Opinion: Have courage to call out unsafe farming practices


Watching the surprising day by day information from Ukraine, there might be few amongst us who aren’t awed and humbled on the uncooked courage of the Ukrainians resisting the Russian army.

As a society we venerate the courageous, and with good purpose.

My personal great-grandfather’s DSO hangs proudly right here within the farmhouse, with its quotation stating that he acted with “total disregard for his own safety” as he rescued his males trapped below a burning ammunition cart throughout the First World War.

Despite it changing into standard in sure sections of society to be crucial of the trendy era, I’ve recognized extraordinarily courageous individuals working in farming within the UK.

The hassle is, their courage has been virtually fully misplaced and even abused.

See additionally: Opinion: No scarcity of younger individuals eager to get into farming

About the writer

Sam Walker

Farmers Weekly opinion author

Sam is a first-generation tenant farmer working a 120ha (300-acre) natural arable and beef farm on the Jurassic Coast of East Devon. He has a BSc from Harper Adams and former jobs have included farm administration in Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire and abroad improvement work in Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. He is a trustee of FWAG South West and his landlords, Clinton Devon Estate, ran an ELM trial during which he was carefully concerned, together with fellow tenants.

Chancing your life to save your comrades or your nation from an existential risk shouldn’t be confused with senseless risk-taking.

Courting hazard as a result of your boss is simply too tight or disorganised to repair the trailer brakes or the pto guard, to work out a protected manner of dealing with livestock, or to make use of a specialist to change the rotten asbestos roof, is just not noble or heroic, it’s merely misguided.

I’m certain none of this is applicable to the august and educated readers of Farmers Weekly, however in sure farming companies you possibly can nonetheless typically discover a tradition of “manning up” and peer strain to reduce corners and take dangers.

Its proponents boast of fields they’ve pushed tractors throughout when others thought them ridiculously rash.

Clipboard-wielding Health and Safety officers fill such individuals with an equal combination of trepidation and scorn.

I do know, too, that only a few of us working in farming are fully harmless, and I’m certain we’ve got all taken pointless dangers at sure instances and had moments we glance again on with horror, however with out appearing to tackle these points we’re uncovered to an accusation of ethical cowardice.

In failing to call out unsafe practices, for worry of what others may assume, we’re not being courageous, merely silly.

If your life is price much less to your employer than a plastic guard or a brand new cattle race, then stroll away. 

There are loads of different jobs out there the place your contribution shall be handled with slightly extra respect.

In the previous, I’ve been requested, “where’s your sense of adventure?” when taking a look at a steep moist hillside a buyer has wished spherical baled, and been supplied uninviting alternatives to function a chainsaw from a loader bucket pushed by the work expertise child, and I do know it could possibly typically really feel feeble to refuse.

We are all working with tight margins and sometimes battling the climate, however that doesn’t make farming in some way exempt from the principles.

I’m certain that, like me, many readers can have misplaced good buddies in farming accidents, and the unhappiness is tinged with remorse on the manner such accidents might so simply have been averted.

For though (as I consider it says within the Bible) “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” laying down your life (and presumably that of your pals as properly) since you had been afraid to converse up is just not laudable and deserves no admiration, it’s simply plain improper.


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