There’s an article in the Daily Mail about how dairy farmers in England are suffering under the price squeeze. I’m generally not a fan of this author, Liz Jones, who uses the Mail’s weekly women’s magazine to publish tales of her personal life. But I like what she says here about farmers.
Did you know that farming is one of the jobs in which people most often suffer clinical depression? I did know that, as it happens, and I knew that the suicide rate is high among farmers. But I don’t think those facts are very well known. Ms Jones writes of how it’s not unusual for farmers to seek support from the Rural Stress Helpline.
To me the most intriguing part of this article is its closing paragraphs. The farmers interviewed said that they wanted the European Union’s dairy subsidy to be scrapped. Instead, says Ms Jones, these farmers want ‘the Government to take a more active role.’ I assume that means action by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) but no specific policies are recommended in this article. The article also doesn’t mention the cuts at DEFRA which, if I remember correctly, have so far trimmed away about 1/3 of its budget.