Farming News – January 2021

by Malcolm Barker

January was named after the Roman god Janus whose head had two faces, one looking forward into the coming year and the other facing backwards to the old year. I was born in January, which may be why I have a fascination with both history (looking back) and with science (looking to the future).

Few people had a good 2020. From a farming perspective, I would sum up the year as a drought sandwiched between two very wet spells. The harvest was poor and difficult but somehow most of it was gathered in. The last of my potatoes were picked on 28 November while it was cold and wet. Although I was frozen from the shoulders down, I was nevertheless elated to finish harvesting them.

What of next year? Change is on the horizon. Everyone is relying on science to make the future safe with a vaccine. I also feel that society needs to change. The real heroes of this year have been the health care workers who have put their lives at risk and the scientists who have developed and tested the vaccines. They helped us through this last year far more than celebrities and politicians, and I hope they are rewarded for their efforts.

On my farm, things are also changing. I’m feeling my age nowadays and have worked 100 hour weeks for too many years. Although I don’t ever intend to retire (that is fatal for a farmer) I look forward to an easier life and will alter the workload to suit my age. After all, none of us are getting any younger.