think you can get one with natural regeneration


3.403.  AW: You’ve been in sheep farming for some time, but how do you decide what to grow or what livestock to keep here?


3.404.  CH: Umm


3.405.  AW: Do you continually reassess it, what’s


3.406.  CH: Yeah, I think one reassess it according to the market place, umm, I think probably I would have a shorter term outlook now than I did historically, historically when I first started then I’d say I want to have a thousand breeding ewes and I’ll produce so many lambs per annum, umm, now I would look at it, last year for example, we bought twelve hundred mule thaves, mule tags, which are year old mules, which are good breeding sheep, because the market was so low, that we bought them at twenty five pounds each, which the year before, as ewe lambs they’d cost thirty five pounds but no body wanted them, we’ll we thought they were go gamble to buy, to keep round to sell now with lambs at foot when people were restocking, and it’s not as good as we thought, but it was the right thing to do, so I take a much shorter outlook than I would want, hmm


3.407.  AW: So is, I mean, there’s, from what you’ve said, there’s commercial, umm, factors, whether it would work financially, umm, and do you think there are other factors like, um, well tradition, or


3.408.  CH: Umm


3.409.  AW: that come into what you decide what to grow?


3.410.  CH: For me personally, tradition is nearly gone, umm, I think for people that are much more traditional farmers then the word is traditional, it’s still very much imprinted, for me personally it’s still imprinted on my mind, you know, you still think that you should do those things, but I don’t actually follow them through so much


3.411.  AW: And in a sense, you had a, did you have a very real chance when after the foot and mouth, to change direction?


3.412.  CH: Yes


3.413.  AW: Did you consider completely changing direction? Did you consider even leaving farming at that point?


3.414.  CH: No I didn’t I think because it’s imprinted on my brain, you asked me what was my, what’s my job, I’ve got lots of different jobs but I still say I’m a farmer, I think I’ll always be a farmer, but like many, many others now, farming isn’t my main source of income and maybe, had I been in a different position I would have been forced at the foot and mouth point to diversify, I’d already been through the diversification thing over many years, umm, for whatever reason, some successful, some not successful


3.415.  AW: Tell me about some of the things that you’ve diversified into


3.416.  CH: Umm, well at the moment, I have err a nursing home, umm for, retired, well not retired people but old people, full nursing, which I built personally fifteen years ago, so that would be one of my main income steams now, my wife, now works there full time as administrator


3.417.  AW: That’s close to here is it?


3.418.  CH: Yeah that’s five miles up the road, and umm, we’d have like err forty three staff there, forty residents, and initially, when I first built it, I thought that I couldn’t run it, or attempt to run it, because I didn’t understand nursing, but of course there’s two fundamentals which come into play there, which is man management and if you farm you can man manage, and occupancy, and if you get those two things right, the rest will fall into place, it’s as simple as that, so over the years have had many so called professional managers, etc, etc, whenever there was a severe problem it always came back to me and usually it was man management so we, we’ve sort of taken it back in hand over the years, so I mean interestingly enough, the farming experience of employing people, all that sort of thing, put us in good stead for that and maybe I did that many years before this foot and mouth thing happened, whereas lots of different guys would be doing different ventures now, but they will be well positioned to make them work because the background knowledge they’ve had and background experiences they’ve had, umm, on top of that I do import, exports with timber products now, umm through contacts that I made through the livestock again, umm, we sell, umm barrels for tubs for flower planting, we sell the railway sleepers, we sell oak beams, reclaimed oak beams, decking, to name but a few, umm, we build, we’re always, right from the very beginning, when we first started we had sort of barns in the farm, so I always do a bit of building, I usually got a barn conversion or something on the go, again, from my experience with farming, converting buildings, building your own farm buildings, it’s all exactly the same, umm, and umm, that’s to name but a few of the things


