Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show: Countryfile's Henson is 'farmer first and presenter second'

Countryfile presenter Adam Henson says his passion for farming means he often forgets the cameras are rolling when he’s out working on the show.

He’s one of the anchor presenters on Sunday night’s most watched programme but the star said he considered himself to be a farmer first and a presenter second.

Adam also told the Belfast Telegraph ahead of a talk at the ABP stand for farmers at this year’s Balmoral Show and said that his job meant he was able to satisfy his curiosity for new farming ideas.

“I’m more than just a TV presenter – my proper job is farming and so I speak from the heart with passion.

“TV cameras weren’t alien in my world – which they would be with most farmers – because I saw my dad working with them. When Countryfile did a presenter search my partner persuaded me to apply. I amazingly got the job - it was really interesting.

“I have always wanted to be a farmer. I never sought after a career in presenting so I was fairly relaxed about it – which maybe helped I suppose.”

Adam’s grandfather Leslie Henson an English actor and film director in the Edwardian era.

But his father fell in love farming, and began collecting rare breed animals and opened the Cotswold Farm Park in 1971.

But the family didn’t fall out of the limelight and the farm was featured on shows such as Animal Magic and In The Country.

“It is a great job but I would never be able to do it without having a great team at home,” he said. “I’ve got a brilliant business partner – we’re 50-50 in it - his name is Duncan Andrews and then we have a really good team of managers who look across various aspects of the farm and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to do my television work, because it takes me away from the farm two days a week and that’s all year round.

“As a farmer you’re always looking over the hedge wondering what other farmers are up to so for me on the television it takes me behind the scenes.

“I get to meet people and their families and learn about interesting businesses – that may be some form of diversification, that may be a production system they have - whether it’s making cheese or yoghurt or ice-cream from their milk.

“For me it opens my eyes to the opportunities in agriculture and it reminds me of the passion and quality of some of the businesses and businesspeople out there on farms.

“I feel very privileged to be a farmer and very lucky to be on the TV and to go and meet and greet those people is lovely.

“Because I’m a farmer firstly and a presenter secondly I meet and chat to them with genuine interest and I sometimes forget I’ve got the cameras there.”

It was the presenter’s first time at Balmoral Show as he joined Northern Ireland meat processor ABP.

He said: “There’s a lovely atmosphere here – a lot of very happy people enjoying themselves – there are queues of people wanting to get involved with the interactive food production stuff that they are showing children which is so important.

“What you have in Northern Ireland is a huge passion for agriculture – having so many small farmers - the smaller acreage - means that there’s so many people who have a connection to agriculture and so that brings a passion to it that in other parts of the UK we have larger agri-businesses and that’s a difference.”

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