Wales is known for many things rainy weather, Tom Jones and ….now gigantic vegetables. Philip Vowles has been gardening for 30 years but where most are content with a few cherry tomatoes and enough beans to accompany the Sunday roast, he decided to go big. Some of his noteworthy gigantic vegetables include cabbages of over 100lb and cucumbers at 18lbs. He 

From his one acre allotment, he produces enough to feed his family and neighbors and also sells to the local pub. 

With a marrow which may tip the scales at 150lbs, Philip Vowles has gained notoriety not just from the British press but interanationally as well. News channel CNN have sent a television crew from New York to make a documentary about Mr. Vowles and his voluminous veg. 

Although started as a hobby he now enters competitions throughout Wales.

I'm excited about this post. I've just read about a woman who is giving away her farm in North Carolina  in a contest. She has asked entrants to write an 200 word essay saying why they should win. This is a win win situation for everyone.  

There are a few caveats though. The  people need to be between 25-50 (as we know farming can be tiring). Also at least one person needs to be an American citizen. The farm is BlueBird Hill Farm. 

There is an entrance fee of $300, which will be returned to entrants if the base price isn't met. This will be wonderful opportunity for people who are farmers but haven't the funds to buy one themselves. She is looking for a couple who are passionate not just about farming but about the way of life. 

This is an organic farm with certification, located in North Carolina and has an estimated value of $450,000.

Do you have what it takes to be the new owner of this beautiful farm? If so, this prize could change your life. 

There is a wonderful home, a barn and a chicken coop. This will make a happy home for one lucky couple. Although I love my home here in the tropics, if I was younger I would be entering this giveaway. 

Visit her site, and look at the images, could you picture yourself living there?

We all know that farming takes a special kind of person and it is this type of person (couple) that Norma Burns wants to see taking over her farm. 

In the  video which is linked at the bottom, Mrs. Burns becomes emotional, I know we can all share that feeling. When you work so hard, often with mixed results, it is difficult to detach and let go. 

I imagine she has spent quiet times on her porch overlooking the lake wondering and worrying about the best route forward for the sake of the farm. This is a feeling I don't' think 'city dwellers' have. 

It has to do with being connected to the land, feeling your hands in the soil, and herding animals to a pen. It is a simple way of life that so many crave but aren't will to step out of their comfort zone and grab it. 

I did and if you are a small farmer, then you know exactly what I am referring to, it's more than just a way of life, it the essence of life.

To see an interview of Mrs. Burns 

To Enter the giveaway for the farm,

When people think of theft from farms their mind goes to cattle rustling and the wild west. Unfortunately this is still a big problem. It isn't just livestock which is stolen but also farm equipment, both of which can leave a small farmer desperate.

Today I read that 1500 geese were stolen in England. These were destined to end up as someones Christmas dinner, and I suspect they still will. For the farmer, the loss must be devastating, as it isn't just the loss of the revenue he would have generated from the sale of these birds but also all the money which has been spent rearing them. They are estimated to be worth £100,000.

I don't believe when a member of the public reads such stories, they get the full picture. They assume the loss is just the money he will lose from not selling the birds. The public doesn't realize the amount which is spent (time and money) on getting those ready for market.

Some big farms carry insurance to cover items and livestock from theft. How much more can we do to protect our livestock and farms?

We as farmers take a risk with livestock hoping when it comes time to sell, that the price will be strong and there will be no disaster such as illness affecting our stock.

Here on our farm in Brazil, we have had geese and we know the noise they make. I don't know how these thieves were able to steal so many without it causing a disturbance.

  • Farm insurance, farm theft, 
A Kansas judge has ruled that a class action suit against the Swiss company Syngenta, can go ahead. This is a blow for the major seed and chemical company who have their headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. The company disagrees with the district court's ruling and is considering an appeal.

Farmers in several corn growing areas across the US have come together to file a lawsuit against the company. The farmers, say their corn which was exported to China, was rejected due to the fact there were traces of Agrisure Viptera.

Although China has accepted genetically modified strains of corn before, this particular variety was not on the approval list and was not accepted resulting in the loss of revenue for many corn exporters, many of whom had not grown that particular strain of corn but which had still been rejected.

Besides the court ruling against them, the company has been in the news as concerns were raised over the sale of Syngenta to The  China National Chemical Corp. or ChemChina as it is called. The senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, whose state depends heavily on agriculture, is concerned that actions of the company may be hidden from US civil laws as a result of the purchase. The deal is set to go ahead once the EU has given its approval, currently it appears this will be in March.