3.419.  AW: In terms of your time, how much of your time do you think each of those would take up roughly


3.420.  CH: Well, the nursing home, as I explained, my wife runs that, so she would spend most of her time there


3.421.  AW: Did you decide to go into that because of your, umm, your wife’s err experience


3.422.  CH: No, not at all, not at all, umm, she only came into it, very recently, she was working for an agricultural, she was working full time for an agricultural estate agent at Stratford, and my original administrator at the nursing home retired, and I said to her you’re travelling like fifty miles a day, you’re doing effectively the same job, umm, because administration again is administration, it doesn’t matter whether in a nursing home or an estate agents, or an agricultural estate agents, so she said, yeah, I’ll give it a go and of course, it’s been, luckily she’s really enjoyed the team work and doing the job, so it’s lucky


3.423.  AW: That’s


3.424.  CH: But no, no, the decision to go into that was nothing at all


3.425.  AW: So that was yours, it’s quite, it’s quite a different, well, you’ve said some of there similarities between that and farming, but it’s, it’s a different sector


3.426.  CH: Oh, totally alien, I mean interesting story how we got into it in the first instance, err, originally the house that we converted was on an estate that we bought, and the reason that we bought the estate was, we were doing a lot of livestock trading and we wanted somewhere close to the motorway where we could hold a lot of livestock, this place happened to have a very big manor house on it, once we’d bought it, we looked at the manor house and what we could do with it, and we looked at school, hotel, timeshare, flats, whatever, but of course friend of a friend had got a nursing home, so we had them round to dinner and she said, oh well that’ll be a double room and this will be a single room and I thought, well, I can convert that, and this is another interesting point, of course I put a planning application in, for change of use of manor house to a nursing home, in what was my trading company then, which was called Farm Direct Limited, and the headlines of the local press, it was refused, and the headlines of the local press was, Councillors had visions of old people being gored by bullocks, okay, so I put the application again, in the next month in the name of Tender, Loving, Care Homes Limited, and it went through


3.427.  AW: Was that actually the name that you used?


3.428.  CH: Well, more or less, I put it in the name of Frances Thorn Care Homes Limited, but, same principle


3.429.  AW: So


3.430.  CH: But effectively, the point I’m making is, it’s the same people behind it, but it was political, you know, I was naive, putting the application in, and not thinking how other people would perceive it, which, I think has come through in a lot of our previous, you know, previous debate, that it’s how you present it, how farmer’s present what they’re selling is very important


3.431.  AW: Would you describe yourself as an entrepreneur?


3.432.  CH: I’d describe myself as a farmer, I had difficulty in explaining that to you to start with, but umm, I’ve done a lot of different things and I always go back to it, you know


3.433.  AW: In terms of your time, I was trying to work out a rough division of umm, your various businesses


3.434.  CH: I would say I spend probably fifty percent of my time related to farming things


3.435.  AW: And the other doing the import export, the nursing, the


3.436.  CH: Yeah


3.437.  AW: Do you use, umm, integrated farm management here?


3.438.  CH: Yeah


3.439.  AW: It’s a bit of a jargon word


3.440.  CH: I wouldn’t say integrated farm management, we use a consultant who comes in once a year to, do the IACS forms and that sort of thing, we use Farm Plan on all our computer packages, interestingly enough including the nursing home, umm, which obviously we wouldn’t use if we weren’t in farming, but that’s what we’re use-to, so we use Farm Plan there as well, don’t know does that answer your question


3.441.  AW: Well, yeah I guess so, I mean different people have different ideas of what Integrated Farm Management is, for some people it’s, err, less us of inputs, or just using them when needed, or, you know, varies from individual to individual what


3.442.  CH: Well in that case, no, there wouldn’t be anything structured, but, I, normal Commerce’s that would come into play, I think, you know, you, you’d, you won’t buy something, or use something if you felt you could buy something at better value


3.443.  AW: Do you think there’s too much bureaucracy in farming these days?


3.444.  CH: Far too much, it’s a nightmare as far as I’m concerned, biggest downside of it, I mean, I liked farming because, you could get on and do your own thing, historically, but that day’s gone now, it’s historical


