Farm Crisis Network to offer more TB help

A leading rural charity is planning to launch a special package of help to TB-hit farmers.

The Farm Crisis Network will offer the service after receiving an upturn in TB-related calls to its helpline, alongside those sparked by cashflow and debt problems, RPA woes, depression and isolation.

A team of trained volunteers will respond to troubled farmers, offering business support in tandem with practical and pastoral care.

FCN chief executive Rev Sarah Brown said TB issues were causing widespread “emotional concern” for farmers.

“It’s a big source of distress,” she said. “There’s fear, guilt, worry about neighbours and a sense of concern about what the government is – or isn’t doing. Seeing cows being shot when they are heavily in-calf is also a real source of distress.”

The new service would not be about giving specific advice, she said, but would ensure that farmers were fully aware of their business options.

“There’s a lot of mythology around about TB. We’re going to try to help people be clear about what the real options are.”

FCN expects to launch the TB Support Package this autumn, hopefully with the help of DEFRA funding.