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It is hoped there will be 26,000 responses to the survey across England and Wales.

University of Exeter experts lead major research project into farmer wellbeing

University of Exeter experts are leading a major new study to better understand the mental and physical wellbeing issues facing agricultural workers.

The research will be the largest survey ever undertaken to gain an understanding directly from farming people of the stresses they face and the impacts of these challenges.  

The work is commissioned by RABI, which has worked with a number of key stakeholders to help develop the survey including the NFU, NFU Cymru, Defra, Welsh Government, the Worshipful Company of Farmers, the National Rural Mental Health Forum, the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Farmers Weekly and Farmers Guardian. It is hoped there will be 26,000 responses to the survey across England and Wales.

“We know the farming community is facing changing and increasingly complex challenges,” said Alicia Chivers, RABI’s Chief Executive. “This research is fundamental to ensuring we really understand how these pressures impact on our people, allowing us to continue to develop really effective tools and support to enhance their wellbeing.

“Working in partnership with the Centre for Rural Research based at the University of Exeter and key stakeholders across our sector, we want to gather the most comprehensive, reliable information directly from farming people. The survey results will not only inform RABI’s service offering in the future, but as they will be widely published, will additionally provide the agricultural sector with an overview of the issues that the current generation of farming people are facing. We must work collectively now to ensure the right support is available for all who need it.”

The research will be led by Professor Matt Lobley, from the University of Exeter, who has over 30 years’ experience of conducting research with farming families. His colleague Dr Rebecca Wheeler, who is also part of the research team said: “As well as establishing the health status of members of the agricultural community, for the first time this research will explore the relationship between mental health and well-being, physical health and the health of the business.”

This latest announcement is part of RABI’s evolving strategy, which saw the charity launch its confidential online wellbeing and counselling services on 19 October 2020.

Further details of the research project to follow shortly. To register your interest in sharing the survey with additional industry groups please contact Suzy Deeley, Corporate Partnership Manager at RABI -

Date: 2 November 2020

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