By July 6, 2012 Read More →

A farmer’s take on working from home

A farmer’s take on working from homeJohn Wallis farms just outside Penzance in West Cornwall, with breathtaking views from his land and farmhouse down across Mount’s Bay and St Michael’s Mount. But what is life really like for a 21st century farmer?

Hi John, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. How long have you lived and farmed at Trenow?
My Great Grandfather came here to live at Trenow Farm in 1917. I still have the poster that was nailed to the wall in the village asking for people to tender for the tenancy of Trenow Farm. I also have the letter that my Grandfather wrote for my Great Grandfather to sign, (my Great Grandfather couldn’t write all that well). The letter began “I beg to tender for the tenancy of Trenow Farm”, and ended signed “From your humble servant”! Years later my father bought the farm and now I live here with my wife Haidee and our two children Tabitha and Ben.

I’ve never had any farmers comment on the blog – maybe they don’t think of themselves as working from home. Do you ever think about it?
I have never really thought about farming as “working from home,” but of course I do work from home, my farm is my home and I’m such a sad case that it’s pretty much my world.

What are the major challenges for a Cornish farmer at present?
We have survived in business at Trenow by the skin of our teeth. We are lucky enough to have 100 acres of land in the “Golden Mile”, which is an exceptionally early farming area. This means we can grow early crops like potatoes that we can get onto the market before anyone else in the country, when the price is at its highest.
The problem we are facing at the moment is that there is never a shortage of any crop. Somewhere in the world there will always be something available and, whilst you may think that transport is an issue, produce will inevitably flood into the country. Therefore there is no such thing as an early crop anymore. There is always somewhere in the world at full production.

And the rewards? What are your hopes for the future?
I would like to think that I could provide an opportunity for my children to farm, as my father provided an opportunity for me and my grandfather for him, but realistically I am afraid that there is not enough money to support another family from this farm.
Haidee and I have managed to keep the farm going and rear our children here by working hard and watching every penny. We all live happily in the converted barn that we kept potatoes in every year for about 75 years. Money is not my reward. I don’t know if I was brainwashed or if I was hard wired, but I simply love to work on my farm.

John will be back soon to share the philosophy farming has taught him on what to try and change and what to accept – a good philosophy for home workers.

Posted in: Routine

10 Comments on "A farmer’s take on working from home"

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  1. As an addict of Farming Today, CountryFile and from country stock, I am very excited to have a farmer on Judy’s blog.

    I’d love to interview you for my blog – and my middle name is Haidee, and never seen anyone else with that name. Great minds!

    • Judy says:

      I’m delighted to have John on the blog too. People rarely think of farmers when they’re discussing working from home,so it’s good to hear their viewpoint.