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Sowing the seeds for better farmer health, safety and wellbeing

We are excited to present this comprehensive report that sheds light on the integral link between farmers’ mental and physical health and overall farm safety. This report delves into the perspectives of farmers from various Irish farming backgrounds, with insightful findings that highlight the symbiotic relationship between minding one’s health and ensuring a safer farm environment. The report captures the opinions of farmers who have come to recognise the profound impact of mental and physical well-being on daily farm operations.

The report was launched by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon who spoke passionately about his own farming background and gave his support to the FarmConnect programme saying: “Farmer health and well-being is one of the cornerstones of improving farm safety. FarmConnect embodies the spirit of the eight-farm safety EIPs that were rolled out across the country and has proved itself a hugely innovative project. There is significant appetite amongst farmers to improve their health and wellbeing and when provided with the opportunity, they embrace it wholeheartedly”.
Minister Heydon pictured with FarmConnect Coordinators, Facilitators and farmers.
Minister Heydon pictured with FarmConnect Coordinators, Facilitators and farmers.
Inspirational idea: A pilot programme for farmer health and wellbeing
126 farmers participated in the pilot programme within the two counties and had attendance rates of 95%. Speaking at the event Clare Thoma, FarmConnect co-ordinator, said: “The informal, peer-led approach to the sessions was a vital part in creating the environment for people to feel comfortable…” “…and it is this approach that drives engagement and creates the supportive environment that continues after the programme has finished”.

This feedback sums up a typical response from the farmers on their participation:
“It made me think about my lifestyle and I said to myself I’m going to put this into practice.”

The chair of the operational group and CEO of the Men’s Development Network highlighted the importance of bringing all stakeholders together and drawing on each other’s expertise: “It is these forms of collaboration that generate the creativity and innovation and I would like to thank the operational group for their commitment to the project, the co-ordinator Clare Thoma and of course the participants and facilitators.”