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We have been able to keep our Members regularly updated by newsletter with a series of Brian's Blogs.


Telling it as it is! A reflection from Brian Harries


Who would have thought, as we all relished the traditional social buzz on day three of the 2019 County Show, when we reflected on a most successful and enjoyable week, that within six months our world would be turned upside down.This situation is constantly being referred to as like nothing in living memory
and certainly the biggest challenge since world war two. The most important
thing of course is that everyone remains safe and well and if you are like me, I
now appreciate more than ever how blessed we all are to be living in this
beautiful and relatively safe county of ours.

On a personal level, when we were told on 20 th March that the Bristol Trader
along with all other pubs and restaurants in the land were to close with
immediate effect, I must admit there was this little part of me that imagined a
few weeks relaxing at home in the sunshine would have its attractions. It has
turned out to be nothing of the sort!

All I will add is that when this crisis is over and the country will need to recover and rebuild as quickly as possible, if Boris Johnston needs to bring in someone who is an expert at creating jobs then he could do a lot worse than employ Mrs H!

This has been a challenging time for everyone in so many different ways and
the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society is no exception. Along with all other
events in the country, we had no choice but to cancel the 2020 County Show
which was of course absolutely the right thing to do.

The result has left the society with many challenges going forward and in particular the financial impact this has had on the society. With all staff having been furloughed and
the board of directors as volunteers now managing the situation, we fully
acknowledge the stress all this uncertainty will cause our hard working staff.
The board meet by teleconference every Friday when we deal with all relevant
issues. I must admit it took a bit of getting used to this business of meeting
from remote locations, as in our own homes where we were all  self isolating.

The only exception to this is John Landers who joins us from his tractor cab
wherever he happens to be in the county working 'flat out' as he often reminds
us. We meet at 1pm and I expect John ties this in with a timely pork pie or two!
I have just completed my first year as a board member and I have been
surprised by the demands involved in running this organisation in a way that
achieves its objectives whilst at the same time complying with all requirements
of the charity commission. As a lay person I naively believed it was altogether a
far simpler process, I now know differently. Having said that, with all staff on
furlough the board of directors are having to carry out a whole range of tasks
including ground maintenance. 

Only last week it was highlighted that the showground needed some serious grass cutting not to undo the hard work our groundsmen have done. 

As is so often the case it was John Landers who stepped in with his grass topper and did the wide open spaces.

It is now 30 years since I called myself a working farmer but to be honest I still
feel like a farmer, I still love the smell of silage and have no problem with other
farmyard smells, and will always be grateful to the Pembrokeshire Agricultural
Society for giving me the opportunity to re connect with the farming
community when they invited me to get involved back in 2016. Having had all
this time to stand back and look at farming from the outside in, I realise more
than ever what wonderful people farmers and those who make up our rural
communities are. It is the norm to work long hours seven days a week year in
year out with no expectation for holidays or even weekends off.

Such are the demands of farming any hope of making a living requires maximum
commitment of time, effort and no shortage of business acumen. It is
interesting that Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List this
year with a fortune estimated at 20 billion. I understand he has invested
heavily into farming and currently farms about 40,000 acres. However, if my
information is correct, he is yet to make a profit.

Jeremy Clarkson who is another multi millionaire owns a 1000 acre farm in Oxfordshire and regularly comments in his newspaper column that he is unable to make a profit. Our
farmers who have always found a way to make their businesses prevail from
one generation to the next should be very proud indeed and worthy of our
admiration. I have said it many, many times before, our farmers are not given
the recognition they deserve for the contribution they make to society.
It has taken this covid19 crisis for all of us to finally recognise what an
unbelievable service we are provided with by all those who work in the NHS
and much has been said and written in the past months highlighting their
outstanding contribution. What would it take I ask myself for the general
population to fully understand and appreciate the importance of the
agricultural industry.

During our board meetings we regularly discuss the importance of education
and the fostering of a greater understanding amongst the wider population
with regards to farming and rural life. This is certainly something as a society
we are committed to as the industry is subjected to scrutiny like never before.
We are continuously exploring ways of developing this aspect of our work and
would certainly welcome any suggestions from the wider membership of the
society.

Speaking of suggestions, my lovely wife has just informed me that she has
several more suggested jobs lined up on top of the ones I have not yet
finished!

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