As we go to print in mid-March the situation around the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is changing rapidly - daily and sometimes hourly.

In these unprecedented times it is impossible to see where we will be when South West Farmer lands on your doorstep.

Already we are seeing cancellations of the major shows in our calendar as well as postponements of events including LEAF Open Farm Sunday.

Government advice is to be on alert for symptoms of the virus, a fever and/or a persistent dry cough. If found, the instruction is to self-isolate for 14 days, alongside your family in case they have contracted it.

In addition, the government is requesting that members of the community who are over the age of 70, and those that have medical conditions making them vulnerable, isolate themselves.

As a result supermarket shelves are being stripped and local businesses are having to close.

The need to buy local has never been more acute. With the number of farm shops in our region we are fortunate to be able to.

Farmers across the south west are stepping up to the shortages by offering fresh produce and home deliveries. They are being both reactive and proactive in being a lifeline to the community.

Community spirit is thriving, with social media playing a crucial role in these unsociable times. Likewise, phone calls and emails are filling the void for those in isolation.

Farming can be a lonely enterprise, and yet it must go on as the nation relies on our farmers for their produce.

For those farmers who need to isolate themselves due to the virus, it will be an especially lonely time.

If social media and IT generally is not your thing, make sure you keep picking up the phone.

Try not to get bogged down with the torrent of bad news that is our new normal and, if it does feel too much, then ease the pressure by talking to friends and family.

For those feeling increasingly overwhelmed it might be preferable to talk to a stranger. The Samaritans are always available, night and day by calling 116 123.

RABI are always on hand, too, to help in times of need. Call them on 0808 281 9490 or email

Likewise the Farming Community Network are here for you. Call them on 03000 111 999 or email

Wherever you are and whatever you are feeling, there are people ready and able to help.

We need eachother, and we need farmers, more than ever.