How do you feel on a “normal” day? What has the strongest positive impact on your wellbeing? What helps you manage the challenges? What support do you need now and in the future? How would you like it delivered? If you are a farmer or crofter, we want to hear from you and here is why....
With increasing concerns around farmer and crofter wellbeing, as pressures build in the industry, a range of agricultural partners have come together to launch a survey to better understand the needs and concerns of are most important asset, YOU - Scotland’s farmers and crofters - with the view of launching a new wellbeing programme for Scotland in 2022/23.
This research follows on from the successful “drought, adversity and breaking new ground” tour that took place in winter 2018 and saw over 2000 farmers attend one of fourteen events to hear New Zealand farmer Doug Avery, talk about his own challenges with mental health and wellbeing. (click here for more on the tour)
The survey, supported by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), the National Rural Mental Health Forum (run by Support in Mind Scotland), RHASS and the Scottish Rural Network (Scottish Government), aims to provide insights to emulate Farmstrong, a successful wellbeing programme in New Zealand that helps farmers to “live well, to farm well”.
The initiative is designed by farmers for farmers, to provide the resources and proven tools that you might need to manage your own wellbeing when faced with challenges that are often hard to predict, or control, from fluctuation commodity prices and the weather, to changing government legislation and market pressures.
Following on from the Doug Avery tour, a steering group was established to review the learnings, chaired by beef, sheep and arable farmer, John Scott of Fearn Farm, Ross-Shire. This research has been coordinated and managed by the group.
"Agriculture is facing unimaginable change that will impact generations and could require complete restructuring of farming practices. Many of these challenges we can’t control, they will happen regardless of how well we rear our livestock, grow our crops or manage our finances. This significantly impacts the way we think and farm, it tests our resilience and can, at times, take us down a dark path when we feel overwhelmed, anxious or simply just knackered.”
John Scott, Farmer and Steering Group Chair
How will the results be used?
When Doug visited Scotland, the organisers (listed at the bottom of the page) were astounded by the response, highlighting the appetite from farmers and crofters, to better understand how they can manage our own wellbeing through shared learning, events and resources. This new survey will give the steering committee insights to understand how farmers and crofters are feeling, what type of activities and resources would best support them and how they should be delivered.
The hope is to launch the “Farmstrong” model here in Scotland, in 2022/23. This research will be integral in ensuring the group get it right and offer something that has huge benefits to all those involved, whilst also supporting and partnering with existing organisations and charities.
Commenting on the survey, Kate Lamont from SRUC said “The survey has been designed by farmers, for farmers. You can answer on your phone, tablet, computer or you can get a paper copy. It would be really good to hear how you cope and what you think would help others.”
To survey takes less than 10 minutes, is 100% anonymous and will be remain open until the end of May 2022.
The steering group
The steering group was established in 2019 following the Doug Avery Tour, to review the learnings. All individuals were involved in the tour development, delivery or attended one of the events. In 2020 the steering committee started discussions with stakeholders and friends in New Zealand to understand more about the Farmstrong model, and how/if a “Farmstrong Scotland” could be established. All members volunteer their time.
The steering committee includes:
● Tim Bailey, Chief Executive SAOS
● Matthew Currie, Savills Director & Farmer
● Rebecca Dawes, Jane Craigie Marketing and Rural Youth Project
● Jock Gibson, Farmer & Butcher, Edinvale Farm, Forres
● Emily Grant, Forrit Farming & Consultancy
● Alan Laidlaw, Chief Executive, RHASS
● John Scott, Farmer, Fearn Farm, Ross-shire (Steering Committee Chair)
● Retired from the group – Nina Clancy, previously RSABI