Levels of depression in the farming industry are thought to be increasing, with suicide rates among farmers among the highest in any occupational group. More than one farmer a week in the UK dies due to suicide. That’s an achingly sad statistic that doesn’t even begin to describe the pain that those broken families will deal with, every day of their lives.

Sadly, yet understandably, some farmers still perceive a stigma attached to mental health and this can hinder people’s willingness to speak about their issues and to seek help for themselves.

We were so pleased to see lots of Future Farmers at The Resilient Farmer – Shift Happens Tour at the Great Yorkshire Showground. We hugged, we sang, we laughed and we cried as Doug Avery shared his story of going from rock bottom to becoming one of the most successful farmers in New Zealand. We were inspired and we really couldn’t think of any better way to start our #Fit2Farm Campaign.

Over the course of the next month, Future Farmers of Yorkshire will be highlighting the importance of, and the links between, being physical fitness, mental fitness and farm safety. We will be hearing from famers sharing their real-life experiences and tips that are relatable to each of us and our businesses. They will remind us that if your mind and body are not as well-maintained as well your machinery, then it is very easy to become less conscious of the dangers around you.

The culmination of the Campaign will be our autumn meeting, on November 20th. Our meetings usually take the form of a debate, however this topic is most definitely not up for debate. We will hear from experts about what these topics mean to us and our businesses and how we can help Yorkshire take the lead in this crucial area, making us more Fit to Farm.

Whilst we make no apologies for the seriousness of the meeting, we can promise you the usual free supper and opportunity to catch up with friends, neighbours and colleagues over a drink. We want to help our members to look after themselves, mentally as well as physically, and to look after those around them, be that family, friends, employees and clients.

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Negotiating Skills Training Day at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society