Bishop: Buy more local produce to support struggling farmers
The situation is "dire" for many of Britain's farmers, the Bishop of Hereford has said.
The Right Reverend Anthony Priddis warned they are facing their most difficult time since foot and mouth disease.
He said the Farm Community Network, formally the Farm Crisis Network, had received more calls locally in the first month of this year than the whole of last year.
The bishop speaks of his concern in an open letter of support and solidarity.
"This is almost certainly the most difficult time for the whole farming community since the horrendous foot and mouth outbreak 12 years ago," he said.
"As a result, it is vital that our farmers, their families and our whole rural communities are assured at least of our prayer and support in these straitened times."
He called upon shoppers to do their bit for the local economy by purchasing locally sourced food.
"While there is nothing that those of us outside the farming community can do about the underlying issued themselves, and not much that those in the farming industry can do about weather conditions, fuel and feed costs, disease and so on, we can nevertheless demonstrate our support by showing as much care and understanding as possible, so that those suffering hardship and extreme worry and isolation can at least know of our solidarity," he said.
"Practically, we can buy locally sourced food as much as possible to ensure returns to the local economy."