Lincolnshire

John Smith: Politics, politics everywhere – while farm life goes on!

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Have you ever stopped to consider how huge and, indeed, invasive the subject of politics has become? World stage politics, European politics, and UK election politics obviously.

Locally and indeed in every part of our day-to-day life, political manoeuvrings are at work at every level. I find the whole subject fascinating, at times frustrating but always compelling.

I’m lucky enough to represent Lincolnshire on the national council of the NFU; an amazingly effective organisation with traditional values and structure and also some of the best professional staff and office holders I’ve ever met. Even if you think you don’t have any connection with farming, the work it does affects everything that we see in the countryside; an environment which is so important to us all.

Next February sees elections for the national office holders of the NFU and already the political manoeuvrings have started. Policy speeches using blood and thunder, lobbying for support, general jousting for position – sometimes it can be irritating but at times just amusing.

For me, the most important thing is just to get involved. Whether it’s a national election, at work down on the farm or at the family dinner table, politics make the world go around.

It’s not just the politicians who are busy this spring; Lincolnshire’s farmers are being kept on their toes too. Spring’s second only to harvest when it comes to workload and with the move to more spring cropping this pressure keeps on growing.

Spring has been great, if a bit dry, but then farmers are never happy! We’ve sown plenty of spring barley, wheat, linseed and sugar beet, with most of these crops looking well unless the soil has been too dry for germination. If our weather patterns are changing, and they do appear to be, with wetter, stormier autumns and drier springs, the changes to our cropping systems will work well.

We’ve got an Angus herd on our farm so that brings plenty of new life onto the farm too during calving – not always seen as a positive by the team after a month or so of 5am starts, however.

Crops look well and full of promise and we’ve got 150 newborn calves, so what’s there to worry about? Well, the politics of course!