3.445.  AW: What does that bureaucracy mean to you, in terms of day to day work?


3.446.  CH: Filling in forms, ear tagging, um, people coming and checking-up on what you’re doing all the time, umm, as I said to you, I think umm, I’d go into the Vet to buy a bottle of Terramycin to inject a sheep, prime example, I mean, I’ve seen this coming, over the last fifteen years, because I saw the, I went through the same thing, I haven’t told you, but told you I was in the meat trade, I actually had my own abattoir, and, from being unregulated we became regulated to death, and that wasn’t meant to be a pun, but we were regulated and so many of my colleagues were put out of business, we didn’t go out of business for that reason but when I started there were two thousand abattoirs in the UK, when I stopped I think it was down to six hundred, or five hundred, I think now, there’s about three hundred, and I could see


3.447.  AW: When did you start that, in the abattoir business


3.448.  CH:  Err, I can’t remember the exact dates, but it would be something like


3.449.  AW: When you were eighteen?


3.450.  CH: No, I’d be twenty, twenty five or six, and I used to supply pigs to the guy that owned the abattoir, or he owned the lease to the abattoir, and he had been, umm, hit by the first wave of EEC rules and regulations, and he had to spend, in those days it was twenty thousand pounds to upgrade the abattoir and  he didn’t want to do it, and he said to me, would I like a share in the abattoir, and I said, yeah I’ll have a share in the abattoir, I didn’t know anything about it, but I thought it, naturally, again, leads on from the farming I was doing, I was selling pigs to him anyway, umm, so suddenly I was in there, and umm, as I say, from a bureaucratic point of view, it started with virtually no control to having five, you’d end having more meat inspectors and more MLC people and more Ministry people than you’ve got employees of your own, and it’s a nonsense, but I can see the same thing is going to happen with farming, I believe that, in the future farmers won’t be allowed to inject their own animals, they’re be a ministry vet, who’ll control a group of large farms, and he will be responsible for  what goes on, on those farms, and it’s almost happened, I’ve been prophesising this for ten years and it’s almost happened now, not that the Ministry Vet himself wants to do it, but the politicians think it’s politically correct, but again, they have realised that trying to control, E.Coli and Salmonella and all these things through big abattoirs, is a lot, lot harder than it was when they had the little local abattoirs, because you get one diseased animal, that’s in a through-put of ten thousand a week, and you’re infected half the Country, and maybe this is half the problem with BSE, I don’t know


3.451.  AW: I think one of the recommendations of the Food and Farming Commission is, is that farmers should be licensed


3.452.  CH: Umm


3.453.  AW: What do you think about that?


3.454.  CH: I thing it’s umm, an invasion of privacy and I find it totally offensive


3.455.  AW: Have you had, umm, one of the things we’re interested in is how, how people have learned about the recommendations in that report, is that, have you come to know of it through, err, the farm media, like Farm, Farmers Weekly, or


3.456.  CH: Yeah, I think umm, through the farming press, we covered that before, I mean I would most through the farming press now, because I don’t socialise that much with, fellow farmers or fellow meat traders, but you see, if Government becomes involved in all these things, it will end in disaster, because it never works, it never has worked, it never will work, it should be controlled by the market place and the market place is what controls it properly, no Government body can do it.


3.457.  AW: I think you’re said already that farmers, I think you said that, subsidies are important to farmers, and that err, you’d all be in favour, in, in getting ride of them.


