Agony uncle Farmer Frank on fracking and phobias

Farmers Weekly‘s fictional agony uncle, Farmer Frank, has ruffled a few feathers since he began dispensing his homespun wisdom. After all, he’s not qualified, not experienced and, according to some, not all there. But here he dispenses more of his no-nonsense (OK, not entirely nonsense) rural remedies

How do you motivate staff?

I’ve always been a believer in the carrot, rather than the stick. When we used to grow carrots, I’d give the workers free carrots. No money, just carrots. And if they didn’t pull their finger out, I’d threaten them with a stick. Worked a treat.

Has it been a dry back end?

That’s a bit personal, isn’t it.

What do you think of encouraging the next generation?

I’m all for it. People in their 50s and 60s need all the help they can get.

Do you think attending protests can work?

Yes. I went on one the other day protesting against “fracking”. I even made a placard. Wasn’t my fault I spelt the word “fracking” wrong.

On the subject of fracking, what about the noxious gases that can be generated?

Get to my age and it’s not just fracking that causes that.

I have a rare and little-known phobia called aichmophobia – the fear of needles or pointed objects. How can I get over this?

Dealing with phobias is all about contextualising. Try to remember there’s a miniscule statistical chance of you suffering injury in this way. Except in the countryside which is full of bits of straw and pine needles and birds beaks. You could easily end up blind if you set foot outside the house, in fact.

Have you got a smartphone?

Yes, it’s amazing. It hasn’t got a cable so I can walk around the farm with it. It also even fits in my pocket.

Do you buy stock at an auction market?

I used to. Until I developed a twitch. Then I came home with four pens of gimmers, a stock bull and an antique clock.

Will wheat yields rise exponentially?

Possibly. It depends what “exponentially” means.

I am getting interested in cooking and experimented with lamb three ways. Any tips?

You’re getting into dangerous territory. I once knew a man who did this. He received a custodial sentence.

What do you think about peerages?

The one at Brighton is good. Ditto Southwold. Blackpool also has a nice pier.

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