A year ago, Shropshire dairy farmer Nicky Harris launched the Mammoth Effort campaign – to support dairy farmers and help fight for fairer milk prices.
Now, she wants struggling farmers to realise that they need not fight their battles alone because ‘help is out there’.
Nicky farms around 140 acres on the Welsh / Shropshire border and has 55 milking cows and 10 sucklers. She has faced her own troubles these past four years and understands how easily problems can escalate, until they spiral out of control. Through Mammoth Effort, she wants the general public to understand the plight that many in the farming industry – not just dairy farmers – currently face. She says three farmers in her surrounding area committed suicide in the summer and many others are involved in ‘a silent battle’.
She said: “Don’t know what I am taking about? Restless nights, waking up only to find yourself thinking of the bills to pay and the lack of funds. The piles of unopened letters knowing all they contain is final demands. The sinking stomach everytime a car pulls into the yard. Going to bed to try to escape, just for a few hours. Finding yourslef snapping and snarling at your family and friends when deep down all you need is a hug and a kind word to tell you it’s going to be OK. The feeling that you failed yourself, your loved ones and you can’t see any light at the end of tunnel, just a big black deep hole.
“I do know what you’re going through and I’m here to say you are not alone.”
Nicky wants farmers who are struggling to cope to contact R.A.B.I’s helpline 0808 2819490 or Rural Support on 0300 1232825. She says they can also get involved with her campaign at facebook.com.mammotheffort or twitter.com/mammotheffort
She added: “I’m here to say you are not alone. There are some fantastic people out there who want to help and trust me when I say they are brilliant. One phone call and I slept that night. Farmers are not machines, you don’t have to be alone. Just be brave – brave enough to pick up the phone and make that first step for help. You will be amazed what these people can do.”