Bridgette Baker: Intolerable farm toilets still too widespread

I’ve worked on a few different farms and, however different they are, there’ll always be one predicament in common – what will the farm toilet be like?

I have started my placement driving tractors, and while the yard toilet has a sink, running water and soap, it has recently become temperamental when it comes to flushing.

See also: Bridgette Baker – shout loud and proud about what you do

About the author

Bridgette Baker
Somerset young farmer Bridgette Baker hails from a mixed beef and arable farm near Yeovil, and studies agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University. An enthusiastic member of her local Young Farmers Club, Bridgette keeps her own Oxford Sandy and Black pigs and works her family’s farm rearing calves.
Read more articles by Bridgette Baker

It’s not a problem because the toilets in the main dairy are beautiful with an automatic light, a lock, toilet paper, 10/10 flush strength, a sink and soap – there’s even a blue, mosaic tiled floor.

I asked my female friends who work in agriculture about the issue, and was surprised by how much of a problem it is.

One even said they had to give up contracting because they were making themselves ill – most of their time was spent silaging in open, public fields, where they couldn’t obey the call of nature.

As times have changed, many more women are working on farms, but I fear facilities have not caught up.

We all know this job is constantly busy, so having a decent easy-to-get-to toilet makes life far simpler.

But it shouldn’t be seen as a luxury to have access to one.

If you don’t employ anyone or don’t think your staff are concerned about this, remember there might also be people coming to the farm – such as contractors, agronomists, milk recorders and delivery drivers – who might be grateful for such facilities during long shifts.

People shouldn’t have to feel relieved that their day has been made better because they got to wee at work.

It’s something that probably doesn’t cross male minds as they are equipped to deal with that situation!

Farmers are multiskilled. They often need to be a mechanic, electrician, welder and plumber to maintain farm equipment, so they really do have the ability to fix up a toilet.

It doesn’t need to be fancy, just basic and functional.

Maybe the Farmers Weekly Awards should have a new category of “Best Farm Toilet Facilities of the Year”?