Emily Pumfrey

+44 (0)1733 887644 erpumfrey@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Jeremy Clarkson – First rate farmer, or a pretender who knows “Diddly Squat”?

Agriculture and rural business / 29 July 2021

The nation is talking about farming – but not because it’s harvest and the roads are full of tractors. Love him or loathe him, Jeremy Clarkson is the new catalyst for a sudden interest in all things rural. He’s given the farming way of life more high-profile airtime than Countryfile could dream of.

The series has been equally appealing to the farming contingent and the rest of the UK – even if it is just to laugh at Clarkson’s comic escapades and general cluelessness. But what have we learned, and what do we think about a multimillionaire TV personality swooping in to play farmer? Here are my takeaway points… (*may contain spoilers*) 

1.  As we mentioned in our article about flooding – which was written around the time that Clarkson started filming; farming is the one industry that is completely at the mercy of the weather – and there is little you can do about it. Every day and every season is different.

2.  Paperwork is no fun – the red tape associated with farming is bought to life in several episodes. From the tedium of the subsidy applications to the rigours of the Red Tractor scheme – consumers get to see first-hand what goes into producing first-class British food.  Our Regulatory team are kept busy helping food producers stay on the right side of the regulations. We’ll be on hand if your Cotswold Pineapples lead to enforcement action!

3.  Don’t expect to be rich – Clarkson’s final profit might come as a surprise to those outside the sector, leading Jeremy to ponder how farmers who don’t have an Amazon TV crew following them around make it work at all. Even with lots of money (and some expensive ‘second hand’ kit) – Clarkson barely stays in the black. The startingly reality is that once the subsidy scheme is phased out post-Brexit- many farms may not survive at all.

4.  The future is green – Jeremy takes “Wilding” and concerns about nature to the extreme at times, but this follows a growing green agenda to make farming sustainable. This is the driving force behind the Government’s implementation of the Agriculture Act.

5.  Every farm has a Gerald and a Kaleb! In fact, Kaleb reminds me a lot of my contracting-farming brother at that age. People really do judge each other’s tramlines, and the joy of seeing your fellow farmers out combining or drilling across the valley is true camaraderie. It’s very common to spend your whole life in one village, working every harvest on the same farm, being part of a team. This is the world I grew up in.

6.  Rely on your professionals – as well as Kaleb and Gerald, where would Jeremy be without Cheerful Charlie? Novices and seasoned farmers alike put a lot of faith and trust in their professional advisers. From your agronomist or land agent to your accountant or solicitor, it is key to work with someone who understands your business inside out. If we can’t help with a particular issue, we are well connected within the agri-business space regionally, so may be able to point you in the right direction of another professional.

And finally… We do it for the love of it. For me, the best bit about Clarkson’s Farm is his genuine joy derived from farming the English countryside, despite all the stress and uncertainty. It is frankly good for the soul, even during a pandemic.  If a television program can convey that message, we’re taking a huge step forward in asking the public to understand and respect country life. It’s a 10 out of 10 from me!

 

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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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