Nick Bragg and the Farming Team at Frogmary Green Farm

Farming and Facing the Storm

IT'S the final countdown 

We have now entered the final month before Nick's Cycling Challenge and it won't be long before we wish him and Claire "bon voyage" in June. 

"Now we’re in the last month, I feel nervous but with some last minute bits and bobs still to arrange my mind is occupied with other thoughts, also my coach Rob Martin is increasing my training hours so only have a little time to think.

The challenge has had an amazing impact on my life. I’ve become fitter and more committed to fitness. I’ve been given a chance to have a different outlook on life by getting away from the farming business. I have been immensely grateful and lucky for the support from Claire my wife and to all our fantastic staff, thank you all so much."

Nick Bragg

We'd like to take the time to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported/ shared/ donated to #NicksCyclingChallenge. We wouldn't have gotten this far without any of you.

Firstly, thank you to DraperVENT,  Fendt UK & Ireland, and Compass Tractors as our main sponsors your support has been invaluable. Thank you also to  Biomass Boiler Services, Morspan Construction Ltd, Aviagenand Rock and Road Ltd.

Nick's Cycling Challenge Sponsors

Ginormous thanks to everyone at AM Personal Training for your exercise advice, nutritional plans and rigorous training support. If anyone is looking for motivation and positivity, AMPT is the best place to start. Stable Design Ltd: Your fundraising and promotional support has made this challenge bigger and brighter than we would have believed possible. Plus your puns always make us laugh!

Special thanks to Tessa Chapman Photography for your gorgeous photos and thank you to the whole team at Frogmary Green Farm - we do have #frogmaryfun!

We'd like to say thank you to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution for all your hard work changing lives in farming for the better. Learn more about all the great work that R.A.B.I do for farming individuals and families across the South West and beyond: www.rabi.org.uk

Events/ Cookery school team with Nick Bragg Events/ Cookery school team with Nick Bragg

Facing the storm:

Mental Health in Farming

As Nick has shown, we are never ones to sit still at Frogmary Green Farm and we are constantly growing and diversifying our business.  Alongside our arable and poultry farming, we host a variety of events throughout the year,  from our annual Easter Fayre to the upcoming LEAF's Open Farm Sunday

Lake at Frogmary Green Farm Lake at Frogmary Green Farm

Whether people are getting 'hands-on' at one of our cookery courses, enjoying a function, attending a conference, or preparing for their dream wedding, there is always something happening at our farm. 

It can get so busy, that we often need to remind ourselves to stop, breathe and enjoy the slice-of-heaven that we’ve built here. 

When times are hectic and your responsibilities build around you, life can become truly overwhelming: It can seem impossible for you to stop for a moment or, sometimes, to keep going at all.

This May is Mental Health Awareness Month and in the last two years, there have been some disturbing statistics regarding farming and Mental Health. Taking care of ourselves, and each other within the farming community, is more important than ever.

Stephanie Berkeley, of the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Farmer health and wellbeing can not, and should not, be ignored - by any of us. Simply pretending the issue does not exist or has no impact on the industry is not acceptable.” 

Mental health, much like your physical health, can differ from day to day and person to person. Issues can materialise as a combination of experiences from our personal or working lives – or they can just happen for no apparent reason. 

“Don’t know what I am talking 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 every time a car pulls into the yard. Going to bed to try to escape, just for a few hours.

Finding yourself 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. 

Nicky Harris
R.A.B.I: Real life stories

Recent mental health studies have revealed risk factors that lead to greater numbers of stress, anxiety and depression within the farming community. 

  • Farmers work extremely long hours with varying schedules, often in isolation and in all weathers, because if they don’t sow their seeds they can’t reap their harvest.

  • For many in the farming community, the farm is also their home or has belonged to their family for generations. This creates a tremendous pressure to succeed and leaves no space for an “escape” from their daily workload.
  •  Buying a Farm and agricultural equipment is not cheap; a farmer will often have to take on a significant financial debt and the pressures that come with it. If the farm is unprofitable for even a short space of time, this could have disastrous consequences for the entire farm and all its employees.

  • Farmers are also constantly submitting to circumstances outside of their control, from poor weather and natural disasters, to disease and international trade disputes.

Although times can seem dark, the current landscape of farming and mental health is shifting towards a brighter future. In Cornwall, the first ever Farming Health Hub has opened its doors to provide physical and mental health support to the farming communities in local, informal settings. The BBC has recently released a video on mental health as one of the biggest, unspoken challenges facing the farming community in recent times. 

Farmer’s Weekly is running a Fit2Farm Campaign, encouraging farmers to seek activities off of the farm to improve their own physical and mental wellbeing. Yellow Wellies and the Farm Safety Network has started their Mind Your Head Campaign 2019, and are continuing to campaign against mental health stigma and discrimination in farming. 

“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.”

Nicky Harris
R.A.B.I: Real life stories

There are now many organisations set up directly to provide support and advice to people of all ages in the farming community. Whether you are struggling financially and the pressure is building, or you are worried about your health and you're feeling overwhelmed, there is always someone you can talk too.

Mental health organisations Mental health organisations

We all have a role to play in building resilience and awareness of mental wellbeing within our farming community and ourselves, including us at Frogmary Green Farm. We'd like to share a few simple things that have shaped us and helped us, including how you can identify building stresses and pressures in your life, plus five simple ways you can re-direct the negative energy into something positive.

At Frogmary, we've thought about the impact the five actions have had on our overall wellbeing and our ethos towards life. As a company, we are all about continuous learning and we promote a 'hands-on' approach to all our education and cookery courses. Nick, and his mission across Canada, has reminded us to continually challenge ourselves to be active and that some things are worth pushing yourself for.

We will continue to give generously and connect openly to those around us, we've already met some amazing people in our local communities. We also recognise how lucky we are with our employees and their dedication to our Farm. In return, we will notice if they are struggling and take the time to listen and support them. When times get hectic and stressful we will always tell ourselves, and each other, to stop, take a break and take a deep breath. Stop for a moment and take notice of our beautiful surroundings at Frogmary Green Farm.