MORE THAN DIDDLY SQUAT GOING ON AT CLARKSON’S FARM
Published 25 February 2023
Anyone who writes a regular news paper column will know that there are times when you end up scrapping around for a topic to discuss. And on occasions you have diddly squat to talk about. Well, fortunately, ‘Diddly Squat’ is a very relevant topic in farming right now.
The true definition of a Marmite character, Jeremy Clarkson inspires love and hate in equal measure, but even those who can’t stand the man have been forced to admit that his Amazon Prime series Clarkson’s Farm, the second series of which is now showing, has done more than most to highlight the harsh realities of farming.
Let’s just look at some of the issues which have been brought to the public’s attention by his latest series:
- TB in cattle: one neighbouring farm which has lost half its herd and is down to milking just 60 cows is shown
- Input prices: fertiliser purchased at £275/T rocketing up to £675/T at the time of the recording
- Technology: Jeremy investing in the Moocall calving sensor to alert him to when cows/heifers start to calve
- Livestock husbandry: the importance of how human intervention in what is otherwise a natural process is sometimes vital to save the life of an unborn calf and perhaps also the mother.
- Planning: the importance of adhering to plans and planning conditions. Such as where Jeremy should have fitted a slate roof to the farm shop when it was built and to only stock local items within a 16 mile radius.
- Diversification: because farm incomes are squeezed and subsidies are going. Jeremy’s idea: a new restaurant making use of the lambing shed. The raft of supplementary reports that are required to support the planning application, the ability to use a Prior Notification application – or not in this case.
- Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): the requirement to shut birds inside
- Difficulties in the pig industry: high feed costs, lack of processing capabilities and pressure from cheap imported pork
- Collaboration: trying to bring a group of local farmers together to make use of their produce in the restaurant
- Hedge Laying: a traditional craft which demonstrates a true skill
- Health and Safety (how not to do it): people in a loader bucket as opposed to a simple, inexpensive safety cage, or Kaleb riding in the front of the weight box
After series one, many said Clarkson had done more good for farming than others had achieved over many years; series two continues (mostly) to do the same.
Yes, there are some silly antics, and yes, I have at times been crying with laughter on the sofa (the chilli-making moment for example), but overall there certainly is not diddly squat going on at Clarkson’s Farm, and it’s a pity its all over in just eight episodes. So I say: ‘keep on troshin’, Jeremy’.
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