Simon Andrews is no longer living with dread.

The Taieri dairy farmer recently had his 14-year-old dreadlocks snipped off, all in the name of a good cause.

He was raising money for Farmstrong, an initiative designed to give farmers the skills and resources to live well, farm well and get the most out of life.

Mr Andrews wanted to find a way to support the rural mental health industry after dealing with his own depression, and finding his way to coping with it in everyday life through farming and family support.

Simon Andrews totes a new look after the deed was done.
Simon Andrews totes a new look after the deed was done.

He was concerned about the number of farmers affected by mental health issues, particularly with the pressure around the outbreak of the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

''I wanted to do something to help the cause,'' he said.

He has been dairy farming for seven years and learned early on how much stress was involved in farming.

Yet he loved the industry and the lifestyle it afforded. ''You do it for the love. You don't do it for a job as such,'' he said.

Mr Andrews had been talking about cutting off his second lot of much loved dreads for some time. ''I thought they had to go. My partner said they have to go out with some sort of pomp and ceremony,'' he said.

So a quiz night was held in Mosgiel and just shy of $2500 was raised. Originally, there was a Givealittle page, but that was closed after the quiz night.

Since then, he had been approached by friends who also wanted to contribute to the cause, so they decided to do a Shave to Support campaign. Those taking part would shave at the start of calving and only shave again at the end.

In the meantime, there was still the question of what to do with Mr Andrews' dreadlocks, which he still had.


One possibility was donating them for use in a wig. He also would have to keep one as a memento.