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  • Jessica Doney

Fonterra & Rural Support Trust Announce Partnership To Provide Wellbeing Support For Farmers

Rural communities in the Eastern Bay will soon benefit from a health and wellbeing partnership between Fonterra and the Rural Support Trust.


The two announced today a three year partnership to improve access to wellbeing and resilience services for farming families who are doing it tough. The first priority is to develop a rural specific national strategy, which is expected to be in place early next year.


2020 research by DairyNZ revealed 62% of dairy farmers said they or someone on their farm experienced mental health issues in the previous 12 months.


Group Director of Farm Source Richard Allen says, “For generations the RST has been standing by rural communities and have a long history of showing up and helping when times are tough. Fonterra has worked successfully with the RST for some time but more action is needed and this new partnership will help strengthen our wellbeing support throughout the country.”


“Developing a national, long-term strategy with clear objectives and actions that address mental health and other rural challenges is simply the right thing to do, "


“Farming is an animal and produce business, but it’s also very much a human business. It’s right to show up for communities during events and emergencies, but the partnership also recognises an ongoing need for support of, and commitment to, New Zealand communities.” Allen says.


Chair of the National Council of Rural Support Trust, Neil Bateup says, “Kiwi farmers and growers run pretty special businesses, but they’re businesses that are vulnerable to a bunch of significant external factors – many of which are out of their control. A good example is the extreme weather and flooding experienced across parts of New Zealand recently. Farmers are also feeling increasing pressures due to things like rising on-farm costs, the labour pinch and increasing compliance obligations."


“We’ve come a long way in the last decade or so, in that there’s more recognition that mind health is just as important as physical wellbeing, but we know there’s still a lot of work to do in this area.” Bateup says.


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