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'On Feirm Ground’ launched to support farmer health and well-being

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Health, the HSE, Teagasc and IT Carlow have collaborated to fund a programme of research resulting in a training programme that will see agricultural advisors engage with farmers on their health and wellbeing over the farm gate.

(Photo above :L-R: Frank Feighan T.D., Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Sean Cooke, CEO Men’s Development Network, Martin Heydon T.D., Minister of State for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development. Image credit: Ryan Byrne, Inpho.)

‘On Feírm Ground’ was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, the Department of Health and the HSE to examine how agricultural advisors might be trained to engage with and support farmers on health issues. With additional Walsh fellowship research funding, this mixed-methods study, based at IT Carlow, has developed a bespoke ENGAGE farmers’ health training module to equip frontline agricultural advisors with the knowledge, skills and competencies to engage and signpost farmers on health & wellbeing issues, and mainstream a health promotion/prevention focus into farming discussion groups.

The programme ‘On Feírm Ground’ will be led by charity, The Men’s Development Network, as part of Engage, the National Men’s Training Programme and will train 800 agricultural advisors. The research and resource development stage of ‘On Feírm Ground’ has been on-going for the past twelve months with the first training scheduled to be delivered to agricultural advisors in early November 2020.

‘On Feírm Ground’ training programme has been deisgned to focus on the individual social determinants effecting the health and wellbeing of both male and female farmers. It adopts a strengths-based approach to farmers’ health and sets out clear roles, responsibilities and boundaries for advisors in their health role.