After spending three decades pulling all manner of life out of the ground, Tom Barrett felt that it was time to put an end to his farming career.
A farmer’s life is by no means simple, or easy. Regardless of the produce that is cultivated, the nurturing and reaping of the Earth’s natural fruits is never a straight forward task and there are a huge number of variables that can wreak havoc on the best laid plans of even the most experienced farmer. Tom’s business was an arable one, dedicated to transforming acres of land around his little farmhouse into fertile land that would supply reams of corn throughout the Spring and Summer, followed by traditional root vegetables in the colder months.
Like many farmers of a certain age, Tom learned his trade from his father who he was lucky enough to inherit his land from. Whenever he was asked about his key to success Tom would always say that it was the knowledge his Father ingrained in him as a boy that has seen him straight through the years. Tom’s Father had started the farm from a small vegetable patch in their garden and was able to slowly expand his acreage over the course of three decades, leaving a sizeable holding for his son and the building blocks of an even larger empire which Tom would go on to create in his own lifetime.
Whilst Tom had been prepared for the agricultural pitfalls that laid in his path, he hadn’t been prepared for the pitfalls that threatened his own health. Now packing his belongings up into wooden crates, Tom tells us about his decision to leave his farm and how health affected this major decision:
“I’m happy with the work that I’ve done here, the land has certainly changed a lot since I was a lad and I’m sure my Dad would be proud to see how the farm’s output has grown. I can confidently say that I’ve achieved my goals here on the farm, I just wish that I had more time to keep it going.”
As Tom’s belongings, and that of his family, are packed away into boxes and shunted away on pallets he describes how his drive and focus on his farm led to him ignoring crucial signs regarding his health which has led to his early retirement.
“The farming life is constant. I often hear that city-dwellers have got it the hardest with their long commutes and working hours, but the hours that I put in on this farm far easily eclipse the busiest of stock-exchange workers. I’m lucky if I get 3 or 4 hours a sleep a night, I take a nap during the day if I’m lucky and weekends are a concept that doesn’t exist in my schedule. I lived every day for this farm since I left school at 16, and whilst its repaid me with wealth and prosperity, it has led to me not considering my health a top priority”
Whilst Tom’s illness could hardly have been avoided, if he had paid closer attention to his own body then he might well have been able to continue farming his land for much longer…