April 22, 2021

Ep39: Debate Special with Gareth Wyn Jones and Ben Goldsmith 'The Argument That Never Happened'

It’s a first here on Cleaning Up, our very own debate special. Today we will be joined by Ben Goldsmith and Gareth Wyn-Jones to discuss farming and agricultural policy. Please welcome them both, and wish them both luck!

Bio – Ben Goldsmith

Ben Goldsmith is the chief executive officer of Menhaden Capital, an investment trust focusing on efficient use of energy and resources. He is also a Trustee of The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Chair of the UK Conservative Environment Network’s Board. Moreover, he is involved in the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as a non-executive director.

Bio – Gareth Wyn Jones

Gareth Wyn Jones is a sheep farmer from Tyn Llwyfan in North Wales. His farm has been with his family for over 370 years. Known as the ‘tweeting farmer’, Gareth uses media (both social and traditional) as an educational tool to show the public the life of a farmer. He has appeared on the BBC numerous times including on Countryfile as well as The Hill Farm, Farmer and the Food Chain, and Milkman.


Links - Ben Goldsmith

Time to rewild the Highlands - Ben Goldsmith - Reform Scotland (March 2021)

https://reformscotland.com/2021/03/time-to-rewild-the-highlands-ben-goldsmith/

Leaving the EU's destructive Common Agricultural Policy enables an unprecedented win for nature in post-Brexit Britain (December, 2020)

https://reaction.life/leaving-the-eu-cap-is-an-unprecedented-win-for-nature-in-post-brexit-britain/  

Ben Goldsmith comes clean: lies, rewilding and the death of daughter Iris | Magazine | The Times (October 2020)

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ben-goldsmith-comes-clean-lies-rewilding-and-the-death-of-daughter-iris-97hcpz7l7

Embrace wilder farming to restore nature on a grand scale (June 2020)

https://reaction.life/embrace-wilder-farming-and-regenerate-britains-environment/  

'It may feel like Armageddon, but there are environmental silver linings': Ben Goldsmith on Covid-19 (April 2020)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/wellness/may-feel-like-armageddon-environmental-silver-linings-ben-goldsmith/  

Interview: Ben Goldsmith on rewilding, wild swimming and ‘hustling on behalf of nature’  

https://www.endsreport.com/article/1695406/interview-ben-goldsmith-rewilding-wild-swimming-hustling-behalf-nature  

Links – Gareth Wyn Jones

The Family Farm – BBC

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/1rbcMX2vXKkvqZQR21tpLVr/gareth-wyn-jones  

The Hill Farm Episode 1  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL3pl6F0\_t8dERa506qTGA8y3kj3TGO9E1&v=\_njeqJinkvY&feature=youtu.be

Farmer and The Food Chain

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3pl6F0\_t8dHFtYtaznR2YDNZdY7qRWKq

The Hill Farmer – a book by Gareth Wyn Jones

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/9781784610067/Hill-Farmer-Gareth-Wyn-Jones-1784610062/plp

Transcript

Click here for Edited Highlights

 

ML: 

Before we get started, please remember to like or subscribe to this video or podcast. It really helps others to find Cleaning Up. Cleaning Up is brought to you by Liebreich foundation and Gilardini Foundation. Hello, my name is Michael Liebreich, and this is Cleaning Up. We've got a very special episode today, because we have two participants and it's going to be a new format: a debate. Ben Goldsmith is a financier, an environmentalist, a philanthropist, he also has a farm in Somerset, which he is in the process of rewilding. Gareth Wyn Jones is a Welsh sheep farmer. He has a sheep farm, which has been in his family for 370 years and he has, at this point, no intention whatsoever of rewilding it. Let's welcome Ben and Gareth to Cleaning Up. So, Ben, Gareth, welcome to Cleaning Up, and cheers! 

 

So, thank you so much for joining me. What well do isthis is a slightly different format, we're not used to this on Cleaning Up, there's going to be a debate format. Because whilst both of you are great friends and very committed to biodiversity, to the landscapes, to nature, you have very different views of how to go about achieving that. Soit might end up with everybody agreeing furiously, but it might end up with some disagreements. Let's put it that way. So, if it's okay, I'd like to start Ben with you describing in a sense… because you're a philanthropist, you're an environmentalist, you're a businessman, but you've also got a farm, have you not, and you're actually doing some quite interesting things on your farm down in Somerset. Can you talk a talk us through what you're doing there? 

 

BG: 

Yeah, sure I have a farm. I wouldn't claim to be a farmer. I've, like so many people, fantasized all my life about being a farmer about spending time out in nature. But I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a farmer. Although I gave it a pretty good shot. I bought a farm in my mid 20s in Somerset, at the time, 150 acres, it's a little bit bigger than that now. And it was, at the time that I bought it, there was a herd of Longhorn cattle that White Parks and I decided to make a go of that. Sothe farm manager who was there was retiring, and he helped me find a successor. And he was the real farmer in the show. And what we attempted was kind of nature friendly farming with the idea that perhaps we might make it profitable. And I found a restaurant in East London that I'm yet to visit, but I found a restaurant in East London, that is a butcher by the day, and a restaurant at night. And they do this nose to tail thing. So they buy a whole carcass, and they serve up different cuts to the punters during the day and then they roll out a big table at night and do a big kind of carvery restaurant in the evening. So, I was supplying them sort of a carcass and a half on average a month from my White Parks. But White Parks take nearly three years to mature and I'd be a little bit embarrassed to show you my accounts. It wasn't let's say it wasn't the most profitable activity, and even selling direct to a restaurant that recognise the quality of what we were producing. Now we weren't registered organic. I couldn't really be bothered with the headache of all of that, but we were effectively organic. And we were grass fed. And we were doing all sorts of lovely nature friendly things, nice, some wildflower rich meadows managed in accordance with the guidance and lovely bushy hedges and we built new ponds and we did lots of good stuff around the edges. I'd say that the beef we were producing was structurally underpriced. So, I got a glimpse myself that the market does not necessarily put adequate value on really well produced product. 

 

ML: 

And this was how long ago? 

 

BG: 

So we're talking 2007-2008 when I started, right the way through till about 2018-19. 

 

ML: 

Okay, an epiphany or what happened then? 

