2012-05-31 NCFH conference – get your seat while you can

Early birds registering for the second biennial National Centre for Farmer Health conference in Hamilton won’t be left trying to worm into a seat to hear some of the nation’s, and world’s, leading authorities confront the unique demands of the farming community.
Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health will be held from 17 – 19 September and NCFH director Susan Brumby says like the inaugural 2010 conference, it will be “a powerful forum for bringing together the people who really know and understand” those demands.
Associate Clinical Professor Brumby says the goal of the conference is to build participation of farming families and agricultural workers, as well as academics, agribusiness and the medical, health and safety community in their combined future.
“The information bank about how to equip people with the skills and confidence to function in parts of the country which do not have the support and services of metropolitan Australia is significant – but we still have to get the message out,” she said.
Themes for Sowing the Seeds of Farmer Health include:
  • Mental health – Wagging the black dog’s tail
  • Chronic disease and healthy lifestyles – Feast or famine
  • Agricultural hazards and safety – Reducing harm on the farm
  • Agriculture in a changing climate – It’s not always fair weather farming
  • The business of farming
  • Human and animal health – All creatures great and small
  • Ageing in place on farm – Duty of care versus dignity of risk
  • Primary and preventative health
  • Education and Training
  • Partnerships and community action
Associate Clinical Professor Brumby says the multi-faceted roles of speakers ensure participants will get a detailed grounding in service delivery to the agricultural community.
Keynote speakers include nurse practitioner Dr Lisa Schiller, from the University of Wisconsin in the US; toxicologist Associate Professor John Edwards; Dr Anthony Hogan, Director of the National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia; rural consultant Cathy McGowan AO; Foodbank Australia’s Director Greg Warren and NFF president Jock Laurie.
“It is a demonstration of the reputation the National Centre for Farmer Health itself has and the value world authorities place on the opportunity to get involved in delivering the latest research and progress in farm health,” she says.
An innovative and exciting addition to the conference program is the Hypotheticals session, led by lawyer Jamie Fisher.
It will bring together a notable group of individuals to discuss a ‘what if?’ disease outbreak affecting both sheep and humans – just as the nation is getting ready to eat lamb on Australia Day.
To make this an interesting, lively and informed discussion, the Hypotheticals panel will include a farmer, academic, educationalist, health professional, agri-professional, a media/marketing representative, a member of industry and a politician.
In tandem with the high-powered conference agenda, there will again be a national photography competition – In Focus – Celebrating Farm Life – which proved a big hit during the inaugural conference.
Competition entries will be collated and exhibited at the regionally-renowned Hamilton Art Gallery from 29 August – 14 October, with winners announced at the conference reception on Monday 17 September.
NCFH event coordinator Felicity Little says the common portrayal of farming and agriculture in recent years has been one of drama or gloom.
“For those who have experienced aspects of country life, we know there is still much to celebrate, and the photography exhibition hopes to portray this,” Felicity says.
“We are giving the community the opportunity to share their visions of all that agriculture and farming means to them through the lens of a camera.”
Further details about the conference, keynote speakers and the photography competition can be found at www.farmerhealth.org.au/conference2012/home
For more information please contact
National Centre for Farmer Health on (03) 5551 8585