MY tractor driving career began at three years old sat on a beautiful shiny 135 at the Royal Cornwall Show. Mother took a photo. I was riding it like a cowboy!

My first real go on a tractor was an International 474 at 14 years old. I was helping my neighbour John Clark, Mossergate. He set me off at 5mph to drive the tractor up the fields at Graythwaite near Loweswater, while he walked through the sheep. The tractor hand throttle was marked with a hare to go faster and tortoise to go slower. I was on tortoise but itching to go hare!

Four years later I was leading silage bales again for John and Mark Clark and managed to ditch both the brand- new Renault tractor and the bale in a deep ditched stream. It was tea- time and I was in cowboy mode again as Berta Clarks fruit cake was particularly good and I didn’t want to miss out! Who knew water could backfill so fast behind a tractor and a sodden bale in a ditch?

Two years later, working on a grain farm in Wiltshire, I was merrily barrelling along in cowboy mode pulling 10 tonnes of barley fresh off the combine. Pity I forgot to shut the trailer door properly. My boss Bob Burdon, once he had given me a proper west country cussing, saw the funny side and even joked that I had a laid a barley trail along the road “deep and crisp and even”. Pity it wasn’t snow really!

There may be a pattern forming and you may never wish to allow me to jump on any of your tractors, but I do have the utmost respect for experienced and technically-gifted tractor drivers using high-spec computers on wheels!

Perhaps the biggest advent in farm transport over the last 30 years is the quad bike. How did farmers manage in the old days? Unfortunately, along with the advent of quad, we have seen a significant increase in farm related accidents. Most of us know people who have had quad bike incidents, and some have been fatal.

HSE Figures up to February 2020 revealed that in the last 10 years there were 26 ATV- related deaths in the UK. Very sadly we know that this figure has now increased. Countless other accidents and injuries remain un- recorded but could be in the thousands. A farmer’s wife told me that her husband had rolled his quad twice in one week recently luckily escaping with only broken ribs!

It begs the question, in the modern era, why do more farmers not wear protective headgear? I am told that not one death has been recorded where the quad operator was wearing a helmet.

Technically it isn’t against the law to go “Easy Rider”, but it is the law to provide correct PPE, training, vehicle maintenance and insurance. Look after yourselves, your family, and your employees. You probably wouldn’t ride a push- bike without a helmet. Shouldn’t it be the same with an ATV?

When you are in cowboy mode on the quad, hang on to your hats! You never know when you might need one”.

*Adam joined the Farmer Network in 2015 initially working three days each week, but has now increased this to four days.

He is involved in all facets of the Network working closely with the Board of Directors and the Management Councils to ensure that the Network is delivering what members want and need.

The Farmer Network Ltd is an independent not for profit company that provides help and support to farmers and their businesses.

Formed in 2006, the company currently has more than 1,100 members.

They brand themselves as a friendly, grassroots farmer’s organisation with an experienced team of knowledgeable people used to dealing with most queries and challenges that today’s farm business can experience.If they don’t know the answer, they will know the right person who does, through our many corporate members, sponsors and other associates.

Away from the Network Adam performs with a band called the Soul Survivors playing all over the North.