Simon Wilcox, Manager UK Farm Grain Origination at Cefetra Grain
Image Source: Cefetra Grain
Simon Wilcox, Manager UK Farm Grain Origination at Cefetra Grain

Member Article

Clarkson TV show impact ‘brings welcome and timely interest in farming’

The imminent return of the TV show ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ will bring more welcome public interest in UK farming, writes Simon Wilcox, Manager – UK Farm Grain Origination at agricultural market leader Cefetra Grain.

Having made his name with fast cars and courting controversy with forthright opinions on a range of topics around modern life, including shots at the rich and powerful, which have led to outrage, Jeremy Clarkson is becoming increasingly associated with his farm operation.

Clarkson’s Farm, the Amazon Prime series which documents his efforts at managing a 1,000-acre Cotswolds farm which he named ‘Diddly Squat Farm’, has generated two hugely popular seasons to date. A third season is expected in 2024 after social media posts in October suggested filming had been completed.

The new season will be expected to build upon the success of the second, which became the most-watched original series on Amazon in the UK in 2023.

If you are yet to watch Clarkson’s Farm, in a nutshell the show follows the TV presenter and his team as he learns the ins and outs of farming.

Shining a light on the realities of running a modern farm since it first aired in June 2021, the programme shows Clarkson’s efforts alongside his girlfriend Lisa Hogan, plus contractor Kaleb Cooper, who has seen his profile rise through the series.

Often sending up their own misfortunes, the Clarkson team have had to grapple with issues including unresponsive crops to bad weather and a global pandemic.

As is the style which generated such a following through TV series like Top Gear, the style is a tongue in cheek representation of farming.

But if the series gets people to look more closely at the fields around them, the series will have had a positive effect in educating the general populace about the realities of farming life.

There is speculation that Clarkson’s Farm will run and run, with unconfirmed news coverage suggesting that a fourth series is planned and potentially more to follow.

While his attempts to run farm shop and restaurant businesses have led to battles with neighbours and the local councils, many farmers will recognise the challenges he faces to make his business profitable in the modern age.

The programme has been praised in some quarters for highlighting the low-earning reality of British farming to a mainstream audience and explaining the work involved in growing crops and rearing livestock.

Clarkson may play things up for the camera but we will all know at times how he feels as the series features the long days, the challenges of flooding stopping drilling, the investment needed in equipment and the impact of the resulting stress on relationships.

His attempts to diversify into livestock and battle red tape around regulation will chime with all those who have been down similar routes.

There will no doubt be those in our industry who reject his style or feel he sends up situations which are anything but funny, especially if you are not a millionaire with the benefit of a media profile and the opportunity to fall back on writing books or personal appearances to generate revenue.

Nonetheless, the fact that a series about farming continues to capture people’s attention and gets people thinking about rural life, particularly our crops and produce, must be welcomed.

The pandemic got many to look at how we grow crops and feed our nation, but the focus has inevitably moved on.

The success of Clarkson’s Farm is based around his ability to communicate often complex farming issues in a clear way for a mass audience, albeit in a satirical way at times.

The connection he makes with people, who otherwise would not understand the commitment and determination needed to survive and thrive in farming today, is a benefit to the wider industry and society as a whole.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Chris Leggett .

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