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What's driving farmer wellbeing in Australia

The Regional Wellbeing Survey is a large annual survey of rural and regional Australians, defined as people living outside Australia’s largest capital cities. In 2015, 13,303 people took part in the survey, including just under 4,000 farmers.

In 2015, the most common farming challenges reported by Australian farmers were rising input costs, drought, increased water costs, lack of access to telecommunications, and reduced water allocation, with more than 55% of farmers reporting that one or more of these had prevented them running their farm they wanted to during the past three years.

Experience of some farming challenges increased between 2014 and 2015: in particular, the number of farmers reporting difficulty accessing finance grew from 35% in 2014 to 44% in 2015, indicating substantial growth in farm stress for many farmers.

The number of irrigators reporting rising water costs as a barrier to farm management also grew substantially between 2014 and 2015.

Younger farmers, crop growers, and farmers based in Victoria and South Australia, reported an increasing number of farming challenges between 2014 and 2015, highlighting growing levels of farm-related stress amongst these groups.

Farmers who report experiencing many farming challenges also typically report significantly poorer wellbeing, and slightly poorer farm financial performance. This highlights the importance of considering how to address common farming challenges in order to support not only farm productivity and performance, but also farmer wellbeing.

"Farming challenges & farmer wellbeing - 2015 Regional Wellbeing Survey - Farmer Report 1' is part of a series produced using results of the Regional Wellbeing Survey. To access more reports, results and data, go to www.regionalwellbeing.org.au and while you are there please consider completing the 2016 survey.

To contact the Regional Wellbeing Survey team, email regionalwellbeing@canberra.edu.au or call 1800 981 499.

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