Watcher! The 2020s are quickly turning into a carbon copy of the 1970s, and farming friends have commented that I seem sharper mentally, stand a little taller and have even started to use antiquated slang.
That’s nifty, but what could be the cause of this?
An explanation might be that, in clinical scientific trials, it’s been proved that if people convince themselves they are reliving a period of their youth, it improves both their cognitive abilities and physical posture without them having to think directly about doing either.
That’s so hip, don’t you think?
So what, specifically, has convinced me that I’m reliving the 1970s, dude?
I think having inflation back is one important factor. OK, my concerns about inflation as a teenager were rather different than my current worries as a farmer.
Back then it was the ever-increasing cost of vinyl records, spot cream, hair care products for my impressive mullet, and Brut 33 antiperspirant.
Today, I fret about the rising cost of fertiliser, tractors and agro-chemicals. But you get my drift?
Russia’s meddling in the world grain market also makes me feel young again.
In 1973-74, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union, it caused the price of grain around the world to increase by nearly 50% through the purchase of 10m tonnes of US wheat.
Once the US woke up to the fact that the world was out of the stuff, it was too late and the Russian purchase became known as the “Great Grain Robbery”.
In the 2020s, of course, the Russians are still robbing grain, but this time literally, from Ukraine. Putin is a real drag, man. Period.
Apparently, some younger farmers have found leaving the EU a strain, given all the changes in international trading patterns and subsidies that it has brought with it.
Change is always hard but, as someone who can remember joining the EU in 1973 and all the upheaval that that caused for farming, such disruption is par for the course.
Farmgate commodity price guarantees one minute, the CAP and “intervention buying” the next? Groovy. BPS today, SFI tomorrow? Out of sight.
Let’s face it, things are getting so ‘70s it’s becoming a complete blur. Take the current surging cost of energy. For anyone who lived through the great oil price shocks of that decade, this all seems very familiar.
On top of that, there’s talk of taking utilities such as electricity and water back into state ownership. Even going on strike is back in fashion.
We had the “winter of discontent” between November 1978 and February 1979 and now we’ve just had the “summer of solidarity”. Jeepers creepers, no wonder I feel like I’m 19 again.
Given that I’m about the average age of a UK farmer, I can’t be the only one who is feeling younger by the day. Cats, we’re having so much fun right now, aren’t we?
Spotify even gives us access to endless throwback playlists to provide us with Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd/Sex Pistols soundtracks in the cabs of our tractors and 4x4s.
I hope all this ‘70s chat hasn’t psyched you younger dudes. But believe me when I say, no matter how freaky-deaky things are for many farmers right now, chill and everything will turn out ace.
See you on the flip side, man.