Jacob Anthony: Flood crisis shows charity must start at home

We are facing some tough times at the moment. Farming and the country as a whole is taking a relentless beating from Mother Nature.

Many peoples lives and businesses are being literally left in ruins by the mighty force of the harsh elements, with people frantically battening down the hatches, sandbagging the doors and doing everything they possibly can to protect their livestock, livelihoods and loved ones.

Seeing the despairing footage and reading the heartbreaking stories on social media, I found myself totally sympathising with the victims of this winter’s raging floods and storms.

See also: Tips to help livestock farmers plan winter feed on a budget

On our farm we have been incredibly fortunate and have thankfully avoided the floods, even though parts of South Wales have been some of the hardest hit areas in the country.

Charity begins at home

The situation has really got me thinking and my honest conclusion is – charity begins at home.

This might not be a very politically correct opinion, but I imagine it is one that will be shared by many folk.

We need to start looking after our own first and make sure their wellbeing is paramount.

I don’t say this lightly, but if there really is no more money available from the government to help the people of this country in their hour of need, then should we be pushing more of our charitable aid resources towards our own communities?

This would allow resources to be pumped into making sure that infrastructure is in place to protect us all from the elements, as well as looking after the needs of British people caught in the middle of these destructive episodes.

From a purely farming perspective the industry is already enduring difficult times, without the added pressure of weather-related disasters.

Arable farmers have seen hundreds of acres of crops destroyed and some still haven’t even had the opportunity to establish crops in the first place.

Nowhere to turn?

Then there are the heartbreaking images of sheep farmers trying desperately to keep their ewes and lambs alive with the sheds filling up full of water.

With helpless situations like this and those affected often feeling they have nowhere to turn for help, it comes as no surprise that our Industry has a tragically high suicide rate.

There are many, many fantastic charities out there that support our agricultural communities in their hour of need.

Rabi – emergency grants, DPJ Foundation – emotional support, Farm Community Network and Forage Aid – providing forage/bedding, to name but a few.

These incredible charities provide invaluable practical and emotional support in times of need. 

We never know when tough times are going to hit. We or someone we care about may need to reach out to one of the charities for a bit of support and I would like to think that there were enough resources in the pot to make a difference to them.

That’s why I think charity begins at home.