Book review ‘Farmer Will’s’ Guide to Life in the Fields
(By Will Young) – reviewed by Alasdair Crosby
‘Farmer Will’, as he likes to be called, is a ‘Tik Tok sensation’ and was one of the Islanders on the ITV programme, ‘Love Island’ – which are two reasons why this reviewer had never heard of him until his publisher kindly sent me his book to review.
He is a sixth-generation farmer who works on his lambing farm in Buckinghamshire. He has a passion for farming and he wants more people to love farming as much as he does.
Will was never forced into a farming life – he almost became a professional footballer and an accountant before he returned to his farm and decided to invest his energy in the farm that he now adores.
There are plenty of pictures in this book – plenty of pictures of Will in various stages of undress – Will, wearing shorts (and wellies); Will, bare-chested (‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it,’ he informs readers). There are plenty of pictures of the lovely Buckinghamshire countryside where his family farm is located and most of all, pictures of sheep. He likes to cuddle his sheep and to tickle the tummies of his two pigs.
In a way, the book reminds me of a written version of the ‘Country File’ television programme and the writing style is conversational and unadorned. I wondered at times if the book was at least partly ghost-written.
He introduces himself, his family, his animals; he shows the reader round his farm and takes the reader through the farming year.
There is considerable merit in it the book, nonetheless. The difficulties of farming – especially of farming sheep, with all the attendant problems connected with lambing, are not glossed over and the book would provide a good guide to this subject.
His wish to explain about farming, especially to people who have not had exposure to it, is very commendable – and very important. In his words: ‘I wanted this book to find a home on people’s bookshelves as a gentle reminder for all who look at it to go easy on farmers. It’s a difficult job, one that wrestles with life and death daily, and yet is something that most people take for granted.
‘Farming, at its most basic, is a connection to the land, to nature, to our world. And so often it is overlooked, so often seen as a means to an end. Because of its end product. Meat plays such a huge part in our daily lives and yet so little time is given to learning about where it comes from, and, how, in the main, the animals are raised so compassionately, so tenderly, despite how short their lives are and the reason for their slaughter.
‘Without support for the next generation of farmers and the engagement and education of young people wanting to learn more about farming and animals, then we are in danger of losing it.’
So good for him then, and as he is repeating this message on Tik Tok he is doing a valuable job for those who are familiar with it and use it. He can be followed on @farmerwill_
The book is obtainable on Amazon; Price = £10.