This is the leader column from the Oct 19 issue of Farmers Weekly:

If you are doing well in farming right now, you are one of the lucky ones. Chances are, you will know someone who isn’t.

Agriculture is like that. It has always been a hugely diverse business: When one sector is prospering, another is struggling. The old saying “Up corn, down horn” encapsulates this. But never before has the gap between those experiencing good times and those in dire straits been so big. For this reason, three rural charities have come up with a simple – but great – idea. They are urging those who are doing relatively well to contribute to an appeal which will help those who aren’t.

The Farming Help Appeal 2007 launches today – and Farmers Weekly is proud to be a part of this initiative. The money raised will go to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the Farm Crisis Network (FCN) and the ARC-Addington Fund.

These three organisations do great work supporting those affected by, among other things, foot-and-mouth, bluetongue, the summer’s wet weather and flooding, and high feed prices. They make a huge difference to farming families.

Their help is financial. Their help is practical. Their help is invaluable.

If you can spare some money – even a small amount – we urge you to give it. FW has this morning contributed nearly £2000 to the appeal, which is supported by the NFU, the CLA, the TFA and the National Federation of YFCs.

Similarly, if you are experiencing problems, then we would urge you to contact the organisations involved.

There is no stigma in asking for help. A whole combination of factors has conspired against many in the countryside. Fact is, some of Britain’s best farmers are among those who are most cash-strapped at the moment.

Families who have already been helped by these fantastic groups stress how glad they are that they did contact them. Many wish they had taken that first, brave step and picked up the phone earlier than they did.

Besides, in a few years’ time the situation may have changed. Those now able to give might find themselves in need of help. Those now struggling may well be experiencing better times.

Please support this appeal. It’s a chance for farming to do something it has traditionally been good at: Helping itself and looking after its own.