Crisis-hit farmers want the bare facts known

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The Independent Online

Twelve farmers have stripped off to pose for a "beefcake" calendar in a lighthearted bid to highlight the crisis in the industry.

Twelve farmers have stripped off to pose for a "beefcake" calendar in a lighthearted bid to highlight the crisis in the industry.

The burly men of the soil from Devon cast off their overalls and posed in the buff for the camera - with farm implements, vegetables and animals for decency.

Arable farmer and "Mr April" Mark Rossiter - who posed with a strategically placed cauliflower - said today: "I was not embarrassed - but it was very cold."

The "Meat British Beef" calendar, which goes on sale in a couple of weeks, was the brainchild of farmer Paul Westlake and local photographer Nicola de Pulford.

"We were discussing the state of farming and he said why not do a calendar," said Ms de Pulford from her home in Totnes, south Devon, today.

The idea was to raise awareness of the industry's troubles, said Ms de Pulford, adding that donations from sales of the £4.99 calendar would go to a farmers' benevolent fund.

Farmer's wife Melissa Darke, from Chillington, whose husband Richard is seen posing with a shepherd's crook, said today: "It was a bit if fun - but hopefully it will get farmers and their problems noticed."

Paul Westlake, from Kingsbridge - who is Mr August - said: "Nude modelling was not really the original intention but it has been quite fun.

"I must admit I was worried people would see me and I would get complaints - but I have had only positive feedback."

NFU South West regional director Anthony Gibson said: "I think it's a marvellous idea. I'm quite sure it will catch the public's imagination and help to reveal the naked truth about the crisis in farming."

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