Two livestock auctions in the UK and Ireland have raised more than £23,000 for mental health charities that support farmers.
Funds from the event at Halls Livestock Auction Centre in Shrewsbury, which took place in September, have been given to the Farming Community Network (FCN), Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy and the DPJ Foundation.
Meanwhile, money raised at the spring auction in Ireland has gone to Teac Tom, the Thomas Hayes Trust, which supports individuals and families who are affected by suicide, or suicidal thoughts.
Organiser and dairy farmer Peter Hynes, from the Rearing to Go mental health awareness campaign, said: “The primary aim of the two auction events was to create more awareness around mental health and wellbeing amongst farmers in both countries.
“It’s good to talk and it’s vitally important that farmers have someone to reach out to confidentially, which is why we have been delighted to have been able to support local charities operating in this field in both Ireland and the UK.”
Money raised during the Shrewsbury auction was boosted by a further £3,000 donation from the Betty Lawes Foundation, which was set up by the wife of Volac founder Dick Lawes.
Samantha Sampson, from dairy nutrition company Volac, says it is vital that members of the agri-supply industry understand the stresses that farmers often face.
“We are delighted to support [the Rearing to Go campaign] and urge any farmer struggling to cope with day-to-day life pressures or loneliness to talk to someone. Sometimes, seeing a representative on farm from the agricultural supply trade may be the only time a farmer interacts with another human being all day. We need to be aware of this fact.”
FCN’s deputy CEO and wellbeing lead, Glyn Evans, says that farming is a way of life, not just a business and while it is a “fantastic industry”, it can be “risky and volatile”.
“Farmers are regularly forced to deal with issues on the farm that are beyond their control, be that Brexit, animal disease outbreaks, fluctuating market prices and/or changing weather,” he says.
“Farming can also be an isolating and lonely job, with farmers often spending long hours out in the field with little or no form of social interaction. It can be tough and during difficult times knowing who to turn to can be a challenge – but this is where organisations such as FCN, Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy and the DPJ Foundation can help.”
Anyone in the farming community who is struggling with a mental health issue can call the FCN helpline on 03000 111 999 or e-mail: [email protected]. The helpline is open from 7am-11pm every day of the year.