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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

@michaelbarker

Thursday 14th October 2021, 08:24 London

Farmers 'optimistic' despite challenges

RABI survey indicates bullish attitude among farmers despite myriad of mental and physical health challenges

Farmers 'optimistic' despite challenges

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More than 50 per cent of farmers remain optimistic about the future of their businesses despite the significant mental and physical health challenges they face. 

That's according to the results of RABI’s Big Farming Survey, which is based on over 15,000 responses and was unveiled to 70 influential representatives from the agricultural sector at a launch event in Birmingham this week.

In response to the findings, RABI has outlined five core themes informed by the hardest-hitting statistics and called on the sector to help drive an effective response to the challenges identified.

They are:

- 36 per cent of the farming community are probably or possibly depressed.

- Over half of women (58 per cent) experience mild, moderate or severe anxiety.

- An average of six factors cause stress across the farming community. The most commonly reported sources of stress are regulation, compliance and inspection; Covid-19; bad/unpredictable weather; loss of subsides/future trade deals.

- Over half (52 per cent) of the farming community experience pain and discomfort, one in four have mobility problems and 21 per cent have problems in undertaking usual tasks due to health issues.

- 59 per cent of respondents believe their business is viable over the next five years.

Positive outtakes

RABI corporate partnership manager Suzy Deeley highlighted some of the positive outtakes within the data, which she said illustrates the importance of building on the farming community’s strengths.

“This survey of a generation has revealed that despite the many challenges facing our community, farming people continue to be incredibly resilient and this is something we should focus on. We owe it to every farming person to use this evidence to take action to improve farmer wellbeing,” she said.

“We believe that farming people and the sector more widely must collaborate to develop solutions to the issues identified. Therefore, RABI will use the results to inform the evolution of our services and welcome others to participate in shaping future farming support."

New support schemes

In response to the Big Farming Survey research, Deeley explained that RABI will soon be launching pilots of three new support schemes. These include an accredited, bespoke farming mental health first aid training service, access to in-person mental health support, and further trials of RABI’s Community Pillars initiative.

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