Hard-up farmers forced to turn to food banks for help
Farmers are being forced to use food banks as they battle ever-increasing hardships.
As reported in yesterday's Western Morning News, atrocious weather and low prices at the farmgate have conspired to spark plunging profits for Westcountry farmers.
According to the Government's latest farm business income forecasts, a massive reduction in profitability is on the cards across the bulk of farming sectors.
Rachael Collard, manager at Launceston Food Bank located at the Newport Industrial Estate, said the charity has recently been helping farmers out for the first time.
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She said: "If a farmer is suddenly hit with a big heating bill or for a repair to a piece of machinery it could wipe out money for anything else such as food.
"By nature farmers are usually very proud people so they might find it rather difficult asking for help.
"They are the ones who usually provide food for the rest of us so they find asking for food totally alien."
Ms Collard said the charity was conscious of farmers and others living in remote areas who need help.
Funds are being raised to buy a van to reach those in the most remote areas of North Cornwall.
Peter Clarke, co-ordinator of Farm Crisis Network in Cornwall, said farmers were also being helped by other charities to put food on the table.
He said: "I'm well aware of farmers using food banks to survive and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution have been giving out food parcels when they visit farms.
"Our farmers are having a really tough time of it. It's not as if farmers can go off and kill one of their livestock to eat. Because of all the red-tape, rules and regulations the animals have to go off the farm to be killed at abattoirs."