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Make hay while the sun shines: Shirt v Shirt

Shirt v Shirt reinforces the importance of written agreements in family farming partnerships, says Christopher McNall

31 May 2012

In the early 1950s, Stanley and Marie Shirt began working at Syda Farm, a 100-acre dairy farm on the Derbyshire wolds above Chesterfield. In the mid 1960s, one of their three sons, Alan, left school and began work with his parents at Syda. By the early 1970s, Alan and his parents had formed a partnership. The farm grew substantially when, in 1974, Stanley took a protected agricultural tenancy of a nearby farm, Rufford House.

Thereafter, the partnership farmed the two farms as one unit: Stanley and Marie living at Syda and Alan living (latterly) at Rufford. The farm went through good times and bad. In the 1980s, a once-thriving retail milk business encountered difficulties and had to close. The farm, and the three partners, became burdened with debt. But, through hard work, the partners were eventually able to restore some measure of prosperity.

Harbouring hopes

As a r...

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