Sheep farming

Why every farmer needs to know about R.A.B.I

Farming can be incredibly unpredictable. That’s no secret. Yet if something unexpected left you struggling financially, wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that help was available? To raise awareness of their grants, a leading farming charity is asking farmers like you to join them in their upcoming campaign – the Farmhouse Breakfast.


You love what you do. It’s what gets you up before sunrise - day in, day out. It’s why you toil away in the fields for hours on end. It’s what makes the back-breaking labour worth it. Beef and dairy farming is in your blood and it makes you unique.

But nobody said it was easy.

In fact, sheep, beef and dairy are notoriously volatile and unpredictable industries. Sometimes - through no fault of their own - farmers can be left walking a financial tightrope. Fortunately, if that were to happen, R.A.B.I is doing its bit to help.


The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (that’s R.A.B.I to you and I) is a welfare charity that offers financial support to farming families when things get tight. In 2015 they helped 1,340 families and gave away £270,000 in grants. Flash forward to the first half of 2016 and that figure was £259,000.

Since forming way back in 1860 R.A.B.I has seen two World Wars, been governed by 40 Prime Ministers and paid out over £1m to farmers across England and Wales. That money has helped to treat diseased livestock, repair flood damage, purchase disability equipment, pay domestic bills and an awful lot more.

R.A.B.I has also helped countless farming families claim the state benefits they didn’t even know they were entitled to.


Perhaps the best way to pay homage to R.A.B.I’s work is to explain how they have helped others, such as Robert and Sylvia Crocker from Devon. When they took their first finished heifer to market and got the highest price of the day (around £1,400), it was one of the proudest moments of their lives. However, the next morning they received a call from the abattoir informing them that lesions had been discovered in the head and guts of their prized animal.

Three months earlier the Crockers’ entire herd has been tested for TB and given the all clear. This particular heifer had not previously shown signs of poor health. After the news from the abattoir an inspection followed, unfortunately this prevented the Crockers from selling cattle for four months. This had implications for them as it meant 30 suckled calves were unable to go to the spring sales and as such caused major cash flow issues. Where do R.A.B.I come in? Well, they offered personal support throughout the ordeal as well as a £2,000 grant to help with domestic bills.

There are scores of similar stories. Such as the dairy farmers who went six weeks without payment before being told their milk collector had gone into administration. Or the livestock farmer who had to curtail his career because of organophosphate poisoning, (You can read more stories in detail on R.A.B.I’s website)


If you want to make the decision to support your farming community, your first step is to find an event near you. Or you can get help hosting your own event by calling R.A.B.I on 01865 724931.

To make a one-off donation, visit R.A.B.I on JustGiving. Your support could contribute towards helping a farming family when they need it most.

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