The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Old Mac­Don­ald is thrown off his farm – by the PC bri­gade

- By Jonathan Pe­tre

WITH an oink oink here and a quack quack there, it in­tro­duced gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren to the sin­ga­long sounds of the farm­yard.

But a new ver­sion of nurs­ery rhyme Old Mac­Don­ald’s Farm puts the an­i­mals – and the old farmer him­self – out to grass, re­placed by the buzzes of mech­a­nised agri­cul­ture.

Even the fun re­frain of E-I-E-I-O is up­dated – with a new ‘ur­ban’ cho­rus of yo, yo, yo, yo, yo! The new rhyme has been writ­ten to re­flect the di­ver­sity of to­day’s agri­cul­ture. It fea­tures a fe­male farmer who uses drones to check her fields from the air.

The tone of the song is set in the first verse, which goes: Young Mac­Don­ald had a farm, Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo! And on that farm she had a drone, Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo! She flew it here, she flew it there, Checked the farm from in the air, Young Mac­Don­ald had a farm Whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr!

The song has been rewrit­ten by the cam­paign group Link­ing En­vi­ron­ment And Farm­ing (LEAF), which be­lieves the tra­di­tional ver­sion per­pet­u­ates an out­dated view of farm­ing. The project fol­lows re­search that found that more than three-quar­ters of farm­ers be­lieve peo­ple have an in­ac­cu­rate idea of the in­dus­try, with a third say­ing the cen­tury-old rhyme re­in­forces that per­cep­tion.

The re­search also found that only 13 per cent of peo­ple think there are fe­male farm­ers, when they make up 28 per cent of Bri­tain’s agri­cul­tural work­force. And only one in five think of farm­ers as tech-savvy, al­though most now use ro­botic milk­ing equip­ment, and GPS for plot­ting ac­tiv­i­ties such as spray­ing fer­tiliser.

LEAF chief ex­ec­u­tive Caro­line Drum­mond said: ‘Farm­ing has come a very long way in 100 years and we’re far re­moved from where we were when Old Mac­Don­ald was writ­ten. This is the per­fect time to get it up­dated.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK