“He’s like a bull in a china shop,” Herefordshire National Farmers’ Union chair Bill Quan said.
“But he brings a lot of different aspects of farming to the notice of the public,” adding “I wish he was my neighbour!” as he reflects on the economic benefit he would bring to the region.
“Last series it was the weather and the flea beetle attack (which destroyed 10 acres of rapeseed), and in this second series it’s about engagement with his neighbours, which is very pertinent in counties like Herefordshire.
“You don’t have to go far up the Golden Valley to see massive objections to farming planning.
“Every farm development is being chastised by planners and the indecision is massive and costs more and more in terms of consultants’ fees.”
Mr Quan also welcomes the spotlight Clarkson has turned on the scale of the problems caused by badgers and bovine TB.
“No one would condone the reason (badger baiting) that saw badgers made a protected species. But we need healthy badgers as well as healthy livestock,” he said.
“The mental health of people caring for these herds under extreme pressure – this is their livelihood and they don’t feel they can do a lot about it.
“I think Clarkson’s Farm has revolutionised the industry because he’s a figure people want to watch and it’s done in his inimitable way.
“I’ve heard people who’ve watched it say ‘I didn’t know that happened in the countryside’, and not just about bovine TB, but about the importance of tramlines in cereals and the impact of the weather for example.”
“He also highlights heath and safety issues and the fact that we work in a very dangerous industry,” says Mr Quan. “Fifty people a year are killed, most in falls from height or by livestock.”
Ernie Richards, a first generation upland sheep farmer just across the border near Hay-on-Wye, agrees that what Clarkson, though “he’s very much a Marmite character”, has done overall for farming is very good for the industry.
“What he does is present a lot of the challenges facing farmers, and I think he’s brought a lot of issues to the public’s attention.”
Though Mr Richards suspects some elements in the show are created for TV, “when he’s calving a cow you can see the emotion he goes through to bring life into the world knowing it will end up in the food chain.
“But he clearly has a passion for farming, and the programme highlights how resilient farmers are, which is a good thing.
“I wasn’t a massive Top Gear fan, but like every farmer I’ve spoken too, I’ve watched all of Clarkson’s Farm. I really enjoyed the bit where he was making chilli jam – it was hilarious.”
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