We were 14-years-old and we were told not to do it, but we did! Three cocky teenage boys walked across Cockermouth Grammar School cricket square one lunch time. We were spied by a house master, one who had taught my father before me, and he was old school.

We were summoned to the school gym where I was held to be the ringleader in this heinous crime. A cricket bat was produced, and we were told to touch our toes.

“Right, Day” said the master “I’m going to teach you the art of the perfect square cut – Thwaaaaaak”! Surveying the face of the bat he continued: “I do believe I found the sweet spot”.

In the modern era this sort of punishment would never be allowed but I will say this – we never walked across the cricket square again.

A few years later in his retirement, my old master used to come down to Cockermouth rugby club on a Saturday and we enjoyed a pint or two after the game, with mutual respect.

I thought of the term “sweet- spot” recently when thinking about future rural land use policies. I continue to see polarity between farming and conservation. In many (but not all situations) there remains an unhealthy mistrust and in some cases lack of respect between both communities. I get hugely frustrated by this as I know do many in both camps.

Time and again in meetings and on social media I have said that farming, food, and conservation policies need to be united within one portfolio. To me whatever the policy and the goal, the starting point must be a viable and sustainable farm business.

Farmers need to be allowed to farm to maintain the food chain and to live. They will also be required by government and the public to deliver those much talked about public benefits.

Right now, our customers are getting far more savvy about food production and standards (thanks Mr Trump).

Also, on greenhouse gases and the state of the planet, I sense a change in perspective towards British farming and food production. The public is coming back to us. Perhaps they are realising the folly of increased food imports and the growing difficulties this will cause in time.

I also sense an opportunity; the chance to really promote the benefits that good farming offers. It starts with the farming business, but it continues with sensible robust conservation projects to improve soil, air, and water quality, to increase bio- diversity and improve eco- systems on the farm.

I know these are buzzwords, but to me and I suspect very many people, they are essential. If we can find the balance between viable, sustainable farming and sensible agreed conservation goals, then we will hit the sweet spot. In doing so we move away from the either/ or mentality in rural land use.

The Farmer Network works with several conservation- based organisations who share the same ideology, but there are some who are just not there yet. If we can find the sweet spot, then I do believe we can knock it for six!

Adam Day joined the Farmer Network in 2015, initially working three days a 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, it currently has more than 1,100 members. They brand themselves as a friendly, grassroots farmer’s organisation.