To my mind, the least cared for and most overused part of the farmer’s anatomy is the head. And I’m not talking here about bangs, scrapes and bruises, but of mental wellbeing.
We operate in a environment of deadlines, bank overdrafts, procedures, protocols, co-op bills, red tape, physical and taxing farm work, and of course (for the past 12 months without a break!) weather constraints.
Many of us will also work off the farm, as we strive to keep ourselves above water and strive to keep this farming tradition alive.
At Tullamore Show next Sunday, the Farm Safety Live Event (organised by FRS Training, HSA and FBD Insurance) might perhaps seem to be focused more on the physical dangers that exist on our farms (livestock handling, quad bike operation, tractor safety and PTO operation), but there’s little doubt that a farmer’s mental well-being will also be high on the agenda. Vice President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness will officially launch the Farm Safety Live event at 11am. Speaking earlier this year in the European Parliament on farmer welfare, the MEP had this to say, “Many farmers that I meet would say that the European Union cares more about animals than humans. “We should acknowledge that human welfare is also very important on our farms and for our farm families. “I think we should acknowledge the mental pressures and the physical toll that it takes on them, and that very often when we talk here in these rooms about imposing more standards on them, we neglect to look at how this impacts on those individuals and farm families.” Ciaran Roche, Risk Manager, FBD Insurance, says, “Farmers everywhere can join with us to prevent accidents and hopefully save lives by attending events such as Farm Safety Live and by following our Farm Protect initiative.
“Changing our usual way of doing things can be challenging, but because farming is a tough and demanding occupation with plenty of workplace hazards, it’s time to stop taking risks, and time to prevent any unnecessary heartache.”
— Denis Lehane