As the 1950s closed and rationing passed, farmers and their workers might have expected a golden age. After all, everyone acknowledged that British farming was one of the great success stories of the post-war era. To decide whether the 1960s was in fact a golden decade, turn to this selection from John Winter’s reports in the Daily Mail which were written so that literally anyone would find them interesting, both the millions of lay readers and the specialist farmer or agriculturalist. The early sixties were indeed a time of optimism, with ever more livestock, favourable price reviews and the golden harvest of 1964. But as the decade continued, along with the £10 a week farmworkers’ wage and advances in technology came Fred Peart’s ‘golden pitchfork’, fowl pest, foot and mouth outbreaks and rows over the marketing boards. The benefits of the brucellosis eradication scheme had to be balanced against battles over poor price reviews, spiralling costs of food, concerns about farm safety and the misuse of chemicals. Even the weather seemed to get worse. Overall, a good decade or a bad one? This selection of crisp articles, often passionately on the side of the farmer and farmworker, reveals the issues big and small, and the people who brought them to life
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