The chief executive of Farm Crisis Network has warned farmers against using the helpline as a “quick fix” to speed up SFP payments.


In a letter to Farmers Weekly, Sarah Brown urged any farmers who are struggling with serious indebtedness and financial hardship to pick up the phone and call for help, but stressed that the charity does not have a “magic bullet”.

The letter follows reports from farmers like Charlie Flindt, one of Farmers Weekly‘s monthly columnists, who received his delayed SFP payment just two weeks after calling FCN.

“We are a small charity with limited resources and there is a real danger that we will be overwhelmed by non-stress cases and run the serious risk of badly letting down someone in acute and dire need,” writes Rev Brown.

“If FCN pass lots of non-stress cases to the stress team at the RPA we will impede them from prioritising those who really need help and our credibility with the RPA as an organisation that they can trust to alert them to those in real trouble will be seriously damaged. Who will that hurt? Those farming families and businesses which really do need emergency help.”

• Read Sarah Brown’s response in full on our forums.

• Read Charlie Flindt’s column