Fans of hit show Clarkson's Farm will get the chance to meet one of its farming heroes, Kaleb Cooper, at the Royal Three Counties Show 2023.
Ahead of his appearance at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern on Saturday 17 June 2023, SoGlos found out more about what it's like running a farm with a novice celebrity as your apprentice and why raising awareness of agricultural life is so important — to farmers and the environment.
What's it really
like working with Jeremy Clarkson? Do you count him as one of your friends?
To be honest, it’s hard work working with Clarkson. He's now got little knowledge and that's very dangerous in the farming world.
But, outside of work, I would say we're very good friends. We go to the pub together, we have a few pints and we have a bit of dinner together. But I do I feel like his babysitter on the day-to-day sometimes, which is hard work!
How would you sum up the experience of working on Clarkson's Farm? What have the highlights been?
I’ve worked on the farm (just over the Gloucestershire border in Oxfordshire) since I was 18 years old. Before Clarkson decided to take it on, I was working for another chap there called Howard. I was doing all the farming and learning and it was a really good time in my life.
Then Clarkson came along to take it on.
Obviously, we farm it together, well, I say we farm it together — I mean that I farm it and he helps me. He's like my apprentice.
In terms of the experience, it has been the most amazing thing. Being on television has been a whole new ballgame for me and it’s an industry I know nothing about.
I'm keen on learning everything I can, so I do find it interesting — but my experience with television is very much them coming into my environment.
I'm 24 years old now so it's been a hell of a three years and I've loved every part of it and look forward to the years to come.
I can't really pick a certain highlight out. I think the whole lot — everything we've done in the last three years — has been a highlight to me.
I've been given the chance to do what I love doing most and show that to people outside of farming. To me, that's the most amazing feeling in the world.
What are you most proud about that the show has achieved?
Getting the public involved in the farming is the thing I'm most proud about — I mean the people who didn't really think about farming or the kids that didn't know where their food came from.
I once went to a supermarket and I said to a little kid: ‘Do you know where that milk comes from?’ He replied: ‘Tesco.’ It left me thinking no, no, no, young one, you've got lots to learn!
The show got people involved in farming who’d never even looked at a field or they'd looked at a set of tramlines in a field and wondered what they were, but never Googled it.
Now, of course, everyone who has watched the show knows what a tramline is as well as a drill and a Lamborghini tractor (unfortunately, as there are better tractors out there).
How has your life changed since starting the show?
It hasn't changed an awful lot to be honest. I still do the whole farming side, I'm still very much a farmer. I'm on a tractor every day looking after cattle. Just cows, not sheep!
In terms of how life changes, now I'm taking selfies and chatting with people, which I really quite like. I love chatting away.
The one thing I always say nowadays is, if my other half sends me to go to get some milk, for example, from a local store, it takes me longer to get around the store to take selfies and to chat to local people. Then I'll get home and I've forgotten the milk! Then, of course, I get a right telling off from my other half, because my little boy, who's two years old, drinks milk by the gallon!
It would be easier for me to buy a cow, calf the cow and then milk the cow. But overall, I wouldn't say my life has changed an awful lot.
What are you most keen for people to understand about farming?
I'm most keen to get the knowledge out to people that they can, no matter who they are, get into farming.
At school, if you've got As, if you've got Cs or Us or you’ve dropped out, you can still get into farming.
Farming can be a great job and it's a growing industry for any member of the public, not just farmers’ sons or daughters.
That's what I'm most keen for people to understand, that farming is definitely a job for everybody if you've got the heart for it. And it's not just a job, it's a way of life.
What can we all do to help support farmers?
That's a good question. I'd definitely say get behind them in terms of supporting them on what they're doing and giving them a pat on the back.
Also buying local will really support any sort of farm. If your potatoes are grown two miles away, that's saving the planet.
By supporting your local farmer, you cut the middleman out. The middleman being the supermarkets, which have taken massive amounts of money off farmers because they control the prices of stuff.
With buying local you have a better quality of product for a bit cheaper.
In terms of supporting farmers, they'll be very grateful no matter what you do. Even if it's just literally going in and asking them how they are or buying something small — potatoes or a pint of milk.
Protesters say farmers are doing a bad job and a lot of people are saying that they're killing the planet. So showing an interest, asking how their day has been and telling them what they've been doing on the farm is really, really important, would be a huge boost to morale.
If you were Prime Minister, what changes would you put in place?
I think farming the land, as well as helping the environment is really important and we can do both together.
Farming can help the environment and the environment can help the farm but there are some schemes in place that need some changes to enable farmers to be productive.
I would love to help young farmers into the industry. Let’s say renting 100 acres to a young farmer to have a go. Give them a start, let them go and buy a tractor and then they've got 100 acres to start working, growing and producing from to help pay for that tractor.
I'd encourage people to have a go to see how they get on and if they fail, it’s a learning curve.
Ultimately, if you can go and help the young farmer and give them advice on how to improve, but still let them be the boss, instead of having the government paying for that 100 acres, the young farmer is out there farming away at their future and having a go.