If you’ve ever met a young farmer, you’ll know that they have way more fun than the rest of us.
Sure, they work incredibly hard but boy can those guys party.
And that kind of ‘f*ck it’ attitude extends to their philanthropy work.
Ben Brooksby is a 24-year-old farmer from Victoria, Australia who’s managed to cajole a load of pals into stripping off and having their photos taken.
The Naked Farmer started when his photographer mate Emma Cross dared him to get naked during the 2016 harvest season.
‘We were harvesting lentils at the time and the truck was near full as she got up on the truck to take a photo of the lentils in the truck she said “jump in and take ya kit off”,’ Ben tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I laughed and of course, I’m up for any challenge so I stripped off and jumped right in.
‘Then I popped that photo up on social media and managed to gather lots of laughs. The next year in May 2017 I was planting those lentils back into the ground and made me think of that photo and the laughs and enjoyment people got from it and I wondered if anyone had an Instagram page dedicated to that. After some research, I found there was nothing so I thought I’d start one, just for a giggle.’
As The Naked Farmer became ever more popular on Instagram, Ben, who also grows wheat, barley, canola, fava beans, and tends sheep on his family’s farm with dad, Al, and grandad, Barry, started to wonder whether he could use the platform to help the agricultural community.
Within the first week of the account going live, he got over 1,000 followers. The page now has almost 28,000 and Ben says farmers from around the world send photo submissions in every day in the hope of being featured.
In light of such popularity, he’s set about creating a 2018 calendar, raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor’s mental health service – a sen organisation which helps to prove people with emergency health care to anyone who lives, works or travels in rural and remote Australia.
‘That’s where the idea of raising money to help people with mental health in rural areas came to mind,’ says Ben.
‘It’s a huge issue that doesn’t get talked about enough. This year in June/July myself and Emma plan on travelling around Australia taking photos of farmers in all agriculture industries to go into the 2019 calendar.
‘I have a platform that I have at my fingertips and I plan on making a difference anyway I can.’
And he’s also planning to design underwear to go on sale later this year.
‘I think it’s great getting everyone involved sending photos in, and you’ll notice all the farmers will have a beaming smile. It’s such an incredible thing to see people getting involved and happy.
‘Mental illness in agriculture is a huge issue -the suicide rate in the agriculture industry is almost double any other industry! My message is to get people to talk about this issue, ensure that we talk to one another and there are other farmers in the same boat going through similar issues.
‘My family and friends have been in huge support for the project with only recently telling them over the past month and some still only finding out today.
‘I’m happy to say my grandma is my number one fan, she’s always liking the photos on the page.’
To see more Naked Farmers, check out Ben’s Instagram page here.
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