A warm personality and a geniune enthusiasm to highlight the diverse characters and talent in farming, Will Evans is making quite a name for himself. Marie-Claire Kidd speaks to the man behind the microphone.

Last year’s Digital Innovator of the Year winner at the British Farming Awards is making waves in farming and beyond, as his Rock and Roll Farming podcast goes from strength to strength. In just over a year, Will Evans has established himself as a major voice in British farming.

His friendly laid-back style and undeniable enthusiasm has bagged him interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent figures, including NFU president Minette Batters and president of NFU Cymru John Davies. He has even interviewed Michael Gove, Defra Secretary, who is notoriously adverse to such conversations.

Will publishes a podcast each week, and has built up an archive of more than 60 entertaining and informative chats. He covers everyone from British quinoa farmer Steve Jones to founder of #Februdairy Dr Jude Capper, and from director of the AgriFood Training Partnership Prof Carol Wagstaff to Will’s 95-year-old grandfather, who shared memories of being an 18-year-old farmer and firefighter during World War Two.

Having listened to non-agricultural podcasts for years, Will discovered farming podcasts in the US and Canada.

He says: “I just thought they were brilliant, but no-one was doing it here in the UK.

“I got on YouTube and listened to lots of slightly irritating American teenagers telling me how to do a podcast and also went on podcast forums. I don’t advise that though, it was very geeky.”

There were no huge investments required, just a microphone and a headset, a logo and the music to the show. I probably set myself up for about £300.


Will’s tongue-in-cheek manner can be seen regularly; take for example the time he spoke to Yorkshire Dales beef and sheep farmer Neil Heseltine, a podcast he called ‘A Town Called Malham’, a nod to the Jam song ‘A Town Called Malice’.

He has used the platform to explore other kinds of digital media, for example Facetime a Farmer, run by arable farmer Tom Martin, which enables farmers to connect with teachers and schools on a regular basis. Will has become increasingly interested in mental health for farmers.

He says: “I think social and digital media give farmers the chance to communicate what they are doing straight from the farm, whereas 10 years ago, we couldn’t do that.

“I think it has been a game changer in terms of reducing social isolation. We are working more hours and there are fewer people working on-farm.

“My grandad says in his day there was always lots of people around, but many of us can go days and weeks on end without seeing anyone. Just being able to pick up the phone and connect with like minds is really important.”

Will has been impressed by the number of people who want to talk to him about mental health.

He says: “I really commend the podcast and talk about it. They are doing it because they want to help.”

When Steven Parkinson shared his problems with depression via the podcast, there was a heartfelt response. One listener said it encouraged them to recognise they had a problem and to seek help.

Will says: “It doesn’t get better than that.”

He launched the podcast in May 2017, having never interviewed anyone before, and aiming to appeal to farmers and non-farmers alike.

Will interviews somebody different every week, whether they farm big or small, conventional or organic, traditional or ground-breaking, or have diversified into something totally different.

He also speaks to others in the industry; those who work for representative bodies, scientists, salespeople, journalists, agronomists, people involved with agricultural shows and events.

“Pretty much anyone who has a stake in farming really,” he says.

“I hope to celebrate some of the great diversity in this industry. There are some incredible characters living this life. I want to introduce some of them, find out about how they got into farming and why they do it.

“I get frustrated sometimes with the way farmers are portrayed in certain sections of the media.

“There are lots of misconceptions and untruths out there and I am hoping this podcast can put our side of the story across, so people can make up their own minds.

“A lot of people speak for farmers and the agriculture industry, but we don’t often get the chance to be heard ourselves. I am hoping this can be a platform.”


The podcast is hosted by Libsyn and is available through iTunes, the Stitcher app and other digital outlets. It averages 2,000 weekly downloads, and has featured in the ‘new and noteworthy’ section on iTunes.

The show has been downloaded in 54 countries and Will has amassed 10,000 followers on Twitter.

When asked who has been his favourite interview so far, Will does not hesitate.

He says: “Colin Javens, ever onwards and ever upwards. He broke two vertebrae in his back in a diving accident and was virtually paralysed, but what he has achieved and the money he has raised is inspirational. It is one hell of a story. He is the most inspirational man I have ever met.”

No mean feat

Balancing the demands of his life online with his work as a farmer is no mean feat. Will farms at Lower Eyton, a 202-hectare (500-acre) mixed farm, near Wrexham.

The Evans family has been farming in the area for at least 10 generations and, today, calves are bought-in from a nearby dairy farm and finished, alongside 121ha (300 acres) of cereals and a free-range egg unit.

Will says: “I do the nearly all the interviews over the phone because I am so busy with the farm and I have four young children. I work during the day and do the podcast at night.”

With such dedication, it is no surprise he has come to love the project: “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. It is all about meeting interesting people you wouldn’t normally meet.

“I want to get on-farm and talk to people face-to-face a bit more. I want to keep it fresh, maybe bring in a co-host, or guest hosts, and interview more people who aren’t farmers, but who are involved in agriculture, for example agronomists.”

On winning the Digital Innovator of the Year award at last year’s British Farming Awards, Will confirms it has led to new opportunities he could not have imagined previously.

He says: “I know everyone says this, but I absolutely did not expect to win. I was blown away. I was not expecting red carpet photographers. It was just a brilliant night and one I’ll never forget.

“You don’t often get the chance to be recognised like that in your adult life. There were so many well-wishers.

“Straight away I got a lot more people contacting me. Shortly afterwards, NFU Cymru offered me sponsorship which covers my costs, and I have had other people ask me about sponsorship.

“Now I have a partnership with Farmers Guardian. This is just something I do in my spare bedroom.

“To be associated with NFU Cymru and FG gives it a legitimacy I never would have expected.

“I have loads of new experiences from it. I have been invited to the Oxford Farming Conference and I don’t know what is round the corner.”

He is always looking for new guests, through social media or via his growing contacts book.

He says: “I am looking for people with an interesting story or who are doing something innovative, but I also like to speak to ordinary farmers, as they can be equally interesting.

“I need to keep it fresh, as I don’t want it to be samey. One of the hardest things I have found is keeping it interesting for farmers and non-farmers. That will be a measure of success in the future.”