Ru­ral Sup­port Trust set to help farm­ers in stress­ful times

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Awet and chal­leng­ing spring has seen stressed farm­ers con­tact­ing the Ru­ral Sup­port Trust for help, ac­cord­ing to trust chair­man Neil Ba­teup.

‘‘There are peo­ple out there who are strug­gling. Things are not al­ways easy in spring for farm­ers, and when we get a wet spring like we’ve had, we see more peo­ple con­tact­ing us look­ing for sup­port,’’ he said.

‘‘Work­load and weather con­di­tions in spring are the two big­gest driv­ers of stress at the mo­ment.’’

Mr Ba­teup, a Waikato dairy farmer, said it was a good sign farm­ers were reach­ing out for help rather than try­ing to strug­gle through on their own.

‘‘It means peo­ple are recog­nis­ing the Ru­ral Sup­port Trust is there to help. A lot more peo­ple are aware of what we do,’’ Mr Ba­teup said.

The trust is a na­tion­wide vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion set up to help farm­ers and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties get through tough times. It is there for all ru­ral peo­ple, in­clud­ing farm own­ers, farm staff and con­trac­tors.

The first point of call for the trust is a freep­hone num­ber, 0800 787 254, avail­able 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Fa­cil­i­ta­tors help work out what sup­port each caller needs.

‘‘We’re there to help peo­ple who don’t know where to turn or where to seek help. We can help them with any of the is­sues that cause stress for farm­ers – whether it’s per­sonal, fi­nan­cial, work­load, health, weather or any­thing else.

‘‘Of­ten it’s just a mat­ter of talk­ing a prob­lem over. Shar­ing a prob­lem can halve a prob­lem,’’ Mr Ba­teup said.

‘‘Some­times fa­cil­i­ta­tors will visit in per­son, if needed, and can help farm­ers con­nect with sup­port agen­cies.’’

Lower pay­outs were a fac­tor in the mix con­cern­ing farm­ers right now, Mr Ba­teup said, but it was too early in the sea­son to pre­dict what fi­nal pay­outs would be.

The trust han­dled all calls for help con­fi­den­tially, Mr Ba­teup said.

The fa­cil­i­ta­tors were peo­ple with life ex­pe­ri­ence in agri­cul­ture – who un­der­stood what was needed on farms.

‘‘We have fa­cil­i­ta­tors who are dairy farm­ers, meat and wool farm­ers, peo­ple with ex­pe­ri­ence in all types of farm­ing.

‘‘If any­one con­tacts us and shares their bur­dens, we can help them work through their prob­lems.’’

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