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On Feírm Ground 2 – new farmer wellbeing programme launched

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon, and Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, launched On Feírm Ground 2, an expanded programme to raise awareness and to support farmers health and wellbeing, today (September 19) at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska.
Minister Martin Heydon; Seán Cooke, CEO of the Men’s Development Network; Fergal Fox from HSE Health and Wellbeing; and Minister Hildegarde Naughton at the launch of On Feírm Ground 2.

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. Making the announcement, Minister 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 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.
On Feírm Ground is a three-year programme that will be delivered by Men’s Development Network in collaboration with ENGAGE, Ireland’s National Men’s Health Training Programme.
Seán Cooke, CEO of the Men’s Development Network, who project manages the initiative, said: “This is a significant step in fulfilling both departments objectives in farm safety and the Healthy Ireland programme and we are delighted that the funding partners have such confidence in the programme and us as project managers to create such an investment.  The impact and outcomes of the first programme on advisors and farmers alike has been significant in changing behaviours and seeking support”.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Naughton said: “This project will help provide farmers with access to important supports to maintain and improve their physical and psychological wellbeing and the partnership approach adopted by both government departments is an example of Healthy Ireland in action.”