<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
12 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today click here

My Herts Life: Stewart Hunter

PUBLISHED: 20:19 07 April 2014 | UPDATED: 20:19 07 April 2014

Stewart Hunter on his farm

Stewart Hunter on his farm

Archant

The president of the 2014 Hertfordshire County Show remembers his remarkable journey into the Hertfordshire farming community and looks forward to the 128th show

When and how did you begin farming in Hertfordshire? 
My family started farming in Hertfordshire in 1960, following our life-changing decision to move south and leave our family farm in Stranraer in the south west of Scotland. Our move involved hiring a steam train from Scotland to Berkhamsted station for about £500. We left Stranraer in sunny weather in the evening and arrived 12 hours later at Berkhamsted station to be greeted by both pitch-black darkness and lots of farming friends waiting to help unload our prize-winning 140 Ayrshire herd, 40 sheep, 12 pigs, chickens and a prize bull together with ‘our family home’ including beds, settees, carpets, curtains, gramophone (including my precious Perry Como record collection), a car and a van.

In 1963 we moved from the Berkhamsted farm to our current home at Pursley Farm in the village of Shenley, near Radlett. Our family runs an arable enterprise covering 3,000 acres of combinable crops across 12 farm units, including wheat, oats, oilseed rape, beans and barley. When I say a family run business, I am including my wife Nancy and our two sons. In addition, we have a granddaughter and four grandsons, all helping and wanting to be little farmers. How good is that?

.

What have been the big changes in your time in the industry?
The biggest changes I have seen in farming is the progressive increases in automation resulting in less farm workers employed, but significantly increased productivity, which has stabilised the cost of food for consumers. I have been saddened by the demise of dairy herds reducing to just six or seven producing milk in Hertfordshire today. Unfortunately, the buying power of the big supermarkets combined with their generous profit margins has devastated this previous local business.

.

What are the joys of farming? And the challenges today?
The joys of farming are that it offers a good healthy outdoor lifestyle and the satisfaction of providing quality homegrown food for UK consumers. It is very encouraging to see the significant change in consumers interested to know where their supermarket food products come from. No doubt the most recent supermarket meat scandals have highlighted the need for increased identification and quality controls. This overdue stricter management legislation is of course very good news and a win-win situation for both food buyers and farms respectively.

.

You have been chosen as this year’s Hertfordshire County Show president – what does the event bring to the farming community and wider public?
Our county can be very proud of the Hertfordshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity established in 1801, to support the promotion, education and better understanding of farming, agriculture and the country way of life in Hertfordshire today. This objective is achieved by organising the annual Hertfordshire County Show – widely acclaimed as the largest and best value for money combined rural and urban community event in the county. 
This year we celebrate our 128th annual Hertfordshire County Show and the theme is ‘Showcasing the Heart of Hertfordshire’. We are looking forward to the show with both confidence and our renowned society enthusiasm, and, with a little help from the weather, to welcoming another 34,000 visitors over the busy show weekend.

0 comments

More from People

Yesterday, 16:49

Super bendy Maia Fisher of North Chingford on being a champion gymnast

Read more
Yesterday, 16:06

Want to know more about the Sandbank area? Andy Greeves talks to three locals who have a passion for the Platinum Peninsula and nearby Lilliput and Canford Cliffs

Read more
Yesterday, 16:01

Support from Prince Harry gives mental health campaigners in Leeds a chance to highlight pioneering work.

Read more
Leeds

The Sussex Downs have been a rich source of inspiration for the renowned artist and illustrator Carol Lawson. As her latest work goes on display in Rottingdean, she talks to Angela Wintle about the fascination of an ever-changing landscape

Read more
Yesterday, 15:10

He’s one of the greatest cinematographers of all time but at home in Devon, Roger Deakins likes to take a break from the limelight. Chrissy Harris met up with him to talk movies, Hollywood and pasties...

Read more
Yesterday, 14:21

To mark the tenth anniversary of its award-winning Sourced Locally initiative which brings local produce to shoppers, the East of England Co-op is celebrating some of the inspiring women who are helping to lead the future of food and drink production here in Essex. Essex Life introduces you to four of them

Read more
Friday, July 21, 2017

How time flies when you’re having fun! It may be a cliché, but for the Guildford Fringe team it rings true as they celebrate their fifth anniversary festival with a bumper year of vibrant theatre, comedy and a sprinkling of magic. Tinx Newton catches up with festival director, Nick Wychsna, to discover what’s in store

Read more
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No stranger to controversy, comedian turned actor Rufus Hound lives something of a double life. Born for the stage, he grew up in Surrey as Robert Simpson. Matthew Williams catches up with the famously facial-haired raconteur to chat school days, showbiz and, well, modern politics

Read more
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Always happy to tackle the issues of the day, it’s no surprise that Andrew Castle’s smooth tones have led him to become a talk radio staple. Tennis, however, is the former British number one’s first love and Wimbledon is his second home

Read more
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

With voting open for the 2017 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, here we catch up with a selection of last year’s award winning foodies to find out what success has meant for them

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Job search in your local area



Local Business Directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search