 

BG: 

So I decided that I would like to go whole hog on nature restoration on the land just because it gives me great joy. And I wasn't making a livingI wasn't dependent upon that farm to make a living so I have a luxury in being able to take that kind of a choice. So, I decided that what I would do is sell off my herd of White Parks to another White Park farmer not far away. And I also sold my 40 Poll sheep. And all I kept with three Tamworth Sows and a boar, and pony for the kids. And other than that, the animals are gone. And I removed all of the fencing that divides up our fields, which have only really been divided as fields for about 120 years. In the 1860s, 1870s maps of Sellwood, which is the landscape that I'm in, didn't show fields, it was much more of a kind of open landscape of the kind of Gareth farms and then it was enclosed in two fields more recently than most in Britain. And so I removed all of the fences, I filled in a lot of the ditches and created a copy of James Rebanks unashamedly, the author of English Pastoral, and re-wiggled a stream along the valley bottom and created a new wetland, and really have had a lot of fun kind of restoring habitat on that landscape and kind of letting the land go to wrack and ruin as my friend and neighbour says, Mark Cotton, 62 year old dairy farmer thinks it's hilarious what I'm doing, become quite a good friend. He said he's going to wrack and ruin. And he's right. I've got Hawthorn and Blackthorn, and <inaudible> poking through the fields. I've got Bramble popping up everywhere that hedges look in a right state. But there are a lot more birds, a lot more flowers. And the idea that I have, with a neighbour next door, another neighbour, who has about 180 acres, is to share a single herd of Long Horns that will build up over time that will wander extensively in that landscape. And we'll sell a bit of beef. And perhaps we'll find our way into a nice environmental land management scheme and get some grants for the nature recovery there. And perhaps we might put up the odd tree house or do some camping or something to get some visitors in, or even a little farm shop. Selling the best of local produce. So, whether we can make a business out of it, I don't know. As I said, I'm in the luxurious position of not needing to create a living for myself from that land. And I'm finding it very rewarding on other levels, bringing nature backI would just finish by saying the land that I'm on is grade five agricultural land, it's really difficult to make it work for anyone doing anything. It's thick, wet clay, you literally can't you can barely get onto the fields in a pair of Wellington boots for eight months of the year. So the fact that it's so wet, it's so heavy, I think almost any kind of food production is going to be a struggle on that land except for the most expensive, most kind of lightweight form the we're going to try. 

 

ML: 

Okay, Ben, so you started with all the caveats, right? The land is rubbish and you've admitted that it wasn't making money before and that, you know, that it's been fun, you use the word fun, and so on. So we get it and that's not a criticism. It's just that I've just sort of echoing back some of the things that you've said, but you go beyond that in your sort of vision for the natural landscape of the UK and other places. That, you know, to suggest that much more of it should be rewilded and that there we've got some historic problems of land use that we really need to remediate and we need to go much more in that direction of rewilding, even though you've admitted that it doesn't really work economically, probably on your land. 

 

BG: 

So firstly, we don't know that doesn't work economically, because we don't know what the shape of future support system is going to be for farmers and landowners who are doing this kind of stuff. No doubt there is an economic value to society in that we are directly going to help reduce flooding in Frome, which is a town downstream every single year that town floods. And if we in the upper part of the catchment can hold a little bit more water in our land after rainfall, we will help reduce flooding. We’ll also help regulate the flow and help reduce water shortages in the summer as well. So there's an economic value to what we're doing, whether that's recognised or not in a future support system, we will see, whether I can make my tree houses or camping work, who knows it's an unknown quantity. What I would say though, is that I think farming is integral to the process of nature restoration. I've never said that farming should be excluded. I think that we need to incentivize certain changes in the way that some of the land is farmed, in order to encourage the restoration of nature. But I have never recommended removing farmers from the land. I think that's anathema to nature recovery. I think if you don't have profitable, thriving farmers on the land, you won't have nature recovery and I'm more than happy to explain from an ecological perspective why I think that's the case.  

 

 

 

ML: 

Ok, I was I was fishing for you to come up with some of your more florid statements that you've made on Twitter about deserts and about sheep farming and so on. But, you know, I'm not sure if you want to go into that or if I should 

 

BG: 

Well, I mean, I so the reason from an ecological perspective, forget the equally important aspect that farming is the cultural backbone of our country, the fact that we've been intensively farmed almost throughout our island for certainly two millennia. You know, the fact that most rural communities are underpinned by the economic activities of farming, they forget all of that. And let's just purely talk about the ecology of it. That one of the keystone species in our environment is the cattle, you know, nature cattle, and before we were active farming the land wild ox and bison. And if you just abandon the land, you end up with like those children's fairy tale books, the scary bit of land, which is a dense woodland, which is kind of monotonous in an ecological perspective, impenetrable, and not particularly valuable to anyone. And so, I think that the presence of grazing livestock in the landscape is absolutely essential if we're going to have any type of nature recovery. And so therefore, farmers and their livestock, they're the key to bring back a bit of life to some of these landscapes that have been terribly depleted. And, and just talk about deserts, I really think, you know, most of our country is terribly naturally depleted, you know, most of it. Now we were in the bottom 10 or 15%, of all the countries on earth and, and that's for a whole bunch of reasons, you can't go and blame one segment of society. You know, the whole of society has demanded cheaper food, the European Union has subsidised particular forms of agriculture, and has created disincentives to leave any rough corners, or any little <inaudible> patches or anything as ineligible features under the Common Agricultural Policy. And so the whole of society carries the burden of this. And I think that turning it round has to be led from the front by the farmers who are on the land, and their livestock are the key to it.  

 

ML: 

And what do you say, when you see something like, you know, the Lake District, you know, these kind of barren mountains that some people find very beautiful? What do you think when you see those? 

 

BG: 

To be quite honest about it, I mean, I find them quite distressing. Now, if you saw those landscapes in Morocco, or in some kind of developing world country, we'd be rushing to provide them with some development assistance to help figure out how to tackle the overgrazing and restore the ecosystem. And I think that they're terribly overgrazed. And I think that that's a function of subsidies that have driven very high numbers of sheep. Admittedly, they've declined a bit since the 90s, the peak is in the early 90s. But still, I think there's far too many grazing livestock there, because the incentives are all wrong. And I think if society would like to see the reemergence of some trees, some scrub, a few more wildflowers, a little bit more complexity, a bit more diversity in that landscape, then they need to provide farmers in that landscape with the incentive to do that. And for the most part, this is going to be heresy I'm scared to look at Gareth when I say it, but for the most part, I think that means perhaps fewer sheep, and perhaps more cattle and horses, you know. But I think that farmers should, should be rewarded or incentivized to do that, because why should they otherwise? 

 

 

ML: 

Right? Okay. That's a fantastic point at which to bring in Gareth, Gareth’s been listening. He's had the advantage of listening to you first. 

 

BG: 

I'm a bit scared of Gareth. 

