Video: Farming respect plea issued by Duke

THE Queen’s cousin yesterday made an impassioned plea for greater respect to be paid to farmers.

Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, voiced his concerns that increasing numbers of farmers were enduring isolation and having to overcome a range of hurdles from Government red tape to the unpredictable weather.

The call was made during a visit to Manson House, a residential home run by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) in Bury St Edmunds.

After cutting the first turf of the �4.5million redevelopment works at the 22-room home, His Royal Highness said: “Now that food is becoming more valuable I would like to think that farmers are going to be more respected in future.

“Whether that will really happen I don’t know, it maybe just wishful thinking. We are all involved in trying to grow more food, more effectively, with less fossil fuels and from other sources to make a little go even further.

“Over the past few decades the industry has got smaller in numbers and hopefully mechanisation has meant less of a physical strain on those who partake of it but at the same time of course the industry has become individuals have become more isolated. They work by themselves and nobody really notices what they do or don’t do and they can feel very lonely. At farms where there used to be many workers there may only be one and it is therefore very important that organisations like this catch those who may otherwise disappear.

“We all know that farming isn’t a certainty. We all expect the weather to be awful and we expect the Government to do awful things from time to time,” said the Duke, adding farmers also had to cope with occasional issues such as animal diseases.

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Speaking about the redevelopment scheme at Manson House, the Duke said: “Knowing that there are organisations like this that can catch people and restore their confidence in the system as it is must be a huge benefit to farmers. I hope the new buildings provide a happy home for those who need it in the years ahead.”

When the works are finished in November 2013, it will have 31 en-suite rooms, including some for couples. The number of self-contained apartments will rise from 19 to 23.