Rural communities feel the squeeze with highest on-farm inflation since 1980s

Rural communities feel the squeeze with highest on-farm inflation since 1980s

It has recently been revealed that farmers are facing the highest on-farm inflation since the early 1980's and Rural mental health advocate Craig Wiggins told REX host Dominic George everyone is struggling.

"My bank balance is going backwards faster than I can make it go forwards," he said.

"On-farm inflation is huge…it's two and a half times what normal inflation is at the moment."

Wiggins explained that the issue is being felt by the rural community up and down Aotearoa.

"A lot of us have had term loans roll over this year and we're caught out basically with our pants down."

While the cost of living has increased across the board over the past few years, but a report from Beef and Lamb shows that interest on debt, which makes up over ten percent of total farm expenditure, has increased by 86.5%, compounding the financial issues for farmers and the rural economy.

Wiggins told George that farmers are absolutely feeling the increased cost of living and said in his experience the best thing to do is keep an open line of communication with banks and money managers.

"Don't try and hide anything because that's just another layer of mental distress on top of everything.

Having recently done some work with Agriconnect, he knows that there are some account managers who are personally invested in rural businesses and familiar with the passion behind running a farm.

Maintaining a transparent and open relationship with the people who manage your money is one way he believes those working in the rural sector can minimise the impact of a volatile economy.

"As much as you can, try to communicate to them where you're at and what you're doing," he said.

Find more about Craig's work at his facebook page or check out his rural health and well-being charity 'Whatever with Wiggy'.