These Farmers Are Stripping Off To Raise Money For Rural Mental Health


A gay couple from Nimbin are among a group of Australian farmers to take part in a nude charity calendar to raise money and awareness for rural mental health.

The Naked Farmer campaign was started in 2017 by Victorian grain and sheep producer Ben Brooksby (pictured above, left) to get people talking about farmers’ health.

Kerry and Paul Wilson are fifth-generation farmers who live near Nimbin in northern New South Wales, and this month they stripped down for the campaign’s 2019 calendar.

The couple said coming out as gay in the agriculture industry had been challenging for them.

“It’s been quite a journey, to the point where I left a wife and three sons to become openly gay in the dairy industry,” Kerry told ABC News.

“You carry a lot of guilt thereafter and even before, the 35 years before that when you know that something’s not quite right in your head, but you can’t quite work it out.

“Or you’re not quite game to go and work through it with anybody. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs and the agricultural industry is a tough gig.”

Paul said they both hope that they can be role models to “people out there that happen to be gay, [or] some kid in the bush who thinks, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me.'”

The Naked Farmer campaign was inspired by Brooksby’s personal struggles with chronic anxiety, and he wanted to raise awareness about Australian farmers’ mental health.

“I began to think, wondering ways I could make a difference in the agriculture community,” he said.

“That’s where the idea of raising money to help people with mental health issues in rural areas came to mind. It’s a huge issue that doesn’t get talked about enough.

“The suicide rate in the agriculture industry is almost double any other industry – that’s a scary figure.”

The Instagram page Brooksby started now has close to 72,000 followers on Instagram and has grown to include charity calendars, an underwear line and a range of hats.

He raised $5,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors Service selling 2018 calendars, featuring male and female farmers in the buff.

Late last month he set out with photographer friend Emma Cross on a nationwide tour to meet more farmers who want to get their gear off for a good cause.

“For the next calendar, I plan on making two – one of all males in agriculture and one of all females in agriculture,” he said.

“I want to use the platform that I have at my fingertips to make a difference any way I can.

“My message is to get people to talk about this issue, ensure that we talk to one another. There are other farmers in the same boat going through similar issues.”

See some of the Naked Farmer shots below, and find out more at the campaign’s website.

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