3.458.  CH: I’ve said that farmers farm subsidy, me included


3.459.  [fax rings]


3.460.  CH: I’ll have to switch it off a minute


3.461.  CH: Farmers will farm for subsidies if the subsidies are there to be taken, I don’t personally agree with production subsidies at all, and I think they distort the market, I think given twelve months with no subsidies at all, if we’re going to have subsidies at all, I agree with environmental subsidies, as I said before, I think if a man wants to earn a living hedge laying then pay him a good living, you know, let him earn a hundred pound a day, which, what’s that today, you know, twenty five thousand a year, it’s the average wage, don’t offer him, two hundred pounds a week for doing a job which is highly skilled and bloody hard work, you know, so I think I’ve already made that point, umm, I’ve lost my track there a little bit


3.462.  AW: Okay, let me ask you this question, who do you think has the most control over farming today?


3.463.  AW: It could be any one of these, land owners, politicians, EU, Big companies, supermarkets


3.464.  CH: Big companies


3.465.  AW: It could be none of those


3.466.  CH: Big companies, big companies, because, again going back to what I’ve said before, I said what an opportunity the Government had, to turn this Country organic, and control everything at a stroke, but they won’t do it because they frightened of the oil companies that control sprays and fertilisers, simple as that, but the control is, again, on the purchasing with the supermarkets, so it’s definitely big companies


3.467.  AW: So that’s both in terms of, the inputs that farmers buy like


3.468.  CH: Yup


3.469.  AW: Seeds and fertiliser, etc and also the markets that they sell into?


3.470.  CH: Absolutely, and your colleague, sorry again, the lady you met earlier, is a prime example of somebody circumvented that


3.471.  AW: This would be Jane Bowler


3.472.  CH: Yeah


3.473.  AW: who sells


3.474.  CH: Yeah


3.475.  AW: her, her, her pigs at family butchers


3.476.  CH: Yeah, and all credit to her, but she’ll only be able to do that, in the niche market that she’s in, which she thoroughly enjoys doing, as her way of life, which is highly recommended, you know, brilliant, but you couldn’t do it, on a larger scale to compete on a larger scale with these supermarkets, they, they’d probably take all her produce at the moment if she’d give it to them I guess, just to get her name in, you know


3.477.  AW: Have you had any contact with the supermarkets, farming here?


3.478.  CH: Umm, when we had foot and mouth, and they were trying to, they were, they stopped buying English and started importing all the foreign meat, I got on to Tesco’s, because I was really annoyed about it, because I thought, particularly at that time be, using English Meat, and umm, promoting it as being English, and umm, yes I got onto Tesco’s, but they declined to comment and declined to listen to me, effectively, and when we were a smaller, when we had the abattoir, which was a smaller abattoir, um, we tried to deal with the supermarkets, umm, with the exception of Waitrose, who we dealt with indirectly for a while, because they would source from a lot of little people, they wouldn’t deal with the small person because they couldn’t control us, it’s nothing to do with hygiene or anything like that, they couldn’t control the price and we could create competition, and we could create a market, so they, it was nothing to do with hygiene, it’s purely on commercial grounds, don’t care what anybody says


3.479.  AW: So, the supermarkets are setting the prices


3.480.  CH: Oh definitely, no question about it, they’ve shot themselves in the foot already, because they can only screw it down to such a low level and once they put people out of business, which has happened, they then panic and have to import and that’s already started to tip a little bit so politically, I think, I think they’ve been amazed at the English general public, because the large percentage of the English general public are actually very pro and very loyal to British produce, given that option


3.481.  AW: In terms of your farm here and what you produce you produce here, err, are, are there ways in which supermarkets umm, have influence, or?


3.482.  CH: I don’t think they have much influence now, but they have had immense influence, umm, because of the changes that have happened, hum


3.483.  [Pause while door is closed]


3.484.  CH: You know, those changes have already taken place


3.485.  AW: And is that also, you mentioned the big companies in terms of inputs


3.486.  [Interruption by someone opening and closing door]


3.487.  AW: In what way, in what sense do they have, have control of


3.488.  CH: Umm, we’ll I’ll go back specifically to my theory on the Government turning this country organic, and I think they’ve had a marvellous opportunity, which would have been publicly, the public would have loved it, farmers would have liked it, it could have been conservation friendly, what other reason for not doing it, apart from, the power of the multinational companies that supplies the inputs, which we would not have used


