Fancy A Farmer?

Lonely Welsh dairy farmers are wearing their hearts on their milk bottles in an attempt to meet country-minded women. In recognition of St Dwynwen’s Day, Wales’s version of St Valentine’s Day, bottles of Calon Wen organic milk are brandishing ‘Fancy a Farmer?’ stickers, featuring Welsh farmers looking for a date. ‘People tend to stay in the same circle and don’t meet many new people,’ said Iwan Jones, 30, who is participating in the initiative along with two young farmers and two farmers’ daughters.

Calon Wen is a co-operative of 20 Welsh organic dairy farmers, designed to support farming families. ‘But we found that a quarter of our members were single,’ said Mr Jones who is a director. ‘Unless we can find wives our children will not be able to carry on our businesses.’

The stickers display a picture of the farmer along with the web link, where milk drinkers can find out more about meeting their dream partner. ‘The Welsh countryside is a great place to live, with stunning scenery, but it can be hard place to find a date, as I’m finding out,’ Mr Jones explained. ‘We want to encourage farmers to consider online dating as a fun way of meeting people, and thought by getting involved ourselves we could make it less intimidating.’

As increasing numbers of young country dwellers go to university and get jobs in cities, living in the countryside is becoming more and more isolated. ‘It is a genuine problem in the more remote rural areas,’ said Anthony Gibson, director of communications for the National Farmer’s Union. ‘Most farms are a one man band and young farmers often don’t see anybody apart from their mother and father from one day to the next. Girls are more likely to move away as there are fewer suitable jobs for them in the country, leaving boys in splendid isolation.’

Retired people moving to the countryside, buying houses which previously belonged to young families, are pushing up the average age. ‘Joining Young Farmers is a good way of meeting people until you’re 18 or 20,’ said Mr Jones, whose parents met at a country dance, ‘but after that it gets more difficult.’

So far the ‘Fancy a Farmer?’ initiative has prompted a huge response; last night the website crashed due to the amount of viewers. ‘We have also received a few letters through the post. Hopefully there’ll be a few leads,’ said Mr Jones.

Calon Wen’s farmers are manually putting the stickers on the milk bottles but Mr Jones believes a bigger milk company could run the scheme on a larger basis. ‘Given the attention we’ve received, I think it could be a real goer,’ he said.