What aid has been put in place in Haute-Loire to help farmers in difficulty?

The Haute-Loire Chamber of Agriculture has been running a departmental cell for ten years. Its goal: to identify farms and farmers who need help. With the Departmental Directorate of the Territories (DDT), the social services of the Agricultural Social Mutuality (MSA), the social services of the department and Cerfrance, everything is ready to help them.

prize Faced with the drought, the prefect of the Haute-Loire promises his support to the farmers of the department

Word of mouth, calls, visits …

But how to recognize these weakened farms when we know that farmers speak little of their concerns? “We work by word of mouth, with visits from technical consultants, we have calls …”, lists Landry Marsaud, advisor for vulnerable farms in the Chamber of Agriculture.

All of these actors prefer the approach to come from the farmers themselves.

It’s okay when it’s them because when we come knocking on their door, they’re usually not ready to pass the class.

Once this famous milestone has been passed, a mechanism is put in place and a series of aids opens. Technical and financial difficulties, psychological help, respite, health problems, personal … A solution will be found for every problem. “The first meeting, as soon as we can, we do it in tandem with a social worker of the MSA”, explains the commissioner of the chamber.

MSA relief stays

To combat psychosocial risks and burnout in the agricultural sector, the MSA has established respite care. This aid is intended for all farmers, whether they are farmers, heads of farms or farms, employees, etc. After a social assessment of the situation, a social worker proposes a personalized action plan. In other words, participation in discussion groups, psychological counseling (five covered sessions), but also “respite stays”. Depending on the situation, they can go alone or as a family.

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Forty people followed since January 2022

Meetings are held several times a year to take stock of the situation. “We follow about forty people every year. This figure is stable. We truly support any type of production, large or small. »The average age is around 50 and the most common problems are« IT problems and administrative follow-up ». In France, a country that loves paperwork, difficult to follow when the rules change or when everything (or almost everything) has to be done on the internet.

The Chamber, like all other institutions, has a desire: “that situations improve”. But also avoid tragedies. “Suicide attempts are necessarily made by people we have never seen, others we follow. We are still trying to resolve the situation. “Here we work on a case-by-case basis. Michel’s situation will not necessarily apply to René. It is a reality and everyone understood it well. Once a quarter, all players in the unit meet. The goal, “to see what each one can bring as a solution”. Bank aid, psychological support or even retraining, everything is possible.

Auvergne Peasant Solidarity, which fights against the isolation of farmers, is looking for volunteers

Possible conversion

“We can help with the redevelopment,” says Landry Marsaud. A solution “before reaching extreme situations”. Training exists in Haute-Loire. “It takes place over four days with a psychologist, a legal consultant, the DDT, Pôle emploi and temporary agencies,” he says. In the end, “90% of farmers leave with temporary work”.

Peasant Solidarity comes to the aid

The goal of this national association is to “contact fellow farmers and support their peers,” explains Laure Gaillard, one of seven Auvergne employees. In 2021, 22 farmers were supported by Solidarité pays. Accompaniments that are carried out on one condition: “it is they who must call, not their loved ones. We wait for the call then we explain, we reassure. “We take the time to understand” Once the call is made, everyone receives a visit, at least once, by a couple made up of an employee and a volunteer (the follow-up is about 2-3 years, ed). Farm community volunteers, active or retired. “We take the time to understand the problem, we care about people, we listen,” describes Serge Douix, a retired organic farmer. Each case is unique.

Maryne Le Goff

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