A young Cornish ‘Fixer’ is campaigning to make people realise that farming is not all straw hats and hay bales, but actually a very unforgiving industry.
Lorna Keight, 22, lives with her partner on his farm near Liskeard, and says long hours, unpredictable weather and the poor economic climate all add to the pressure on British farmers, who are subject to a disproportionately high suicide rate, according to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
She believes that if people had a greater understanding of the industry, it would encourage people to support their local farmers by buying local produce.
Now working with Fixers, a charity which supports young people to ‘fix’ the future, Keight is launching a poster campaign across the West Country to encourage the British public to help to keep their regional farms in business.
“Before I met Tom I thought farming was just an easy job,” she said. “I thought they all had days off in the summer in the sun. It seemed like a really nice lifestyle, and it is, but I had no idea just how much hard work does go into it. It has really shocked me and I want to open the eyes of the British public as well.”
Her partner Tom Maddever, 30, is the third generation to work the land at his family farm at Doddycross on the outskirts of Menheniot.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is the weather,” he said. “You are also very much tied to the farm. Having livestock means you have to work 365 days a year to make sure they are all fed and watered.
“In terms of the financial side of things, you are never going to become extremely wealthy from farming but I don’t worry about that because it’s a good way of life that I enjoy.”
Lorna Keight’s Fixers campaign will be the subject of a broadcast on ITV News West Country on Thursday, August 8 from 6pm.