3.489.  AW: So you think big companies have a lot of influence in Government and on agriculture


3.490.  CH: Ooh, without question, big company, big companies own Government, politicians are owned, they’re puppets, you get one or two, you get one or two politicians which won’t align, align themselves particularly to anybody, who are very genuine, the bulk of politicians, to be successful are owned puppets, I think everybody accepts that, I don’t thing that’s a personal view, I think



3.491.  AW: But that is your personal view?


3.492.  CH: It is a personal view, but I think everybody does accept that, almost to a degree, I mean you look at the politicians today, you look at the people that, that put the money into the Labour party, I mean I’m not a political person at all, but you look at the money that went into the Labour Party, those guys that put in a hundred grand here, a hundred grand there, they’ve, they would appear to have come out with, good contracts, whether it be, the, I think it’s the Mittal bothers got the steel place didn’t they, and it happens every week


3.493.  AW: You said about going organic, have you every considered umm going organic on this farm


3.494.  CH: Umm


3.495.  AW: for anything, any products at all


3.496.  CH: Not, not specifically, and the reason I would say I haven’t is because, we’ve had so many outlying farms and sheep and cattle about at different places that it wouldn’t have worked for the system I was running, umm, yeah, I think that’s the answer to that


3.497.  AW: Are there any other, err, assurance schemes that, you umm, take part in?


3.498.  CH: We’re Farm Assured, we’re FABL, umm, which I don’t agree with, but the supermarkets demand it and if you’re not FABL then they won’t buy your livestock, so you have to do it, but what does it achieve, ninety percent of farmers are FABL, the whole thing is a con anyway, you pay them two hundred pound a year r whatever, and you get a visit once a year, they don’t know how you’re treating animals, so it’s another drain on the farmer just to have this FABL Farm Assured thing stamped on a piece of paper, I don’t think it means anything


3.499.  AW: You say the supermarkets err require it


3.500.  CH: Umm


3.501.  AW: How, how do they, how do you get to know that they require it and


3.502.  CH: Because they’ve got control of the abattoirs now and they’ve told the abattoirs that they’re not to buy any livestock unless its farm assured


3.503.  AW: So that the abattoirs require that you supply


3.504.  CH: Yeah


3.505.  AW: FABL


3.506.  CH: Or the abattoirs, when there were livestock markets, the abattoirs were not allowed to bid for an animal that wasn’t Farm Assured


3.507.  AW: Are there other, other, umm, requirements that supermarkets have put on livestock etc, that has influenced you, here on the farm


3.508.  CH: Absolutely, because, let me give you an example,  a particular supermarket may have a specification for a classification of bullock, it might state that, that bullock has to be between two hundred and forty kilos, dead weight, and three hundred and twenty kilos, dead weight, for example, and it has to be an R4L or an R3 classification, now you tell me what the difference is between a three hundred and forty kilo bullock at R4L, and a three hundred and forty and half bullock at R4L, now I’m in the meat trade, I could trim that three hundred and forty and half bullock, down to three hundred and thirty five kilos, but the supermarket will probably pay you thirty quid less for that half a kilo extra, and that’s a prime example


3.509.  AW: How do you know about that? Is that because of your knowledge of the meat trade


3.510.  CH: Yeah, yeah, but any farmer will know now that they give you a specification, I mean that was your direct question, have they altered the specification, I’ve already covered that in the breeding, which I said was the biggest one, but the specification in the weight, the classification, it doesn’t make that beast, that carcass any better, the meat isn’t going to be any different, that depends on the beading and the feeding, but it’s another way in which they can target, the farmer and put less back into their pocket


3.511.  AW: So the feed that you feed to cattle has been influenced by the supermarkets?


3.512.  CH: I wouldn’t say the feed


3.513.  AW: Has other aspects of husbandry maybe?


3.514.  CH: Umm, yes, beading wise, because they have become the main, err, purchaser, then breeding wise has gone to the continental breeding etc, etc and now I did mention earlier the Herefords and the Aberdeen Angus has come back into fashion so they are paying, again Waitrose started it, with their Aberdeen Angus scheme, um, which has been very successful and is thankfully, that’s turning full circle now, I think it’s a good thing


