OpenFields

1616: Challenges Facing Farmers

By Diane Spark, UTASS and Jessica Sellick, Rose Regeneration

Year of Publication2012

The ‘challenges facing farmers’ project considered the issues facing upland farmers in Teesdale, the strategies that they implement to maintain or increase their income and the organisations that support them in ameliorating some of the financial pressures they are under. While the widely accepted definition of poverty is having a household income which is 60% less than the average, the study found farmers in Teesdale had an income of £12,600 (with some earning much less, just £8,000 a year). This led to situations where farmers had to forgo basics (e.g. reducing their weekly grocery bill, slashing input costs), were operating without adequate insurance, had no pension or savings scheme, and felt vulnerable to decisions made by their bank or landlord. The study illuminates how poverty is a severe and stifling condition that is becoming more intense amongst farming communities. The report includes six project ideas or ‘action plans’ of relevance to farming and rural facing organisations that seek to help farmers struggling to make ends meet.

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