An overriding priority right now is the health of the farming community which involves many multi-generational businesses. At times like this it is natural to concentrate on the negatives but there are positives.
By Ian Bell, OBE, is Head of Farming & Rural Engagement.
Individual farmers will have their own language to describe the weather and farming conditions over the last few months and their own take on the dramatic changes that the industry will face as we extricate ourselves from the European Union. The current threat and reality of Coronavirus is totally unwelcome.
An overriding priority is the health of the farming community which involves many multi-generational businesses and we are constantly reminded about the age profile across the farming industry. For some, it will immediately evoke some unpleasant memories of 2001, but perhaps leaving deliveries at the farm gate again might still be a sensible precaution.
At times like this it is natural to concentrate on the negatives but there are positives.
- Farmers have been dealing with the problems of isolation as their business model has adapted over the last few decades. Having been in London recently I have more comfort being surrounded by fields of ewes and lambs than being on the underground.
- We have become far more savvy with the use of apps on our mobile phones. If you see something that amuses you; share it!
- Our livestock markets have put some sensible precautions in place and are open for business. I am not suggesting that you attend a market unless you have a legitimate reason to be there; you can still see your stock sold.
- We can start to get on the land.
- Help is available, Farming Help is the umbrella of the National Farming Charities and offers confidential support for all the farming community. Their helpline operated by the Farming Community Network is 03000 111999
- For our Three Counties farming families Gloucestershire Farming Friends can be contacted on 0845 300 6886 or email@example.com
- Another wonderful organisation is the Association of Agricultural Chaplains, firstname.lastname@example.org 01963 23570 or 07966 754110
Please stay safe and don’t take any unnecessary risks. For a very proud industry it is often hard for many to share a problem, talking to a trusted colleague may not solve the problem, but you will soon realise others have exactly the same problem.