Mandelson challenged to be a farmer for a day

Business secretary Peter Mandelson has been challenged to spend a day on a farm after he revealed he would like to be a farmer once he left government.

In an interview with the Spectator, Lord Mandelson said he wanted to become a farmer so he “can be close to the land” and grow his own food.

His dream of a rural idyll continued with plans to look after his own animals, worry about the weather and the timing of harvest and listen to Farming Today.

“If I could live in the countryside rather than London now, I’d do it like a shot,” he said.

“If I had farmland that I could cultivate and animals to look after, it would give me great enjoyment… I care about these things.”

But Lord Mandelson was very specific about the kind of livestock he wanted to rear.

“I’m not so good with pigs,” he said. “But I would love chickens because I like fresh eggs.

“If I could rustle together some sheep, I would be very happy, or even the odd cow.”

Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter, dairy farmer Cyberdoyle said Lord Mandelson would be welcome to spend a day on her Lancaster farm.

“Mandy wouldn’t even last a day on a farm, but it would be funny sight,” she said.

“I offer ours up for a trial, he’s welcome any time. It would be great fun to see him doing a bit of cleansing on a stroppy heifer.”

Farmers may have a while before they have to welcome Lord Mandelson to the industry though.

He said his agricultural dreams were “for a future life” and something he would not consider until retirement – in 15 or 20 years.

A spokesman from the Department of Business and Innovation and Skills said it would be difficult for Lord Mandelson to spend a day on a farm at the moment.

But he urged Farmers Weekly to get in touch again “in a few months time” to see if a visit could be arranged.

Would you welcome Lord Mandelson onto your farm? Have your say on the forum.