Comment: Pink switch in the fields for charity

Tom Woolhouse (left) and Michael Woolhouse (right).
Tom Woolhouse (left) and Michael Woolhouse (right).
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A PINK display of support for charity is spreading through the countryside, Michael Woolhouse explains.

Our haylage business was set up as a diversification venture after my brother Tom and I returned home from college. We had some grassland on the farm and thought this was the best way of utilising it as we have no livestock ourselves.

We supply livery yards and private horse keepers throughout Yorkshire all through the calendar year. The haylage we wrap is made from a range of grass including meadow, rye grass leys and rye grass with timothy leys.

We usually use a variety of bale wrap colours for our haylage and the grass is wrapped to ensure it ferments under anaerobic conditions with production taking place in the summer months.

This year we have decided to produce a number of pink wrapped bales to help raise awareness of breast cancer. It has created a real stir and will help us identify where each field’s bales are positioned in the stack as we now have pink bales in the sea of white and green. This fantastic idea began in New Zealand last year and progressed to the UK this year when the company Volac launched the special edition pink wrap.

For each roll of pink wrap purchased by farmers or contractors a donation is made to Breast Cancer Awareness. They’ve been likened to giant marshmallows ,as great lumps of pink have been springing up all over the countryside. It’s really caught the public’s imagination and has gained much support on social media and in the press.

When we first heard about it a few months ago, the whole family agreed we would love to get involved, so we contacted Volac to place an order.

Many farming families throughout the UK have been affected by cancer and the Breast Cancer Awareness provides terrific support for sufferers and their families.

We also plan to raise further funds ourselves for our local charity, Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, by donating a proportion of the sale of each pink bale to them. It’s a good chance to raise money for a great cause and show our support to the local community.

Farmers have traditionally not been too concerned about their own health and with the greater number of women working within the agriculture sector today, what better way to raise awareness of breast cancer in the countryside than to visualise it with pink bales in the fields? All money raised will go towards supporting over 75,000 cancer patients across the region and help to improve the vital cancer services provided by Weston Park Hospital which will help to ensure the crucial support of the hospital can continue.

This project has really made me aware of the power of social media. Last week we posted a picture of my brother and I with the bales on our Facebook page, MS & TJ Farming. This has now reached over 20,000 people and has received more than 450 likes.

I really believe the pink wrap campaign will help to raise the profile of breast cancer in the rural community and help improve the link between the general public and farmers which continues to strengthen year on year. As a family, we’re just happy to do our bit to support this worthy cause.

Michael Woolhouse and his family farm near Doncaster where they grow arable crops, sell bulk fertilisers and produce hay, haylage and straw for the equine market. They are members of the NFU.