Nick Hewer should be fired from the farm

ENCOURAGING farmers not to farm is no way to reinvigorate agriculture – and Alan Sugar’s sidekick Nick Hewer should know better.

Mr Hewer is the front man for a new TV series that will see him appear as a troubleshooter helping farmers find new ways of making money.

Called The Farm Fixer, the BBC Two programme will see the Apprentice star help farmers develop new products, create brands and find customers.

“I wanted to use everything I had learnt, over the past 40 years of business, to help them come through this difficult time,” he says.

So far so good. After all, what could be better than highlighting the harsh realities of farm life to a viewing public largely disconnected from the countryside?

But wait a minute: just how will Mr Hewer go about “fixing” farms?

According to the BBC, his business ideas so far include harvesting seaweed, brewing beer, producing flavoured pet water and entertaining cruise ship groups.

So nothing much to do with actual farming, then.

This is more like encouraging Alan Sugar to make money from selling computers by telling him to give up and sell something else instead.

Suggesting that the challenges faced by farmers can be solved by parachuting in a celebrity merely trivialises agriculture – and misleads the public.

Doubtless supporters will commend this new programme as a light-hearted way of introducing agriculture to a non-farming public.

But whatever next?

How about The Euro Fixer – Nick Hewer fixes the Eurocrisis for people who aren’t really interested in economics?

I’ll bet now that this new show will be simplistic and patronising rather than even a semi-serious attempt to solve the challenges faced by farmers.

And I look forward to watching it only in the hope of being proved wrong.


  1. Farmers have always been open to other ideas and ways to make money, it is precisely your attitude that sees these small family farms in trouble in the first place. My 30+ years on this hill farm have included mechanic, butchery, cooking, brewing, forestry, fruit, veg, stables, and alot of general wheeling/dealing.
    What qualifies as ‘farming’ in your strict guidelines? grow up, please.

  2. In the first programme, he advised the couple working their farm in N.Ireland to produce a pet water product. He then took them all the way down the route of producing a prototype product without apparently doing any research into the local market or checking with potential suppliers whether there were competing products before doing the pitch to them. This is a very basic marketing error.

    Commonsense and a bit of knowledge of SMEs would suggest that the pet water product was niche at best and probably more suited to an affluent London market. (A big company with the marketing budget.)

    Since they have a spring – why not produce flavoured spring water ices (Irish Ice?) or exploit the potential in the growing flavoured ciders market?

    If they want a farm fixer they should pick someone who actually has experience of small business marketing and an understanding of the issues involved in farming diversity.

  3. If this suggested material had been aired 5 years ago when diversification was key to make any money out of our farming assets nobody would have sniffed at such outlandish ideas as Mr Hewer may be suggesting – we will have to wait and see what he comes up with.

    Increased commodity prices have lulled us into a false sense of security meaning that diversification, environmental payments and any frippery that does not suggest that we are hardcore farmers have once again taken a back seat. But the market is fickle and self serving. We are mere pawns in the global agricultural economy, hanging on the coat tails of those real mega farming giants who sell us our inputs and decide the price we get for our wares.

    As market takers it is always wise to ensure that all our assets are working for us and that we keep an open mind to all new non-farming ideas to increase income diversity. Only then will we be able to start to make choices about our financial destiny.

    Go Nick Hewer!

  4. The best way to help farmers is to get a decent internet connection to them. They can’t diversify easily without one. They can’t comply with defra regulations without one. Hell they can’t even fill in their vat on dial up, cos it times out more often than not.
    I agree, its will be interesting to see what he comes up with. I know a lady who harvests seaweed. Her company has now gone global thanks to internet access. My son has researched all his new equipment online (we’re farmers) and picks up all the news through facebook in his tractor (when he’s in 3g area) the rest of the time they use CB radios as there is no coverage in many areas they work. They do contracting and fields are calculated by gps on the tractor computer. Farmers are very technical these days, but denied access to the knowledge base online. I wonder if Nick will pick up on that fact? Yes. It will be Interesting to see. They won’t be happy until they have destroyed farming and put it all into nature reserves full of bracken and thistles. We’ll have to import all our food and prices will skyrocket. Funny old way of doing things innit?

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