Please note: this post does contain spoilers for the series.
Having followed the trio through Top Gear and various versions of the Grand Tour, my expectations were mixed when faced with watching Jeremy Clarkson in a series by himself.
Having seen the wealth of talent in the food and farming world our students, academics and visiting experts can demonstrate during my time at Harper Adams – everything from robotic dairies, hands-free farming and crop drones through to cutting edge-research on how our senses perceive the food which we eat - I had hoped for a serious look at the agriculture sector.
However – Clarkson being Clarkson - I also had my concerns that it was going to be all “speed and power” over the top-ness.
Yet Clarkson’s Farm didn’t take that approach.
The series shows some of the real struggles faced by the sector, and casts them in a serious light. Of course, there are some moments of flamboyance and over exuberance, but these moments are very well balanced with facts about what it actually takes to be a farmer.
As the series starts, we find Clarkson has purchased a Lamborghini tractor, a fine machine, but over the top for the scale of his farm. What more did we expect?
We follow Clarkson on his farming journey through various aspects of farming, including arable, livestock (mostly sheep), wildlife, and the many hoops and hurdles set in place by Government legislation.
There is a scene in one of the earlier episodes where Clarkson demonstrates sheep herding using drones, something we’ve seen somewhere before.
The series also casts some light on what it takes to be a young farmer, and just how hard working they are. Clarkson’s hired help, Kaleb, is your typical young farmer, who has his hand in many of his own businesses, whilst also working as a contactor for Clarkson. (He’s also found himself a hit at agricultural shows this year – as the Harper team who met him at Cereals 2021 can attest!)
Look who popped by the @HarperAdamsUni stand @CerealsEvent today…..only #Kaleb from #ClarksonsFarm. I wonder if he’ll be teaching @JeremyClarkson about our Hands Free Farm @FreeHectare #DegreesThatMatter pic.twitter.com/yvPlD8BsoB— Harper Adams On Tour (@HarperOnTour) July 1, 2021
He’s keen to work all of the hours he can to support the industry he loves, and is a great example of how dedicated young farmers prop-up the farming community.
And the rest of the cast – including Jeremy himself – demonstrate the breadth of careers in the sector.Top Gear, the Grand Tour, F1 and more have inspired mechanical engineers – but I don’t think many people predicted Clarkson would become the vehicle for farming and land management career inspiration!
Then there is land agent Charlie, who advises Clarkson on the machinery needed, what it should cost second hand, how to correctly store fertiliser, seeds and hay in line with legal requirements, how to plan a crop cycle – and more.
It’s a crucial role – yet how many non-rural people are even aware of land agency as a career?
It’s an area Harper Adams has been delivering higher education in for more than 30 years, supplying many of the nation’s RICS accredited Rural Chartered Surveyors. You can learn more – and try your hand at valuing farm gear as seen on TV – at Grow Your Own Future, the website developed to inspire future rural professionals.
While it has sat on the fringes of the sector, the series has been an eye opener for just how hard the farming community can be battered, on what seems to be a yearly cycle.
It shone a light on the costs involved with farming, including crops, labour, rearing sheep and many other things. It also really hit home the very serious affects weather can have on crops, and yields, and how supply and demand can seriously reduce the value of such items.
But with all aspects of farming shown in this series, there is also a balance of idyllic scenes, countless moments of laughter, or tranquillity, which will make you fall in love with the idea of becoming a farmer.
For me, the only downside is that the series is behind a paywall. I’d love to see it broadcast on a wider platform, where it could get the reach to educate the nation on why British farming is so important, and why we must support it wherever possible.
With a “radio edit” to tidy up some of the language, it could be shown in schools to educate and inspire the younger generation to consider an alternative path.
And even if Jeremy doesn’t temper his tongue in the upcoming second series - I’ll still be tuning in!
Good news pic.twitter.com/IuFzAdhvHF— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 21, 2021
Written by Tom Klages - Digital Marketing Officer