WHERE ARE WE NOW ?
– the editor, Christopher Jones:
Since January 2018 the tempo within the ACF has increased. The biggest change is that Adrian Cullis has joined Christopher in coordinating the fellowship. This has required some organisation, and a process of familiarisation for Adrian. There has been a significant trickle of new members, some of them quite young! New legislation has required us to formally obtain members permission to hold their contact details. The rapid response of many of you has encouraged us. If you have not yet responded please could you do it soon. If on the other hand, the message has not reached you for some reason please tell us now.
One of our main concerns has been with the Government’s consultation document ‘Health and Harmony’, and the surrounding discussions about the future of food and farming. Adrian and Christopher consulted widely and have put a lot of work into this. As you will have seen, we concentrated on three areas:
The danger of farm support being concentrated on one category of farmer to the exclusion of others, whilst producing only patchy environmental benefits.
The significance, actual and potential, of farming in relation to surrounding communities and particular groups within society.
The great damage that could be done to farming by ill- conceived trading arrangements.
Much is at stake! We are working to make churches and other organisations aware of our concerns. Please spread our concerns as widely as you can.
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
You will recall that we wrote to you in February 2018 about decisions following the November 2017 Conference as we seek to redouble our efforts. We aim to engage with our members and work with them to spread the idea of farming as a vocation or calling within God’s purposes. There is always a need to put forward Christian perceptions about the role and purpose of farming, but this is particularly urgent at the present time when the whole future of farming is up for debate. We try to help churches to understand issues and put a Christian perceptive on them, and to relate to environmental and other organisations with an interest in food and the land at home and overseas.
We said that we had decided to support Adrian Cullis for two days a month working with Christopher in the coordination of all this activity.
Adrian has recently returned from working on drought risk management in the Horn of Africa, and is now available to spend some of his time working with ACF. His love of the countryside, combined with a sharp mind and a wealth of experience, makes him the right person to take us forward in these critical days for farming and our way of life. Adrian has already been working with Christopher on, amongst other things, our response to the Defra ‘Health and Harmony’ proposals. We would like to provide for both of them as part time ACF Coordinators and this is an opportunity that requires some funding.
I believe that this is God’s timing and provision, but that we members should play our part in covering the cost of time and expenses. Our unusually small subscriptions have been sufficient to sustain the basic running of ACF, but will not enable the heightened level of activity flowing from our conference last November.
In our discussions as a committee we feel that it is right to keep subscriptions affordable for all to join, but to make a way for those who are able to contribute to the support of this great work.
If you are able to make a donation to support this important work, you can do so by BACS to:
AGRICULTURAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP,
Account number; 65119486,
Sort code 08-92-99
or cheque payable to Agricultural Christian Fellowship and sent to:
ACF, Manor Farm, West Haddon, Northampton, NN6 7AQ
ACF has, and by God’s grace will continue to be, an influence far beyond its size and funding base. Thank you for your continued support.
The Lord bless you,
INTRODUCING ACF'S NEW COORDINATOR:
Born in Shropshire and brought up in Lancashire and then in Chester where his father lectured at Rease Heath Agricultural College. Adrian studied Agriculture and Environmental Science at Seal Hayne and Salford University. He joined ACF as a student and has been a persistent member ever since. Not only that but his Father was a member before him! In this period he also met and married Cathy.
Most of his working life has been spent in dry land areas of Kenya, Uganda and most recently Ethiopia. He describes this experience: Having spent a decade living in the north of Kenya and Uganda, I’ve grown to appreciate the East African drylands. While it sometimes appears there’s not a lot going on, over time I’ve learned that there’s an enormous amount going on even in the most barren of landscapes. I’ve also learned that the people who inhabit these lands are among the most capable, resourceful and resilient people on the planet, and I think there’s a lot we can learn from them.
He and Cathy are now based back in Shropshire still doing some pieces of work continuing his involvement with arid lands, but with time earmarked for ACF we will need to build this up from 2 days a month, we think.
About coming back he says:
I’ve now been living in the UK for nearly 10 months, after twelve years in Ethiopia, and am still coming to terms with some of the changes while I’ve been away. I’m reminded of a quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt “the test of progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little’. By almost any metric, I think we’d be hard pushed to say we are making significant progress, including sadly in farming.
Do not expect any dull moments.
WORK OPPORTUNITY WANTED
A student at Sutton Bonington is looking for an opportunity
to experience farm work this summer, he writes:
During my placement and in my previous years of uni, I have become more interested in the agricultural end of the food production process which unfortunately is not really covered in my course and this is an area which I would like to gain some more experience in. I have one more year of uni left which starts at the end of September, in between my placement ending and then I have decided I would like to spend some time on farms, having grown up in a rural area, I love the countryside. I am a keen, quick learner and a practical thinker but have no previous working farm experience, would there be any chance of connecting with the farms in the fellowship which would be able to give me some work experience during this time?
If anybody has any ideas about this can they get in touch with us fairly quickly.