The farming community is shunning a Shropshire farmer who told a local television news reporter that he was happy and had no complaints about his job. Sunny’ Jim Jones, who has worked the land for thirty years, was filmed leaning against his tractor watching his herd of Friesians contentedly grazing under sunny blue skies; ‘I am up with the lark for the milking and out in the fields with the owls. It’s a great life I wouldn’t change for anything in the world.’ When asked by the reporter what he would like to complain about he stunned the TV news crew by saying ‘Well, nothing really.’
Attempts to draw him on such seasoned complaints as the price the supermarkets give him for his milk or the poor subsidies he received from the EU drew a complete blank as Farmer Jones commended the government for the way it handled the Foot and Mouth outbreak and Blue Tongue. Once it had been established that he didn’t want to complain about the weather, hikers trampling over his crops, foxes raiding his chickens, badgers causing bovine TB, the ban on fox hunting, DEFRA, the price of beef, locusts, crop circles, or the relentless decline of rural England, the exasperated reporter brought the interview to a close.
The National Farmers’ Union has now expelled Mr Jones on the grounds that he has brought the industry into disrepute; ‘We work hard to maintain our reputation of being consummate complainers and whingers, at all hours in all sorts of weather, with little reward or help from this government, the EU or supermarkets, and in the teeth of ferocious opposition from the Badger Protection Society. One has to ask if someone with such an optimistic upbeat disposition as Mr Jones is qualified to be a farmer at all.’
Mr Jones was said to be philosophical about his rejection by his fellow farmers and apologized if he did not fit the normal stereotype expected of him. ‘I think it’s high time we moved on from some of these ridiculous old-fashioned clichés about farming folk. And my wife, who’s also my sister, agrees with me.’