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Farmer Focus: Time to hand over the farm to the next generation

A deal is a deal, isn’t it? When Charlie and I moved into the farmhouse with our two young sons because my parents had graciously vacated the nerve centre of Parklands Farm, it was great for me to be living at the farm I was now running, with Dad keeping involved from his new home just a field away.

However, my husband and I had an understanding that we would go and live at his garden centre after 10 years or so. Now, 25 years on, we have just left. I am not complaining.

Obviously, it has been a wrench leaving the beloved old farmhouse I was born in, but I have kept my side of the bargain to both Charlie and, of course, to our son Hew, who will now enjoy the benefits of falling out of bed and being at work.

There are a few possible disadvantages, such as when I recently had to be on site late on a Sunday evening to reset the trip switch in the stables, or being best placed to load lorries early and late.

I have never wanted to be one of those old farmers who cannot give up the reins to the next generation.

Of course, it is a great job when things are going well, but there is a world outside of farming. And anyway, if you are in the fortunate position of having somebody younger around who wants to take it on, why on earth wouldn’t you let them?

Hew and I have planned out this succession as much as we can, taking advice about asset ownership in particular.

I will be getting to know the many bumps in the 14 miles of uneven concrete on the A12 between here and the new home as I become the commuter instead of Charlie.

I may not be in every day, but I will make myself available for busy times and will continue to take care of the sheep, the horse liveries and the tenants.

I dare say Hew will continue to let me empty the poo bin at the dog field too.

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