An Aberdeenshire pig producer is reminding farming families of the support available to them, as concerns about the Scottish pig industry continue to grow.
Danny Skinner, a producer who farms near Insch in Aberdeenshire, is encouraging producers to contact organisations such as RSABI if they are feeling overwhelmed by the industry’s current situation.
RSABI provides emotional, practical and financial support to people involved in Scottish agriculture.
Mr Skinner said: “We are resilient as an industry, but this is very different. Costs have gone up – including feed and energy – and it is just not sustainable for many, and we are seeing producers now steadily going out of pigs or increasing their borrowings to worrying levels.”
“I think there may be a faint glimmer of light out there, but it is still far away, and there are so many unknowns, which means there is without doubt huge pressure on everyone involved in the industry.”
RSABI chief executive, Carol McLaren (pictured with Mr Skinner) visited his farm to hear about the producer’s concerns. Ms McLaren said that it was vital that everyone plays a part in supporting and looking out for pig farmers and others in farm businesses which are most vulnerable to the increased costs.
“This is a really, really difficult time for producers like Danny who have devoted their entire working lives to pig production. Some of them are making really tough decisions and judgement calls about how they move forward, and it is so important that they know RSABI is here to support them,” she added.
The RSABI helpline, 0808 1234 555, “is friendly, professional and 100% confidential,” notes Ms McLaren. “We would urge farming families not to feel they are alone because we are here for everyone involved in Scottish agriculture, and the sooner you contact us the sooner we can start to help.”
Jamie Wyllie, the chair of NFU Scotland’s pigs committee, said: “Things have been very difficult for pig farmers for well over a year. With the price of feed increasing by over 60% since last year and the price we get paid for our product only increasing by about 25%, losses have mounted up to levels never seen before.”
“With no immediate sign of these losses stopping, the impact this has on our mental health is immense. As an industry we are so incredibly lucky to have a trusted and valued organisation such as RSABI to speak to and help us and the benefit and impact of the work they do is immeasurable.”
Other farming support
- RABI: 0800 188 4444 www.rabi.org.uk/kooth
- The Farming Community Network (FCN): 03000 111 999 www.fcn.org.uk