The farming column with Sam Walton

The rare breed Longhorn cattle.
The rare breed Longhorn cattle.

Rare breeds would probably become extinct, be it sheep, beef or pigs, were it not for the number of stalwarts who keep them going.

To do that means having a premium outlet, which thankfully the succinct amongst us are prepared to pay for. Life today seems to revive around money, money, money.

Free range rare breed pigs.

Free range rare breed pigs.

Everyone needs money because of that and it appears that a lot of people expect an increase year on year.

Unfortunately, these days there seems to be a lot of other things to spend money on apart from food.

Of course that did not happen in the old days when most farms had what are now rare breeds, food was the number one priority.

About 15 years ago there was a programme on TV where three families were followed for three months with their spending patterns.

One family income was £15,000 per year, another earned £25,000 and the last was a professional with £50,000.

The idea was to see what they spent their money on and how much went on food.

It was a bit of an eye opener in as much as the lowest earners spent most on good quality food, while the top earner by the time they had paid school fees, expensive holidays, new curtains and double glazing, had no money left for quality food so bought the cheapest rubbish imaginable and complained about the cost.

That the population is becoming obese there is no doubt and a lot of it is due to buying rubbish food which cannot be good for health.

Because of the massive increase in population, farmers have had to produce more and more food in as efficient a manner as possible to be sure the population is fed.

That means leaner animals on the meat side as fat costs four times more to produce than lean.

Does that mean we have less tasty animals? Not really with modern feedstuffs for them and the clever new ways cooking and presenting it.