 

ML: 

Garethdo you want to start by describing a little bit about how you how you farm? What is it you're exactly doing up there in Wales? How do you farm how many head of sheep? And then we can get onto some of those questions about whether it's overly intensive and whether you've created a desert and so on. I'm putting words into Ben's mouth that he hasn't used today, but he has used on Twitter. 

 

BG: 

No, not created, maybe maintained but not created. 

 

 

ML: 

So there you go, Gareth. That's the red flag. 

 

GWJ: 

I've enjoyed listening to it Michael, I've enjoyed listening to, you know, because I think if we don't open the conversation or have a debate about it, you know, what's the whole point? I think it's facts we need. And I think the word is balance. You know, it's getting that balance, right. And I blame again, a lot of government policies, you know, supermarkets pushing prices down, and cheap food comes at a cost to something. It will come at a cost to the farmer, the land, our environment, our sustainability, to make sure there's a future for our children here. So, these are the things that we need to address. Now going back to me, my family, my farm, and my love. 370 years, my family has farmed this land, my great, great, great, great, great, great great grandmother would have sat in this house and her name was Alice Cadwallader, and that is the history that we have going forward. One of the things I learned from my father as a very, very young man was, when we leave this land, we leave it in a better state than we’ve had it. And that is the ethos of my family. My farm is farmed on the foothills of the Carneddau mountains, which is 27,000 acres of open land. We have grazing rights there, Her Majesty the Queen owns a big part of it, and the National Trust owns another big part of it. But we have the grazing rights, we have the grazing rights for ponies, and we have the grazing rights for sheep there. And this is where I'm going to, you know, beg to differ with Ben on this, that, you know, sheep are a problem. Everything's a problem if you've got too many, and you don't know how to manage them. Okay, the sheep’s biggest enemy is another sheep. And this is what management is all about. And we've got a word in Wales, that's called cynefin, you'd call it hefting in English, and cynefin means belonging to a certain areaI was a young boy, I would travel with my father, him on a big cob on me on a little Welsh mountain pony, one that I broke myself. And we would take the sheep to different areas, different areas of the mountain. And that mountain is full of different habitats. It's a mosaic, you've got your, we call the grug, which is the heather, we have them, you know, the big areas at the top, where we have the grasses where these grow, we have the blanket bogs, we have the wetlands. These are all the places that we were taught as children to take ouanimals. So we run about 4000 ewes in the family. And that sounds a lot Ben. But there was four brothers in the business and my father was one of them. And each one of them brought a son into the business. So, at one point there was eight of us living off them sheep. And unfortunately, two of them have passedSo there's only six of us, my father still here, thanks Gosh, telling me what to do every day, which is lovely. Not many people can say they've spent all their working life, every single day with their father, you know, I followed in his footstepsI am immensely He is like the biggest hero I've ever had. And he is still driven and he's at 84 years old. He still loves going up to that mountain and seeing you know, the new fowls being on the mountainsthe ponies and the lambing. Now it's a busy time. So all the new life is coming in. And this is where I'd like to invite Ben, Michael's been up, he's seen what we do up here. And this is where sometimes things are never heard of. In 2006 we went out and we sourced money from Europe and we set up a grazing agreements, a PLCCymdeithas Porwyr Aber A Llanfairfechan. You can tell my first language is Welsh. And it's a PLC, there's 22 farmers in it. And I was one of the former directors, I have been the chairman, and I'm a vice chair now. And we work together with these 22 farmers. And this was the best thing we did because as a group we had rights for 15,000 sheep on that mountain. So, we worked with government to source money, to take a little bit of them sheep off the mountain. Okay. And so, they gave us x amount of money to keep the mountain clean in the winter. So, our sheep will only graze from the 1st April till the 26th October. After that there's no sheep on the mountain. This is an intricate part of sustainable food production. This is a way that they used to do it in Welsh is called Hafod a Hendre, it’s the hefting. And using that summer grazing using the natural growth to produce our lamb, our beef, and it's the same with the cattle, our cattle are in the sheds over winter to protect the ground. And then once the spring, the calves are coming now… once spring comes, we take them onto the area we call the… Now the … are the intermediate land, the land in between the open mountain and our lower land where we lift the silage so we can have that stuff to feed over the winter to the cows. Soif you can see where we go in with all these jigsaws and this is where I really believe the answer is because when you come up, and you see our mountain, and I hear these words, Michael said that the deserts, if you want to hear that dawn chorus of Carneddau  <inaudible>. I've been there since a little boy, and it's still absolutely fills my heart with joy. We've got the chuff all due to the way that the ponies are grazing, because the ponies don't get any antibiotics, any <inaudible> that are left to their own devices. And by that they graze differently over the winter, to the sheep, and they'll graze lower. And of course, what comes in goes out, and what comes out the other end will then extract the invertebrate, the insect. And these are the things that are bringing in so much of the chuff and the wildlife. Every time I see a dead pony, I see new life, that animal has died up there and will be feeding so many different families. And that's the circle of life. And as getting the sheep when a sheep dies up there over the summer, that carcass lasts no time at all. It's a symbiotic relationship, the farmer, the livestock, and of course, the mountain itself. And farming it properly is really, really important that we don't over-graze, and we don't and under-graze, it's getting that balance. 

 

ML: 

Okay. Now that's been a fantastic description, I hope that the listeners, the audience, can imagine I have visited, it is the most magical place because it was a nice day when I was up there. But you can see that much of the year it's pretty brutal place. Brutal for the animals, brutal for the farmers, difficult, not easy farming. This is not you know, the Midwest of the US. This is tough farming. But it's also a place without many trees. In fact, I think we came across one tree when we were driving around, Gareth, you remember, I actually used what3words to put a pin on it so that I could find it again, if I ever come up. And it was a windblown tree and so on. And you know, 4000 ewes, you have to assume that before it was farmed for sheep, it would have had a different ecosystem, in nature, it would have had a different ecosystem, would it not? 

 

GWJ: 

Yeah, of course it would. But it's the same as what London would be and you're sitting off probably on a swamp mash. And it's pretty different down there to what we've got. You know, man has developed, man has had to feed themselves. We've got millions of people in this country. And we as the Celts were pushed up by some people over the border up into this marginal land to make a living. Behind my house is a Celtic Hill fort. It's amazing. The round houses are there, you've seen it, you know, the people up there, they have made terraced fields up there to produce food. So, we've been doing this when you say the habitats change, if you come along the A55, there's a belt, there's 200 acres just in front of my house of ancient woodland now, still standing there. You know, it's a beautiful area, there’s all the way along the 55 that takes us nearly around CarneddauAnd it's a belt of ancient woodland, which has been left. So again, I addressed that, that word, that balance, and that's what we have to do, we have to get things right. 

