This week, I’ve been catching up on the third season of Clarkson’s Farm, the Amazon Prime series that charts the struggles of petrolhead turned agriculturist Jeremy Clarkson as he tries to make money from the appositely named Diddly Squat.

Clarkson has long courted controversy with his newspaper columns, but the TV show has shown a different side to him: beyond the usual fun and games and knockabout humour, the programme captures the highs of the British countryside (the footage looks amazing) and the lows of modern farming.

The realities and brutalities of rural life are laid bare, with the programme both enjoyable and educational at the same time.

Looking back, I wrote about the launch of the previous season in 2021, noting then the challenges that the farming industry were facing. At the time, Boris Johnson was in his Brexit pomp, agreeing lopsided trade deals allowing countries like Australia access to UK beef and sheep markets.

Since then, post Brexit payment schemes have also proved problematic. When in the EU, UK farmers received around £3 billion a year in subsidies.

These payments, known as the BPS (basic payment scheme), are being phased out by 2027. The replacement Environmental Land Management scheme (EML) has substantial issues, particularly for upland farmers.

The ELM scheme works well for those who own their land and manage arable farms: upland farmers who are commoners and tenants face losing their subsidies.

So much so that the government buried its analysis of their financial prospects, worrying many would sell up if they knew what was coming (their analysis was eventually released after an FoI request in February).

If you’ve moaned about the poor weather this year, be thankful that you don’t run a farm. One of the wettest winters and springs on record has seen flooded fields, delayed planting and livestock kept indoors (with resulting increased feeding costs). The root cause (sorry) is climate change: without more support for farmers, warmer and wetter weather is only going to hit UK food production still further in the coming years.

Yet as I have written about previously, climate change is not a priority for Rishi ‘On the side of motorists’ Sunak.

In February, Sunak turned up at the NFU conference to tell farmers ‘I have your back’. But after fourteen years, I’m not sure farmers have got Rishi’s anymore.

A recent Deltapoll survey shows rural support for the Conservatives has slumped from 58 per cent at the 2019 election to 32 per cent now.

Public affection for farming remains strong: 94% of those surveyed said support for farmers is important. Whoever forms the next government needs to do far more to help them, or we’ll all be reaping what successive administrations have sown.