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“Concerning” anxiety levels among women in farming linked with isolation, financial worries and workload

Financial pressures, long working hours and isolation are among with the causes of “concerning” levels of anxiety among farming women, a new study shows.

Mental health support for farmers needs radical overhaul, say researchers

Mental health services in rural areas need urgent attention to ensure the needs of farmers are properly met, according to researchers.

Learn about the spicy history of the chilli plant at hot chocolate-themed Exeter event

The hot and spicy history of the chilli plant will be on the menu as part of a special hot chocolate-themed event in Exeter.

Major new study shows 'concerning' levels of physical and mental health problems among farmers and agricultural workers

A major new study shows “concerning” levels of physical and mental health problems among farmers and agricultural workers.

Agricultural rewilding can help restore the environment and support production of high-welfare food, researchers say

Rewilding landscapes using elements of farming practice can help to restore ecosystems and produce high-welfare, high-quality food, researchers say.

Offering healthcare services at livestock marts will help to remove stigma about seeking help among agricultural community, study shows

Research shows that offering healthcare services in lifestock marts will help erode stigmas associated with mental health in the agricultural community

Lack of public appreciation contributes to loneliness in farming, study shows

A lack of public appreciation for farmers and understanding of the work they do and the pressures they’re under contributes to feelings of loneliness, according to a new study.

Lack of technical and financial support hinders efforts to implement global guidelines for antimicrobial resistance in Benin and Burkina Faso, study shows

Lack of technical and financial support hinders efforts to implement global guidelines for antimicrobial resistance in Benin and Burkina Faso, new research shows.

CRPR pays tribute to Caroline Drummond

Caroline Drummond MBE
Hon DSc, NSch, HonFSE, FRAgS, FIAgM, FRSA, FSB, CEnv, BSc (Hons) Agric

LEAF’s Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond, passed away on Monday 23rd May, after a short illness.

Caroline was an inspiration to all who knew her, transforming LEAF over 30 years from a small farmer organisation to a major force in promoting sustainable farming, agri-environmental  management and healthy food. Her energy, drive and vision will be remembered by all who had the privilege to know her and work with her.

Thirsk Prize for CRPR

Members of the Centre for Rural Policy Research have won a prestigious history prize for one of their recent books.

Just Published - The Land Between the Moors

Running to 15 chapters and 400 pages, this book publishes the results from a wide spectrum of research undertaken in the land between Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, covering both natural and social sciences. 

Help needed for major new study on labour shortages and skills crisis in the farming and horticultural industry

A major new study will shed light on the labour and skills shortages responsible for the staffing crisis in the farming and horticultural industry.

New targets could help public sector use more local food, according to new report

The public sector can strengthen local supply chains and help local producers access them.


Covid tip of iceberg for farmer mental health, new research shows

Farmers’ mental health was already at a critical point prior to Covid-19, which widened existing cracks in support according to new research.

Long working hours and lone-working key factors leading to loneliness in farming, study shows

Long hours, working alone and a feeling of being undervalued and disconnected from the wider public are among the key factors which cause loneliness within the farming community, a major new study shows.

Major new study to map South West’s food supply aims to improve opportunities for producers, processors and procurers

A major new project to map the South West’s food supply chains will identify opportunities to improve the system for people, place and planet.

Despite the farming community facing significant mental and physical health challenges, more than 50 per cent remain optimistic about the future of their farm businesses

RABI’s Big Farming Survey results have revealed that despite the farming community facing significant mental and physical health challenges, more than 50% remain optimistic about the future of their farm businesses. 

Rewilding efforts in England are “domesticated” and of a smaller scale compared to efforts in other nations, study argues

A unique “domesticated” form of English rewilding is now emerging, which is distinct from activities in other parts of the world where there are lower levels of human intervention, a new study argues.

New research by The Prince’s Countryside Fund highlights the importance of auction marts for the social, health, and wellbeing of their visitors

A new report commissioned by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, and carried out by researchers from the University of Exeter, highlights how auction marts tackle social isolation and improve the health and wellbeing of their users.

HRH The Prince of Wales attends meeting at Tennacott Farm

As part of his annual visit to the South West, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales attended a meeting at Tennacott Farm, near Bideford.

Urgent need to reform image of farming to prevent “disastrous” labour shortages, report warns

There is an urgent need to change the image of farming in order to prevent “disastrous” agriculture labour shortages, a new report warns.

Extreme weather affecting UK agriculture – but adapting to changing climate a challenge for many farmers, study shows

Extreme weather is harming UK agriculture – but many farmers have not yet made adapting to the effects of the climate emergency a priority, a new study shows.

