Rock and Roll Farming Podcast

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Jones the Journo


Tonight I’m delighted to be travelling down to the bight lights of Bristol to talk to journalist, Anna Jones @Jonesthejourno

We talk about her early life growing up on her family’s beef and sheep farm in the Welsh borders, and her decision at an early age to become a journalist. We hear about some of her early reporting jobs and her experiences there, before going on to getting a job on popular BBC TV show Countryfile as a researcher in 2006.

We talk about her time on Countryfile and her experiences there in depth, including why it divides opinion amongst farmers, broadcasting legend John Craven nearly being squashed by a 30ft Christmas tree, and I also attempt to find out who the biggest diva amongst the presenters is!

We then discuss her time at flagship BBC Radio 4 programme Farming Today, and some of the differences between working in TV and Radio, and some of the amazing stories that she covered there.

We hear about her Nuffield Scholarship – ‘Help or Hinder? How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public’ and what she found out along the journey, before moving on to talk about her new initiative – Just Farmers – that will actively seek out and train farmers how to talk to the media and improve communication skills, and help to increase the public’s understanding of agriculture.

All this and plenty more.

Anna’s passion for agriculture and rural life is evident throughout the interview, and it was an absolute pleasure to talk to her tonight.

Check it out folks..

 

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural ag Network. For more great podcasts and vlogs please visit www.farmruralag.com

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org.uk

ROCK & ROLL FARMING IS PROUD TO BE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FARMER’S GUARDIAN. FOR NEWS AND INSIGHTS FROM ACROSS THE AG INDUSTRY PLEASE VISIT www.fginsight.com

For more info on Rock & Roll Farming, visit www.rockandrollfarmingcom

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Strawberry Fields Forever


Tonight I’m heading up to Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire in Scotland to talk to soft fruit grower Ross Mitchell @rjmitch21

We talk about his family’s farm and their decision to stop dairying in 1999 and expand their 15 acres of strawberries to commercial scale.

We discuss the polytunnels that they grow all their fruit under, which have allowed them to lengthen the growing season from 6 weeks of mid summer, to 8 months of the year.

We go into how they’re using their geographical location to their advantage, before talking in detail about the 4 fruits they grow at Castleton – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries – and the process from planting, right the way through harvesting, and eventually them leaving the farm on supermarket lorries.

We also talk bees! 110,000 of ’em!! They’re bought in to polinate 10 million strawberry flowers, 20 million blueberry flowers, 1.6 million raspberry flowers, 0.5 million cherry flowers – man do they get through some work!

We discuss their labour force at Castleton, which includes 600 EU workers each year, with 450 being there at peak season, and some of the jobs that they do, before going on to talk about the increasing problem of getting access to European labour, and the serious consequences to the UK soft fruit industry.

We also talk about how the family have invested heavily in renewable energy, and their successful farm shop www.castletonfarmshop.co.uk that’s run by Ross’s Wife Anna.

All this and much, much more. It was fantastic to talk to someone as innovative and forward thinking as Ross, and learn more about the Scottish soft fruit industry.

Check it out folks..

 

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For news and insights from across the Ag industry, please visit www.fginsight.com

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural Ag Network. For more great podcasts and vlogs, check out  www.farmruralag.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Stand by your Ham


Tonight I’m delighted to be heading up to Driffield in East Yorkshire to talk to Sisters and award winning pig farmers, Kate Moore and Vicky Scott @KateMorgan24 @vickypig27

The girls tell us about their family business, which their parents, David & Sue, started in 1996 with 800 breeding sows, selling the progeny as weaners. We also hear how they both got involved, initially by just helping out, and they’ve never been allowed to leave!

We discuss the business as it is now, with 1700 indoor, and 1200 outdoor sows, and the different systems involved, and how despite their slat based system being more profitable, why they’d prefer to rear them all on straw yards for welfare reasons.

We talk about how they manage their different roles within the business, with 5 family members involved, and how the pecking order was established early on with some Sister on Sister pitchfork violence!!

We hear about the importance of strict biosecurity, and how that’s helped to reduce antibiotic use, and also how running their own feed mill has helped them really control the quality of the pigs feed and have more influence over costs.

We also discuss the importance of communicating what we do as farmers and food producers to our customers, and what they’re doing to help in this regard, including regularly talking to school children.

And I couldn’t not ask about the record they took part in ‘STAND BY YOUR HAM’ a few years back to highlight poor prices in the pig industry (AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE – AMAZING!!)