 

ML: 

Right. So Ben, that's a call for balance, which basically means we've got a belt of ancient woodland, leave us alone, we're doing this, and we're doing it for hundreds of years. And it's not a desert, because there's lots of biodiversity. But this is the way to do it. And, you know, aren't you going to find that with every piece of land that you say, well, you know, that whether it's the Lake District or whether it's the Grouse Moors, or whether it doesn't matter what it is, you're always gonna find somebody who says, ah, but it's traditional for this to look exactly as it does. So, rewilding, whatever you want to do, fine, but not here? 

 

BG: 

I guess, by the way, I'd like to visit I mean, Gareth, you paint an amazing picture and I don't know Wales at all. I have a cousin who lives in the Welsh borders. But I don't know Wales, and I would really love to visit you one day. That will be a great pleasure. I know that in England, up the western part of England, from Cornwall all the way up to the Lake District, there was more of a wood pasture environment even as recently as the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign, certainly 1800s, the early 1800s, you still had extensive wood pasture. And in places like the Cotswolds, the farming tradition was to turn out your cattle, more cattle and sheep, there were sheep, there will probably somewhere between 8 and 12 million sheep in Great Britain at the time of the 1800s, early 1800s. few sheep and cattle and pigs, they would turn them out, common grazing, and then they would bring them back in and so on. And the intensity of grazing increased during the reign of Queen Victoria, to the extent that young trees were not able to take over as the older ones died. So it wasn't as if someone showed up with a chainsaw and cut all the trees down. It was more that there wasn't recruitment, and you ended up with these geriatric wood pastures, and ultimately, there were no trees remaining, exactly the same as happened in the Highlands of Scotland. The actual deforestation for the most part happened a long, long time ago. What really happened was that for about 100 years, there were a lot of sheep, belonging to the big landowners. And then subsequently, a lot of red deer, you know when Prince Albert decided to wear a Sherlock Holmes hat and Queen Victoria decided to buy Balmoral and they said that the cool, the fashionable thing you can do is go deer stalking and suddenly, every English and Scottish laird turned his estate into a Sherlock Holmes deer stalking unit, then suddenly 20 times more deer than they'd ever been before. And you ended up with geriatric forests, because no new trees were able to grow. And then eventually no forests at all. And so I guess some in the world in which I kind of have my imagination, you know, perhaps one could incentivize farmers that are operating in these remote landscapes. Now, in partnership with the taxpayer, to reestablish some woodland cover, we don't want, no one wants dense woodland, no one wants wholesale rapid landscape change, I think that what environmentalist would like is to see a dappling of trees and scrub appearing on what are fundamentally semi-open landscapes. And amidst those trees, and that scrub, you would still have the traditional hefted sheep, and you would still have the native cattle and certainly, those native horses are something that I would love to see. And they all play their own part in the ecology, and they all play their own part in the economy of the region. I think that the way I see it is that if you could get the market to recognise the value of food produced in this way, you know, someone like Gareth should be selling their meat at a premium, because it's the highest quality meat you can buy. That's what you want to be cooking for your family, not some junk produced in a factory yard, where the animals are stuffed with grain or whatever. So, if the food is produced in that way, there should be some sort of recognition for that on the part of the market. And that's partly about curtailing the cartel buying power of the supermarkets. It's partly about making sure that there are proper standards applied to imports that match the standards that we apply to producers here in the UK. And also, I think that if society wishes to see the reemergence of these wood pasture landscapes, there should be some incentive, some payment for that, because there will be economic as well as other societal benefits. There'll be less flooding potentially, there'll be carbon sequestration, there'll be biodiversity, there'll be all sorts of things. And therefore, what I feel like is the way forward is for the taxpayer to provide a fair and generous incentive to farmers operating in these landscapes to figure out how they can reestablish wood pasture, and then leave it to those land managers who've been there for generations to figure out how to do that, you know, if Gareth was asked, I presume, Gareth, how do you how do you restore some scrub, a smattering of scrub a smattering of trees across that landscape that you're farming? I can be pretty sure that you'd have the answer to that. And it certainly wouldn't involve the removal of all your animals and all your, you know, compañeros in farming. That wouldn't be what, you know... So when I guess that's the big question is, 

 

ML: 

Let's ask Gareth. I mean, is that a feasible thing? 

 

GWJ: 

Well, when Ben comes up, we'll take him to an area of land, okay, that we fenced off 25 years ago. It's not a big area, it's about a quarter of an acre. And it is a ticking time bomb. We've been lucky so far it hasn't gone on fire. I've kept it and I've taken quite a few people, environmentalists, people that have been involved in policy making to have a look at it. And this is where I go back to that balance again, you know, we can have these areas, but we need to graze them properly. You know, we can plant these trees in certain areas if it's grazed properly. And I'm not against planting any trees. We're working now with a National Lottery Heritage Fund. We won £2.4 million on the mountains. I was the chairman we worked very hard to get this lottery funding. And we're going to be planting trees on the mountain. in certain areas, and you know, have I got a problem with that? Definitely not. But what I've got a problem with is the policymakers, the people in Whitehall and down in our Welsh Assembly, that are not listening to the people that are on the coalface, the people that are working on that know these lands are all different. However you're looking at it, you said about your land, and how heavy it was, how hard it was to manage, you know, that there's different scenarios on every farm. So when they put in a big scheme, a blanket scheme across Wales, across England, and say, right, plant x amount trees, do this do that. It doesn't work.  

 

BG: 

I agree with you. But that's why I think outcomes focus is the way to do it. So if they come to a group of landowners or a group of farmers in a particular river catchment, and say, can you amongst yourselves, please figure out how to slow the flow of water down into this town each winter? And then those land landowners, those farmers can get together and say, well, look, if we if we wiggle the streams along our valley bottoms, if we give the rivers 20-30 yards, fenced off of buffer, or if we allow a bit of scrubbing trees to grow on the side of these steeper parts of the valleys, we will help achieve that objective. It's up to the landowners, the farmers to figure out how to deliver the outcome, the taxpayer simply specifies what outcome they want. Is that the answer? 