Positive uptake of the Big Farming Survey will define future support

RABI extends its thanks to the farming sector as the largest ever research project into the health and wellbeing of farming people throughout England and Wales concludes its first stage.

Farmer mental health hit during Covid focus of new research

Farmers mental health and resilience and the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic will be the focus of a major new research project.

New research looking at the relationship between local farmers markets and diet quality

Professor Harry West of the CRPR and Exeter Food Studies Network has been awarded an ESRC Impact Cultivation award as Co-I, alongside Dr Luciana Torquati as PI and Good Food Exeter as an external partner.

Health and wellbeing benefits of walking on the South West Coast Path valued at over £75 million per year

Latest research has calculated health and wellbeing benefits of over £75 million for people walking Britain’s longest National Trail. The figures were produced as part of a report published today that assesses the health and wellbeing benefits of the South West Coast Path.

Take 15 minutes to complete the Big Farming Survey

RABI has launched the largest ever survey of farming people in England and Wales, with a target of achieving 26,000 responses. 

“Do Not Feed the Animals?” PhD studentships announced

We’re delighted to announce two studentships as part of a new Wellcome funded project, From ‘Feed The Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’? (DNFTA).  

University of Exeter experts lead major research project into farmer wellbeing

University of Exeter experts are leading a major new study to better understand the mental and physical wellbeing issues facing agricultural workers.

DEFA Nutrient Management Expert Group Appointment

Michael Winter has been appointed to a newly established DEFA Nutrient Management Expert Group.  

Online church services prove popular with rural congregations during pandemic, new study shows

Online church services have proved popular with rural communities during the pandemic, a new study shows.

Here’s to Thee – new art collaboration explores the rich ecology and culture behind cider making

A fascinating and thought-provoking new collaboration will seek to uncover the complex ecology and cultures that surround the art of cider making.

Less than a fifth of farmers plan to fully retire, new university study finds

Less than a fifth of farmers plan on fully retiring and many do not discuss their later life plans with loved ones, according to a new study from the University of Exeter in collaboration with NFU Mutual.

Research to explore farmers’ experiences of isolation, loneliness and mental health issues

New research led by the University of Exeter and The Farming Community Network (FCN) aims to explore how social isolation, loneliness and mental health issues within the farming community are experienced and managed – and how to improve support available.

Professor Michael Winter cited in House of Lords debate on the Agriculture Bill

The House of Lords has been debating the Agriculture Bill this week, including an amendment specifically referring to agroecology.  

Agricultural jobs website launches to connect farms with work-seekers

With an acute labour shortage in the seasonal farming industry and millions of people either out of work or furloughed, The Land Army was born with the goal of connecting farms and agricultural businesses with suitable candidates quickly. 

Studying food in a time of crisis

From gardening and food preservation to redesigning food systems, the University of Exeter’s MA in Food Studies brings together food, wellbeing, sustainability and community

New research on the management of the disruptive social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in the context of the food supply chain

From panic buying to shortages, real or perceived, COVID-19 is leaving its mark on the food system. Whilst media attention has focused on retail and consumers, the impact of these measures has also been felt in the less visible parts of the food supply chain: food manufacture, processing, packaging and distribution, and it is in these sectors that rapid restructuring has been, and will be, required most. 

No Service Please - a piece written by Edward Furseman, one of our MA Food Studies students who also works in the catering and hospitality sector

Working in a large hotel kitchen is a hot, fast paced job. Sixty-hour weeks are not uncommon, often with no breaks, especially in the busier school holidays and summer months. For most in the catering industry the job is a labour of love, uniquely demanding and satisfying, hopefully in the right proportions. Chefs are no stranger to uncertainty, being able to reflexively respond to a busy service is a fundamental skill. This reflexivity, however, is built upon preparation. Any good chef will tell you that getting your mis en place sorted is the most important lesson you can learn. For now though, in the hospitality industry, it appears that very little is in place.

New article published on scholar activism within the food market

Dr. Rebecca Sandover has recently published an article on scholar activism within the food market.

Cornwall’s Farming Health Hub offers vital support to farmers struggling to cope with impact of COVID-19 pandemic

As people in farming and those living and working in rural communities struggle to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their physical, mental and
business health, Cornwall’s Farming Health Hub has produced a new leaflet aimed at signposting people to where they can go for help and advice.

Call for evidence on prospects for livestock auction marts in the UK:call extended in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic

The Call for Evidence for The Prince’s Countryside Fund research into livestock auction marts has been extended, specifically in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or your auction mart business has been affected by the Coronavirus, whether personally, socially, economically, or otherwise, please let us know, by sending an email to the following address:

Foodbanks in England's market towns - third survey completed

Dr Gordon Morris, an Honorary Research Associate of the CRPR, has completed his third survey of the town clerks of England's country ('market') towns. 

