Struggling and stressed out farmers are being urged to remember they are not alone and that help is at hand.
This was the message from a crisis summit in Derbyshire yesterday, organised and attended by Prince Charles, to address the problems facing UK farmers.
Rural charities, including RSABI, were in attendance alongside politicians and representatives from the banking sector.
The summit was organised by the Prince’s rural charity – the Prince’s Countryside Fund.
Chief executive of Scots rural charity RSABI – Nina Clancy – said the key message from the summit was for farmers to remember they are not alone and help is at hand.
She said calls to the charity’s helpline, which relaunched earlier this year, had more than doubled in the past 12 months.
“We are worried about what will happen [to farmers] in the next six months,” said Ms Clancy.
“The Prince has really taken it on board and he has exerted his pressure in pulling together individuals to knock heads together and help people that really need help now.”
She said banks had given assurances that they were on hand to help farmers with financial problems, with the charity able to provide advice as well as financial support in some cases.
“If you are having cash-flow problems contact your banks. They have already set aside large funds to help with cash-flows,” said Ms Clancy.
It had also been agreed in the meeting that more needed to be done to help farmers make their businesses more efficient, and as a result the Prince’s Countryside Fund initiative to help dairy producers would be rolled out to other livestock farmers, she added.
In addition a study has been commissioned by the Prince’s Countryside Fund to quantify the problems being faced by the sector.
“We are also looking at trying to get broadband in places where there is currently none,” said Ms Clancy.
She urged anyone in distress or trouble to get in touch with the charity on the helpline – 0300 111 4166 – which is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm.