Farming column with Sam Walton

Farm transport in Southern Rhodesia, a country I visited after joining the Young Farmers Movement.
Farm transport in Southern Rhodesia, a country I visited after joining the Young Farmers Movement.

It was a sad day when the Beverley Guardian closed it’s doors, and for me who had written the paper’s farming comment for the last year.

For the Pocklington Post readers, I farm at Lockington between Beverley and Driffield, just arable now but with a special interest in pigs over the years, having started a magazine called Pig World in 1987 and was editor for 25 years.

Discing with oxen in Southern Rhodesia.

Discing with oxen in Southern Rhodesia.

The last four years I have taken a back seat, doing a couple of farm visits a month and a monthly comment.

I used to have 200 sows, plus sheep and cattle and at one time grew vegetables, mainly broccoli and cauliflowers, plus some pick your own rasps.

I had always wanted to have a farm shop but on a rented farm, that was going to prove difficult and when the petrol shortage came about in the late 70s early 80s, people stopped coming to pick your own.

It was also going to be difficult with pigs for me to visit other pig farmers so the last ones went 20 years ago.

Pig World has given me the opportunity of travelling and having visited 42 different countries, I have seen an awful lot of things which not everyone will have the opportunity of seeing.

Like many more young lads and lasses I joined the Young Farmers Movement and at the ripe old age of 21, I was awarded a six month exchange visit to what was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and I suppose that gave me the travel bug.

Having attended Askham Bryan I then worked on a small farm for a year and that year was the unhappiest time of my life as I just did not enjoy the time there at all.

Following that I worked for three years on a farm at Aldbrough after which I had the overseas tour.

When I returned I was invited to work for a farmer auctioneer which meant attending Hull and Beverley markets, trying to persuade farmers let us sell their stock and to more or less run his farm which had 50 sows.

That meant we could take pigs every week to the markets, either as weaner or finishers.

After a couple of years, he bought the neighbouring farm which then gave us about 320 acres and I went to live in the farmhouse.

There was always a carrot being dangled and I just couldn’t quite reach it to have a bite, so applied for a personal assistant’s job on an 850 acre farm in South Lincolnshire.

That was a totally different experience, we grew 20 acres of blackcurrants for Ribena, had a dairy herd, one of the first oilseed rape crops, sugar beet and potatoes.

I enjoyed that immensely for five years and then one day I was invited to attend an interview at Beverley to manage 1,000 acres on the outskirts of the town.

This I did for four years when my present farm came up for rent and after much soul searching I decided to have a go at it and was delighted when awarded the tenancy and the rest they say is history.