Mates make difference

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman
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Dudinin farmer Luke Ledwith didn't hesitate when it came to putting his hand up to model for the _Countryman _ 2013 Season Outlook charity calendar.

It wasn't entirely because he was looking forward to getting in front of the camera, shirtless and baby oiled up, but because he wanted to support men's health.

Luke said there was a lot of pressure on young farmers just starting out in an industry which has grappled with drought, disappointing seasons and declining terms of trade.

"The last 10 years there hasn't been a lot of money in farming compared to previous decades," he said.

"For young farmers trying to buy or lease their own farm, starting off either just themselves or with a family, there hasn't been a lot of money there to pay for that.

"It can get pretty stressful and pretty tough -it's probably the biggest thing that everyone talks about."

The young farmer said things were beginning to change when it came to talking about your problems, and he said his generation was more likely to talk to their mates about problems and seek help if they needed it.

He said staying involved with community had helped when seasons were tough and said a men-only evening of social tennis at the Dudinin club became an unofficial way to talk about problems and work through worries.

"Just looking at your local area, maybe young guys can organise something where you can go and talk to other farmers," Luke said.

"That's already started to happen because things have been tough and a fair few things have really started to happen around men's health in the last couple of years.

"Men's health is probably one of the most important things in regional WA and agriculture, which is why it's a really good thing that the Regional Men's Health Initiative is around."

The 2013 Season Outlook calendar aims to raise $100,000 for the Regional Men's Health Initiative.

It is being launched at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days and can be purchased online at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.countryman.com.au">www.countryman.com.au </a> from August 29. All proceeds will go to the Regional Men's Health Initiative.

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