Over 15,000 farm workers respond to wellbeing survey

Uptake of the Big Farming Survey will define future support, farming charity RABI says
Uptake of the Big Farming Survey will define future support, farming charity RABI says

Over 15,000 farmers and agricultural workers have responded to the largest wellbeing survey of its kind ever to launch in England and Wales.

The mental health initiative, called the Big Farming Survey, was launched by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) in January.

It aims to identify how complex challenges within the sector are impacting people’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as farming businesses.

Once analysed, the findings will inform the development of RABI and other farmer support groups, helping to provide future support and service strategies.

Alicia Chivers, CEO of RABI, said that working collaboratively with key stakeholders across the sector had been integral to achieving such a high response rate.

"To ensure we gathered responses from the widest possible range of farming people, we had to be ambitious on behalf of our community,” she added.

“The results have exceeded our expectations and astounded many, including one research centre who advised us a response rate of over a couple of thousand was unattainable.

"We are hugely grateful to every organisation and individual who has supported the Big Farming Survey."

Working in partnership with the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter, the survey's findings will be published at a launch event in the autumn.

Professor of Rural Resource Management Matt Lobley said the response from the farming community had been 'outstanding'.

"Receiving around 15.5k responses means we have a robust dataset reflecting different farming situations, a broad range of farm types and sizes, and a good mix of tenures, upon which we will base our analysis," he said.

As the university now begins to analyse the responses, RABI continues to lead discussions about the provision of services to support farmer wellbeing.

Ms Chivers said: “We will be working closely with other stakeholders to consider how to apply the findings to develop a targeted and thorough approach to the provision of future services for farming people.

“Through our combined efforts, we can develop the best possible tools to enhance farmer and business resilience now and for years to come.”