Partnering with three farming support and wellbeing charities across the UK – The Farming Community Network (in England and Wales), RSABI (in Scotland) and IPS Charity (Northern Ireland) – we launched ‘Lend a Hand’. The campaign aims to start open conversations around mental health in farming; both for our customers and within Genus.

UK Agriculture is in the middle of a turbulent period. Farmers are finding themselves under unbearable pressures, and loneliness within rural communities is also on the rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to use the Lend a Hand campaign to help break down the stigma around mental health and provide practical support to farming communities across the country. 

All three of our partner charities offer helplines, training and support networks. Helpline calls peaked during lockdown, and they remain high, so we aim to help them meet this new demand. We also offer what most companies can’t. We have hundreds of colleagues on hundreds of farms to support them every single day of the year.

Following the “planet, profit, people” pillars of our sustainability strategy, we want to be a positive influence in the UK dairy industry not only by enhancing profit and efficiency through genetics, but also by supporting the people we partner with. UK dairy is struggling and with policy changes on the horizon we need to be there to support our farmers. 

Of course, dealing with mental health and wellbeing can be a difficult topic at the best of times. We want to offer mental health training and support wherever it is needed. And we know that farmers often turn to our employees to discuss their worries and the pressure they are under.

As part of our Global Wellbeing Week, the Farming Community Network ran a session for our people on how to deal with these conversations and work with customers while looking out for their own health. We want to build on this and use the charities’ expertise to build a national training plan to protect and support our own team. 

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