Jeremy Clarkson’s programme about his Oxfordshire farm has done “a huge amount” to raise the profile of agriculture and the challenges it faces, the UK environment secretary has said.
The former Top Gear presenter’s Amazon Prime Video show, Clarkson’s Farm, sees him grow his own crops and look after livestock on the land he owns in the Cotswolds.
He bought the farm in 2008, and it was run by a villager, but when he retired in 2019, the TV presenter decided to see if he could run it himself.
Speaking at a Conservative Party conference event, environment minister Victoria Prentis described financial overheads in farming as “really significant” and said she was receiving questions from people “worried about how farmers wouldn’t have enough money in the future”.
Environment secretary George Eustice replied: “I think that Jeremy Clarkson’s programme has done a huge amount to raise the profile of agriculture and some of the challenges it faces. It is sort of a Top Gear-meets-Countryfile type of programme I think.”
Mr Eustice went on to speak about the changes to farming subsidies the UK government has planned after Brexit.
He said: “We do recognise that at the moment there is some financial dependence on those old-style area subsidies. The reason we are getting rid of those area subsidies is land is a fixed supply, there is no lack of demand for it.
“It really doesn’t make sense to be subsidising land occupation on land tenure. So it is right that we move away from that but the heart of your question is we need to make this change gradual, so we are going to make incremental changes over seven years.”
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He added that the British government plans to replace the land-based funding with subsidies for supporting nature and biodiversity.
Clarkson has previously described Brexit as a “challenge” for the farming industry
Since leaving Top Gear, Clarkson has been working on The Grand Tour with Amazon Studios and his former co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.
In 2019, the men announced a new format that would see them ditch studio-led shows in favour of feature-length road trip episodes.