Farm fresh

Published February 20, 2023

A landscape of a field of cows next to a hedgerow on the right, with the morning sun shining on the left

I was in two minds about watching the second series of Clarkson’s Farm. Some of the recent comments by the eponymous presenter are no good at all and he never really seems to show any motivation to think about what he’s said or change his ways. However, this show is one of the only ones out there that’s really managing to highlight how difficult farming is at the moment, in a way that is accessible to people who don’t know the first thing about life in the country.

So I gave it a watch, and I’m glad I did. The guy in this show is so much better than his column-writing alter-ego. Still bumbling but gradually learning, still raging at bureaucracy and red tape, but also shining a light on where the government say one thing and do another.

This second series was all about plans to diversify, after his first year on the farm broke even at best. Wanting to open a restaurant, Clarkson had to do battle with the council on several occasions and was turned down at every stage. The government are telling farmers to diversify so as not to rely on the subsidies that are no longer coming their way, but then council red tape is making it impossible for them to do so.

The best part of this story though, was the ways the team thought outside the box and found loopholes to allow them to do things that were completely sensible and not hurting anyone (eg. selling farm merchandise in the shop). A lot of fun to see those plans unfold.

Alongside the restaurant business, there was also plenty of farming still going on, with lots of tractors and machinery to gawp at and the age old problem of raising lovely animals only to have to make business decisions on them later, rather than thinking with the heart.

I’m by no means a Clarkson fan but this show is doing something really important and I do think the more people that get to see it, the better.

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