In her attitude to the farming scene in Northern Ireland Mrs Sarah Clarke, Lisnahall, Ardtrea, Stewartstown, realises that, in present-day conditions, small holdings cannot be considered economic but, where overall income can be augmented by “outside” earnings, she is completely opposed to acceptance of the Government proposals for the amalgamation of such farms.
Mrs Clarke’s reasoning was simple and straightforward when she told FarmWeek: “Having both been reared on farms my husband and I always had a keen interest in farming and we considered ourselves fortunate to secure our present holding a few years ago after living in the town.
“Clearly five acres would not support a family but with my husband working in a local firm we would appear to have the best of both worlds – freedom of life in the country, our interests in farming satisfied and reasonable security.
“Amalgamation makes no appeal to me whatsoever with the problem of getting suitable alternative accommodation the real bug-bear. I believe this opinion will be shared throughout the country when the progress of the scheme is examined in a few years’ time.”
If the Clarke holding is small it is managed along productive lines with a pig fattening enterprise running to over 200 pigs yearly the main line.
“The piggery erected by my husband and son-in-law has removed much of the hard labour associated with pig farming,” said Mrs Clarke, “and I certainly enjoy doing my share of the work.
“Suckers are supplied from a local group which cuts out attending the markets. So far, results have been encouraging.”
Mrs Clarke would like to go into poultry keeping but says the confused state of the egg market and the heavy investment required for a cage unit have stopped moves in this direction.
Listed among her favourite hobbies are sewing, knitting and TV but Mrs Clarke feels that more social activity in the district would be welcomed by everyone.