Piling on the pressure: Crime and stress in British farming





agricultural crime, farmer, farming stressors, comparison, victimisation, rural


Farmers in Britain face a range of stressors – events that negatively affect wellbeing – that impact on their ability to manage their business successfully. Extant research has identified stressors such as weather, finance, regulation, staffing and time pressures. However, no research has examined how agricultural crime affects the mental health of farmers. This article is the first to explore whether agricultural crime should be considered as a farmer stressor, and how this compares to the impact of other, more widely acknowledged farmer stressors on the day-to-day running of a farm in Britain. An online survey was employed to reach farmers across Britain to obtain quantitative data, but also qualitative data relating to stressors. Results in this first tranche of data indicate that agricultural crime has a clear place in the list of farmer stressors, with only weather, finance and time pressures being reported more often as a top three stressor by participants. The article concludes that there is a clear research gap regarding crime as a farmer stressor. It is argued that the findings of this research support the need for a wider discussion among key stakeholders to examine how agricultural crime is impacting upon the viability of British farms, and to ensure that agricultural crime is considered as a key farmer stressor so that its effects can be better addressed alongside other stressors.