This year marks a dubious anniversary – it’s the 20-year mark since The Real World aired and changed the landscape of television as we know it. Today’s landscape is littered with all kinds of reality TV programming. Audiences can track the strange exotic lives of everyone from gold diggers to duck hunters to New Jerseyans.
With the advent of YouTube, more and more have been joining the fun. Such is the case with the kickoff of a web TV series from the United Kingdom called The Farmers Apprentice. It is the brainchild of a British ag website, Farmers Weekly Interactive.
"We sent 10 young aspiring farmers to boot camp, where they competed in a range of farm tasks, from operating the country’s most high-tech tractor, to pitching a business idea to a panel of formidable judges," says community and rural living editor Rachel Jones.
Jones says the series was created to help push awareness and interest in agriculture jobs. About 60,000 new jobs will need to be filled in the UK over the next 10 years, but Jones says most Brits don’t consider agriculture a viable career path.
"In the UK, there’s a strong sense that you’re born into farming – you only become a farmer if your parents are farmers," she says. "We realized that the net would have to be cast a lot wider if we were ever to find that number of new entrants. Plus, in 2012, UK farmers need a whole new skill set. They need to be entrepreneurial, innovative, energetic, tech-savvy, marketing-savvy and consumer-facing."
The first 20-minute episode of Farmers Apprentice launched in late November, with four more to come. The best of the contestants will win £10,000 (about $16,000 U.S. dollars).
"We hope this project will show a wider audience the amazing opportunities there are in this industry," Jones says.