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Cultural absurdity is no longer a joke

Nature conservation on England’s farms has never been so important. While all biological measures are continuing to reflect drastic declines of almost all species, money is only available on a short term basis in a complex changing politic. Annual measures undertaken by farmers within cropped areas can only be a part of any solution. There remains the parallel challenge in rebuilding and extending primary habitats such as wild wood, wetlands and semi-natural grasslands where species richness and... Read More >

Recent Articles:

A time for an integrated approach to farming We must seek to maximise the potential of our land
Mark Twain famously said ‘Buy land, they’re not making it anymore’ and in a world where population continues to increase, the relevance of that statement has never been greater. The pressures for use of land are multiplying, yet the demands Read More >
Volatility to Explain High Historical Farmland Returns A look back over 30 years of increased farmland returns
Introduction – the danger of being a farmer at MBA school (or at a dinner party) MBA schools characterise farming as a commodity industry, subject to negative weather events and low returns. Farmers are often told at dinner parties that Read More >
Managing tenants and coexisting with wildlife The beetles and the birds of farmyard living
I received a text message recently from the tenant of our converted granary. It requested that I telephone her immediately, there was a problem requiring my urgent attention. On calling, she relayed that in the middle of the night she had lain in Read More >
Australian dairy farms – the bull run is on How has Australian dairy farming come of age?
The global agricultural investment spotlight has moved ‘down under’ and is fixed firmly on the Australian dairy farm sector. Long overlooked as the ‘poor cousin’ of the agricultural sector, Australian dairy is now coming of age. Cattle Read More >
Letter to the Editor – March 2018 Natutral disasters, reconstruction work and beer in New Zealand
Dear Editor, I promised in my last letter to address the matters of property and agriculture in this epistle. Well rather strangely both topics come to mind as a result of two natural disasters that l have experienced here in New Read More >
THE WINDS OF CHANGE AT DEFRA Exciting times at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
These are changing, and some might say, exciting times at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Whilst not usually a high profile Ministry, the issue of BREXIT and the appointment of Michael Gove have certainly Read More >
Ten Lessons For A Financial Farmer Why the accounts are important, but the land is critical
In this commentary I review the years since my return to the family industry (the most recent of them managing third party capital into agriculture, via Craigmore Sustainables LLP). I conclude with a list of 10 lessons learnt as a 'Financial Read More >
What’s the weather like with you? The changing political climate in New Zealand
Dear Editor, "What's the weather like with you?" The most common telephone question ever asked. We all ask it. It's a conversation opener rather like the glib "How are you today?" that greets us at check out desks, shops, banks, in fact anywhere Read More >
Speeches and the need to Act Now… What must done to prevent the erosion of natural capital
Both the Oxford farming conferences hosted Defra minister Michael Gove in January. At each he made much of a future domestic agricultural policy that has really been nascent for the last 20 years, that farmers should use their land to provide Read More >
Letter from afar No snakes, sharks or poisonous spiders
Dear Editor, I have never been very keen on Australia. Snakes, sharks and poisonous spiders, busy, hot cities, remote, outback towns, vast expanses of nothingness. Australia is a nanny state full of restrictions, rules and limits. I flew Read More >
Wind turbine in fields The conference season and the imperative of continuity Why the future of farming depends on determination and long-term vision
January is conference season for the farming industry. The long standing Oxford Farming Conference’s (OFC) theme is 'embracing change', with views being offered from the DEFRA Minister Michael Gove and balanced by thoughtful presentations from Read More >
Sign showing Australian flag on a beach Farming and the feel good factor The state of farming in New Zealand
Dear Editor, Are we really going to restrict the numbers of agricultural workers prepared to come here from Eastern Europe and pick and harvest British crops? Better, is it, to import food from overseas? Hardly makes sense. But where has sense Read More >
Landscape with a row of trees and a rising sun and a grass field with fence on a misty morning What if nature reserves don’t work? Dealing with a situation of decreasing biodiversity
Farming in the UK needs nature reserves to work. The majority of biodiversity is conserved in protected landscapes, enabling conventional agriculture to have the dominant hand in the undesignated areas. However, increasing amounts of evidence are Read More >
Summer's day at Folkestone Harbour Kent England A letter from the Weald of Kent On changing clocks, Folkestone and the future of agriculture
Dear Editor, We have entered the season of early, dark nights. Some enjoy closing the curtains, lighting the fires and settling in for the evening: some pine for the longer days and more time outside in the light. Winter months support the Read More >
Apples on a tree A letter from the Weald of Kent On apples, farm workers and Brexit
Dear Editor, The harvest is mostly gathered in. Regionalised May ground and air frosts threatened the fruit that had enjoyed outstanding bud and blossom. Results were better than expected. Bramleys are now in store, Conference pears have been Read More >
Farming tractor plowing and spraying on field The value of a sheep On the difference between price and value
As a shepherd, it is important for me to know the value of a sheep. This is tested when attending a sheep auction, when I will need to be decisive and disciplined in sticking to an assessment. The Romney Day at Ashford Market, held at the end of Read More >
Beads of water on the surface of a leaf Wilderness: is there a change on the way? Could we see wild elephants returning to Europe? Martin Hole discusses a return to 'nature'
All property is environment. To begin with, and before man’s interference, it is a wholly natural tableau, but as we bend it to our will true wilderness loses out. Landscape cover of farming, forestry and urban development in the UK affects Read More >
Cows on pasture Farming in Australia: the change has arrived Jeremy Bayard shares his insights on investing in agriculture Down Under
There’s a change sweeping Australian agriculture. The nation that was “built on the sheep’s back” and has had an enduring relationship with all things farming since white settlement in 1788, is undergoing a systemic shift in its rural Read More >
Northern lapwing wading in water Why buy land? A farmer reflects on the opportunity that ownership brings for conservation and development
The skylark’s Latin name is Alauda arvensis. Roughly translated, it means exaltation from the field, an observation about its song and activity in asserting its territory. The lapwing, too, has a thrilling flight display when it first puts its Read More >
Farming tractor plowing and spraying on field Why worms matter On the importance of soil for agriculture - and why those who own or manage land should take note
Vile murder has foul consequences. The shooting of Tristan Voorspuy in March this year was a totemic moment in an ongoing conflict. On 12 June, as reported in The Times, Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition in Kenya’s government, openly Read More >
Land, territory and confrontation: the murder of Tristan Voorspuy Farmer Martin Hole reflects on the death of a family member in Kenya
Property rights lie at the heart of civilisation - not just in terms of commerce, but in the ability to safeguard long term interests and express natural territorial needs. Whether it is a farm such as ours on the marshes of East Sussex, or a Read More >


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