YouGov, the market research firm, collects such detailed information that it can tell you whether people who eat sweetcorn are likely to be more rightwing than people who eat broccoli. Fascinated by this, I conducted my own extensive research about arable farmers which has produced the following results:
The average age of arable farmers is now 97 and we most commonly live in Lincolnshire. Equally unsurprisingly, arable farmers are proud of our ability to remain miserable no matter how excellent the weather, how high the grain price is, or how many tax breaks or subsidies politicians throw at
Not as predictable as one might think. We might lean towards UKIP but not if we need European Union migrant seasonal labour from Poland, Romania or Bulgaria to sort our potatoes, drive our tractors or pick our fruit. We might vote Tory because we are horrified by the waste of taxpayers’ money on renewable energy subsidies. But we can become enthusiastic Lib Dems or even vote Green if we are enjoying the benefit of a feed in tariff from a solar array in one of our fields or a wind turbine on the roof of one of our farm buildings.
When interviewed we all described ourselves as “individualistic,” “idiosyncratic” and “unpredictable.” Hence we all enjoy the same sport (rugby), drive the same car (a Land Rover Discovery) and all go on holiday to the same ski resort in the winter (Val d’Isere) and the same Greek island in the summer (Corfu).
We also see ourselves as go getting entrepreneurs. The more we rely on the single farm payment for our living, the more this applies.
We don’t really understand the concept of brands except when it comes to the colour of farm machinery. Then “If Dad ran red, then so do I.”
We don’t really know what the media is except that “it doesn’t understand farming.”
We are extremely reluctant to go shopping so unless family or friends make gifts of clothes to us at Christmas or on our birthdays we rely on garments handed out as freebies by machinery, agrochemical or fertliser salesmen. This creates a particular style of dress that involves lots of fleeces, baseball caps and coveralls. So pervasive is this trend that the average arable farmer now sports more advertising logos on his or her clothing than a Formula 1 driver being interviewed after a race on TV.
Our idea of a really good night out is a local NFU branch meeting and a two hour talk from an NFU regional group secretary on “The importance of the NFU.”
I do hope that anyone interested in marketing products to arable farmers will find my research interesting. Like any survey there is a small margin for error but I can confirm that my survey agrees with the YouGov results in that arable farmers prefer sweetcorn to broccoli.