THE NEED for farming support organisations is likely to increase significantly over the next five years, a new survey has found.

Over 160 farmers, agricultural businesses and members of the public across the UK took part in a survey by the Farming Community Network which found that 9 in 10 respondents predict a need for the services provided by farming support organisations and charities.

It was also revealed that 48% of those surveyed said the need will increase, while 44% said the need will increase significantly.

The survey found that while a small majority are optimistic about the future of farming in their area (55%), significant concerns exist around financial stability, mental wellbeing, succession and retirement, managing change and many other issues.

CEO of FCN, Jude McCann, said the survey provides insights into people’s concerns about the future of British farming.

“The farming industry is experiencing a period of radical change and whilst there will be opportunities for many, farmers will need to work hard to future-proof their businesses and protect their livelihoods," he stressed. "2020 has already seen a significant number of challenges, not least disruption caused by Covid-19, and the sector’s future is uncertain as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

“This survey paints a picture of some of the key issues those in the sector are concerned about and the increasing demand for farming support organisations," he continued.

“It is important farmers remain resilient through these changing times. For some this may mean diversifying their farming businesses and others may decide to plan for retirement, succession or exiting the industry. FCN and other rural charities are here to provide guidance and support to farmers through the challenges ahead.”

The Farming Community Network is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.

One way FCN is supporting farmers to prepare for change is through its FarmWell website – a one-stop resource hub which contains a wealth of free information about personal and business resilience, mental and physical wellbeing and information around how to successfully manage through change: