Farmers lament

Why do these barns stand empty,
On this old family farm,
And when did farming smaller holdings,
Actually do the country harm,

Photo: Chris Neufeld-Erdman

He was happy with his hundred ewes,
Few horses, hens and sows,
And never really saw the need,
To milk more than thirty cows,

Most of what they ate, he grew,
As DEFRA looks to blame,
He didn’t need the plastic tags,
He knew his stock by name,

But he finds himself retiring,
Because his joints are stiff with age,
His sons moved to the city,
Where they pay a proper wage,

So he’s in the hands of agents,
And their joy is plain to see,
Not a thought about his lifetimes work,
Just a big fat sellers fee,

They split the farm up into lots,
Such is their endeavour,
Without the sickening realisation,
Another farm is lost forever,

When the farmhouse sells at auction,
Should he really mind?
When it’s bought by the very people,
Who have robbed his pension blind?

Its sold with tiny paddocks,
Because they’d like to keep a horse,
But they love the look of foxes,
So they’ll never hunt, of course,

They won’t like crowing cockerels,
Or the smell of muck being spread,
The winter sound of gunfire,
Or the thought of game shot dead,

These barns have stood a century,
Will soon be filled with glass and steel,
Developers will leave some beams in,
So it has that country feel,

All the strangers move in slowly,
And all the country skills are lost,
Do we think just about the value?
But ignore the long term cost,

He sells the farm and wonders,
What all his works been for,
And how will these new folks manage,
If there comes another war,

When Sainsburys shelves are empty,
There’s no wheat or livestock reared,
They will look for farms and farmers,
To find that both have disappeared.

Words: Neil Andrew