24 hours in farming, the agricultural industry’s biggest online event, returns today for its fifth year. The campaign is organised by Farmers Guardian and Morrisons to highlight the effort and care farmers put into producing the food we eat.
Starting at 5am on August 8 and running until 5am, on August 9, anyone involved in the UK farming industry is urged to get involved by sharing posts, photos and videos of the work they are doing throughout the day on social media using hashtag #Farm24.
As part of the campaign, R.A.B.I spoke to members of its staff to find out how they combine their background in farming with their work for the charity and what they find inspiring about the community.
Laura Ractliffe, regional manager for South Central, grew up on a dairy and beef farm near Stroud in Gloucestershire. She’s an active member of Painswick YFC and served as the club’s secretary.
Laura said: “Being from a farming family and still being involved on our farm in my time off, I see the trials and tribulations of farming life, which I can relate to when working for R.A.B.I.
“This is what encourages me to help raise the money and awareness – knowing first-hand the current issues and worries in the farming community.”
While Caroline Harrison, welfare officer for the Heart of England, does not have a background in farming, she has learned a lot about the industry since starting with the charity in early 2018.
“I have a lot of respect for the industry,” Caroline said. “People within the farming community work long and dedicated hours whilst facing problems outside of their control, such as extreme weather and animal disease.
“I find this work ethic and commitment inspirational and I am proud to work for an organisation who can help.”
Before coming to R.A.B.I, Caroline worked with local authorities and charities to ensure people got the benefits they were entitled to. This experience has been vital in her current work with farming people, helping them navigate the complex benefits system.
North East regional manager Sally Conner farms in East Yorkshire with her husband, Mark.
The farm is at the heart of the Conner family. While Mark works on the land full-time and Sally works part-time, their son often returns to help during busy seasons.
Sally said: “Farming is all encompassing, it surrounds you. It creates joy, sadness, hardship, peace, stress, humour, love, anger, compassion. It can underpin family life and gives you the best of friends.
“It gives you a huge understanding of the countryside and the people who live and work there. It teaches you never to judge.
“Those are just a few examples of how my life in farming is so intertwined with working for R.A.B.I!”
Sally Field, regional manager for the South East, comes from a family of farmers. Her brother has a dairy herd and her husband is a shepherd. Sally was a shepherd herself for a number of years and still helps out during lambing season.
“Farming is a way of life, not a 9am – 5pm job with weekends off,” Sally said. “It’s very different to any other industry. Farmers are custodians of the countryside and our current beautiful landscape has been created by generations of farming families.
“We need to support the British farming industry in order to maintain the scenery and quality food everyone enjoys.”