All this and lots, lots more.

It was fantastic to talk to Vicky and Kate and learn more about large scale pig production in the UK and what they’re doing on their farm, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where they take their business over the coming years.

Check it out folks..

 

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural Ag Network. For more great agriculture related podcasts and vlogs, please visit www.farmruralag.com

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org.uk or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For news and insights from across the Ag industry, please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Podcast – Farming, Bagpipes, & History


Tonight I’m heading for the very first time to the Great White North, to Canada! Or to Endiang, in Southern Alberta to be exact, to talk to cattle and crop farmer, Stuart Somerville @Stuthefarmer

We talk about the prairies where he lives, and the kind of farming people are doing in that area, and some of the challenges they face there, including coyotes, cougars, plagues of gophers, and drought.

We discuss Stu’s 4th generation farming operation which stretches to 4000ac of barley and canola, and calving 350 head of Maine-Anjou Cattle this year

We go into his early career, and why he chose to be school teacher for several years, before eventually returning to the family farm and starting a family.

We discuss his plans to be ‘a proper cattleman’, and what that really means, and how he wants to replace as much of the tractor and quad work as much as possible with horses going forward.

We also talk about bagpipes! Stu’s been playing them since he was 7 years old, and has played at the world pipe band championships in Scotland in 2004.

We also discuss how he ran for Parliament twice in ’08 and ’10, how he’s trying to put something back into the industry by getting involved with the Alberta Beef Producers as a delegate, as well as talking about social media, and what he loves about it, and also how sometimes he wants to burn the whole thing down!

I also couldn’t talk to Stu without talking about his love of history, and why he’s so interested in both the early pioneers, and the native people of Canada, as well as his own family stories.

All this and much, much more.

Stu’s one of my favourite people to follow on twitter, and it was fantastic to finally speak to him, and learn more about his farming life in Alberta. Check it out folks..

 

 

Rock and Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural Ag Network. For more great podcasts, blogs, and digital content, please visit www.farmruralag.com

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock and Roll Farming is extremely proud to be working in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For all the latest news and features from across the Ag industry, head to www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Hear the one about the Farmer and the Environmentalist?


Tonight I’m heading down to Middlezoy in Somerset to talk to conservationist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, and writer, Simon Phelps.

Who said a farmer and an environmentalist couldn’t have a polite conversation?!

We discuss his background, and how the natural environment has always held a fascination to him, which led to studying Geography and Ecology at Uni, before hearing about his various roles in the sector, including ecological surveying in Dorset, and working as a youth engagement officer in the Midlands.

We then discuss his current role with Butterfly Conservation, working with farmers and landowners to advise them on managing their land for threatened species in Exmoor, Dartmoor, and Bodmin. We talk about the role that farmers play in managing the UK’s natural environment, and how working with them has changed his mind on a few things.

We discuss the idea of rewinding, and what that means to him, before moving on to hedge row management and what he believes that farmers should be doing differently with their hedges, and why they’re so important to the natural environment.

All this and much more.

It was great to talk to Simon, and hear that farmers and conservationists can work together in a positive way to benefit the UK countryside. Check it out folks..

 

 

This episode is sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org.uk or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to work in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For all the latest news and features from across the Ag industry, please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock & Roll Farming is a part of Farm & Rural Ag Network, for more great agriculture related podcasts and vlogs, please visit www.farmruralag.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Quinoa? In Shropshire?!


Tonight I am actually travelling! And heading the grand total of 9 1/2 miles across the English border, to Hordley in North Shropshire, to talk to Quinoa grower Stephen Jones @BritishQuinoa

We start off discussing Stephen’s farm, that his family have been on for 80 years, and how he ended up studying crop production and agronomy at Harper Adams University, before going on to do a phd at Nottingham.

We then talk about how he first heard about Quinoa in a local magazine, and how it fired his imagination enough to try to grow some for himself on the farm, (we also find out how you pronounce it – IS IT QUINOA OR KEEN-WAH?!) and his early experiments with supermarket bought seed.

We then move on to the breakthrough moment when he found varieties bred specifically for the European market, through Wageningan University in the Netherlands, and how he has close ties to other growers throughout Europe, before discussing the crop itself, and how it compares to other conventional crops grown in the UK.

We talk about how they process it and market it, and how they sell to companies from Pret a Manger, right through to large supermarkets, and how cool it is to see something they’ve grown in stores.

