Rock and Roll Farming Podcast

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..

Rock and Roll Farming Pocast – A Great British Beef Week Special


Tonight for this Rock & Roll Farming Special, I head down to Exeter in Devon to talk to Farmer, and co-founder of Ladies in Beef, Jilly Greed, to hear all about Great British Beef Week (April 23rd – 30th)

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – The Call of Home


Tonight I’m delighted to be heading just over the English border to Sandbach in Cheshire to talk to farmer and digital marketeer, Cesca Beswick. @Cesca_Beswick

We talk about her early life on her family’s dairy farm in Staffordshire, and how her Dad tragically died when she was 18 months old leaving her Mum to carry on the farm on her own, before eventually remarrying and moving up to Cheshire.

We discuss her decision to study Product Design Engineering at University, and how she gained an interest in social media marketing and saw the potential for it to be used in business, which back then was a new concept.

We talk about what she learned working in digital marketing after Uni, and what skills she was able to take back to the farm, when eventually the call of home proved too much and she joined her family business, complete with some Wiltshire Horn sheep in tow!

We hear about the various courses she’s completed including foot trimming, A.I, and Entrepreneurs in Dairying, and the importance of personal development, before moving on to talk about ‘Cesca’s Lamb’, the meat boxes that she’s now selling direct to the public.

We also go into why the sheep have helped her confidence grow over the last 3 years. All this and lots, lots more.

Cesca’s one of the loveliest people you could ever meet, and i really enjoyed learning more about her farming journey tonight.

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 be part of the Farm & Rural Ag Network. For more great farming related content please visit www.farmruralag.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – The Appliance of Crop Science


Tonight I’m delighted to be travelling down to Silchester in Hampshire to talk to Crop Scientist and Director of the AgriFood Training Partnership, Professor Carol Wagstaff @cwagstaff

We talk about how studying biology at Royal Holloway, University of London, and spending time at Kew Gardens led to a fascination with plants and crops, and eventually to a career as a crop scientist at the University of Reading.

We discuss the research group that she leads, that focusses on improving the quality of food, including the nutritional value, appearance, flavour and shelf life, as well as helping consumers make healthy dietary choices.

We go into some of the best things about the job she does, which include working with a range of people from primary food producers, right through to large scale organisations and government, and also talk about GM crops and some of the misconceptions there are out there.

We then discuss the AFTP @AFTPnews (AgriFood Training Partnership), and how they’re providing high level training and skills development for professionals in the agriculture, food and beverage industries, through a wide range of courses in various formats – online, face to face workshops, and blended learning. We also talk about the AFTP Conference that takes place on 3rd July, and what people can expect there.

Lastly we talk about Carol’s other life as a high-level dressage rider, and how she manages to find the time to do that, as well as train for a marathon!

All this and much more. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Carol tonight, and learn more about her life and career as a crop scientist.

Check it out folks..

 

 

Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. For more agriculture-related great podcast, 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.uk or www.rockandrollfarming.com

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Twice Around the World


Tonight I’m delighted to be heading up to Perthshire in Scotland to talk to farmer, consultant, and host of the Pasture Pod Podcast Michael Blanche @totallyewesome

We start off with talking about how the hell he developed an interest in farming, given he’s the son of an accountant and a teacher, and how he got his first sheep and a tractor at the tender age of 3.

We discuss how he went from being an almost beret-wearing English student, to being a tweed underpants wearing REALM student at Harper Adams, and how this in turn led to a job in land agency.

We go into why ultimately this wasn’t for him, and the next step which was working as a farm advisor for SAC, before talking about his first steps into the zany World of sheep farming, which was partly inspired by a life changing trip to Wales.

We talk about the initial challenges, and how in the first five years he TRAVELLED THE EQUIVALENT OF TWICE AROUND THE WORLD (?!) to see his sheep, and also the heartbreak of being repeatedly turned down for farm tenancies.

We hear at length about his Nuffield scholarship ‘The Farming Ladder’, and how the experiences he had, and 1st generation farmers he met from all around the World, changed his outlook and increased his determination and need to farm even more.

We also talk about how eventually, at the 8th time of asking he secured a tenancy, and just two months later had just £500 cash available for a 500 acre farm. We also of course discuss the fantastic Pasture Pod Podcast, why pasture pumps him up, and his bedroom shrine to me.

All this and lots, lots more. People take the piss out of me for overusing the word ‘inspirational’ in my podcast interviews, but I don’t care – Michael Blanche is a truly inspirational man, and it was a pleasure, as well as great fun, to talk to him tonight..

 

 

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