 

GWJ: 

Yeah, I think it’s part of the answer. But I think we have to look at the whole problem sometimes as well. The <inaudible>, which is just up the road from as there was massive problems they decided to, again, close the ditches, they carried some black and from here, bale there and put it in the ditches to slow it down. But the flooding still happening, you know, there's trees being planted on that. So I think we have got a major climate issue. And I think we've all got a role to play in this. And the only way to do that is to get the people in power to listen, they have to listen, they have to come out, you know, this agreement we did in 2006, has really worked, you know, I could sit down and give people, you know, a blueprint, it wouldn't have to be exactly, but a blueprint of how we did that, you know, we've got a constitution, we've got the, you know, we've got this group that comes together to source money to help environmentally, basically, to sell our produce. All these things, you know, are not just adding value to what we're producing, but it's adding value to the environment, to society. You know, the whole big picture of people coming from London or Manchester to see the ponies up on this mountain is part of the journey. You know, and I want people to come here and see the sheep grazing, environmentally friendly ways. And show them what we've got on the mountain from the mountain ewe, which is very, very rare. And this is the most southerly part, it's here. Now, it hasn't just appeared, because the NRW fenced it off, it's been here because this land has been managed properly. And don't get me wrong Ben, we have our problems, you know, the 1970s and 80s, when they were paying people to keep sheep per head, people were keeping a lot more sheep, because they knew that’s what they will get paid for. So it was a lot to do with not just the farmer but the <inaudible> of what government was putting out as policies, coming from Europe and, you know, parliament. So these are the things that need to come together. We need to work with environmentalists, you know, and don't take this the wrong wayBut I hate that word, rewilding. It absolutely boils my blood I'm sorry.  

 

BG: 

What about the idea of rewilding in a place where you don't necessarily have a rich or historical farming tradition? Let's say you're proposing to rewild land in a remote valley that's been mined in India or Canada or Morocco. You know, where you're not necessarily displacing one activity in exchange for another. You're simply restoring a landscape that has been degraded in the past in those places surely, rewilding is not a bad thing. Or rewilding in the sea. Where you create You don't have a problem with that? 

 

BWJ: 

No, but let's rewind, let's rewind. Let's go down to mid-Wales just behind me down here 

 

BG: 

Right. I agree with you. 

 

GWJ: 

I'll just give you one example of why this boils my blood, Ben, because they come in, it was a lot of money behind it. There was some big names. You know, George Monbiot is a friend of mine, we argue like cat and dog, but you know, I see some things that I agree with him and some things I don't. But when you come into an area like that, a lot of money, a lot of ideas. Yeah. And they start talking to farmers, but they just bulldozed everybody. They didn't really listen to the people that were there. And they made so many enemies so quickly it was unbelievable. Now I get a phone call. Okay, I get a phone call. And a really good friend of mine from the area says, have you seen this? And it was a BBC announcements: rewilding project that brought some konik ponies, the amazing ancient ponies into graze into Wales. I was going ballistic. We've got 220 breeding mares left in the world, the Carneddau ponies go back to the Celtic times, they've ran up here, semi-feral for 1000s of years. They didn't even Google us, they didn't even phonus, they didn't even ask us. These ponies were more relevant than anything that they could have done. They could have made the story to build around that, that they were using... And you know the word that native breed, you know. And when we do when we take that native breed and do the whole rewilding, and we talk about what we do, and then just really brush everything under the table. And then there's some excuse that somebody new somewhere in somewhere that these ponies are great to graze this area. Well, come on. We have to really look at ourselves. 

 

ML: 

Hang on, Ben, because I'm having trouble getting a word in edgewise. This is my programme, my show. So I'm allowed in just every so often, you've been doing a great job actually, these are exactly the issues that I wanted to talk about. But I do want to say, because what you've agreed on, is that sort of heavy handed intervention from central government or from anybody from outside telling you what to do is not the answer. But there is still a conflict. Because if you go to the sort behind the idea of rewilding, there's this idea that kind of nature knows best, right. And if you look at <inaudible>, the idea would be, you know, this is the… I suspect, Ben was quite an inspiration when you looked at your own farm, that you just kind of remove the fences and let, you know, let nature do what it wants. And you'll get the birds and the butterflies and so on. But that's very different from what Gareth is describing, which is a very active management by the people with a stake in the local area. And one area this might sort of come to a head is around things like reintroduction of beavers, introduction of predators, where, you know, the rewilding thesis would be well, of course, you've got to do that, and then let them find their natural roles. But, you know, I'm not sure that you would agree, or both the two of you would might not agree on that.  

 

BG: 

Let me answer that. So. I think a term which is more appropriate in the vast majority of Great Britain is wilder farming. Robin Page uses it, you know, I tend to use it. And that really is nature restoration engineered by farmers and their livestock, which I think is pretty similar in outcome to what we might describe as rewilding. So the right number of livestock in the right places, I think, will engineer you that nice mosaic of habitat that ultimately we all love. So how to deliver more scrub, more trees, more wildflowers, and so on. I think ultimately, it's down to the manager of that land. Only Gareth really knows how best to achieve more trees on his land. But certainly the cattle and the sheep and the horses will play a big part in making sure you don't end up with an incendiary bomb, as Gareth put it. And so I think that the reason why I think that wilder farming is a silver bullet is because it empowers the farmers to deliver the outcomes that many people in society want, which is slightly rough around the edges, smattering of trees and scrub, a landscape that looks a little bit wilder than the one in which we live today. And as soon as you get a bit of scrub and a few more trees, you increase exponentially, the butterflies, the birds and so on, not everywhere, not on a peat bog. But in some of those landscapes. Some of those mountain sites 

 

 

ML: 

With predators or without predators? 

 

BG: 

