We are here if you need

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FARMING - BY GEMMA MACKENZIE

The chief of ru­ral char­ity RSABI has urged wetweather stricken farm­ers and crofters not to suf­fer in si­lence.

The char­ity, which pro­vides as­sis­tance to those who work or have worked the land, said it was very con­cerned about the wel­fare of farm­ers fac­ing a dev­as­tat­ing har­vest due to wet weather in re­cent months.

In­ces­sant rain­fall in some parts of Scot­land has re­sulted in this sum­mer be­ing the fifth wettest on record since records be­gan.

RSABI chief ex­ec­u­tive Nina Clancy said she was par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about grow­ers in Aberdeen­shire and Mo­ray, and live­stock pro­duc­ers on the west coast who had not yet man­aged to make first-cut silage. I would like to re­mind peo­ple that we are here to help,” said Ms Clancy.

“There is no doubt, peo­ple are suf­fer­ing fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally. RSABI is aware of what is hap­pen­ing and we are here if you need us, even if it is just for a lis­ten­ing ear.

“We pro­vide emo­tional, prac­ti­cal and fi­nan­cial sup­port to those in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in­clud­ing farm­ing, croft­ing and grow­ing.

“RSABI’s con­fi­den­tial and non-judg­men­tal sup­port is de­liv­ered to indi- vid­u­als on a one-to-one ba­sis by ex­pe­ri­enced staff and vol­un­teers”

She en­cour­aged any farmer or crofter strug­gling to cope to con­tact the char­ity via its free and con­fi­den­tial helpline on 0300 111 4166.

Mean­while, farm­ers union NFU Scot­land (NFUS) said wet weather was caus­ing heartache for pro­duc­ers across all parts of Scot­land from Shet­land to Stranraer. Re­ported prob­lems in­clude sub­stan­tial amounts of ce­real and potato har­vest still to be com­pleted and ground con­di­tions mak­ing plough­ing and plant­ing of win­ter crops dif­fi­cult. There are also sig­nif­i­cant vol­umes of straw still to be baled, and many farm­ers have not yet be­gun, let alone fin­ished, silage­mak­ing.

NFUS said this could lead to a short­age of win­ter bed­ding and for­age for live­stock pro­duc­ers. The union said the prob­lem was ex­ac­er­bated by the fact many farm­ers had been forced to bring stock in­side ear­lier than usual due to wet ground con­di­tions.

“Farm­ers and crofters are well used to deal­ing with the weather but this year, more than most, the el­e­ments are truly test­ing their re­silience,” said NFUS pres­i­dent An­drew McCor­nick.

“Ev­ery­thing is pro­ceed­ing on a stop/start ba­sis, as they (farm­ers) dodge be­tween the rain to make the most of any dry spell, and that is only adding to the frus­tra­tion. The re­al­ity is that the weather will add cost for all. Ce­real grow­ers face a costly dry­ing bill so that their crops can be safely stored with­out spoil­ing.

“Live­stock keep­ers, with some herds al­ready housed, will need more win­ter feed and bed­ding while fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in spread­ing slurry.”

He hailed the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment that the dead­line for Scot­tish Up­land Sheep

“RSABI is aware of what is hap­pen­ing”

Pho­to­graph by Sandy McCook

SWAMPED: Alan Mathieson, of Ardgay, col­lect­ing straw bales from a field at Fearn.

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