Dairy cows feeding

Farmer support networks in Scotland are stepping up their activity and outreach to help dairy and potato farmers through the current industry downturns.

The rural charity RSABI has extended its helpline hours and is offering financial help with household costs and assistance towards whole farm reviews.

And the newly established Scottish Dairy Hub is taking a growing number of calls from milk producers seeking advice on ways of steering their businesses through the crisis.

See also: Dairy crisis attracts 200 to emergency online chat

RSABI chief executive Nina Clancy said the pressure of poor milk or potato prices meant some farmers were facing difficult times and an uncertain future and she urged them to “pick up the phone and ask for help”.

The charity is receiving calls from stressed dairy and who are worried about having no market for their milk and potato farmers with financial troubles.

The organisation is offering cash-strapped farmers help with meeting food and utility bills and helped 500 people last year with £500,000 in aid.

Help lines

The number to call for RSABI is 0131 472 4166. Their “Gatepost” listening helpline for anyone who wants to get things off their chest is 0300 111 4166 and is now available from 7am – 11pm every day. 

Scottish Dairy Hub is on 0845 475 5110 and their email is info@scottishdairyhub.org.uk

“For those farming families who are struggling, RSABI can also provide assistance towards having a Whole Farm Review completed for the business. In times of severe stress, it is often hard to see a way forward or know what to do first.”

Stuart Martin, the manager of the Scottish Dairy Hub said he was getting an increasing number of enquiries from farmers looking for practical advice on a wide range of problems.

 “I’ve taken calls this week from dairy farmers are asking for help with lowering their costs of production and where to find AI training for staff. Others are looking for advice on housing for their calves or cheaper bedding alternatives.

“My job is to get on the phone, do the research and get back to them with practical solutions to their questions.”

Nina Clancy said: “Don’t let people suffer on their own, get them to call, we are here to help.”