March 2016


Andy Mckenzie in the new Lainston House Cookery School

Great evening at Lainston House with Farmers Market, and Andy Mackenzie showing off his new cookery school. Thanks Andy.

But back at the farm, our business is suffering from audit overload. One can cope with the the effects of winter, a week of frost or a week of rain, long nights, short days, but what I can’t cope with is the endless requests for audit and all the associated costs. About 8 years ago there was a consortium of businesses, including the NFU, and some supermarkets who came up with a single audit called SALSA for the smaller producer. This would be an annual event that should serve to satisfy the requirements of most purchasers. Now, post Supermarkets efforts of sell horse meat dressed up as beef burgers, we are now totally overwhelmed with auditors tramping through our gate with their clip boards. Just to name a few, we are Dairy Farm Assured, Beef Assured, Vegetable Assured, Soils Association Assured, Leaf Assured, Sedex Compliant, Waitrose Audited, SALSA compliant, EHO compliant, US Food and Drugs Admin compliant and Environment Agency compliant. There is another customer in the wings who is proposing a £500 audit because the previous eleven organisations I have just mentioned are clearly not capable. The cost to our business of being compliant is enormous, and we are putting up our prices to cover the cost. Any one who thinks that leaving the EU is going reduce red tape and paperwork, is off their trolly. It is good old GB that generates red tape and then gold plates it!! As I sit in the office this morning, assuming I am fully compliant, the phone rings, and it is the NFU insurance Man wishing to make an appointment, he needs to check I am fully compliant!!***!!!