We also talk about the food itself, how it tastes, how to cook it, and what the nutritional benefits are, as well as talking about their range of own brand retail packs, and what the future holds for the business.

All this and lots, lots more. Stephen’s one of the interesting and innovative farmers in the UK who are really pushing boundaries, and it was absolutely fascinating to talk to him and learn more about his amazing product and business.

Check it out folks..

 

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to work in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For all the latest news and features across the Ag industry, please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – A ‘Health & Harmony’ Special with Minette Batters


Tonight for this Rock & Roll Farming special, I talk to NFU President Minette Batters.

We discuss the ‘Health & Harmony’ DEFRA consultation papers; why working farmers should respond to them, what’s good about them, what’s bad about them, what we as farmers need to happen post-brexit, and crucially, whether she employs a Donald Trump extreme handshake OR a Tory front bench power-stance when meeting with Government VIPs.

Check it out folks..

 

 

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit www.nfu-cymru.org.uk or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to work in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For all the latest news and features from across the Ag industry, please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – “Tomorrow isn’t a Given”


Tonight I’m delighted to be travelling down to Wimborne in Dorset, in the south West of England, to talk to sheep farmer Jemma Harding @meandeweblog

We talk about the perception of sheep farming as cool at the moment, and how the reality can be very different, before hearing about her early life growing up on the family farm and how her initial love of sheep developed.

We discuss her time at University studying photography, and how she combined it with farming, before hearing about how a night out at an MTV party in Birmingham led ultimately to a job offer and an eventual role interviewing musicians and celebrities around the World.

We then hear in depth about the accident that happened to her in 2008, when she was knocked off her bike by a lorry in central London, and the horrendous injuries she sustained. She tells us about the operations she went through, and how through sheer determination she was out of hospital in just 5 weeks, and how her collie puppy and horse helped her through the long nights suffering with PTSD.

We hear about how she left London life and went back to the family business, before her Father’s diagnosis with stage 4 cancer, and death just 9 months later. We discuss the difficulties she faced afterwards, dealing with it emotionally, but also with the farm, and how she had to learn to do many of the day to day things from scratch.

We also discuss the issues she’s had with dog attacks in her flock, and how it seems to be a growing problem in the UK, before moving on to talk about where she’s at now, and how despite it all, she has no regrets.

All this and much, much more.

Jemma’s story is one of courage in the face of huge adversity, and sheer determination to succeed, and it was an absolute privilege to talk to her tonight.

Check it out folks..

 

 

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more info please visit www.nfu-cymru.org or visit www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to work in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. For all the latest news and features across the Ag industry please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – The Future for Food and Farming


Tonight, for this very special Rock and Roll Farming Podcast I head down to Westminster in London to talk to DEFRA Secretary of State Michael Gove about their consultation paper ‘Health and Harmony: the future for food and farming and the environment in a green brexit’, and why it’s absolutely vital that working farmers respond.

 

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more details please visit www.nfu-cymru.org or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock and Roll Farming is proud to work in partnership with Farmer’s Guardian. Please visit www.fginsight.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – No tiller, all killer


Tonight I’m heading down to Overbury Farms on the Worcestershire/ Gloucestershire border to talk to Farm Manager Jake Freestone @No1FarmerJake

We hear about the 1600ha mixed farm that he manages, that’s been in the same family since 1722, and the wide range of soil types, conditions, crops, and enterprises that they have going on there.

We discuss Jake’s non-farming background, and how he caught the bug initially helping out on his Godfather’s dairy farm in Bedfordshire, and how from then on he wasn’t going to do anything else but farm. We find out how he eventually ended up at Overbury, after stints at Seale Hayne Agricultural College and several different farms and estates, gaining a wide range of experience in different roles.

We hear what crops they were growing when he arrived, and what system they were using then, before moving on to discuss the impact of his Nuffield Scholarship and what he learned from innovative farmers around the World using a zero-tillage system, and his ‘light-bulb’ moment in Oklahoma.

We then discuss at length how he’s set about drastically changing the tillage system at Overbury; from the cross slot drill they use, to both cover and companion crops, and the huge environmental and cost benefit they’ve seen since making the change.

We also talk about his passion for sharing the knowledge he’s accumulated through his experience with the system with other farmers, and also his blog, harvest diary, and social media, and why he feels that showing what they do on the farm is important.

All this and much, much more.

Jake’s one of the brightest and best farmers in the UK, and it was a genuine pleasure to hear more about the pioneering work he’s doing with environmental farming.

Check it out folks..

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