Meet our new Rural Support Network Coordinator

In this blog post, Fiona Macdonald introduces herself as the Yorkshire Rural Support Network Coordinator at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

The last time I wrote an article like this was in 2017, long before I took up the post of Yorkshire Rural Support Coordinator at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

It seems like a lot has changed, yet nothing at all.

Farming futures post-Brexit were high on the agenda, as they still are now, without a great deal more information.

Sustainability was as much as a buzzword as it is in 2023, with only it’s new friend, Net Zero, taking the lead in the race to 2030.

We are in the throes of another meat scandal, pigs not horses this time and Jeremy Clarkson is now driving tractors on the television, not high performance cars.

With that in mind, what have we learnt since then?

Other than the fact that Jeremy is a great farming ambassador (desperately in need of some Health and Safety training with a telehandler and cattle though)? I also think Jeremy needs to invest in a decent farming coat! He always looks so terribly cold and wet.

I digress, back to what we have learnt; we need to be prepared for anything and as agriculturalists, we need a great amount of resilience.

It’s tough being resilient all of the time and we need to be equipped, physically and mentally to navigate our farming businesses through all types of seas.

New appointment

This March, I was really delighted to take over the reins of the Yorkshire Rural Support and Women in Farming Networks, as part of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Charitable Activities team.

The Yorkshire Rural Support Network is all about supporting resilience; farmer health and wellbeing. Tackling rural isolation and loneliness are absolutely at the top of our list.

The Network supports the amazing Field Nurse Team who regularly visit livestock markets and machinery shows across the county.

Field Nurse offer free farmer health checks and all of the trained nurses have agricultural backgrounds as well as being outstanding health professionals.

The important referrals and number of farmers they have supported across the county is overwhelming and its fantastic to see this service now being used so actively.

The nurses can advise and signpost on everything from blood pressure and cholesterol to sprains, aches, mental health and diet.

If you see their hub in the market next time you go, make sure to call in, you won’t get a better MOT anywhere else!

Our charitable mission

The Yorkshire Rural Support Network also organises community lunches as part of its mission to bring rural communities together and to ensure that isolation and loneliness do not just become part of our way of living in the countryside.

If you think your rural community would benefit from such an event, please get in touch via – we’d love to hear from you.

The Women in Farming Network champions women and their roles in farming businesses, meets regularly, and our highlights include getting together at the Great Yorkshire Show each year and holding an annual Autumn Gathering in October, which always has a fantastic line up of female speakers from across the agricultural world, and some of the best networking (and lunch) you’ll come across.

You can sign up to be a member of the Network for free, here, and be sure to save the date for the 10th Autumn Gathering this year; Tuesday 10th October 2023.

Like many farming women, I think my passion for the Yorkshire Rural Support Network stems from my inherent need to always look after people and animals, and encourage others to do the same.

Perhaps now you can understand why I’m so concerned about Jeremy Clarkson having a better farming coat?

More from the Yorkshire Rural Support and Women In Farming Networks

Start typing and press Enter to search