What is Just Farmers?

We give UK farmers and growers the confidence to tell their stories with pride through fully-funded Media Education workshops (four days in total), and through our free media sign-up portal, we help members of the media find independent farmer case studies to talk to.

Our aim is to improve openness and transparency in British agriculture while helping members of the media broaden their rural contacts base.


How is Just Farmers funded?

Just Farmers is a Community Interest Company and was made possible thanks to a £20,000 bursary in 2018 from the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust, a charity aimed at supporting the improvement and welfare of British agriculture. In 2019 we successfully applied for a grant from the Prince's Countryside Fund and were awarded £20,000 to cover the cost of eight workshops. We also have a part-time Managing Editor, Emily Davies, whose role is generously sponsored by the Mercer Family Charitable Foundation. We also receive funding from the Central Regional Farmers Trust. Our funders make Just Farmers possible - we simply wouldn't be here without their support.


For the farmers: How does it work?

Our fully-funded media education workshops are aimed at improving your understanding of how the media works and what journalists need to do their jobs.

Every successful applicant will attend one workshop in the city and one workshop in the country, each workshop lasts two days, and there are 12 spaces per workshop.

Together we explore the relationship between the public and the media; learn what the media wants by developing your news sense and editorial judgement, do practical interview exercises, story-pitching sessions, Q&As with guest journalists and invite you to step out of your comfort zone by meeting people who may think differently about food and farming. Practical elements of our workshops also include introductions to TV, Radio, Podcasting, Writing, Filming on Your Phone and Social Media.

Our workshops are run by media professionals who still work within the industry and have a connection to agriculture.

Our farmers are selected in small groups of 12, twice a year and they represent the following farming sectors:

  • Arable 
  • Organic
  • Dairy (housed)
  • Dairy (grass-based)
  • Pigs (indoor)
  • Pigs (outdoor)
  • Poultry (indoor/enriched colony)
  • Poultry (free-range)
  • Beef
  • Sheep
  • Horticulture 
  • Smallholding / market garden

What kind of farmers are we looking for?

Just Farmers are unknowns. And we mean that in the nicest possible way! They are not senior office holders in farm unions or trade organisations; they are not celebrities or media personalities. They are literally Just Farmers.

This is about helping the media reach farmers and growers they would otherwise struggle to find. So if you’re already writing a regular column, or have been interviewed on national TV and radio numerous times, or present a programme, or have thousands of followers on Twitter – then you don’t need our help. You’re already flying – and please keep doing what you’re doing!

But for those who want to engage with the media in a constructive way, but may feel reluctant, nervous or unsure about sticking their head above the parapet, or just haven’t had the opportunity – this could be for you.

In short, if you feel voices like yours aren’t being heard in the mainstream media – now’s the time to step forward.

Why can’t you work with the NFU or another industry body to do this?

This is not an industry initiative. The NFU and other farming organisations are doing the vital job of promoting British agriculture and making sure the industry’s voice is heard at the top of Government.

This is different. Just Farmers is not a form of marketing, promotion, lobbying or advertising. It is non-political and does not promote one farming system over another. There is no rehearsed message and the farmers are free to say what they like, to who they like.

There are just two rules, providing a guiding light:

  1. Just Farmers do not promote their own farm by putting down someone else’s.
  2. Just Farmers speak as individuals. They do not speak on behalf of industry.

Can ‘Just Farmers’ be NFU members?

Of course! We appreciate that most farmers and growers are members of unions and/or trade associations. So where’s the cut off? Well, if you speak publicly on behalf of an organisation, either at regional or national meetings, or in the media, then you are already batting for a team. You could find yourself conflicted in an interview situation which is why we ask only grassroots members apply for Just Farmers. This also applies to the top tier of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), but not at a regional level (including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). We are very keen to hear from young farmers. It’s also OK if you’ve previously held office at a farming organisation, as long as you have stepped back from those responsibilities and any active lobbying.

How do I apply?

We ask all those who apply to fill in a questionnaire, so we can learn more about you and your farm. Download the questionnaire here and email it to emily@justfarmers.org.

We are always on the lookout for new farmers to be part of Group Eight later in 2024, sadly, we cannot guarantee a place for everyone who applies. 


For the media: How does it work?

Just Farmers is somewhere journalists can find good talkers without a hidden agenda or rehearsed message - from farmers and growers to industry commentators. By registering with Just Farmers you can access the contact details of a wide range of independent farmers and industry commentators, for free - all willing to speak from personal, visible, tangible experience.

They are all happy to be contacted directly by members of the media - we just leave you to it. All we ask is you provide a few details about yourself and the news organisation, publication, programme or website you work for, so we can verify your account. Members of the media can register here.

Journalists, radio producers and TV researchers work hard to find good interviewees. It’s not easy – especially when you’re on deadline. And it’s getting harder to persuade farmers, particularly those running large-scale or intensive systems, to go on the record. Many are afraid of saying something wrong or being targeted by activists.

As programme-makers, we were regularly bumping into this problem ourselves so we decided to do something to help.