Rethinking farming practice with James Rebanks and Sarah Westerhuis.  We discuss barn owls and beetles, tractors, ploughs and policies, economics and farmers markets.  How can rethinking how we manage and live alongside the land and our approach to better stewardship help restore health to the soil, ensure continued productivity and bring back the birds and wildlife?
[Owl photo credit: Keith Mullings]

Our guests:

James Rebanks author pic - credit Andrew Heading

James Rebanks is a farmer based in the Lake District, where his family have lived and worked for over six hundred years. His No.1 bestselling debut, The Shepherd’s Life, won the Lake District Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Wainwright and Ondaatje prizes, and has been translated into sixteen languages.



Sarah Westerhuis is a partner in the family farm with her husband Popko and his parents. Rockells Farm has been part of various European funded environmental schemes since the 1990’s and currently 12% of their land is out of arable production providing winter bird food, lapwing plots, pollen and nectar areas, and beetle banks.

Sarah worked fulltime as a teacher until their children left home and she has been working with Popko for the last 7 years helping to manage 24000 free range laying hens, 2 self-catering cottages, a coarse fishing lake and about 600 acres of arable land.  Their aim is to increase biodiversity, improve soils, protect the environment, and produce good quality cereal crops and free range eggs whilst making a living from the farm – a constant battle!