The INSIDE AGRI-TURF podcast was launched in 2020 by Chris Biddle who has more than 60 years experience in the farm and grass machinery industry
First with a major tractor manufacturer, then as a dealer principal and susequently as founder, editor and publisher of industry leading magazines such as
The podcast focusses on the issues, the people, the achievment s and the challenges facing the land-based engineering industry - and celebrated its 100th episode in April 2023 having featured an array of UK and international guests.
Launched in 2023, a companion podcast, THE AGRI-TURF ACADEMY provides business advice, tips and guidance for those running or working in land-based engineering companies or organisations
LATEST EPISODE: published 4 February 2024
EPISODE 122: AGRI-TURF AGENDA: February 2024
This is the first of a series of monthly episodes called AGRI-TURF AGENDA, an audio magazine with some of the current news stories of interest or relevance to the land-based engineering community.
This February 2024 issue carries the news of the collapse of the Small Robot Company. Whether small scale could be better than big scale farm autonomy featuring Kit Franklin? Could the tractor become a political weapon in the UK with an eye-witness report from Dan Pratt in Paris? Why have I recently had a battery implanted in my back? The overkill of turf shows.
01:56 Small Robot Company runs out of runway 09:20 Retro-fitting existing machinery for an automated farm.
12:15 Why have I recently had a battery implanted in my back? 14:45 Could tractors become a political weapon in the UK?
22:20 An over-kill of turf shows?
EPISODE 121 THE MEDIA: FRIEND OR FOE? with Andrew Harvey
What is the media today? It used to be the newspapers or magazines - or broadcast media, television and radio. Today, everyone can be a ‘journalist’ spreading news, views, comment and opinion through social media – which is largely unrestricted and unregulated.
To help me answer that question, I’m delighted to be joined by Andrew Harvey who for 30 years was a main presenter for BBC Television News, and latterly for ITN.
After leaving the television arena, Andrew set up and now runs a media training company.
During this episode we cover the value of establishing good press contacts, and also advice on how to react when a crisis situation attracts the interest of the media.
Andrew also provides a fascinating insight into his days presenting television prime time news bulletins
EPISODE 120 WHAT IS AGRI-TECH PSYCHOTHERAPY?
with Dan Schultz
EPISODE 122 WHAT IS AGRI-TECH PSYCHOTHERAPY? with Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz describes himself as an agribusiness psychotherapist. Without the need for a ‘patients’ couch, he helps agri-tech companies around the world think differently about how they commercialise their products for this new software driven age.
He says that the evolution of agriculture will be more about the evolution of business models than new pieces of equipment or technology.
Despite that, Dan is not an exponent of ‘in with the new, out with the old’.
“Although we will be working in this super, highly technical software age, the one thing that is never going to change is that you are selling to a farmer, you are selling to a business, you are selling to a person’
Episode 119: IN THE MIX 2: Women in Land-based Engineering
The guests featured in this episode are:
01:30 Caroline Drummond MBE (LEAF)
10:26 Marion Perrett-Pearson (Severn Trent Water)
15:12 Laura Bassnet (Ernest Doe Ltd)
25:15 Lauren Savage (AP Air Europe) full episode
32:00 Poppy Burrough (JCB)
I've taken extracts from Inside Agri-Turf episodes over the past four years, featuring some of the women who have successfully carved a career in land-based engineering so helping to counter the image of it being a male dominated profession.
The episode includes a tribute to the late Caroline Drummond MBE, the driving force behind LEAF who died in 2022 at the age of 58. She had appeared on a panel discussion on Agricultural Engineering and the Environment, recorded in February 2022 just weeks before her untimely death.
Episode 118: IN THE MIX 1: Extracts from past three years
During the past three year over 120 guests have featured on the Inside Agri-Turf podcast.
All have had tales to tell, advice to pass on and experiences to relate that are relevant to those working in this extraordinary land-based engineering industry.
Tucked away in our back-catalogue are some wonderful contributions, some a reminder of challenging times such as working through the pandemic.
Extracts featured in this first episode, together with time-stamps are:
04:20 The Role of Trade Associations (Episode 2) featuring Ruth Bailey (AEA) and Keith Christian (then BAGMA) on how the associations worked together during COVID-19
12:22 From Tanks to Tractors (Episode 24) with Jeremy Gibbs of Forces Farming and Will Foster, Ben Burgess Ltd on opportunities in land-based engineering for those leaving the Services
25:58 The Road to Resilience (Episode 114). Ultra runner Andrew Findley on the ways to meet and conquer those times when the going gets tough in business and in personal life.
