One third of UK farmers could be depressed - survey
More than a third of people in UK farming could be suffering from depression, according to a new survey of wellbeing in agriculture.
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Women farmers reported particularly high levels of anxiety.
The causes of stress include financial pressure, physical pain, the Covid-19 pandemic, regulations and bad weather.
The findings come as pig farmers are reporting distress at having to kill their animals due to a shortage of abattoir workers.
The lack of workers to slaughter and process the pigs is being blamed on a range of factors including Brexit and Covid.
The survey by the University of Exeter and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) spoke to 15,000 people in UK farming and is thought to be the largest of its kind.
The RABI survey was carried out before the shortage of abattoir workers became a problem in the UK. It found that specialist pig farmers were reporting the highest number of stress factors and rates of probable depression across all areas of farming.
By contrast, people in cereals and general cropping reported fewer causes of stress and 70% were likely not experiencing depression.
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The most common cause of stress was reported to be regulation, compliance and inspection, followed by the pandemic. Covid has disrupted supply chains and the availability of workers as people changed jobs or left the UK, putting pressure on farms.