A CHARITY supporting people in Scottish agriculture has launched a national campaign to encourage farmers, crofters and others involved in agriculture to keep connected during lockdown.

The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s #KeepTalking campaign coincides with the end of calving and lambing season which is often followed by a quieter period for farmers, increasing the risk of loneliness or anxiety.

Dalry farmer Willie Lamont hopes the campaign will encourage farmers to reach out if they feel isolated.

Willie said: “Farmers are usually busy with spring work and won’t have much contact with people but the middle of May is normally when farmers start to come out and do more socialising because of show season.

“Obviously that’s not happening this year and so may leave some farmers vulnerable.

“The point of the campaign is to say to farmers in that situation that there are people out there willing to speak to them and that they can make use of RSABI’s services.”

The campaign is bookended by what would have been two big social events in the farming calendar – the Fife Show on May 23 and the Royal Highland Show on June 18.

Nina Clancy, Chief Executive of RSABI, said: “In some respects many farmers and crofters will have been shielded to a degree from the lifestyle changes due to COVID -19 which others have felt, as they have been so engrossed in spring work.

“However, it is now ,when they would usually be getting out to auction markets and agricultural shows around the country, and are this year not able to, that they may really feel the impact.

“Usually attending agricultural shows and events helps people in our industry to chat, and re-kindle friendships.”

Jim Smith, comedian and farmer fronting the campaign, said: “As farmers, we’re not the best at expressing how we feel so it is more important than ever this year that everyone in the agricultural community supports each other and gets behind RSABI’s campaign.”

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