Down on the Farm with Colin Williamson - April

Scenes from Colin Williamson's farm - Grosmont Farm
Scenes from Colin Williamson's farm - Grosmont Farm

Some month April is turning out to be, but I thought the glorious weather of March couldn’t last, even though we were willing it to.

With Meg our collie dog having had six lovely little pups – five dogs and one bitch, rumour has it the little lady is staying here.

The father was from a cow farm in Derbyshire, with their eyes open now and starting to rove around a bit they will soon be right little devils.

Some birthday present, when on the fifth the landlord’s agent’s assistant bought a letter, two notes inside one was for a rent review for the main holding, the other was a notice to terminate on land we farm on a farm business tenancy which forms half the farm (all above board and just a matter of course).

This all stems from when the previous owners were selling the estate when they put in the notice on the same two blocks of land.

I was very aggrieved at that time.

As the owners had been good to us till then and we were talking to them a couple of days before and no mention of the notice then, I smiled later when I thought about it a few years before, when the foot and mouth was biting hard and money was non existent my neighbour came along and said if we both write to the landlords agent we stand a good chance of getting a rent reduction but because they had been good to us.

I wouldn’t do it, even in my desperate state for money – amazing when the tables are turned as it meant extra money for them.

So six weeks later we signed a new five-year deal.

I thought five years was better than nothing and we’ll see what happens.

To be fair, we told the agent he would have to put notice of termination in.

He came a couple of months ago and wanted the land back to put on the open market for tender.

I could apply for it but was not guaranteed to get it and as there was no way he was going to negotiate a new agreement, this is how it ended up.

I couldn’t see me getting it anyway as he’d already offered it to someone else last year.

We actually have no idea what’s going on.

A couple of years ago we were asked if we’d move to another farm, put a business plan together in a week, not knowing the main details, of land available, single farm payment, stewardship agreement etc.

To which the agent was going to come back to us but never did.

It was at this time I contacted my MP Robert Goodwill, on the 20 October and got thank you for your letter.

I wrote again on the 10 November.

The reply I got – well, I was absolutely gutted like a fish.

Basically, he said he was sorry to learn of our predicament.

He also said he didn’t know whether I was a member of the National Farmers’ Union but said they are generally helpful and supportive in these areas.

To think my father and grandfather were very big supporters of the Conservative party, I’m afraid I’ll be looking to put my X somewhere else at the next elections.

Anyway, Philippa’s goats have all kidded now.

We set off badly with the first one, she had triplets and then she died a couple of days later.

The triplets are doing very well even with bottle feeds, we ended up with 17 kids, right little monkeys all of them.

They will soon be banished to a field as they just roam anywhere at the moment and then go back to the shed on a night.