Whittlesey: Farmer feels the impact of the heatwave

06:00 11 August 2022

A farmer described how he had mental health problems due to increasingly difficult working conditions due to heat waves.

Matt Styles of Whittlesey runs a farm with his wife and, unable to live on his farming income alone, he also undertakes contract work on other farms.

But Matt, 27, recently tweeted “one of the worst days” he’s ever had in farming.

He noted that he called the Farming Community Network charity hotline because he was “struggling to deal with what had happened mentally”.

“It was great to have a conversation with someone who really understood what I was going through,” he said.

“Sometimes I think the only other person who might understand what it is is another farmer, because I think a lot of us are going through the same thing or having similar experiences.

“And sometimes it’s nice to discuss these things.”

The Met Office reported that last month (July) was the driest July for England since 1935, and the driest July on record for East Anglia.

In most places, these dry conditions forced an earlier harvest, leaving many farmers struggling to store and sell goods.

Many UK farmers have detailed the difficulties they are currently facing due to the drought on social media.

Some farmers reported that droughts and rising costs due to inflation “will force people out of farming” and that workers need to “talk to each other” if they are having difficulty.

Due to the increasing number of farmers leaving the industry, the government has come up with the Lump Sum Exit Scheme which will provide a payment to help them.

Farmers must either rent or sell their land, or give up their lease in exchange for payment, and have until September 30 to apply.

The scheme, which opened in April, follows a public consultation which revealed that some farmers wanted to leave or retire from the industry but found it difficult for financial reasons.

Matt said: “That’s the great thing about Twitter – people sharing messages of support and love during tough times.

“I needed to reach out to someone because sometimes when you’re stuck in your own head it can be a very lonely place.”

Are you a farmer who feels the same about the heat? Contact us by emailing [email protected]