This fellow farmer may have encouraged James Rebanks to write his clear-eyed, concise and moving account of the changes witnessed and experienced as the family farm has adapted over three generations to changing demands in agriculture.  This is probably the most readable, engaging and informative look at the challenge of running a farm more sustainably, both economically and ecologically. 

Tell them what is happening on the land.  Someone has to tell them … When I was young there was cowslips and ragged robin everywhere, and butterflies on the thyme in the rocky crags on the fell.  The becks were full of minnows, the pools alive with them, and water boatmen skating on the top … I’m maybe old and stupid, but I like to see them things.  But you don’t see them anymore.  And greed is to blame.  Greed. and it will get worse if they don’t change things.  Tell them. 

See also our celebration of Rebanks’ earlier tribute to farming as he believes it can and should be done.  It’s a beautiful read.    

Source: Mayson Weir, Dowthwaite Head Farm, quoted in James Rebanks, English Pastoral: An inheritance (London: Penguin, 2021)

Photo credit: WFranz at pixabay


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