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Help on Hand for Farmers During Crisis

A nationwide labour-matching service to support cattle, sheep and other farmers struck down by Covid-19 has been launched by the Perth-based Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society (AACS).

The imminent plight of fruit growers has been widely publicised, but livestock farmers who are currently in the midst of calving and lambing often have no back-up staff to turn to, leading the AACS to appeal for experienced stocksmen and women to sign up to a new data base of helpers, and for farmers to forward their details in case they need help in the coming weeks.

The society’s chief executive, Barrie Turner, said: “Most livestock farms have cut labour to a minimum, and as the disease gathers pace many of us are bound to be affected, so we need to be prepared.

“Keeping the wheels turning with a minimum labour force, as skilled key workers are expected to be taken ill or unable to travel to work, has now become the priority for our industry. And all while supporting the health and safety and wellbeing of our farmers and farm workers nationwide.”

Farm businesses have already been advised to prepare contingency plans, including a list of key contacts and details about their farm protocols and routines, in case help is required at short notice. Rural charity RSABI has also offered support where
necessary.

Mr Turner suggested vet students, agriculture students and stock enthusiasts who would normally spend their summer preparing animals for shows and events would be ideal candidates to take over the day-to-day work of farmers who are ill.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact the AACS via their website or by emailing amy@breedplan.co.uk with a CV, location and appropriate skills. Farmers are also invited to register.

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