After a Plough Farmers Go Speed-Dating

French farmers literally played the field at the country’s first agricultural speed-dating event in the cattle town of Laissac, in the Aveyron recently.

Bruno Montourcy organiser of the farmer’s speed dating event

(Read more online French News here)
Laissac, which boasts it has the second best cattle market in France, was the setting for the country’s very first “agri-dating” event described by its originator — Bruno Montourcy local president of the Union of Young Farmers of Aveyron — as speed dating for the rural dweller …. or not in fact. He prefers the term agri-dating because he says, speed dating is an urban phenomenon and implies no long-term commitment.

Farmers young and old, but predominantly in the 20-40 age group flocked to the event searching for a soul mate.

According to a report in La Libre 110 people –- disappointingly just a quarter of them female would-be partners — rolled up for the first agri-speed-dating event ever held in France.

Bruno Montourcy who himself farms in the Aveyron -– not far from the world famous Roquefort cheese caves — set-up Agri-dating.frto promote rural life and draw attention to the isolation many young farmers face in pursuing a vital metier in which wives and families are less willing participants.

Bruno Montourcy noted: “People without partners is now a growing phenomenon among all classes and social groups and the market for ways to meet a partner is flourishing: online dating, speed dating, TV reality shows … now we, France’s Young Farmers Association have devised a new concept. Unlike speed-dating, (better adopted to an urban milieu) where a fast game hinders our aim, to encourage long-term relationships, agri-dating offers: a day of meetings focused on simplicity and ease of participation; a day open to singles aged 18 to 45 years from across France and for everyone, farmer or not, urbanite or rural dweller.

A day of relaxation and good fun involving sports and other activities to help you find happiness and hopefully more …. “

He said the Union of Young Farmers of Aveyron, concerned about the problems farmers of both sexes had in finding partners to share their lives and raise families, aimed to demonstrate that tales of misery boredom and suicide among isolated rural farmers are only one side of the coin.

“We plan to show that farming life is also happy and fulfilling and that we live in a very special environment. Agri-dating is a day to invite young people to come and live in and enjoy the countryside, an opportunity to show government that country life has a future and to urge officials to invest in our terroir.”

French farmers — less than 4% of the working population—are obliged by globalisation, to labour long and hard — 54 hours a week (well above the 35 hour week in place nationally) — on massive farms with small workforces and very little time off.

France, still determinedly rural, has had a long love affair with the countryside but apparently failed to help farmers find their own love and raise the families needed to continue the terroir tradition – small farms and local produce uniquely from the place where it is grown.

The Department of Agriculture says 30% of male farmers did not have a partner in 2009 and loneliness was acute among male farmers aged 18 -35, especially cattle farmers, who work longer hours than others. Some 36% of cattle farmers were single in the same year the department said.

Agri-dating – Trouvez l’Amour à la Campagne par FDSEA12

Story: Ken Pottinger

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