3.515.  AW: I also spoke with one farmer, umm, she dealt directly actually with the supermarket, umm with Marks and Spencers, and they offered her a slight premium and they had a scheme where they came and, presumably they were able to set, umm, certainly husbandry standards, etc, have some influence on the cattle, umm, but there was a direct link between the supermarket and her, I mean she was, was a small producer


3.516.  CH: Yeah


3.517.  AW: Not organic, but in Oxfordshire, is there any scheme like that your part of?


3.518.  CH: No, but I thought of another very important, very important, point and a very important, umm reason why, the farming industry in opinion has gone the way it has and not only farming but butchers, bakers, the high street, little high street family shops, it’s nothing to do about, the price or the quality or the hygiene of what they produced, it’s because, people’s habits have changed, and I’m equally as bad, I mean we still go to our local butcher to get our Sunday joint, but I shop in Tesco’s, I go round and shop in Tesco’s, because of the pure convenience, free car parking, you not going to have to park on double yellow lines, you pick up your trolley, you get your points and you don’t get wet, now, the, if the planning people, or the powers that be, the Government, the planners, had allowed, supermarkets to have been like a farmers market, or like the high streets used to be, so that the old streets names, now in fact Morrison’s are trying to achieve this now, the supermarkets have come round to it, but they’re doing it under their own umbrella, so that you’ve got everybody with the same checkouts but you’re got fifteen different shops under that covered area, but it doesn’t want to be in the centre of Oxford, where you can’t get to it, it needs to be out of town shopping, those people would stall be in existence and then you would have competition and you’d have a market place, etc, so the supermarkets, again, have been hand fed this, because the out of town shopping


3.519.  AW: Okay, we’re almost done actually, umm, I’m going, umm, have, has the size of your farm increased at all when you’ve been farming?


3.520.  CH: It did, umm, initially it did, when, I, I was, I think we been, covered this before, when we first went into arable, sort of on a large scale, we were taking in, umm, other farms, as they became available, and umm, as I say that’s still happening, i.e. like my neighbour that’s now five thousand acres will probably end up as ten thousand acres, and he may well take what I farm now, he may well take the whole lot, well he will probably take the whole lot in the area, I think it’s the way it will go


3.521.  AW: What do you think will happen to this farm when you retire?


3.522.  CH: Be built on, be developed


3.523.  AW: Why do you say that?


3.524.  CH: Because we’re only, well that’s pending a war or disaster with the population, err, because we’re just off junction nine of the M40, err, Bicester is, one of the growth towns in Oxfordshire, umm, there’s already pressures on this area to develop, we’ve got Bicester Sports Association next door with the sports field and playing field, we’re got the golf course next door to that, umm, Bicester’s grown, the other way towards Buckingham by three miles in my life time, so the natural progression is you would think, that it comes back to the motorway, and I’m sure that will happen


3.525.  AW: So you’re not confident that, umm, I mean in your own eyes, you’ve probably not old enough that your children will take on a farm from you


3.526.  CH: No, I very, I highly, I would very much doubt it, which is why, as I said before where actively looking to buy a farm in France, so that if they want to do that, they can


3.527.  AW: Sorry, let me just ask you that again, so you, when you say farming in France, are you now considering farming and moving to France, or


3.528.  CH: Well, I wouldn’t move to France myself, I may possibly, if we found a nice place I might think I’d retire there, umm, we have, have holidays in France already, err, but for the price of a sort of, reasonably small house round here, one can buy, a hundred and fifty hectares, not of prime arable land but a hundred and fifty acre grass farm, a hundred and fifty hectare grass farm and it will be self financing and I think, your asking me the question would my son farm here, I said no, but if he wants to farm then I believe he’ll farm there


