As the engine begin to purr and the hedgerows moved passed us, the first farm visit began to loom and the words of my guide and rural broker extraordinaire cut through my daze.
“So the first farm produces sheep milk for cheese and also has a classroom on the farm…”
A classroom? That sounded intriguing. We turned onto the private lane up to the farm. Before us was open green land with tall old trees that were getting a battering from the driving rain (yes, it was the end of April but the British weather had other ideas).
Meeting a farmer who was in the throes of passing the torch to his son was an eye-opening and mind-expanding event. Being shown around the purpose-built classroom where education was the focus of the legacy the farmer’s family wanted to leave to the area showed me that everyone cares about education, no matter what hours or conditions they’re faced with.
We then had a guided tour around the farm which included seeing the recently born lambs, the sheep still to give birth and a bespoke-built sheep milking designed, made and set up for the farm by a local man. We learnt that the system was never patented and, as such, a large retailer in the sector had copied the idea and was now selling it to others. It struck me that we as a firm could help the community by giving advice and guidance on how to navigate such tricky issues such as trade mark registration.
I saw how each stage of the process was divided into sections in the barns which included the process for feeding the lambs (using more bespoke equipment but this time from Germany).
As we were leaving, the farmer’s son had just finished a job and came over to tell us about how the milk tanker they owned now travelled to multiple farms to collect and onto varying dairies to deliver. He discussed how they were always looking to plan for any market fluctuations. It felt like I was taking to the economist from the beginning of the day again!
Next time, I pay a visit to a local auction mart and find out how it serves as the heart of a farming community.
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