The Challenges of
The history of farming is a history of change and challenges. Few however as severe as the challenges which farmers face today.
We hope to be excused for touching on the present first. However, so many local businesses relate to agriculture and forestry, whether a farming business, sawmill, timber yard or workshop which services agricultural machinery.
Farming businesses have been facing many challenges. Produce from the UK had to compete with cheap imports. The times were the demand to increase yield are gone, at least for the time being, and conservation is high on the agenda. Re-wilding is the new buzz word. The new Agriculture Bill puts conservation at the heart of farming. Farmers are concerned about income and food security in the face of climate change and the growing world population.
In addition, there is pressure from governmental bodies for new land to be brought forward to build more houses. There is and will be huge pressure from the leisure demands of an increasing population and the rapidly growing use of footpaths and roads.
Most agricultural businesses are somewhat hidden away from the main thoroughfares, as they usually operate on the land surrounding the village, hamlets and settlements which make up Lenham.As farming practices change, some of the farm buildings are no longer suitable for modern farm use. Current governmental planning policies allow these buildings to change use to housing or to businesses such as offices or industrial units, while new, larger agricultural barns are erected somewhere else. is a mixed blessing in many people’s eyes, as more and more cars are forced to take narrow country lanes, many unsuitable for two-way traffic. Even on a short trip, drivers often have to reverse into the nearest lay-by and for walkers the lay-by has become a refuge!
It can be quite a shock when drivers encounter a huge articulate lorry laden with timbers or a tractor with a load of straw which sways precariously down the lane. Sometimes however, the encounter on one of Lenham's lanes can be quite different. Click the video to watch
ONCE UPON A TIME.....
......... things were different. Two local farmers, Andrew Barr and Robert Boyd-Howell reflect on farming in Lenham in living memory and Henny Shotter, with a keen interest in local history delves into the 'forgotten' past.