The blogging world has become a bit seasonal in the last couple of years. I suppose it always was in terms of written content but recently, with the growth of Instagram, we are all about the seasonal photo.
Our children in cute reindeer and penguin outfits at Christmas-carefully posed in front of alpine fir trees and snowy back drops.
Likewise the cliche pumpkin patch at Halloween which even I have jumped on the bandwagon with.
Last week I saw a couple of bluebell wood photos popping up here and there but it was as I drove down a country lane near the farm this week that I actually rolled my eyes.
Acres upon acres of beautiful oil seed rape stretching canary yellow as far as the eye could see. No doubt it is beautiful but I knew that there would be #yellowfields #rapeseed and #fieldsofgold hashtags appearing on my Instagram feed.
As a farmer’s wife and a blogger though, I feel like I am torn. On the one hand, I too want that perfect insta-ready photo.
On the other, I know how outraged I would be, let alone my husband if we caught a fashion blogger flitting around our fields or a parenting blogger allowing their children to free range on our land.
So. I asked on a farming group how they would feel if they experienced the above.
Surprisingly, to me, they didn’t get all ‘get off my land’ on me and were keen that not only did people learn where their food comes from-ie that the yellow fields will eventually become rapeseed oil but that farmers were seen as approachable folk who would like to educate the general public on their crops and animals.
They did however say that people must ensure they stick to the edges of fields (whatever the crop), if they have to venture in, to use the tram lines and, if there is a public footpath through a field, that they stick to the footpath at all times.
I then asked a similar question in a parenting bloggers group and the answers were very different.
Some were genuinely unsure about protocol. One asking if you had to ask permission. Another not realising that if there is a public footpath through a field, she thought you could walk over the whole field and not just the footpath.
Then there was the one who laughed saying she just climbed the gate and took the shot because she had no idea whose the field was to ask.
It seems many people, not just bloggers, see fields as public propjty-especially if there is no farmhouse in sight. This is wrong.
All farm land is owned by someone whether you can see them or not.
Crops aside-which to me should automatically prove that a field is tended to and owned, grass fields are no less owned by someone.
We have meadow fields and grass which we turn into hay and silage to feed livestock over winter.
We have had situations where people have allowed their dogs to run around these fields and defecate. If you think-that dog muck could then be baled into silage, fed to cows. No one wants that in the food chain and don’t even get me started on dogs worrying sheep and killing lambs.
The instances where we have had trespassers on our land (usually dog walkers who we have asked to leave because of the sheep), we have had back chat from the perpetrators. Swearing, aggressive behaviour. It isn’t nice at all. Especially when my children are around.
I think the right thing to do in these situations is find out who owns the field and ask permission.
If you cannot find the owner and you can literally not live without a photo of yourself amongst the oilseed rape or other crop, then stay on the outskirts and do not trample any plants.
Keep dogs on a lead and ensure children know what the can and cannot do in the field.
Personally, if I couldn’t gain permission, I would not enter the field at all.
You have to remember, crops can be sprayed with fertiliser. Would you want yourself or your children to get that on you skin?
There is also the possibility of livestock being in a farmer’s field-whether you can see them or not.
I saw this sign on social media and it applies to most farm animals-especially cows, bulls and rams but any animal has the potential of hurting you if they feel threatened or are protecting their young.
Ask yourself this-how would you feel if you looked out of your kitchen window and saw a group of people being photographed on your lawn or in your flower beds? I imagine you would run out there and demand to know why they were trespassing on your property.
Why should it be any different for farmers?