Given my pursuits, it’s no coincidence that for Christmas I was given the books English Pastoral by James Rebanks and Diddly Squat by Jeremy Clarkson (though I’ll confess I had not heard about Rebanks and I’ve in no way watched Clarkson’s TV assortment).

Cue new yr learning about farming in two completely completely different worlds by two personalities as not like as chances are you’ll take into consideration.

Rebanks is the reflective, even lyrical, observer of modifications from the perspective of better than 600 years of his Cumbrian farming family.

Clarkson is the caustic, jokey diarist writing a couple of single yr attempting his hand working his 400ha Oxfordshire farm. As a result of the jacket blurb says, how exhausting may or not it is?

See moreover: Jeremy Clarkson tells FW farming is ‘harder than I believed’

Regarding the creator

Paul Cobb

Farmers Weekly Opinion writer

Paul Cobb is a Kent-based unbiased environmental land administration adviser and a confederate in FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) South East.

Very exhausting, as Rebanks confirms and Clarkson discovers, and as any farmer is conscious of.

However, Rebanks’ subtitle – “an inheritance” – suggests ending up with one factor further after six centuries than Clarkson’s “diddly squat” after a yr on the farm.

Their journeys are very completely completely different, too.

Rebanks’ journey begins alongside together with his youthful self leaving Cumbria for Australia with the burden of the anticipated inheritance of the family enterprise weighing him down.

A return home is the beginning of a difficult course of by which his grandfather’s standard strategies distinction with the modernisation his father feels compelled to deal with, merely to survive.

Clarkson’s journey begins with the breathtaking naivety of taking a picturesque little little bit of the Cotswolds and believing he can flip a income from his uncovered, stony soils on account of “12,000 years of farming ought to be in our DNA”.

He’s doing this inside the yr of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the an identical local weather that Rebanks graphically describes devastating Cumbria.

The telescoping of Clarkson’s progress into 12 months and his “have-a-go” technique makes for some nice encounters with livestock, gear and greens.

Bottling spring water and opening a farm retailer, carried out on an impulse and dealing with the planners and objectors afterwards. A doer, not a listener, nevertheless with help at hand… happily.

Rebanks is a listener first; to his grandfather, who instilled in him a method of satisfaction and responsibility for the occupation he does finally deal with; to the sounds of nature spherical him, receding as a result of the curlew retreats to the edges of the land it used to share with farmers.

He listens, too, to those who write and talk about farming’s journey that ended on a treadmill of intensification and diminishing returns.

Becoming “strangers to the fields that feed us”, farmers are part of the difficulty, Rebanks says. With fewer farmers, and helpers, it is a lonely place.

Nevertheless Clarkson’s and Rebank’s journeys don’t end elsewhere.

Every are canny, and insightful; they see the bigger picture, be it the crimson tape that infuriates Clarkson or the globalisation of meals manufacturing that dismays Rebanks.

Every are good at discovering people who could assist.

Magnificence doesn’t pay the funds, as Rebanks says, and farmers should make a residing. The regenerative agriculture he espouses has to make monetary, not merely environmental sense.

And it’s not all about money for Clarkson. Behind the polemic and provocation is the chook watcher, tree planter, beekeeper and wildflower fanatic.

They every recognise farming is not going to be like something you’ll be able to do for a residing. In quite a few strategies, they every give us hope. They often’re every value learning.

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