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Duke and Duchess of Rothesay William and Kate will talk to Farmstrong Scotland mental health campaigners during visit to Forres farm

By Chris Saunderson

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FARMING is one of the toughest occupations in the world and can often mean long hours, weather-related problems for crops and livestock, financial pressures and long periods of lone-working.

That's why there is a growing emphasis on the welfare and mental health of all those in the farming and rural industries.

Farmstrong Scotland is a relatively new group dedicated to supporting people in the farming community who may be struggling.

It was created on the back of a successful model which was founded in New Zealand in 2015.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay will meet representatives of the Scottish charity at a farm in Moray on Thursday (November 2).

They will be joined by members of Lower Speyside Young Farmers.

William and Kate have long been keen advocates for mental health and since 2016 have led the Minds Together campaign, which brings together eight mental health charities and has actor Stephen Fry as its president.

Farmstrong's NZ website says the challenges in farming are many and hard to predict or control, including drought and flood to fluctuations in commodity prices, changing government legislation and new technology.

There are also the demands of running a business – financial and production planning, managing cash flow, hiring and managing staff, succession planning, to name just a few.

"These pressures aren’t going to disappear so it’s vital that farmers develop the skills and resilience to cope," it adds.

The charity says research shows that while farmers are "great at looking after their equipment and stock", they can neglect their own wellbeing. "As an industry, we can’t afford to let these pressures reach the point where they damage productivity and affect the lives of families."

Farmstrong is an initiative to help farmers, growers and their families to cope with the ups and downs of farming by sharing things they can do to look after themselves and the people in their business.

William and Kate are strong advocates for mental health charities and will speak to members of the farming community about wellbeing.
William and Kate are strong advocates for mental health charities and will speak to members of the farming community about wellbeing.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will hear about the challenges in farming during their visit to Brodieshill Farm near Forres and how Farmstrong Scotland and other groups are working to promote wellbeing and mental health awareness locally.

You can find out more about the work of Farmstrong Scotland here

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