New resources available following Defra Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project

Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) is a UK government-funded project designed to provide robust evidence regarding how diffuse pollution from agriculture can be cost-effectively controlled to improve and maintain water quality in rural river catchment areas.

CRPR Distinguished Lecture Series with Adam Henson

The CRPR launched their Distinguished Lecture series this month and were delighted to welcome Adam Henson to the University to deliver the inaugural lecture.

CRPR PhD Researcher speaks at Women in Dairy Conference

Beth Dooley, a third year PhD researcher in the CRPR, was recently invited to speak at the Women in Dairy Conference at Sixways Stadium in Worcester. 

New MOOC 'Future Food: Sustainable Food systems for the 21st century’ open for registration

Explore the challenges and opportunities on our journey to a sustainable food future

Dr Paul Cleave wins 'Short Article' category in BALH awards

Each year the British Association for Local History (BALH) gives awards for research and publications.

New Directions in Agri-Environmental Governance - a workshop in Neuchâtel

On 28 and 29 May 2019, Professor Michael Winter OBE was one of the invited speakers at a workshop at the Institut d’Ethnologie in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Michael Winter warns of the need to take care with the future of farming when designing new policies for post-Brexit rural land use

Government policies across the UK increasingly connect objectives for farming with the environment and broader natural capital approaches (e.g. 25 Year Environment Plan, Agriculture Bill). However, any discussion around natural capital and farming requires a farming system that improves or maintains natural capital against a backdrop of pressures such as environmental change, economic uncertainty and BREXIT.

Farming Health Hub will provide an absolute lifeline for farmers in the South West facing mounting pressures

To the outside world, farming can seem like an idyllic lifestyle. With nature therapy now being prescribed by doctors, the idealised version of a farming life and the one represented in popular media holds a strong appeal for many.

Japan’s desperate need for migrant workers a warning for the UK

Caroline Nye, Associate Researcher at the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter, writes for the Conversation UK.

University of Exeter expert contributes to Government’s bovine TB strategy review

A University of Exeter expert has contributed to the review of the Government’s 25 Year Bovine TB Strategy.

British farms could get a special pass to hire migrant workers after Brexit

Caroline Nye, Associate Researcher at the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter, writes for the Conversation UK.


£1 million gift to support vital agricultural research

Critical research at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR) is to expand thanks to further investment from the John Oldacre Foundation.

Research partners join forces to develop a new sustainable way of managing tourism across four Biosphere Reserves in France and England

A cutting-edge project to increase the economic value of tourism while reducing its potential environmental impact is underway in the four Unesco Biosphere Reserves of the Channel region. Professors Matt Lobley and Michael Winter and Dr Tim Wilkinson will be representing the CRPR as a lead partner in this project.

British farmers could play a key role in helping to promote better public health

British farmers could find business opportunities and help promote better public health

Farmers increasingly relying on agricultural contractors, new research shows

More farmers are relying on external companies to carry out major work, new research shows.

The CRPR presents 'In Our Hands'

The CRPR is delighted to be able to present a free screening of the film In Our Hands – Seeding Change.  

In Our Hands tells the inspiring story behind the blood, sweat and tears of the British farmers seizing the Brexit moment to outgrow the industrial food system.  

Faculty and Researchers to deliver bite-size food talks at the River Cottage Food Fair

Faculty and PhD researchers from the Centre for Rural Policy Research will take part in the Food for Thought Stage on Sunday 27 May as part of the River Cottage Food Fair

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Public Policy

Dr Keith Howe, Senior Research Fellow in the CRPR, has received an Award for Excellence 2018 from the Agricultural Economics Society (AES) for his outstanding contribution to teaching and public policy. 

Master’s students from the Centre for Rural Policy Research visit Rothamsted Research world leading experimental research farm

As part of the Knowledge Exchange module, Master’s students went on a field trip to Rothamsted Research’s North Wyke Farm Platform near Okehampton.  

Sustainable Intensification in Policy and Practice: The UK Story

Professor Michael Winter, who is currently undertaking research at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, led a seminar on Sustainable Intensification.

University of Exeter expert appointed to bovine tuberculosis strategy review

University of Exeter rural policy expert, Professor Michael Winter, has been appointed by the Defra Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to the Government’s bovine tuberculosis Strategy Review.

New tool allows farmers to compare their environmental impacts

Farmers can now compare their business’s impact on the environment using a new tool designed to help them operate in a more sustainable and productive way.

Fresh Start Land Matching Conference Success

Professor Matt Lobley's informative presentation on family farming, succession and entry to farming was enthusiastically received by the audience. 

New tool to support improvements to environment and rural employment

A new web-based tool will support policymakers and farmers to improve the environment and increase rural employment.

CRPR PhD researcher wins BANC’s ECOS Student Article Competition 2017.

CRPR PhD researcher, Adrian Colston, was recently announced as one of the winners of BANC’s ECOS Student Article Competition 2017. 

Dr Eva Thomann awarded grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation

Dr Eva Thomann, alongside experts in policy analysis at the University of Bern, awarded grant to carry out an analysis project on food policy in Switzerland entitled “Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production”.

Food Exeter strategy promotes healthy, sustainable city

A new strategy has been published to promote sustainable and healthy food for all in Exeter.

Professor Matt Lobley was the sole U.K. delegate invited to speak at the Changing Lands, Changing Hands Conference in Denver, Colorado.

This event brought together international participants from a wide range of sectors to exchange knowledge, experience and research findings.

Professor Lobley was among invited guests at the Family Farmers’ Association’s (FFA) Annual Open Meeting at the Palace of Westminster

The meeting on 1 February 2017 provided a forum for UK family farmers to meet up and discuss matters.  Discussions were focussed on the recent Brexit decision and how the FFA can seek to influence the future of farming in light of this. 

LEEP academic involved in 'Food and the Circular Economy South West' workshops

The workshops will be explore the opportunities and challenges for SME food and drink processors, specifically bakery and dairy processors, in the South West in transitioning towards the circular economy (CE) – as well as evaluating the CE concept itself.

PhD studentships for September 2017 entry announced

We’re delighted to announce four PhD studentships supervised by LEEP colleagues, which are funded thanks to our links with external research partners, The John Oldacre Foundation, and our alumni.

The Prince of Wales praises work of University of Exeter farming experts

The Prince of Wales has praised the work of University of Exeter experts to help support small family farms.

New Nuffield award hopes to influence the future of British farming

Nuffield Farming is awarding University of Exeter academic, Professor Michael Winter, with a Scholarship to study for the first Nuffield Farming Lecture. 

Rural policy expert appointed as Government advisor

University of Exeter rural policy expert Professor Michael Winter OBE has been appointed as a Government advisor to help protect England’s natural environment.

University of Exeter agricultural economist awarded honorary doctorate

A University of Exeter expert has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal Veterinary College for his outstanding contribution to promoting animal health and welfare.

Major study reveals steep decline in number of small family farms

A major new independent study commissioned by The Prince’s Countryside Fund into the future of small family farms across the UK, has revealed a steep decline in numbers since the beginning of the century.

University of Exeter experts to provide crucial advice to farmers, government and communities

Senior politicians have welcomed work by University of Exeter academics to promote smart decision-making which will safeguard the environment.

New research shows South West farmers concerned by Brexit

Farmers have expressed concern about the unknown implications of Britain leaving the European Union, according to a new survey by experts at the University of Exeter.

Politics academic runs natural environment management workshop with Scottish decision makers

Dr Duncan Russel ran a workshop, with colleagues from the University of East Anglia and the James Hutton Institute, which brought together a range of representatives Scottish organisations responsible for managing the natural environment. 

Latest news and activities from the Sustainable Intensification Platform

This issue highlights the ongoing work of the SIP community both in individual aspects of research, and in finding new ways of bringing about SI on farm and in the wider landscape.

The viability of the UK small farm – a call for evidence

As part of research commissioned by The Prince's Countryside Fund we are holding workshops with interested parties and in advance of these workshops we are inviting the submission of written evidence.

Professor Matt Lobley awarded Associate membership of the Royal Agricultural Societies

Professor Lobley's award was for his very considerable contribution to the well being of the land based sector - particularly in the areas of retirement & succession planning.

The viability of the UK small farm – a call for evidence

As part of research commissioned by The Prince's Countryside Fund we are holding workshops with interested parties and in advance of these workshops we are inviting the submission of written evidence.

Professor Matt Lobley awarded Associate membership of the Royal Agricultural Societies

Professor Lobley's award was for his very considerable contribution to the well being of the land based sector - particularly in the areas of retirement & succession planning.

Succession planning service launched to help farms stay in the family

Professor Matt Lobley joined a panel of farm succession planning experts to lead a debate, 'Playing the generation game', at NFU’s annual Conference in Birmingham.

Valuing Nature placements for LEEP academics

LEEP is delighted that three of its academics were awarded Valuing Nature placements contributing to the understanding of the complexities of the natural environment they will work with policymakers, businesses and practitioners.