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Working Lives Toulouse: Farmer

Francis Mauco combines entrepreneurial skills with working the land in one of France's great gastronomic regions.

Mr Mauco runs his own farm business, producing cereals but also the French delicacy foie gras, usually made from the livers of geese after they have been force-fed. It's a controversial method of food production but part of the tradition of the region where Francis lives and works - the Gers.

The working day is tough, with early starts and late finishes, but Mr Mauco says he loves it. The temperature in the preparation rooms is a constant 10C - summer or winter - but the ambiance is anything but chilly. His right-hand man, François, has been with him for 30 years and the camaraderie on the production line is evident.

He says he would like to take on someone else because he would then be free to do more marketing, but the labour laws in France make hiring an expensive matter. Plus, his raw material costs have in some cases risen by 15% over the last three years. He makes around $40,000 (£25,000) a year.

He says he likes running his own business: "I have a certain style of life. I'm my own boss. If I want to take half-an-hour off to do something I'm free to do it. I can trust my employees which is very important."