The Scottish Farmer caught up with Perthshire farmer and comedy star Jim Smith to hear all the latest on his new tour ‘Back to the Teuchter’ and to find out how his roots inspired him to where he is today.

‘Fermer Jim’ – as he is often characterised by the popular BBC series ‘The Farm’ – has been a huge success on BBC iPlayer, along with Jim’s ‘Farm Diaries’ and guest appearances on Scottish tv shows, giving viewers a hilarious insight in to daily life of Scottish farmers.

Jim’s success on the comedy circuit has catapulted him to fame over the last two years and his ‘Back to the Teuchter’ tour was a sell-out across Scotland, which resulted in extra performances being added on towards the end of the year to meet demand.

He explained why he believes his unique style of comedy has proved a hit with both city and farming folk: “There is a lot of grim news right now and I think people are really just in need of a good laugh.

“My comedy style offers something different which isn’t really out there on the comedy circuit and most people have a granny who lives out in the country or memories of fruit picking in Blairgowrie, so it is easier to make that connection.

“If you look at the audience figures for the likes of ‘Countryfile’, ‘This Farming Life’ and ‘Lambing Live’, the demand for farming content is really high – it’s an escapism for a lot of people and I’m trying to ride on the back of all of this while demand is out there,” he explained.

Jim’s appeal to rural and urban communities is very much linked to the fact he lives and breathes his script at home, on his farm in Caputh, Perth.

He explained why farming has always been at his core and will always remain his priority, with comedy as his side job.

“I knew from day one I wanted to be a farmer – bar a brief period where I wanted to be a footballer, but I soon realised that I didn’t have time to give up my weekends when I could be at home working on the farm.

“We used to grow potatoes and my two sisters and I would help out with rogueing and dressing tatties – we were outside all the time, it was a great place to grow up,” he recalled. “From the age of eight I was lifting stones in the tractor – at first gear mind you – and from 11 I was left alone to plough – it was any kid’s dream.”

Jim went on to study agriculture at Craibstone in Aberdeen for four years after school and then returned home to work with his dad on the farm. They switched the operation from tatties to a mixed cattle and sheep operation which he continues to run today.

“I used to drive a pea harvester during the summer to bring in extra money but when my dad passed away from a brain tumour five years ago, I had to concentrate all my time on the farm as there was enough going on here for my mum and I to work on.

“My dad never got to see me do my stand up, but he did get to see me in our local panto back in my YF days.”

Jim was a member of Bankfoot JAC and explained that it was during his club days that he found his real passion for comedy writing: “I always used to do the cabaret with the Young Farmers and every two years all the clubs in Perthshire would come together and do a panto.

“They used to buy the scripts in, which were a bit cringey and in need of some local humour, so it was there that my script writing journey began.

“My series for the BBC – ‘The farm’ – is written by myself and Chris Forbes, who is the rural policeman in Scot Squad. He approached me four years ago with the idea for the show, as he thought it was time for something different on the comedy scene, but it has been the last two years where things have taken off.

Jim highlighted an individual who has inspired him to pursue his comedy work: “The original and best out there has to be Colin Campbell, a farmer in the north who used to do a local radio show, where he would do accents from around Scotland – his work has been a massive influence on me.

“A lot of my content is inspired by the people I meet out on the farming circuit. and funny pieces here and there you pick up. There are far funnier folk out there than me, especially when you see a lot of the folk performing in YFC shows, but luckily not many are on the stand-up circuit – I hope I have that niche covered,” he laughed.

“I am ambitious and want to make a go of it, but I’ll not be gutted if it doesn’t last too long, as farming is my main love. You need the comedy to get a break from the farming and you need the farming to bring you back down to earth,” he admitted.

Looking ahead to his tour, which began over a week ago, Jim explained what he hopes people will make of ‘Back to the Teuchter’: “My main ambition is to entertain and make people laugh their heads off – many have bought tickets as they know my act and hopefully enjoy the content I’m producing. I’ve been bowled over by the response by people going out and buying tickets and can’t thank everyone enough for the wonderful support I have received.

“I want my audiences to feel they are getting their money’s worth and maybe they’ll want to come back in two years if we have another tour.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re from the city or the country, a lot of the same issues can impact both areas. You hear of folk in Glasgow with depression, feeling lonely even though there is someone living through the wall, as people keep themselves to themselves.

“Farming is also an isolated business and opportunities like this to get together with your family and friends and meet people you know – especially with farmers, you’ll always meet someone you know – are extremely important,” he continued.

“Folk need humour, especially with so much negative news right now, which is why my ‘Farm Diaries’ worked so well.

“People could look at it on their phone on a lunch break and have a laugh – social media has been an amazing tool to link communities and people together. You can gig for a lifetime and not get the exposure of an internet video,” he explained.

On a more serious note, Jim’s humour plays a really important role at a pressing time in the political calendar, where showcasing the best of Scottish farming and connecting the public with food producers is so vital.

Through bringing people together and celebrating the quirks of farming, he is championing the sector and raising its profile in a positive manner, which will ultimately get people discussing and recognising the importance of the industry.

“It is a tricky time for the sector,” Jim agreed. “Farming always appears to be on the back foot. It seems daft as people can live without cars, TVs and even oil, but they still need food and it’s the one industry people are going around saying there is no future in it.

“People ask me about the rise of veganism and make it out like it is a terrible thing, but folk can eat what they want, farming needs to get more hip and trendy folk on their side. Celebrities are very quick to back badgers and meat free alternatives – we have piers Morgan and Ronald Macdonald – we could do with better ones” he stressed.

“There needs to be a big debate, where all the scientific facts are presented. Livestock get a hard shift – the real environmental benefits of livestock need to be presented or promoted better. Hopefully I can use my position to defend the industry and share the strong benefits of our sector.

“We want to get people talking about farming and through my comedy work I hope I can fuel positive conversations and leave people feeling proud to be connected to rural Scotland,” he concluded.

Jim will be touring ‘Back to the Teuchter’ until the autumn, with a new date in Peth just added and from this week you can catch up with the new episodes of ‘The Farm’ on BBC iPlayer.