FARMING MATTERS: Getting ready for Christmas time

As I write this, the fields, gardens and roads are covered with snow several inches deep, but of course by the time you read it, no doubt it will all have melted.

But having it in front of me as I write my last farming column before Christmas seems rather appropriate.

The house is now decorated with twinkling lights, a big Christmas tree and lots of tinsel. The Christmas cards are coming through the letter box and plans are in progress for all the festive meals I will have to prepare for visitors over the holiday period.

And of course out on the farm the animals are coming indoors for the winter, where they will be bedded on straw and fed with barley and silage from our fields.

We have a small farm shop and sell our Terrick Beef once a month, and our customers this month have been buying meat for the Christmas table.

But of course lots of people like a turkey on Christmas Day and if you are one of those people, you might like to check out the NFU Turkey Finder which lists more than 250 NFU members nationwide, with more than 40 here in the south east, who breed and sell traditional British farm fresh turkeys for the festive table. You can find them here:

NFU poultry board member and turkey farmer Mike Bailey said: “Buying your turkey direct from a farmer not only benefits a local farming business but provides you with a great tasting bird reared to the highest standards.”

Alternatively, if you chose to buy your turkey from a supermarket, he advises to look carefully at the country of origin labelling and keep an eye out for the Red Tractor logo, which provides a guarantee of traceability, environmental protection, food safety and hygiene and welfare standards.

Wherever you buy your turkey, or whatever you choose to eat on Christmas Day may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

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