Jeremy Clarkson has become a surprising hero in France (Picture: Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images)
The Clarkson’s Farm presenter, 63, has shared a message of support and wished farmers ‘good luck’ as they call on the French government to respond to demands for better remuneration for their produce, less red tape and protection against cheap imports.
It comes a day after a French farm owner said the country needed a celebrity ‘to do the same as Jeremy Clarkson’, as the controversial TV star’s Prime Video series sheds light on the issues farmers face as he attempts to run his own farm in Oxfordshire.
‘One of our French celebrities needs to do the same as Jeremy Clarkson. It’s everything he explained that’s why and how we are here today.
‘You may have left the EU but we share many of the same problems regarding all these environmental rules,’ farmer Robin Leduc told The Telegraph.
Writing on X in French, Clarkson said: ‘French farmers. I bet no one has ever said that before, but good luck, coming from England.’
The Clarkson’s Farm star has wished farmers ‘good luck’ (Picture: Ellis O’Brien / Prime Video)
French TV presenter Karine Le Marchand has been seen at the protests, after hosting match-making show ‘L’amour est dans le pré’ (Love is in the pasture) for 13 years.
‘Are there any single men here?’ she told farmers at a tractor camp at Jossigny, east of Paris, referencing her programme.
‘This time, the French are with you. They have understood your distress.’
She continued, while handing out 300 croissants, according to The Telegraph: ‘ If you manage to have a tough, durable movement without violence, you will make a difference.’
The farmers are protesting over claims they’re not paid enough and against regulations on environmental protection.
Protesting farmers camped out at barricades around Paris on Tuesday using tractors and mounds of hay bales to block highways leading to the French capital – which is set to host the Olympics in six months.
In a general policy speech at the National Assembly, France’s newly appointed prime minister Gabriel Attal said he is implementing controls on foreign food products in order to guarantee fair competition.
He also said food retailers who do not comply with a law meant to ensure a fair share of revenues for farmers will be fined, with immediate effect.
Clarkson has previously said he believes food prices should be double what they are.
He told The News Agent podcast in 2022: ‘People simply don’t pay enough for their food. The one thing a government will never say “oh you’ve got to pay more for your food, you don’t pay enough.”‘
He’s elsewhere been supported by Countryfile star Adam Henson for showing the ‘difficulties’ of farming, as he overcomes hurdles in the industry at his Diddly Squat Farm.
Clarkson has ‘done more for farmers in one series of Clarkson’s Farm than Countryfile achieved in 30 years.’ (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
James Rebanks – author of The Shepherd’s Life – famously said Clarkson has ‘done more for farmers in one series of Clarkson’s Farm than Countryfile achieved in 30 years’.
‘’What they really like is he got people to spend 10-15 minutes of a programme thinking about farm economics and how tough it is,’ he said.
‘There were silly bits,’ Rebanks admitted, chatting when the first series aired in 2021.
‘But in the farming community they are just delighted that someone high profile would stick up for them or have any kind of genuine empathy.’
Former Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food Victoria Prentis has also praised the show for doing ‘a huge amount’ to raise the profile of agriculture and the challenges it faces.
Meanwhile Clarkson’s Farm star Kaleb Cooper has revealed that he only pays himself 50p an hour.
Despite his fame from the TV programme, Cooper – who now has a book deal – broke down the costs that come with working in the farming industry, and said in 2022: ‘When I’m working for myself, when I’m feeding my calves in the morning – I bought eight calves, it’s like a little bit of a new business idea that I’m doing, buying calves in and then feed them on milk, which costs me about £200 a calf, then selling them at nine months.’
Kaleb Cooper previously revealed the difficulties of farming amid the cost of living crisis (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)
He added: ‘[I’m] trying to get a profit [and] see if it will work.
‘I worked it out the other day, do you know how much my hourly rate is, how much I pay myself? 50p an hour.’
He’s elsewhere spoken about the struggles of farming amid the cost of living crisis, and said it’s incredibly hard, but added he can’t increase his prices.
‘Diesel, for example, was 32 pence per litre last year. It’s now £1.20,’ he explained.
And as a contractor, I can’t really put my prices up because the farmers go, “Christ, I can’t really afford it.”‘
He continued to the PA news agency: ‘In the farming world, the person at the top is the farmer and he often has no better.
‘So therefore, in the industry, it’s incredibly hard. But I like doing it, so what else would I do?’
Clarkson’s Farm is available to watch on Prime Video.
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