Minister of State with responsibility for Farm Safety at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon TD, and Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton TD, launched On Feírm Ground 2, an expanded programme to raise awareness and to support farmers health and wellbeing, at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska.
Making the announcement, Minister of State Heydon said, “the health, safety and wellbeing of farmers is critical for the social sustainability of Irish agriculture. Poor mental and physical health among farmers can be a contributor factor in serious safety incidents on farms. On Feírm Ground equips trusted professionals coming in regular contact with farmers with the skills to spot the signs of a farmer who be struggling and how to signpost them to appropriate supports.”
The On Feírm Ground 2 programme is an initiative that brings together the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive in the funding of a training programme for agricultural professionals to engage with farmers on their health and wellbeing. The On Feírm Ground 2 programme is a continuation of the first programme which delivered the training to agricultural advisors.
Minister Heydon added, “the training delivered under the first On Feírm Ground programme provided agricultural advisors with the skills to engage with and signpost supports to farmers. This next step will see it expanded to others who work with farmers including private vets and staff working in my Department. I am also exploring further opportunities to provide the training to other groups who work with farmers.”
Minister Heydon and Minister Naughton highlighted the importance of such joint initiatives between their Departments and other stakeholders which enable the development of approaches to tackle the important issue of farmers’ health and wellbeing.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Naughton said, “Healthy Ireland is underpinned by a whole of government approach, and this requires the whole of society and in particular government departments to show leadership and become active partners in improving the health and wellbeing of the population. The commitment and vision of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to support the first phase of On Feírm Ground and to expand and fund this valuable programme for the next three years is very much welcomed. The Men’s Development Network have demonstrated their ability to deliver high quality programmes in the community and are well placed to develop and deliver On Feírm Ground 2.”
Fergal Fox from HSE Health and Wellbeing said, “reaching into farming workplaces and scaling up the engagement with farmers to support and engage on health and wellbeing, allows us to build on the work underway to promote men’s health and women’s health in communities across the country.”