3 min read
16 Jun

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Clarkson's Farming show was going to be called "I Bought the Farm," a reference thought to have originated in the 1950s when fighter pilots discussed paying the ultimate price, i.e., death. It's most likely a term from the United States Air Force's jet fighters. Sources speculate it stems from a pilot who crashed on a farm and a farmer who sued for compensation for damage. An expression that included the phrase "bought it," which means "to pay for something with one's life." 

Maybe Amazon should have kept the original title as the perils of farming are dangerous, finically, and to the health of those trying to make the Farm pay an income. But Today the show is simply called “Clarkson’s Farm,” with no reference to the grim reaper. Watching Clarkson’s show was interesting in the 1980s when I was growing up, playing on one of my friend’s 400 acre Warwickshire Farm. But I can vouch that being a “Farmist” is no fairy tale lark. Riding a Honda three-wheeler trike was probably the most fun we had all year. This particular Farm also had a fully operational Rifle Range back then, so we actually used the guns from the “A-Team”! Picture this, its Monday’s morning back at school, and you’re bragging to your friends that you shot an Ozzie Machine Gun on SundayPlus, this-hard working farmer owned a beautiful sea blue Aston Martin Le-Man Race Car, which sadly we did not get to try. 

Anyone visiting the Clarkson Diddly Squat Farm Shop might see him in a similarly priced car, as he drives a Bentley Farm Vehicle from a Grand tour episode, although I think someone in Bentley Crewe said its back at the factory. This brings me nicely to the topic of the price you pay today in the supermarket for UK-Farmed food and why buying local may be better and tastier. In one clip, we see Jeremy going to a local Organic Farm shop called "Daylesford" and being shocked at the £80+ price tag for just a few items on his shopping list. Daylesford, to its credit, is promoting organic farming, which is a good thing; however, you might think the price is a practical joke played by store managers.  Luckily JCB’s do feature a great deal in the Clarkson show, and Daylesford Farm Shop is owned by one Mr. and Mrs. JCB so its not all bad for the JCB family. Don’t take this the wrong way because I have enjoyed many meals and foods from Daylesford, but you need a six-figure pay check to buy the stuff! On Thursday, I will be driving down to Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop to try his Spuds. 

So, Clarkson, are you offering us a new perspective on farming, given that millions of people watch that BBC One Rural “Cosy-file” with a lamb jumping over a stream every week to drab lift music every Sunday? Yes, he is offering the real deal because you really should forget everything about BBC One’s “Cosy File” so-called rural show on Sundays, which is about as true to real farming as I am to Brad Pitt. “Cosy File” should be replaced with a show detailing weeks of 17hr days, animals escaping at 4am every other day, and the torrential rain washing away five months of hard graft. I felt this series from Clarkson did offer a genuine insight into the risks and rewards of farming. One Gamekeeper told me recently that each of his Pheasants was his life savings, “Each Bird has my fiver on its back Andy and it’s just wondering around the fields, and may never be seen again.” He said he had years of sleepless nights as he prayed they would return to his woods. This is true of farming, your local farmer has about thirty fields containing what is in effect all of the farmers money and pension either in the form of crops or escaping cattle. You letting your Dog off its lead or leaving a gate open could make the difference to a Farmer being in business or not; it’s that finite for many. 

The only negative in the series for me was the clip showing Clarkson’s team taking water from a stream for genuine reasons, yet it was a moment of pain as I see so many streams gone each year. Clarkson’s Farm features a lovable farm hand, Jeremy’s talented wing-man who has not ventured from the local area, ever. In one episode, we witness this Farm hand deployed to London for only the second time in his life. Is this TV depiction true that some rural people just don’t venture very far? The simple answer is yes. In the village near the Farm I messed about on was a Butcher who said he never wanted to leave the village, Banbury, all 8 Miles away was as far as he could ever go, but only once. Some media evaluations of Clarkson's Rural Diary overlooked the work and investment Clarkson did with his 250,000 new bees and encouraging more wildlife to the Farm. 

Maybe those who didn't love the show could try Farming for a week? Anyone with a bit of intelligence knows that not all farmers have the safety net Clarkson has in the form of his long and prestigious TV career to top up the pot, as well his past income he rightfully enjoys. I noted his investment here was big in the ecological aspect of farming, and merely made the Oxfordshire countryside look better as well so what’s not to like? No spoilers here suffice to say farming is no easy ride, and Clarkson’s Farm has its own money issues at the year end. Post the Oz Farming deal, maybe all Farms will be turned into Museums’ thanks to Boris’ mega stupid deal. How much C02 Boris for meat to be shipped half way around the world, and how can they do this for less, and why buy it when UK farms mean less Co2 for all? Boris you must resign and stop this deal, and do I feel for the many farming in the UK. Maybe, Boris, you’re trying today to kill farming in the UK? Perhaps “Cosy file" will soon be called, “Boris just bought the Farm?” 

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(C) 2020 Andrew JR Selmes