The Farming Ladder

This report from Nuffield Farming Scholar, Michael Blanche, takes as its title and inspiration a book by  George Henderson The Farming Ladder.

As he says “It is full of wisdom and he left a book to the world that — almost 70 years on  — will still be inspirational to some and certainly was to me.

The book tells the story of his progression from city boy to successful business man.      That was his Farming Ladder:  gaining his skills, gaining some land, making good profits   and growing his equity, all in a variety of different ways.  That is what the farming ladder   is — simple  progression  but multi-faceted  progression. . . This report will try to doff its cap to George Henderson’s holistic approach to the farming ladder.  Progression — from little to a lot — in all its forms, which includes land and assistance but also, more importantly, traits the individual has within his or her control (what they can do for their own ladder).”

2 thoughts on “The Farming Ladder

  1. Sadly, I feel a lot of this has come too late. There just isnt enough profit margin to farm. Farming is so asset rich, reliable machinery is extremely expensive and is only used for a few weeks a year (prob no other business where this would be feasible). A farm now has to be run strict with figures being suctinised on a spread sheet. Its a hard life which is very fulfilling but it cant sustain a decent family life on a few hundred acres. What with the weather patterns too much is being lost. Only the wealthy large farms can do conservation. Manpower is a huge problem in farming, the lack of decent relaible experienced labour just isnt there for a Tesco ‘Value’ wage offered. Hence, doing the figures makes for “I’m Out!”.

    1. Wrong. The farm subsidies act as a welfare benefit to the supermarkets via the farmers who often have to sell at less than the cost of production and also mean that the large landowners can claim vast subsidies and clean up, setting the market value. This is a critically distorted, if not corrupted market.
      Furthermore, if you just go and dig in field that has been under conventional/intensive arable cropping since fertilizers and pesticides were introduced in the 50s you will see that the soil structure is so depleted that there is barely anything left but gravel. This is only sustainable as long as there are nitrogen fertilizers available to provide the nutrients necessary for growth. This nitrogen is obtained from natural gas – the global supply of which is beginning to exhaust.

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