Image caption, Pig and poultry farmer Sophie Hope says she has periods of depression, that she is 'worried about his business
More than a third of UK farmers may be suffering from depression, according to a new survey on welfare in agriculture.
Women farmers have reported particularly high levels of anxiety.
Causes of stress include financial pressure, physical pain, the Covid-19 pandemic, regulations and inclement weather.
The findings come as pig farmers report their distress at having to kill their animals due to a shortage of slaughterhouse workers.
The lack of workers to slaughter and processing pigs is blamed on a range of factors, including Brexit and Covid.
The survey conducted by the University of Exeter and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) addressed 15,000 people in UK agriculture and is considered the largest of its kind.
'I can see the anguish on people's faces ' - farmer in the Gloucestershire
Sophie Hope runs a poultry and pig farm in Witcombe, Cheltenham, which her grandfather founded in the 1930s. She says she has periods of depression and anxiety, and quits.
"Agriculture can be very volatile. There are times when we make good money and others not," she explains .
The pressure to keep the farm running for his young son and family, as well as his 20 employees, also prevents him from sleeping at night.
"It can be crucifying. Sometimes I don't want to complain because I have a wonderful life here - it's more the pressure to keep it up for the long haul for myself and anyone who has invested in the business. "
She says the pig farmers are in trouble, especially right now: " I can see the anguish in people's faces. I can feel the distress and worry , and uncertainty as to the end. "
The RABI survey was carried out before the shortage of slaughterhouse workers does not become a problem in the UK. He found that specialized pig farmers reported the most stressors and depressions rates.probable zion in all areas of agriculture.
In contrast, those working in cereals and general crops reported less stressors and 70% probably did not suffer from depression.
Most common cause of stress was reported as regulation, compliance and inspection, followed by pandemic. Covid disrupted supply chains and worker availability as people changed jobs or left the UK, putting pressure on farms.
Media caption, The ex- farmer beautician raises mental health awareness
The increase in extreme weather conditions is also causing serious concern with 44% of people calling it a major concern.
Floods and periods of dry weather have caused serious problems for farmers in parts of the UK, including Yorkshire and the East Midlands in recent years.
L Isolation and long working hours also play a higher level of loneliness than in the general population.
"Mental health in farming is the elephant in the room. No one really wants to talk about loneliness, anxiety or suicide, but it is there. Thisreport highlighted the need for the whole farming community to tackle the problem and encourage farmers to take note, open up and talk to each other, ”said Stephanie Berkeley of the Farm Safety Foundation.
The results suggest that taking free time for a break or recreation, a common strategy to improve mental health, is not an option for many farmers. Almost a third of those surveyed said they almost never or never leave the farm.
About 472,000 people work in agriculture in the UK , according to the Environment Department , Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).