Farming charities are experiencing an increased burden from farmers suffering from extreme stress and financial difficulties, with bovine TB, delayed single payments and high rent reviews of particular concern.
Peter Clarke from Farm Crisis Network said: “The farming community is suffering immensely. We hear an enormous amount about the cattle that are destroyed due to TB and how the wildlife is affected, but we hear very little about the personal impact on farmers.”
The government and media needed to focus more on the human suffering and less on the financial costs to the taxpayer, he warned. “These farmers are not in a good state of health, both financially and emotionally.”
With falling milk prices and a spate of rent reviews due this September, many tenant farmers were extremely worried about their future financial and personal security, added George Dunn from the Tenant Farmers Association. While availability of vacant farms on the market was very positive, rents had to be set at sustainable levels for both landlord and tenant, with sufficient returns from the market essential if they were to continue in production.