For January’s Shed Talk we welcome David Wilson, farm manager of the Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove. Initially trained in conventional methods of agriculture he was chosen by Prince Charles in 1985 him to run the Duchy Home Farm so he was able to help shape the process of converting to sustainable, organic agriculture.
“Back in the 1980s, organic farming was seen as pretty cranky and The Prince was conscious of the fact that many people were against what he was doing. But he said: If the Duchy can’t afford to try this, who can?”.
“Working for The Prince could not be anything other than an opportunity,” says David Wilson, citing the success of red-clover pasture as the achievement he’s most proud of. “Representing his views, which I happen to share, is a huge privilege. He says ‘seeing is believing’ and it’s true. Farmers judge crops and livestock at a glance and he still “gets a buzz from looking at a field of good-looking cows or sheep, or a nice, clean wheat or barley blowing in the breeze”.
He believes the Duchy’s longevity is its greatest strength. “It’s like a wise old uncle – it might take time to make decisions, but they’re usually the right ones.” (Source: “Country Life” 14.11.12).
“I was very lucky to come to this job, and then having the opportunity to try a system of farming that was very different. The Prince of Wales had a vision, and he also had a real unease about intensive farming systems, and it just gave us all an opportunity to learn together. Which we‘ve done and we certainly continue learning, that‘s for sure.“
Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 for students and those under 14 years of age, bookable in advance or pay on the door.
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