Two farmers out walking
Farmstrong is an early intervention wellbeing programme Image by: Movember
Two farmers out walking
A highland cow
19 June 2022

Support Farmstrong Scotland

3 minutes read time

Farming and crofting comes with a unique set of challenges that are hard to predict or control, ranging from drought and floods to fluctuations in commodity prices, changing legislation, and new technology, all of which have the ability to threaten the bottom line.

Alongside these external factors, businesses are facing the daily challenge of recruiting staff, managing cash flow, responding to consumer needs and planning for the future.

" One farmer a week loses their life to suicide every year in the UK, with Scotland a particular case in point. "

With all these additional pressures, there is increased concern around farmer and crofter wellbeing. Farmers and crofters often prioritise the management of land and livestock over that of themselves and the challenges they personally face, from stress and burnout to a lack of sleep, exercise and time out.

For many, the sector can be quite lonely, working on their own and not interacting with many people on a daily basis. If their wellbeing is not helped it can lead to detrimental consequences. In the UK, farming has the highest suicide rate across any occupational group - 75% of which are men. One farmer a week loses their life to suicide every year in the UK[1], with Scotland a particular case in point.

With seed funding from Movember, an early intervention wellbeing programme, Farmstrong, was established in New Zealand in 2015, to give farmers the skills to live well, farm well and get the most out of life. Fast forward to 2022, Farmstrong Initiators Scotland* and Movember are now working together to bring Farmstrong to Scotland.

Farmstrong Scotland will be a free initiative, offering a range of tools and event to help farmers and crofters develop their mental and physical resilience. A pilot roadshow in 2018 welcomed over 2,000 people at one of 14 events in Scotland to hear from farmer and motivational speaker Doug Avery, who faced his own challenges with depression and stress, so we know there is demand.

Farmstrong awareness and promotional activities will take place at agricultural shows and community events across Scotland to promote the programme. In addition the programme has received strong support from a range of agricultural and rural stakeholders who have committed to helping spread the word including Women in Agriculture, NFU Scotland, SAOS, The Scottish Association of Young Farmers, The Rural Youth Project, The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and The National Rural Mental Health Forum, to name a few.

The funding needed to establish Farmstrong Scotland is £700,000 over a two-year period. Movember is therefore launching the Farmstrong Scotland Fundraising Campaign from 20 June – 31 August 2022.

All donations received by Movember toward the initiative during this campaign period will be match funded by Movember, pound for pound, up to a maximum of £350,000, thus doubling your donation to Farmstrong Scotland! For example - if you donate £50, Movember will also contribute £50.

We have already received £50,000 from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, an organisation that supports the farming and rural industry in Scotland and has done for over 235 years. In addition, donations have been received from farmers and events hosted in the Spring of 2022 ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, demonstrating a real enthusiasm for the project.

By donating funds you will be part of a new network helping support the future wellbeing of Scotland’s farmers and crofters. To support the Farmstrong Scottish Fundraising Campaign, head to: The Big Give

*Farmstrong Initiators Scotland:

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