Video: Clarkson’s Farm stars on prices, pigs and ‘proper’ farming

Jeremy Clarkson has questioned how so little of the money in the food supply chains ends up in farmers’ hands when they are taking most of the risk.

He tackled the issue of fairness in the supply chain during a behind-the-scenes tour of Diddly Squat Farm in Oxfordshire on 24 April.

Select members of the press, including Farmers Weekly, were invited to the farm to celebrate the third series of the hit TV show Clarkson’s Farm, which gets its official launch on 3 May on Amazon Prime.

See also: Clarkson’s Farm trailer gives fans glimpse of third series

During the Q&A press briefing, Mr Clarkson suddenly got serious about a statistic, which he said “may be a bit boring, but not if you are a farmer” – the returns farmers receive for wheat.

“When we grow wheat, we get 25p/kg of wheat that we produce. Now, a kilo of wheat is enough to make one loaf of bread. So we’re getting 25p, you’re paying £1.40 in the supermarket. What’s happening there?” he asked.

Mr Clarkson said farmers are “taking all the risk” – planting the seed, spending a fortune on fertiliser and “praying the weather doesn’t misbehave and it [wheat crop] makes milling quality” – otherwise, it’s just animal feed.

He said his land agent and adviser, Charlie Ireland, who was present in the audience, told him that these days, wheat prices are “set in Chicago” – and that farmers are price takers, rather than makers.

“Charlie will tell you… We don’t choose how much money we get. They just say, this is how much you get for wheat at the moment,” said Mr Clarkson.

“We’ve all seen it in [the film] Trading Places. You’re going to get 25p for a kilo of wheat. It’s ridiculous.”

Watch the highlights from the Q and A with Jeremy Clarkson and Kaleb Cooper below.


Mr Clarkson and his assistant, Kaleb Cooper, who has been promoted to farm manager at Diddly Squat Farm, said discussions around the finances of farming led to a “competition” between the pair, which is played out in series three.

Mr Clarkson wanted to see if he can make money out of bits of the farm that are unfarmed, whereas Mr Cooper focuses on seeing if he can make more money out of core arable farming.

The competition sees “ideas man” Mr Clarkson using a Henry hoover to vacuum blackberries from a hedge and delve into pig farming. Mr Cooper, meanwhile, focuses on managing the arable side of the business.

Mr Cooper says the competition “really does highlight how much money you have to put in as a farmer to actually then produce food for people on their tables”.

The eight-part series shows the team developing their specific roles on the 404ha farm, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. For example, Mr Clarkson’s partner, Lisa Logan, has become a “tour de force” running the farm shop.

‘Proper’ farming

However, both Mr Clarkson and Mr Cooper stress “proper, big farming” remains at the heart of the business. “If you look around, it’s a farm. It’s not 20 acres, or a petting zoo,” says Mr Clarkson.

The makers of Clarkson’s Farm, Amazon Prime, have revealed that a fourth series is in production now.

Asked about the denouement of the final four episodes of season three, Mr Clarkson said it will be “a nice surprise” for viewers.

“I won’t spoil it for you. I think it ticks every box television should tick,” he said. “It’s funny. It’s informative. It’s charming and it’s heart-warming. It’s a very nice way of spending your time, watching that show.”

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