In terms of rewilding, in terms of rewilding species and restoring missing species, so well, this is how I feel about it. I feel, for starters, that we have a moral duty to put things back which we have made extinct, especially if we as a nation are ordering and cajoling and financing countries around the world to do the same. So here we are telling Sri Lanka to live alongside 6000 elephants, you know, but we can't live with beavers, or here we are telling the Nepalese that they've got to make an effort to rebuild their population of tigers, which occasionally eat people, but we can't have lynx. So I think firstly there is a kind of, there's a hypocrisy in that position and secondly there is a moral duty I think to put back that which we've destroyed. Having said that, there is a scale of awkwardness. You know, everything is a nuisance on some level. Foxes are a nuisance, they eat my chickens. Otters are a nuisance, they eat my fish. Now I've got rod I like to catch my fish, too many otters only fish leftcormorans moles, which is probably the most inoffensive creature known to man, they're a nuisance. If you gallop over a molehill, and the horse's foot goes down, then you've got a problem. They're really badgers are a nuisance, they spread TB, arguably, the deer are a nuisance in too many numbers, they overgraze and cause a problem wild boar, my goodness, they're back. Now in the Welsh borders, they spread down there in Dorset, they're in Devon, there are a lot of them around London, Sussex, Kent. They're a big nuisance, they'll plough your football fields and eat your potatoes, they'll muscle their way under fences. Everything is a nuisance, a lynx, it's a nuisance, especially if you're grazing sheep amongst trees, then they will take the odd sheep. And my goodness, you know, the top of the pile is the wolf, you know, a wolf is going to be a big nuisance for people. And I guess, my position, and it is easy for me to say because I don't make my living on the land, but my position is that we should try to find a way to coexist where we can. And I think that the full generosity of the state should be used to help farmers and landowners and other people who are inconvenienced to do that. So to take beavers before we talk about more difficult ones. The real issue with beavers is when they start damaging the engineering works in our landscape. Now, at one end, if they get into a sewage works, or a fish hatchery, that's a nightmare. It's even worse, if you've got a field of high quality carrots on an engineered landscape and they breach the levees or they cause you a problem by raising the water table and flooding your carrots. In those places, the taxpayer should pay for the cost of fixing that or taking those beavers out trapping them, killing them, whatever it is, and generally the taxpayer should be responsible for helping those who live in the land to mitigate the issues that arise in certain places when beavers come along. And I think the same is true of the more problematic species, I think that there's you know, that coexistence has been shown that it can be done and where it requires support, then then it should be provided. I'm not arguing that there should be wolves in central Wales or in Somerset, but I think in the Highlands of Scotland, you know, why not? There's miles and miles and miles of landscape where all you've really got is red deer in huge numbers, the whole economy out there is geared towards tourism, and those sorts of things. Why shouldn't we expect our wolves back if they've got them in Luxembourg and Holland and Normandy? Why would it be so crazy to put them in the most remote landscapes in Britain in the north. And as for the lynx, well, you know, the evidence suggests that in places where sheep aren’t grazing amongst trees, they don't take sheep. And where they are, they take them in very, very low numbers. So in Norway that has somewhere between 3000 and 6000 lynx, the number of sheep killed is absolutely dwarfed in comparison with the number of sheeps taken by foxes, by eagles, by crows picking their eyes out, by exposure on the mountain side, by unpredictable weather, by disease, by worms. Lots of things take sheep on the mountain side, the lynx doesn't really feature. So I don't really buy the argument that lynx is going to be as problematic as people say it is. But that being said, there needs to be a proper system for supporting landowners to coexist with that species. And I think things like, you know, I think the argument around beavers I'm completely lost upon, you know, you could have 100 beavers on Gareth’s farm. I don't think you’d even notice them.  

 

ML: 

Gareth, have you got any beavers? Beavers: yes or no? 

 

GWJ: 

Yeah, look. No, I haven't got a problem with beavers. I think if people are reintroducing them, let's reintroduce them in places where we can look at that scientifically. That's where I'm going. So, you know, let's fence them in. Let's see what they bring to the economy, to the environment, to the area. And let's manage that properly. And if it's working, yeah, I haven't got a problem. If they show me the stats to say, look at this, look at that, these beavers have made the difference in this area I wouldn't be I wouldn't have any problem with seeing them on our river. But I'll go back again now to this to this question. And which really gets me going again, the rewilding and the word balance. Okay. So I think government have got a massive, massive problem because we look at what we've got out of balance. And that is the badger. And I love badgers. We've got badgers here, but as a boy, I'd never seen one. Okay. And in this area now, there's a lot of them. Thank God we haven't got TB we're very, very lucky, there’s a few people who have had that a bit further down the road. But the problem lies that government brought a policy to protect these animals and they are lovely, but if we don't keep that balance, we will lose so much. And I will tell you, as a boy, there would be hedgehogs everywhere here. They'd be ground nesting birds, the higher up you go where you can find them. But these badgers are killing every hedgehog. They are trashing our ground nesting birds, they're not they haven't got a chance. It's an awesome creature. And this is where, you know, my belief is, it's not just about the TB. It's about addressing this. And this is where we have to have a balance. Can I just finish, Michael, please? This is really, really important, because if you look at the RSPB, okay. The RSPB nearly killed 600 foxes last year. They shot 800 crows, you tell me why? Come on, you know, we've nobody hears about it. Nobody's willing to talk about it. We've got to step up, we’re at the top of this food chain. And if we don't control it, and make sure because that's, that's why we're losing a lot of our hedgehogs. I haven’t changed my family policies. I haven't, I don't use pesticides, you know, I don't use insecticides, this land is virtually the same. Okay, it's still farmed a little bit different, but virtually the same. And in my generation, in my lifetime, I've seen a demise of that lovely little hedgehog. And only because we've got badgers.  

 

BG: 

So I don't think we disagree. I mean, I don't have a problem with killing stuff. You know, I don't subscribe to the view that man is somehow separate from nature. No, I think we're absolutely part of the fabric of the natural world. And we have to play our role in that, you know, nothing gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than going out with my son, watching him shoot a roe in season, bringing it back, gutting it together, having the liver over the fire with onions and garlic on a bit of toast, and then hanging the deer and eating every scrap of it during the next three, four days. The only thing we fail to do is cure the hide properly. Yeah, I totally..all my life I've killed stuff. And I have no issue with that. And I think that we do have a role to play in maintaining balance. But I would argue that a more complete ecosystem is perhaps more likely to be closer to balance by itself than one which has been impoverished. So, they don't talk about midges in the west of Scotland in the 1860s, 1880s. But now midges are such a big problem that you can barely go to the west of Scotland in August. And I think that things like the explosion of midges in the west of Scotland, or the explosion of jellyfish that have taken place in the Mediterranean in the last 10 years, is because we've removed the things which control them. So jellyfish are eaten by turtles and tuna. We've killed all the turtles and tuna so there's jellyfish everywhere. And I think that in the case of badgers, they do have predators. The lynx will eat badgers, the white tailed eagle will eat foxes, they found 100 fox pelts underneath the nest of white tailed eagles in one season in the west of Scotland on Mull and so on. So I think if you bring back I don't know if you know anything about the eagle owl. But in Europe, the eagle owl will kill raptors, the eagle owl derives almost two thirds, I read, of its diet, killing buzzards and kites and crows and magpies and those kinds of birds. So you've got too many kind of middling sized raptors, it might be because we don't have the big raptors to eat them and scare them away. So all I say is that when you rebuild the jigsaw puzzle, and you restore some degree of ecological health, I think our role as the imposer of balance perhaps becomes a little bit less significant than it might otherwise be. But then again, I don't have 4000 sheep. And, you know, and I recognise that, you know, there is no easy answer to that 

 

 

 

ML: 

What I was going to do when Gareth was in full flow and he sort of rebuffed me quite expertly what I was going to ask, you know, is his plea.. Gareth is your plea for balance, sort of balance on your terms. You know, it's a balance as long as there's 4000 sheep, I suspect, I don't know, but I suspect that you're providing fertilizer because somebody you've got to put nutrients back into the into the land so you're doing some sort of fertilizing there. You've got 4000 sheep you want to get rid of the badgers which are out of balance, but you don't want the beavers, the beavers were there before you 

 

BG: 

Gareth, to be fair, Gareth said I'll have beavers if I can see that they're beneficial and not harmful. We talked about it's a… it can be presented to Gareth quite well, if you let me organise that Gareth. I'll give you a webinar on that 

 

GWJ: 

Yeah, I'd love to see it. 