3.529.  AW: Do you thing the farm will be amalgamated into a neighbouring farm?


3.530.  CH: No I think it will be built on, but if not I think if will be amalgamated


3.531.  AW: What do you thing the public image is of farming?


3.532.  CH: I think the public’s image is a lot, lot better, than the farming industry itself probably believes, um, I don’t think have got that romantic image of people, the old farmer stood out in his field with his animals, they’re much more realistic than that today, umm, I thing they are incredibly loyal to the British farmer and to the British produce, if their presented with the right commodity, and, again go back to your friend, your person you interviewed before, she’s doing the job properly, all be it, maybe, in a small way


3.533.  AW: Do you mean the pig farmer?


3.534.  CH: Yes, yeah


3.535.  AW: Jane Bowler


3.536.  CH: Yeah, but she’s doing it in a proper way, your bigger farmer may not be able to do that, because he hasn’t got the outlets, I think to a degree, we’ve been knocking the supermarkets but they’ve realised that umm, they, that market is there and for example, err, Cornwall and Devon, I think it’s Sainsbury’s, err, err, I think it’s Sainsbury’s down there, umm, they’re doing a Dorset sheep scheme, where, traditionally Dorset’s lamb early, so you get the first lot of spring lamb, so the, the supermarkets in Devon and Cornwall will be stocking Dorset sheep or Dorset lamb from, umm, probably about end of February, whereas Asda’s and that haven’t gone onto spring lamb, yet, in this area, or nationwide, Asda’s haven’t gone on spring lamb yet, I think they may have done this week, but you see the general public therefore, can’t buy spring lamb, if you’re shopping in Asda you don’t get it, you get last years hog, you know what I mean by hog, last year’s teg, so traditionally in a local butcher he would start buying spring lamb at Easter and, although the house wife wouldn’t realise, she’d think cor, this lamb is beautiful, might be a little bit more expensive, but that’s the difference


3.537.  AW: Last question, what advice would you give to someone who was starting in farming today?


3.538.  CH: Go to France,


3.539.  AW: Why’s that, why do you say that?


3.540.  CH: The Government want you, they will give you large grants, a lot of advice and a lot of support to get you started, if you’re a young farmer, you said young person, umm, you would set up, you would set up again, over there with a hundred hectare farm for less than the price of a decent house, in, in this area


3.541.  AW: And that’s


3.542.  CH: I think, I think the future of anywhere in the EEC they’re always going to protect you there because I believe twenty seven percent of the voting population is agricultural related, and in this country it’s two percent, so you’re never going to get the political power


3.543.  AW: Do you say that because farming in France is much like it use to be when you started?


3.544.  CH: Yeah, I think to a degree they’re still the romance in it, but you can still earn a living, you can earn a living there, from that two, three hundred acres, a hundred and fifty hectares, you will earn a living from that, where as over here, I don’t believe you can, not unless you find the niche markets and really, you then not a farmer, you’re a bacon seller or an organic meat seller or whatever that might be, it’s not farming, in its own right, which I think was your question.


3.545.  AW: So you don’t thing the Government in Britain is supporting farmers? Or do you think they are?


3.546.  CH: I don’t, I don’t thing they are, I don’t think they know what to do, and I don’t thing farmers can blame the Labour Government for not supporting them because, historically, how many farming votes would they get?


3.547.  AW: Or previous Governments?


3.548.  CH: Previous Governments have made various errors of judgement, I think, whether that be joining the EEC or whatever, err, umm, we’re such a small voting, I come back to that, we’re such a small voting that at the end of the day, we don’t have the political clout, and I don’t thing we ever will have in this country, and it’s all very well saying we’re in the EEC but, the EEC has linked the English farming, or British farming is the laughing stock of the EEC, doesn’t matter weather it’s Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, they can’t believe that we’re, we’re allow all their foods to come in, our Government, our Government doesn’t really care, and that’s the difference


3.549.  AW: That’s all my questions


3.550.  CH: That’s about me done too then

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