CUMBRIAN farmers are being encouraged to take part in the largest survey to date on wellbeing in agriculture, with the results used to improve support for rural people struggling with their mental health.

The Big Farming Survey launched this week and is targeted at farmers, farmworkers, their partners and adult-aged children in England and Wales.

Farm charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) has created the survey with researchers from the University of Exeter, and is seeking at least 26,000 responses. It can be found online.

“RABI is acutely aware of the mounting pressures in the sector,” says Chief Executive, Alicia Chivers. “To serve our community effectively, we require a greater understanding of how these factors affect daily life which is why we’ve launched the Big Farming Survey.

“It is vital that the voices of farming people are heard. It only takes 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire and everyone who participates will be making an important contribution. Setting the ambitious goal of 26,000 responses will ensure we can build the most comprehensive picture of life in agriculture today. The research will enable us to formulate more effective tools and support strategies to enhance farmer wellbeing now and into the future.”

The Big Farming Survey is a key strand of RABI’s ambitious five-year strategy that will enable the charity to reach a far wider audience. It’s a further step towards achieving their vision that no farmer should ever face adversity alone.“There is growing awareness that there are some fundamental wellbeing issues in farming that need to be better understood and addressed. We are working with a range of partners so that we can develop effective, preventative services that fulfil the needs of farming people and make a valuable difference.”