Ben and photographer, Emma Cross are currently on the 2018 Aussie Farm Tour capturing Australian stories and photos of farmers for their 2019 Calendar and book. The tour began in Victoria on June 23 and arrived in Dumbleyung last week. Local Josh Ball hosted Ben and Emma during their stay which included a visit to Lake Dumbleyung and a modelling opportunity for Josh in the 2019 calendar/book.
Josh’s involvement began in late 2017 when a handful of B Grade Grand final winners stripped down to take a photo amongst a canola crop (this photo was shared on The Naked Farmer Instagram and has since received over 1250 likes). Loving the idea of getting naked for a good cause Josh shared this image and other images with The Naked Farmer and the conversation with Ben continued, landing the Naked Farmer on Josh’s doorstep. Snapping a few photos on one of Josh’s favourite paddocks which holds a good memory (rock picking with his brothers and Pop and continued laughter as they tried to push one another off the ute tray). Following the photoshoot they thought to get a few sheep involved and brought the sheep feeder out! The sheep were made to model and behaved perfectly, capturing some good photos!
A 5th generation farmer, Ben was photographed in late 2016 in the back of a grain trailer almost naked and wearing only his boots, socks and hat on, with cleverly positioned lentils for ‘cover up’. It wasn’t until May 2017 when Ben was sowing those lentils he thought to share his image and create an Instagram page called ‘The Naked Farmer’. The page went viral, and within a week had 1000 followers. The strong following had Ben thinking, and soon after came the idea of a social media based business to highlight and promote agriculture (where food and fibre comes from) through photos of ‘naked farmers’ and strategically placed props.
Having experienced anxiety as a teenager and overcoming other life hurdles Ben’s concept of not only sharing and promoting agriculture evolved to helping people in the agriculture industry, who suffer from mental health issues. As statistics show that the suicide rate amongst farmers is almost double than any other industry!
To highlight and also raise funds for this important issue Ben/The Naked Farmer has since created and sold out of 2018 calendars and most recently created (and are still available) an underwear range with part proceeds donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Mental Health Unit.
To follow 2018 Aussie Farm Tour or keep up to date with ‘The Naked Farmer’ make sure you check out and follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts. To donate or buy The Naked Farmer merchandise visit www.thenakedfarmerco.com.au. Or most importantly, if you need someone to talk to you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.