Norfolk farmer still at work on the harvest as he turns 90

Newman Smith

Newman Smith, from Southery, who is still farming as he turns 90, pictured with his wife Joan. - Credit: Chris Bishop

When he turned 80, he said he still had plenty more harvests left in him.

Ten years later Newman Smith's still bringing in the corn.

Mr Smith, who turns 90 the day after his wife Joan on Sunday, bought his first field as a boy and went on to farm around 400 acres of black peat near his home in Southery, near Downham Market.

Today he still helps work the land along the bumpy Feltwell Road, where staples including beet, potatoes and corn are grown.

"I don't want to sit about while I can still get about," he said. "I reckon I've probably got another 10 years to go. Then I think I shall call it a day.


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"I'm helping my son and grandson now. I've been took off the combines because two caught alight.

"I cart the corn, push it, tip it up and any other jobs they don't want to do."

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Although his beloved antique Massey Fergusons have been consigned to a shed, Mr Smith admits to not being completely taken with the giant John Deere machines which have replaced them.

Having ploughed by eye all his life, he eschews satnavs and automatic steering used by 21st Century farmers for starters.

"I don't want all that modern stuff," he said. "The boys have got them but I don't know how to use them."

Mr Smith bought his first eight-acre field as a schoolboy and bunked off to tend his crops.

"The school master said I'd never be no good," he said. "I knew when I was five years old what I was going to do. I never wanted to do anything else."

By the age of 21, Mr Smith had a county council farm tenancy and a grey 'Fergie. He married wife Joan in 1953, the year of the great floods and the couple went on to have children David and Gillian, who each have two children.

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