27:42 World Cup to Grass Roots (Episode 69). Keith Kent headed the pitch management team at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium for 15 years, before being appointed to lead the pitch management team at the Rugby Football Union's Twickenham stadium
EPISODE: published 6 December 2023
Episode 117: SHARING START-UP SUCCESS with Ollie Austen
Small businesses (SMEs) are the heartbeat of the UK economy with almost 400,00 founded each year by those with a desire to follow their dream
But who supports the founders? Who guides them through the ups and downs?
In this episode I talk to Ollie Austen, co-founder of the peer-to-peer networking group Start-up2standup.Started in 2020, the group is tailored exclusively for start-up founders who wish to connect with other
entrepreneurs to learn, share ideas, seek answers and access talks and events to help improve and grow their business.
There are around 5.6 million SMEs in the UK, which is defined as a business organisation with 1-49 employees – but revealingly 5.3 million of those are classified as micro-SME’s with 1-9 employees!
EPISODE: published 30 November 2023
Episode 116: RETENTION: BEYOND THE SALARY with Paul Harris
In the first of a two-part episode on staffing, PAUL HARRIS of Real Success Ltd provided down-to-earth and practical advice on RECRUITING the right staff.
He advised employers not to panic when faced with sudden staffing needs. Careful planning is necessary to identify likely candidates, leading to crafting an offer of employment - with legal obligations.
In Part 2, Paul focusses on RETENTION. He says that clear, upfront and two-way communication with all members of staffing on a regular basis is the golden rule for ensuring, as far as possible, that loyal, skilled staff - stay loyal.
Good working conditions and positivity will often outweigh issues of money.
Episode 115: RECRUITING? DON'T PANIC! with Paul Harris
Possibly the biggest challenge facing businesses today is recruiting the most suitable staff, and then taking every step necessary to ensure that they stay in the company or organisation.
In a two-part episode on Recruitment and Retention, I talk to Paul Harris, the founder of Real Success Ltd, a company specialising in meeting the staffing requirements of the farming community.
His down-to-earth and highly practical advice is relevant to the land-based engineering sector – or any business without a fully functioning HR department.
In this first episode, Paul advises not to panic when faced with sudden staffing needs. He says careful planning is necessary and clear steps to identify candidates, leading to crafting an offer of employment with legal obligations.
EPISODE: published 16 November 2023
Episode 114: THE ROAD TO RESILIENCE with Andrew Findley
Andrew Findley is an experienced competitor in ultra endurance running events ranging from 200 km races in the 50 degree heat of the Sahara to a 300 km race across the French Alps in the biting cold - whilst climbing the equivalent of Everest three times.
The quality that all competitors need in such events is resilience – which can simply be summed up as the ability to keep going. In other words “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
But it is never just about toughness, there are many other qualities that Andrew has discovered during the events.
Today, Andrew is a motivational speaker talking to groups and businesses about resilience. Of being able to cope successfully with the bad or difficult times – and you can be assured that Andrew experienced many of those during his participation in extreme conditions.
EPISODE: published 2 November 2023
Episode 112 COUNTAX: Beginning and End of a Brand
with Chris Biddle and Harry Hankammer
With the news that AriensCo are to cease production of Countax and Westwood models at Great Haseley – and have no plans to use the brand names in the future, Chris Biddle looks back at the beginnings and now the end of the Countax story with founder Harry Handkammer.
in 1991 Harry won the Award for Survivor of the Year run by BBC Radio 4 programme In Business (right)
EPISODE: published 26 October 2023
Episode 111: COMPLAINTS INTO COMPLIMENTS with Dan Pratt
In the first part of his series of The Customer is always Right? Dan Pratt, founder of DAP Consultancy talked about different types of customers, their behaviour, and ways of successfully diffusing difficult situations.
In this episode Dan says that receiving a complaint should often be looked at as a positive business opportunity – and at relatively low-cost.
He also talks about goodwill gestures which can often work wonders .
and how to practically deal with negative on-line reviews which are often unjustified.