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Farmer livelihoods and wellbeing

Farmer livelihoods and wellbeing

Operating a dairy or meat farm is a stressful undertaking. Relentless financial pressures, changing consumer demand, a highly competitive market and the nature of the job with its long hours and low hourly rate make farming a tough gig.

Dairy farmers in particular face isolating challenges – tight profit margins, staff shortages, narrow processing contracts and regulations, climate change pressures, and low consumer demand.

Farming is chronically stressful, with two-thirds of farmers reporting mental health struggles.

Farmers experience chronic stress, often due to:

  • the pressures of running a farming business
  • natural disasters like drought, floods and bushfires
  • changing legislation
  • changing market conditions
  • difficulty finding and keeping good workers
  • isolation
  • family problems

The average suicide rate of farmers is almost 60% higher than non-farmers, with one farmer committing suicide every 10 days. These statistics comes from the National Rural Health Alliance, based on 10 years of coronial data.

Additionally, slaughterhouses provide an unsafe work environment for employees who are mostly underprivileged members of the community, immigrants, and refugees. Research also indicates that the rate of violence in the community increases after the establishment of a local slaughterhouse.

Source: National Rural Health Alliance.