Agri-turf podcaster publishes 80th podcast on his 80th birthday

Salisbury freelance journalist and podcast producer, Chris Biddle, published the 80th episode of his popular Inside Agri-Turf podcast on October 27 – which also happened to be his 80th birthday.
The podcast, which features interviews and conversations with leading figures involved in the farm and turfcare machinery industry, was launched by Chris during lockdown in 2020.

“I had recently retired from 30 years of editing and publishing business magazines,” he said, “and was bored during lockdown so decided to explore the rapidly growing podcast market. I taught myself recording techniques and more importantly audio editing, and after a few tentative trial episodes, published my first podcast interview in July 2020.”
Subsequently, the podcast, which Chris describes as a niche production for a specialist audience, has gained a rapidly growing listenership in the UK and in more than 30 countries.
“I try to find stories that have the machines and people involved in food production or in the upkeep of sports and recreational facilities at its heart, but that will also appeal to a wider audience.”
His podcasts have featured topics such as the environment, mental health issues, recruitment, management of sports stadiums,succession in family businesses, diversity and much more, and has featured guest contributors for the UK, mainland Europe, the US and New Zealand.

One of the most widely downloaded episodes featured celebrated US commentator, Corey Doctorow reflecting on the theft from a Ukraine farm machinery dealer by Russian troops of a large quantity of John Deere tractors.
After being transported over 900 miles to Chechnya, it was discovered that not only had the Ukraine dealer tracked their progress via GPS – but on arrival all the tractors had been remotely disabled.
For the 80th episode on his 80th birthday, Chris returned to the early 1990s shortly after he had launched a business magazine, Service Dealer, from his offices in New Street, Salisbury.

One of the most inspiring stories at that time featured an entrepreneurial engineer who had a contract to supply accessories to a major garden tractor manufacturer which was cancelled overnight.
Undeterred, he decided to take them on and build his own garden tractor which he designed and put into production within three months. The newly launched brand, Countax, was the brainchild of Harry Handkammer, who went on to be awarded BBC Business Survivor of the Year Award in 1990. Chris chats with Harry about how Countax went from concept to market leader in a couple of years and subsequently was acquired by Ariens, a major US lawn and garden manufacturer.

Chris has a long association with Salisbury. He attended Salisbury Cathedral School and is the son of the late Steve Biddle, former Mayor of Salisbury and Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire. He spent his early career with Ford Motor Company and in the family tractor and turf machinery dealership of A Brewer and Co Wilton (now C&O Tractors), before going into publishing.
He lives in Salisbury with his wife Trish and is a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) and a member of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists.
The couple celebrated Chris’s 80th birthday with a family lunch at the Fox and Goose at Coombe Bissett.

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