Going through a phase

John Scott reflects on the stages of life, farming alongside his father.

In Home Block5 Minutes
John Scott, James Scott Jnr and James Scott Snr hooked to the big screen at Fearn Farm’s ram sale.

John Scott reflects on the stages of life, farming alongside his father.

I THINK WE MAY HAVE FINISHED lambing, I’m not 100% sure but we haven’t had a fresh lamb for two weeks now so it may be over at last!

I realise that lambing for almost half the year isn’t really that cool but there are positives to take from the situation which involved a ram lamb spending several weeks with the hoggets when he really should have been eating turnips with his mates.

Following a recent conversation with a friend who is having some serious succession challenges it has made me think a lot about my situation and how fortunate I have been and am.

For the past 30 years I have had the opportunity to work alongside Dad, on the whole we have got on really well. Yes there have been some difficult times but invariably we know what each other is thinking and have had each other’s backs when times were tough.

If I were to analyse that period in my life, it’s roughly split in three.

The early part would see me learning from Dad, working alongside him, tapping into his knowledge while making the most of my energy.

In the second phase, along with my awesome wife Fiona, we took over the running of the business while also having our family. The relationship between Dad and me changed a bit, I must ask him how he found it but looking back I did feel we clashed more than the first or last third.

And in the recent third it’s been different again. He’s been there in a support role while still remaining active every day checking stock. He lets us get on with running the business as we see fit, being there for advice when we need it and, of course, sometimes when we don’t.

So looking ahead, which is always the exciting bit in theory, I’m moving into phase four which will likely be more of the same with Dad although he might do a little less and phase one with James and Izzy and maybe Lexie and Archie (as long as New Zealand doesn’t keep them).

I hope I get the balance right in terms of support and encouragement, and as a family we get plenty of special moments to share which make us all proud of each other and what we are achieving on a daily basis collectively.

Over the past two weeks we have hosted two farm visits, one I remembered about and one I didn’t, which tested our scramble defence to the max. Both gave us the opportunity to work as a family team. Creating opportunities for the kids to engage with others is so important and this is a high priority in our plans.

As an industry we have forgotten how much we need to socialise and it’s been great to get back to shows post Covid. They have been a huge miss in our farming calendar and we are all making the most of them now they are back. So far we have done the Royal Highland and the Great Yorkshire which hosted the world shorthorn conference delegates who were great fun.

Our local shows start this weekend and it’s already been suggested that I spend less time in the beer tent than the last time I went three years ago.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the recent summer rugby tours to the southern hemisphere, some very interesting results. Scotland were consistent in that they gave us as fans the usual roller coaster of emotions before failing at the final hurdle. Of course the other matchups were also very close and interesting, I would love to be a fly on the wall in NZ Rugby HQ at the moment, when does Scott Robertson get the gig, now after WC 2023 or could he come to Scotland instead? Either way November will be interesting.