RABI’s Big Farming Survey results have revealed that despite the farming community facing significant mental and physical health challenges, more than 50 percent remain optimistic about the future of their farm businesses.

The results, which are based on over 15,000 survey responses, were launched this month, to 70 influential representatives from the agricultural sector at a launch event in Birmingham.

In response to the findings, RABI has outlined five core themes informed by the hardest-hitting statistics and called on the sector to help drive an effective response to the challenges identified.

Following a welcome address by Chief Executive, Alicia Chivers, the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research Team, Dr Rebecca Wheeler and Professor Matt Lobley, presented their ground-breaking results. This was followed by RABI corporate partnership manager, Suzy Deeley, who shared further insight on five key stats that the industry must respond to: 36 percent of the farming community are probably or possibly depressed. Over one-half of women (58 percent) experience mild, moderate or severe anxiety. An average of six factors cause stress across the farming community. The most commonly reported sources of stress are; regulation, compliance and inspection, Covid-19, bad/unpredictable weather, loss of subsides/future trade deals. Over half (52 percent) of the farming community experience pain and discomfort, one in four have mobility problems and 21 percent have problems in undertaking usual tasks due to health issues. 59 percent of respondents believe their business is viable over the next five years.

Ms Deeley said: “This survey of a generation has revealed that despite the many challenges facing our community, farming people continue to be incredibly resilient and this is something we should focus on. We owe it to every farming person to use this evidence to take action to improve farmer wellbeing,” says Ms Deeley.

In response to the Big Farming Survey research, Ms Deeley explained that RABI will soon be launching pilots of three new support schemes.