Zoe Marshall, a 28-year-old farmer from Jersey, has bravely opened up about the pressures she faces in her profession and the impact they can have on her mental health. Two years ago, Marshall took over her family farm in St Saviour after her grandmother passed away, and since then, she has been juggling the responsibilities of farming with a full-time day job. Marshall describes the pressure as “enormous,” but despite the challenges, she remains committed to her family’s legacy.
The transition into the farming industry has not been easy for Marshall, and it has left her with a limited social life. While her friends are out enjoying parties and vacations, Marshall often finds herself alone in the milking parlour. This isolation can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and alone. However, Marshall is determined to keep the farm running and has no intention of giving up.
The constant demands of farming take a toll on Marshall’s mental health. She admits that it can be tough and does not believe it will ever become easier. The pressure is unrelenting, but Marshall remains steadfast in her work. She acknowledges that bad days are inevitable, but she has no desire to change her chosen path.
A recent study by the Farm Safety Foundation revealed that 95% of young farmers in the UK see poor mental health as the biggest hidden danger in the industry. Marshall believes that there is a stigma surrounding the perception of farmers as tough individuals. While she agrees that farmers are indeed tough, she emphasizes that there are moments when they aren’t. Regardless, they must still get up and carry on. Marshall relies heavily on her mother for support and shares that they have had moments of vulnerability together, finding solace in each other’s company.
Marshall’s story sheds light on the challenges faced by young farmers and the toll it can take on their mental well-being. It serves as a reminder that behind the tough exterior, farmers are human beings who also experience vulnerability and the need for emotional support. Despite the pressures she faces, Marshall remains dedicated to her family farm and is determined to keep the legacy alive. Her story is a powerful testament to the resilience and strength of farmers in the face of adversity.