Opinion

Opinion

FARMING MATTERS: Buy local for Christmas turkey

At this time of year thoughts turn to festive fare and the traditional turkey roast for Christmas lunch.

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BCC Cllr Avril Davies ENGPNL00120130627121612

COLUMN: A week in the life of council’s leader of the opposition

I’ve spent much of the week asking questions.

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Our columnist Heather Jan Brunt returns to riding after many years

FARMING MATTERS: A return to horse riding

When I was a teenager I rode all the time, in fact when I was younger I actually pretended to be a horse. I trotted as I pulled my father’s golf caddy around the course, and set up cavaletti jumps in our garden. My sister used to refuse to walk to school with me because I insisted on walking like a horse. As a teen I worked in the nearby riding stables and was also fortunate to have two friends with several horses who used to let me ride them in exchange for helping to look after them. And so I guess it was obvious that a lot of people imagined I would get a horse of my own when I married a farmer. Wrong.

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Farming Matters.  Tree work in the garden. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: Doing a spot of gardening

At this time of year the ground is usually too wet to do work involving heavy machinery, but we’ve had a pretty dry autumn and so my husband decided this was a perfect time to do some work in the garden.

Opinion
Louis is a great help on the farm and helped look after the cattle while the farmer was away. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS Looking after the animals while the farmer is away

I was recently appointed acting CEO of the farm. My husband was away for a few days and left me in charge for the first time ever. As I don’t have an active role in the farm on a day to day basis, and also have my own job to do, I hoped nothing untoward would occur in his absence.

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Members of Ashbrook Allotment Association in Wendover.  From left to right, shareholder Graham Newman, shareholder Robin Beattie, visiting farmer Geoff Brunt and association secretary John Currell. Picture copyright Heather Jan Brunt

FARMING MATTERS: Taking a visit to some very smart allotments

Allotment holders regularly ask my husband if they can buy a load of cattle manure to nurture their plots and recently I accompanied him when he went to visit Ashbrook Allotments on the Aylesbury Road in Wendover.

Opinion
David Bowie at Friars, July 15, 1972

COLUMN: Bowie statue is a chance to invest in a little bit of hope

In my job, and in particular the public facing side of it, it’s my job not to have an opinion – and to use the news pages of our paper to best reflect yours.

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Big tractors like these have changed the face of modern arable farming

FARMING MATTERS: Massive machinery is changing the face of modern agriculture

We don’t have a lot of arable land, therefore we have always used a contractor to harvest our crops. It wouldn’t make sense to fork out for an expensive combine harvester that is used on only a handful of occasions each year to harvest relatively small amounts of wheat, barley and beans.

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Farmers' wives have to be self sufficient

FARMING MATTERS: Self sufficient farmers wives

I wrote recently about farm safety and the importance of farmers staying in touch with their wives via mobile phone due to the isolation of their work. But that isolation doesn’t just apply to farmers themselves. All farming families are isolated to a degree, some more than others depending on the location of their farm. Children fortunately find company and socialisation at school and in organisations like the Young Farmers federation. Farmers’ wives of old traditionally stayed at home working on the farm or in the house, but that stereotype disappeared a long time ago. Many farm wives now follow their own careers off the farm, bringing them into contact with other people on a daily basis. But what about contact with their husband? Unless farmers’ wives DO work on the farm alongside their husbands, regular contact can be pretty sporadic. I’ve been checking out some blogs online from farm wives around the world and the one thing we all seem to have in common is spending evenings and weekends without our husbands who are outdoors 24/7; attending social occasions and family events without our husbands; and often feeling like a one parent family. So it appears that at least two of the qualities required for life as a farmer’s wife is a large dose of self sufficiency and an interest in hobbies and activities that don’t require a partner!

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A dairy farmer milking his herd. Photo Louise Adams

FARMING MATTERS: Milk prices are not fair to farmers

Market indicators show dairy farmers are being short changed to the tune of £200 million pounds, says the National Farmers Union (NFU).

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A mobile phone can be a great asset for farmers who work in isolation

FARMING MATTERS: Staying safe on the farm

Staying safe at work is something we all have to consider,but for farmers there are more hazards in the workplace than for most of us.

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Meeting of farmers and NFU with MP:  from left host farmer Nigel Stacey, Nigel Richards, Mark Lancaster MP and Tom Deeley

FARMING MATTERS: Future of farming discussed in talks

Farmers have updated their MP on the issues of current importance to the agricultural community.

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COLUMN: This is YOUR local newspaper, so let’s all work hard together to make a difference

COLUMN: This is YOUR local newspaper, so let’s all work hard together to make a difference

I got into news journalism because I really believe in telling the truth.

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COLUMN: Special relationship, but many differences between the UK and US

COLUMN: Special relationship, but many differences between the UK and US

I’ve just returned from a trip to Chicago, to do a bit of music writing and enjoy the hospitality of our cousins across the pond.

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Farmer Evan Kempster who is helping to raise money for breast cancer by wrapping his bales in pink wrapper

FARMING MATTERS: Farming in the pink

Big pink bales are beginning to get noticed around the country as farmers support breast cancer charities by wrapping their silage and haylage in pink rather than the more traditional black plastic.

Opinion
Backing British farming

FARMING MATTERS: Back British Farming Day was held this week

Wednesday (September 14) was Back British Farming Day and the industry took root in the capital to reach out to MPs to sign the NFU’s Back British Farming pledge.

Opinion
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COMMENT: Our communities have changed, and it’s a little bit sad

I grew up in a tiny village in the north of England - on the outskirts of Bradford to be more precise.

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Bucks County Show 2016. The Royal Signals White Helmets Display Team. Picture by Jake McNulty

FARMING MATTERS: Sun shone on Bucks County Show

And so another Bucks County Show is over, and what a fabulous day it was for everyone who attended. The weather was scorching and suncream was being liberally reapplied throughout the day.

Opinion
Angry: Martin Tett at the committee PNL-150210-165149001

COLUMN: We don’t have all the money to do what we want to do

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of attending Aylesbury’s Live in the Park and the Bucks County Show in Weedon. They were both great places for me to meet members of the public and talk about local issues. 
What I had to explain was that there just isn’t the money to do all the things that people would like. Demand is going up, costs are rising and funding from Government has been heavily cut as it tries to balance the national budget. 
To many people I spoke to it was obvious that we need to look again at the way local government is organised in Bucks. Having a County Council and a District Council covering the same area and each charging its own Council Tax and employing their own staff seems crazy.

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