The innovation of Sustainable Farm Families™ (SFF) has been to contextualise farm family health in the familiar triple bottom line farm-reporting format.
About SFF programs
The vision for the Sustainable Farm Families™ program is to improve the health, well-being and safety of farm families. The health and safety of farmers is a major issue facing agricultural business because farmers are:
- Getting older
- Working harder and longer
- Relying more on family members for extra labour
- Experience high injury rates, illness and early death.
How SFF helps farmers
The Sustainable Farm Families™ (SFF) program aims to address the health, well being and safety issues facing farming industries through a sustainable and evidence-based health promotion program with solid research and cross-sector collaboration.
Farmer health is part of the triple bottom line
The Sustainable Farm Families™ program encourages farmers to view farm family health as part of the ‘triple bottom line’ of farm reporting. Simply put, this refers to ‘people, planet and profit’ – all three are dependent on each other for success and sustainability.
Aims of SFF programs
The objective of the Sustainable Farm Families™ program is to:
- Identify and track farming family health indicators and include them in farm management quality assurance processes.
- Design and deliver training programs that help farming families identify ways they can improve their health and safety.
- Communicate program findings to farming families and the health and agricultural sectors.
- Provide information on the relationship between family health, health as a social issue in rural communities and farm productivity.
The research data and information collected provides critical insight into the relationships between the farmer, their health, their farm and farming sustainability.
SFF is about change
SFF is a program that is changing:
- Attitudes and behaviour to personal health and safety
- Behaviour of farming families
- Health outcomes for farm families
- Rural health practice by training health providers
Evidence based research
The SFF program is a strong and effective tool with an evidence base which demonstrates that the program is increasing farm family’s knowledge and skills, while supporting them to change their lifestyle and reduce risk behaviours. The program fits well in the community and primary health portfolio because it:
- Integrates health promotion with improved outcomes for the farming community.
- Creates supportive environments for health as a result of personal skills development and strengthened community action.
- Expands service options and access to information to support self-management.
- Takes a coordinated approach to chronic disease management.
- Promotes service coordination.
- Values the participation of farm families in the continuous improvement of the program.
The program is delivered by Registered Nurses (Division One) and requires strong industry support and an understanding of adult learning and social research models. Through cross sector collaboration the program builds capacity in the workforce, community, agricultural industry and the individual.
The research data and information which is collected as part of the program provides critical insight to the relationships between the farmer, their health, their farm and farming sustainability.
The program has been showcased as an innovative approach to long-standing rural health issues.