As part of a series of articles shedding light on FCN volunteers, Somerset County Group Coordinator Suzie Wilkinson discusses how she was warmly welcomed into the farming community and how FCN is making a difference.
I don’t come from a farming family but I grew up in this beautiful rural county of Somerset with a teenage dream to become a farmer’s wife. 52 years ago I married my farmer, then a pig stockman, and was welcomed into the farming community by the best man in his wedding speech.
Farming is a way of life and a real roller coaster of ups and downs, with very little money or time to spare, but I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to be part of something really special.
We have reared calves for a Dutch company, reared pigs for a London firm and milked cows on a Somerset County Council holding. Now we are enjoying semi retirement running a small suckler herd on our own land.
As a member of the Womens Farming Union, I was invited to join FCN, Farm Crisis Network as it was previously called, in 1995 and I have been coordinator of the Somerset group every since. In the beginning there were only 2 of us in Somerset but now we have a strong team of 35 volunteers who are giving pastoral support and practical help to farmers. Like me they all have farming experience and understand really well how tough and isolating life can sometimes be.
Talking to farmers and their families is a special privilege for us all and I believe we really can make a difference.