“Just Farmers gives us confidence”

Last week we held the second Just Farmers workshop on a farm in Staffordshire. Despite freezing temperatures, it was a roaring success.

12 carefully selected farmers and growers were invited to spend two days learning about television and radio production and social media. We heard from journalists and programme makers including BBC Farming Today producer Heather Simons, Radio 1 Newsbeat’s Rob Adcock and freelance producer/directors Phil Kerswell and Alex Price. They have both worked on all sorts of TV productions including Countryfile, The One Show, Gardener’s World and Flog It!

With so much media experience all under one roof, we really made the most of it. The farmers did practical workshops on understanding TV production and how to shoot short films on their smartphones (including how to properly use a selfie stick!)

We replicated studio and pre-recorded interviews. Just Farmers is all about openness and transparency, and being willing to answer tough questions on difficult subjects. Our farmers were challenged on all sorts of issues including cow/calf separation, tail docking in pigs, Brexit, Bovine TB, pesticide use, climate change and cutting our consumption of red meat. They weren’t told what to say, but they were able to experience the sensation of staring down the barrel of a lens, of getting their message across before the clock runs out and staying calm under pressure.

At the end of the two day workshop, I asked the group if they felt any different since our first workshop back in September. “Confidence,” they said. “We have more confidence.”

It felt amazing to hear that. And that’s what will drive me on to the next workshop, and the next. Because everyone deserves to be confident in who they are and what they do.

If you’re a farmer and think you would benefit from being part of Just Farmers, you can apply here. Please, please get in touch. We are open to every kind of farmer and I would love to hear from you.

And I will soon be looking to secure more funding so we can carry on recruiting diverse farmers for our workshops, funding their learning experience and providing a free and valuable resource for the media. It is vitally important that Just Farmers remains independent, non-political and not-for-profit.

And finally I’d like to thank the Mercer family for allowing us to host the workshop on their farm. Their hospitality was off the charts! Thank you to Steven and Tracey McKendrick for going to the special effort of feeding 12 farmers for two days. And a huge, giant thanks to our guest journalists and programme makers – you can’t do media stuff without the media people.


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