Clarkson’s Farm star Kaleb Cooper’s parents split up when he was a child, leaving him to throw himself into work on the farm. At just 15 years old, he regarded himself as “man of the house”, with his earnings from his tractor business contributing to his mum’s household bills – and he is adamant that his early introduction to farming “saved” him.
“Farming is all I’ve ever wanted to do… My mum and dad split up when I was a kid, and I threw myself into the work so I didn’t have to deal with that,” he explained in a new interview with the Sunday Times.
Kaleb, who is now the manager of Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm in Oxfordshire, admits he initially came from much more humble beginnings.
At 13, he invested in buying his own chickens and started selling their eggs, while two years later, he was able to purchase his own tractor.
By 17, he had his own contracting business and was financially supporting his mum, so he’s now totally nonplussed by heavy responsibilities, admitting he’s “used to” it.
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The Cotswolds-born farmer’s life is no less intense today, seeing him rise by 5:30am – a “luxury” for him, as it used to be 3:30am – and try to get his first cup of tea, while his toddler son Oscar runs animatedly around the kitchen.
Meanwhile, at work, he regards himself as Jeremy’s “babysitter”.
“If you think that teaching young kids is hard, you try teaching a 62-year-old who never listens,” he exclaimed.
He admits his first impression when he originally met Jeremy led him to question: “Who is this muppet?”
Kaleb says he was anxious when he realised the reality TV show star was “deadly serious” about farming – and he has seen some of Jeremy’s mishaps firsthand, even dragging a £40,000 tractor out of a ditch for him after a crash.
The former Top Gear star himself previously admitted to crashing multiple times on the grounds of his home, leading Kaleb to accuse that he can’t drive in a straight line.
Jeremy’s “young apprentice” insists that the pair do have an amicable relationship behind the scenes, and that he is able to go to him for “fatherly advice” about having a family.
However, when it comes to the ins and outs of a working farm, Kaleb is not keen to relinquish any part of his leadership role.
“I just wish he’d get it into his head that I’m the boss. If he doesn’t like that, he can b****r off back to the kitchen where he’s more useful!” jibed Kaleb.
Meanwhile, he has one serious ambition of his own that he’s yet to achieve – buying a farm.
In one podcast interview, he told Jeremy that he aspired to purchase his own farm while continuing to run his, leading the older businessman to warn that it might not be as simple as he thinks with two on the go at the same time.
Kaleb revealed that he will need to raise £4 million before he can take the plunge and that, despite a healthy wage from his TV show, it will “take a while” to grow sufficient funds.
Meanwhile, on the Performance People podcast, Jeremy and Kaleb clashed in person.
Jeremy fondly described his sidekick as a “young apprentice”, while Kaleb, who is 24, hit back defiantly, telling him: “I’m not… I should be paid to look after you!”
Kaleb also admitted he’d never read a book before, while the first one he picked up, Jeremy’s Diddly Squat: One Year On the Farm, featured colourful insults about him.
However, dismissing the claim that he is merely a “tractor driver”, Kaleb hit back light-heartedly in an interview with the Times: “That’s f***ing s***. I’m a farm manager. I’m the boss. It’s Kaleb’s Farm, secretly.”
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