Farming tales raise more than a smile

Local author, Andrew Arbukle, was born and brought up on his family’s farm on the banks of the Tay. Farming is in his blood – and he has just published his latest book, Farming is Still a Funny Business, full of tales that will bring a smile to your face. We caught up with Andrew to dig a little more …

Andrew no longer farms on his own account. Living just half a mile from his birthplace, he tells us of his earliest years: “I went to the local primary school and then to the ‘big school’ of Bell Baxter in Cupar. I then went to night classes at Elmwood, again in Cupar, to study agriculture.

His love of writing began when farming. Andrew explains: “I started writing for various magazines. This was a strange development as I used to persuade my mother to write my homework essays where I (she!) received astonishingly good marks.

He adds: “I found it was easier to write about farming than actually doing it.” In 1989, he gave up the tenancy of the farm and took on the role of farming editor at The Courier. Another chapter of his life was about to unfold. In 2005, he stood and was elected as an MSP. “That was a short diversion as I was not re-elected in 2007. It gave me the opportunity to write a book. I wrote about farming in the past century and Footsteps in the Furrow was published in 2008.” Now out of print, it sold over 6,000 copies.

The newspaper world beckoned again and Andrew combined becoming Farming Editor of The Scotsman with penning new works. He wrote a book on David Wilson, the world champion blacksmith based in Balmullo, and one on Dave Rollo, the local farmer who played rugby for Scotland – a then record of forty times.

Andrew’s latest and eighth book – Farming is Still a Funny Business – has just been published.

Farming Festive Favourite

The book is full of light-hearted anecdotes and stories from many in the Scottish agricultural industry – farmers, auctioneers, journalists, vets and many others involved in the farming community who contacted Andrew to offer their tales. ‘I am extremely grateful to those who took the time to contact me with their story suggestions‘ he says.

Andrew adds: ‘The content I received was very wide-ranging and, while it was not possible to include every quirky tale sent in, I very much hope the selection which has made it into the book might prove to be a useful record of farming experiences, as well as providing an entertaining read.

The book includes colourful cartoons from former Cartoonist of the Year, Brian Petrie, as well as sketches by Graham Lang.

All the profits from the new book will go to RSABI, Scotland’s Rural Charity – supporting people in Scottish agriculture. Andrew and the charity hope the publication will prove a huge hit as the perfect gift this Christmas.

Nina Clancy, Chief Executive of RSABI, extends sincere thanks to Andrew for all the time and effort which has gone into collating the new book, saying: ‘Recent months have been incredibly tough times for everyone and we are also extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to contact Andrew to share their memories of fun and light-hearted experiences which I am sure will raise the spirits of those who read the book.

The charity recently delivered a major #KeepTalking campaign to encourage those working in Scottish agriculture to keep in touch and support each other during a time when many of the usual social events like agricultural shows are not going ahead.

The latest initiative follows two previous books compiled by Andrew and his brother John – ‘Farming is a Funny Business’ and ‘Farming Facts and Fake News’. Collectively, they raised over 72,000 for RSABI. Andrew says: “It would be wonderful if the proceeds of the latest book can help to take that total to over 100,000.


Buy the Book in Cupar

Andrew’s new book is available from Courtyard Books in Cupar on Ladywynd. Call to reserve your copy now on 01334 657890.

Need more on the charity?

RSABI has a team of dedicated staff who provide vital financial, practical and emotional support to individuals and families with links to Scottish agriculture.

The charity offers support through its helpline, 0300 1114166, which is open from 7am to 11pm, 365 days a year.

RSABI | Rural Centre, West Mains, Ingliston, Newbridge, EH28 8NZ

Tel: 0300 111 4166 | Web:


Thanks for reading!