Farm Ireland

Friday 27 April 2018

Farmers criticise me for dumbing down agriculture, says Countryfile star Adam Henson

Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)
Matt Baker (left) and Adam Henson (Joe Giddens/PA)

Laura Harding

Countryfile star Adam Henson has said he has been criticised by the farming community for "dumbing down" technical terms.

The TV star and author said he tries to take the criticism on board, while also making the show appealing to the widest possible audience.

He told the Press Association: "Sometimes the farming community might criticise me for dumbing it down a bit and not using proper farming technical terms, but what we have to remember when we are making television is we are not talking to experts. It might be an eight or 80-year-old in a flat in Coventry who doesn't know anything about farming. We have to keep it broad.

"As long as it's constructive criticism I take it on board and try to explain our position and why we might have done things; and I don't get it right all the time so sometimes there are things I will work on and improve for the future."

Speaking on the first day of Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Henson added: "The farming community would love the whole of Countryfile to be all farming and all about agriculture and food production and the price of wheat, but we all know the BBC make programmes to put bums on seats and get people watching and it would be dull for those who aren't interested in farming."

He said being the most high profile farmer in the country is "quite a weight on my shoulders", adding: "I work with some fantastic producers. The Countryfile team are very good at making sure that editorially what we are putting out is good quality, but there is some responsibility behind that.

"I think what it shows is the power of the media and to the farmers (I'd say), what we need to do is recognise that and celebrate that and get engaged in the fact that millions of people are tuning in every week to watch Countryfile, and my little slot is very popular and that there is an opportunity for the agricultural community to talk to the press more."

Henson said the live event provides him with a valuable opportunity to meet the viewers, but also for the viewers to learn from farmers.

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He said: "In the farming areas we have farmers with 'Ask the farmer' t-shirts on so we have got pig farmers, dairy farmers, beef farmers, sheep farmers, chicken farmers and they are there with their t-shirts on, so people come up to them and ask them questions about their lives, their jobs, food production, and I think that is really important, that communication and engagement.

"Farmers have travelled all over the country to be here specifically to meet the public."

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