Tractor Ted Links Food Farming & Nature For Children. From the seed of an idea five years ago, Somerset farmer, David Horler and his fellow rural entrepreneurs embarked on an unusual diversification scheme which has since involved flagship farming practices across the country and illustrated the best of British farming to a burgeoning audience of passionate youngsters, their parents and educators with their “Tractor Ted’ farming films and books made using real life “fly on the wall’ content.
Docu-stories which cover “Grow your Own” “The Four Seasons” and “Outdoor Activities”have been instrumental in showing youngsters how the cycles of farming bring the bread to their plate; encourage them to grow their own and relish the outdoors. With a combination of exciting content, catchy songs and comedy, Tractor Ted has become a children’s icon and won the approval of parents having sold over 300,000 DVDs, books and toys.
The catalyst for the success of this alternative enterprise came from the passion which so many children have at an early age for real tractors, farm machines and animals and so it was for David Horler’s youngsters. In seeing a gap in the market for films about farming, made using real life action for young children, combined with the perennial search for alternative farm enterprises, Horler joined forces with friend and now business partner, Alexandra Heard in creating a pilot video entitled “Tractorland”. An advert for the pilot was placed with Farmer’s Weekly. The response was so positive, with over 500 orders in one week, that work began in earnest to build a character based brand, now known to thousands of youngsters as “Tractor Ted in Tractorland”.
Over the intervening five years there have been a number of milestones for this unique diversification scheme including award recognition, expanding into books, toys and clothing, establishing listings with over 700 farm shops and retailers and licencing the brand with a large toy distributor in Ireland. Last year’s Farmers Weekly Award ceremony heard Clare Balding claim that her farming knowledge came largely thanks to watching Tractor Ted DVDs with her young nephew. Ms Balding has since become a standard bearer for the Tractor Ted enterprise quoting,
“My nephew is obsessed with Tractor Ted and having watched it myself, I am hugely impressed with the technical detail of the films. It proves that children can take in complicated facts if they are presented well and if their interest is sparked and then held. It’s a really important move forward for farming and a very good example of how to engage the next generation in a way of life and an industry.â€™
This summer saw the first “Tractor Ted Farm Show”, a festival of farming demonstrations and grassroots rural enterprise supported by and held on the meadows of the Longleat Estate. The latest move has been to develop larger premises at the Horler farmstead within a beautiful stone barn with views across the stunning Somerset countryside. A new website has just been launched to streamline internet orders and to channel the loyal Tractor Ted community of child fans, parents, teachers and grandparents into a synergy of ideas for Ted events and product ideas. Future plans include the expansion of the European market and the establishment of regional Tractor Ted visitor attractions for hands on farming experiences.
Tractor Ted is stocked nationwide at good farm shops, country stores and garden centres or online at www.tractorland.co.uk and has won endorsements from Clare Balding, William Fox-Pitt and Tim Stockdale.
DVDs £9.99, ten titles, Books Â£4.99, five titles. Visit http://www.tractorland.co.uk for the full product listings.
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