 

BG: 

But I think the question is this. I think if society wishes people like Gareth, who are making a living from the land, to put up with lynx living in the woodland that exists around their farms, then society should offer them some incentive that they can't refuse. Because why should those farmers put up with that extra headache when they've got 101 headaches already, unless there is something in it for them? So, I've always said, whenever I've been asked, if we're going to ask a particular landscape to accommodate the reintroduction of a species like lynx, it should come with an environmental land management payment of some sort, whereby the farmers say, well, let's look at the how much of a headache this is going to give me, let's look at what the payment per acre is, I'm going to go with this. That I think the equation should be. In conjunction with training and support for coexistence because there are ways to coexist with these problematic species, and also a government compensation scheme if it goes wrong. 

 

ML: 

Gareth, does that compensation for annoyances or intrusion or lost animals Does that work? Because in preparation for this episode, we talked about wolves and the impact potentially of wolves on hefting. Ben has been very careful not to talk about wolves.  

 

BG: 

Because I think wolves are very difficult in a heavily farmed landscape.  

 

 

ML: 

What about lynx? Would lynx, Gareth, would that affect the hefting of your sheep or not? 

 

GWJ: 

I don't know enough about lynx, to be honest with you, you know, I wouldn't go into that debate. But again, you know, the mountain itself is 27,000 acres, and there's a lot of farmers that live off that. Let's not forget, as well, we're producing one of the best qualities of protein from a very poor landscape, you know, from landscape There's not a lot else you could do with that and to produce that top quality protein to feed people I think is important. When we get that balance, right, let's say for argument's sake, they bring the lynx in, and in five or six years, we find out that the lynx aren’t taking many sheep, but they're eating the dead carcasses. But if we're finding, you know, that these animals are making a massive dent into our livelihoods, and I can tell you, honestly, we've lost about 15 lambs already. We just started on the mountain ewes. We've lost about 15 lambs already to the fox, you know, and so it's only six or seven, and it's natural. Okay, a few more died of natural causes. Yes, I would, I wouldn't say otherwise. But I know fox kill. You know, I know how they do it, they’re beautiful animals. Very, very clever. And again, we're bringing in another bigger 

 

BG: 

So I'll just say about the lynx briefly. Firstly, they don't leave the trees, so they almost never get seen on open ground unless they're being pursued by something. And the second point about the lynx is that they predate foxes in big numbers, they also predate badgers. But I would not suggest that the lynx gets brought back to any landscape that doesn't want it. I think what you'd need to do is work with local land managers and say, can you be persuaded and can society offer you enough of an incentive that you're willing to give this a go, in the form of a payment through the environmental land management scheme, or somesuch? 

 

ML: 

Okay, so we've got two pieces of follow up here, which is Ben is going to try and persuade you Gareth that you want beavers and he's going to persuade you that you actually want lynx, because they will actually predate the foxes and reduce the loss of lambs. Now, I want to finish But there's two other topics we've just got to touch on. One is sort of libertarian free traders, who and the other is militant vegans. So there's something for everybody here. The libertarian free traders would say, Ben, you have betrayed the right, you call yourself Conservative? You've talked about the taxpayer paying for this, the taxpayer paying for that, the taxpayer paying for the other. If Gareth can't make this thing work, he should go away. He should open a B&B he should do something else. But he should not be farming if he cannot be competitive, right? Then we'll give Gareth the militant vegans. 

 

BG: 

Okay, well, we should get my wife down here on the vegans. She's a cook and she has a real problem with vegans because she's a brilliant cook with meat. And, and she has a restaurant where they have a big open woodfire and they cook the most delicious meat from up in Northumberland and Cumbria. And they occasionally get vegans. So, sorry, in terms of your point about the free market right. So I believe in free markets, and I believe in fair markets. And I don't think a market in which we tell our farmers that they can't use sow crates, but then we import pork raised from sow crates from abroad, I don't believe that to be fair. So I believe in the setting the same standards on imports as we set on those that produce our food domestically. The second thing is, I don't think it's a genuinely fair market if you're causing damage that society has to cover the cost of. So for example, if I'm a big factory pig farmer in North Carolina, and my factory pig unit is polluting the air around my farm, the slurry is polluting the water, I'm probably killing the fish stocks in the river and out in the Chesapeake Bay. And society is carrying all those costs. That's not a fair market, I believe that the polluters should pay. So, if you're running an operation which is causing cost to society, I think those costs should be internalized in your business. So, I believe in regulation, I'm in favour of regulation that says that you can't spread slurry alongside the river and so on. But the third thing is, I'm also in favour of applying a fair economic value on things which are public goods. So for example, if Gareth is going to help reduce flooding by pursuing certain land management actions on his farm, he should be paid by the taxpayer for doing that. Or if Gareth is going to absorb carbon into his land, by doing certain practices that change the way the land functions and more carbon is stored, he should be paid for that. And if society chooses that it wants the lynx back in a particular landscape, then it should pay a fair and market price to those landowners that are going to have to spend their time figuring out how to deliver that. So I believe that the new system that we've got in England, I don't know about Wales, but the new system, which they call public money for public good, I think is aligned with my belief in free markets and fair markets, because what we're doing is applying an economic value to what these farmers do for society and paying them for it. And I'd much rather that than a system in which we provide subsidies blind, you know, I don't believe in blind subsidies for any industry. And I think a lot of farmers are doing stuff which is really valuable to society and they're not being rewarded for it. So I think that the ideas I've presented on this webinar and this debate, I think are in line with my belief in free and fair markets. 

 

ML: 

Okay, well, that was a resounding pushback against the libertarian headbangers and Gareth has had a couple of minutes to prepare his final repartee, his parting Sally against the militant vegans, which make his life hell on Twitter, I know. 

 

GWJ: 

Well, I was told Ben was a vegan, but I really understood that that’s definitely not true now. So yeah, Twitter and social media can be misleading. For me, you know, I haven't got a problem with anybody's personal choice. If you're vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian whatever it is, that's not a problem. My problem lies with people misleading others with the propaganda, you know, we've, got a hard time as livestock farmers, we've been blamed for many, many things, which I think are incorrect. You know, the way that we're producing lamb and beef up here is top notch, you know, we have a lot of rain, which makes the grass grow and the animals eat it. Every single day, I'll be targeted by a vegan, you know, usually the ethical vegans. I don't know what the difference is, but they seem to be a little bit more nasty. Truthfully, you know, that's their choice, you know that is something that they've decided to do. For me, I think the way forward is to be eating a seasonal, sustainable, local diet. This is the way I think we could go forward to build a better Britain on our bellies. You know, I think a lot of the food that's processed now we've got the Oatly and we've got the Quorn and all this processed food that comes out. It's full of chemicals, it's full of all kinds of I don't know, and it's not for me, you know, I'd much rather go to the field, shoot a couple of rabbits, get some carrots, stick it in the oven, make a nice stew. That's my kind of healthy living. I know, you know, you people that are living in the cities, but then probably will never get that choice but as well, they've lost that connection with food production. They've lost that connection with the land and you know, people try to shame others into, you know, you shouldn't be killing things that's awful. Or well, they keeping cats and dogs, and you know, my brain can't really take that in, you know, cat is the biggest killer that you'll ever get. Putting a cat on a vegan diet, it's going to kill it, you know, dogs on vegan diets, it's definitely against what that poor animals belief is and what it should be eating naturally. So for me, you know, I'd like to see more people having a balanced debate about it. Because there's, there's so much we can talk about going forward, making sure that our food is environmentally friendly, sustainable, seasonal, looking for these local ways we can grow more food, that we're not shipping it from Spain, we're not shipping the avocados from Mexico, or making the Mexicans hungry because they can't afford their avocados anymore because we're shipping them all over here.  

 

BG: 

And not to mention making the monarch butterfly extinct because they're <inaudible> forests to grow more avocado.  

 

GWJ: 

Thank you, Ben, we’re agreeing on things and I can't believe it. 

 

 

 

 

BG: 

Have you come across the extreme end of the animal rights movement, which argues for the entrapment and placing into captivity of wild predators because of the cruelty that the wild predators inflict upon their prey? 

 

GWJ: 

Well, no, that's even a new one for me.  

 

BG: 

Imagine that. No more lynx, no more lynx in the wild anywhere. But of all it in captivity because of the cruelty to deer. 

 

GWJ: 

No foxes, or badgers or anything. But life's cruel, isn't it, we all live and we all die. And that's the you know, and people lose people. You know, we have to go out to fish, hunt, to make our own feed our own families. And I love that. There's no better feeling for me to sit around my Sunday dinner, knowing that everything on that plate feeding my family has been produced by my hands, you know, by me, for my family. It's a great feeling. People have lost that. And people are on this bandwagon. This propaganda bandwagon that's built by massive industries, like your Quorn and your Oatlies. You know, they've got an advertisement campaign now tend to shame dads not to drink real milk. Real milk is one of the best wholesome foods we can ever have. And it's so well produced. And we should be making sure that children understand that. The school curriculum as well has got something to play in this. I think we need to be seeing more children on farms, and giving them an educated choice on how they want to, you know, live the rest of their lives. And, and this is really important. And I'm going to tell you a story about a vegan that came to the farm. Okay, his name was Tim Shieff. Maybe you guys have heard of him. He was the Vegan Prince. He was the winner of the Free Runner on Ninja Challenge, very, very fit young man. And he came up in 2015. And he spent the day with me, and he just couldn't get his head around what we were doing up here. We sat in the garden, and I spoke about how we were planting our veg. And as he said to me, he said, this is the ideal way that I want to live. And I said at night, I'll sit on top of that wall waiting for Mr. Rabbit to come in. And I will shoot Mr. Rabbit I said to him, and he was like, oh, no man, don't shoot the rabbit? Why don't you build bigger fences and walls to keep them out? And I said there might be another 200 rabbits on my farm. But that one rabbit that comes into my garden to eat my family's food is going to be shot. And not only shot but eaten by my family as well. So I was trying to show him, you know what we did up here. So we finished the day, it was for BBC Countryfile. We finished the day on the top of the Carneddau mountains very romantic sun setting over AngleseyMichael, as you've seen it beautiful, beautiful. And I'm standing there with a vegan next to me and Collin, who was producing it said to me, have you got any more questions? And this is my question to Tim. I said, Tim, if you were born my son, do you think you would be standing next to me now as a vegan? And his words to me no, man, no way. Peace. <inaudible> And I'm not gonna lie. I had tears in my eyes. Because I knew he meant that. And we kept in contact. We kept in contact. Four years down the line. I get a phone call from Tim, I went, oh no, what does he want? And Tim goes: can I apologise man? I said no, no, no, don't apologise for anything. I need to apologise because I've seenI’ve donebut now I'm coming back to eating meat. His health left him. And you know, this, this is the true thing. Everybody has a journey in life. However you think that journey takes you, however strong your beliefs are, that's your decision. And something might change that decision. And it'll have to be personal. But that propaganda bandwagon needs to be addressed. Because there's a lot of kids, youngsters, people that are getting sucked in. And I really think that we need to change that ethos are we have to educate them on sustainable food production, environmentally, healthy production, seasonal, local. That's my take on the militant vegan. 

 

ML: 

Well, on that note, he said that life is cruel, nature is cruel to certain extent, farming may even be cruel, because it does involve the raising of livestock and the ending of their lives. However, the clock is also cruel, and we've run out of time. So, we're gonna have to leave it there. But I have a feelingI have a feeling that this will actually be only the first of many times that the three of us are going to get together. Thank you so, so much for joining me here today on Cleaning Up, both of you. 

 

BG: 

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Gareth. 

 

ML: 

So that was Ben Goldsmith and Gareth Wyn Jones, debating rewildingthe future of farming and the British landscape. But actually agreeing on a lot more than I thought they would. My guest next week is now Naoko Ishii. She was for eight years, the CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility of the UN. She is now Executive Vice President and Director of the Centre for the Global Commons at the University of Tokyo. Please join me at this time next week for a conversation with Naoko Ishii.