Farmers who do not receive proper support during the Brexit transition period may face serious identity crises, the chief executive of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission has said.
Sue Pritchard, who runs a small livestock farm in Wales herself, warned farmers will need bespoke advice to help them cope with the ‘serious and relentless’ policy changes which are on the horizon, as well as the move to a new trading environment, increased weather volatility and coronavirus disruption.
Speaking on Farmers Guardian’s latest Ploughing Through Brexit podcast, Ms Pritchard said: “We know farmers are facing all sorts of mental health crises at the moment. This is not just technical business stuff.
“Farming is not just what we do, it is who we are. Farmers having to rethink who they are and what they do; it is a deeply personal crisis.
“It is more than just shifting the sector or shifting the business, it is rethinking everything about the place you live, your home, your family, your aspirations for your family and your place in your community.
“They are really deep-rooted questions which need a lot of support around them.”
CLA chief land use policy adviser Susan Twining, who was also a guest on the podcast, said Ministers should play a part in ensuring farmers get the right support.
“I definitely think there is a role for Government to provide funding during the transition period, particularly for whole farm planning to develop skills,” she said.
“Some of the issues which Sue raised, helping people to make these difficult decisions and facilitating the change many businesses will need to face [will require Government support].”