NCFH – Making a difference to farmers’ lives in 2022

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) continues to empower Australian farmers and their families to take charge of their health, wellbeing and safety, delivering 293 health assessments in 2022.

The Centre’s position as a national leader in the health, wellbeing and safety of Australian farmers and farming communities was reaffirmed upon the recent release of its Year in Review.

The document showed the positive impact NCFH has made to building evidence in its field, conducting 13 research projects which led to the release of 17 publications across 2022.

“We are excited to share what we have achieved in the last 12 months. We’ve continued to innovate and find ways to engage with and support our farming communities—through direct services, education programs and research.” (NCFH Director, Alison Kennedy)

The culmination of the Primary Producer Knowledge Network (PPKN) in 2022, was a highlight for the Centre’s research achievements.

In partnership with Western District Health Service (WDHS), Deakin University, University of SA, Griffith University, and Cath Cosgrove Consulting, PPKN worked with farmers, fishers and industry partners to develop practical strategies to reduce work-related risks to mental health. The project—supported by WorkSafe Victoria’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund—brought together industry leaders and over 120 partners to produce ‘Campfire’—including 20 podcasts (11 new episodes produced in 2022), 24 interactive Q&A sessions, 27 blogs and 22 roadshow events across Victoria.  Topics released in 2022 included flood recovery, child safety on farm, biosecurity, responding to climate change, succession planning and farm crime, among others.

“…I would highly recommend Campfire to my farming peers as a great way to source information.” (Farmer participating in Campfire)

In 2022, with a profound media reach of 1,838,800, and a growing social media following of over 7000, the Centre also helped to spread key messaging via 24 conference and 20 community presentations.

To further expand its reach and build strong relationships with like-minded organisations who share the NCFH vision of making a difference to farmers’ lives, the Centre worked in collaboration with 15 health partners and 90 research and industry partners.

These collaborations resulted in a wide range of outcomes including the expanded reach of NCFH health programs, the development of a Community of Practice to support resilience in farming communities, and the delivery of 17 professional development workshops to 234 rural and health professionals.

In September, the Farming a Brighter Future symposium enabled its 103 attendees to connect, network and learn with the industry’s best in a face-to-face environment.

Through a combination of workshops, panel discussions and presentations, the event provided a forum to foster learning, promote discussion and extend collaborative networks to make a difference to farmers’ lives, both now and into the future.

Attendees heard from engaging and award-winning speakers covering a wide range of topics including the portrayal of safe farm practices in media and social media, working dogs and mental health, and telehealth strategies for supporting farmers returning to work after stroke.

“Farming a Brighter Future provided an extraordinary opportunity to bring farmers, researchers, policy makers and industry into one room to learn from each other and work together to shape the future of farmer health, wellbeing and safety” (NCFH Director, Alison Kennedy)

The Centre’s Gear Up for Ag™ program reached 109 secondary students across eight programs delivered in 2022, building on the 13 programs delivered the previous year.

Recognising young people as central to an innovative and sustainable agriculture future, Gear Up for Ag engages students in a practical, fun and interactive way while providing evidence-based education.

The program builds student knowledge of farm hazards and understanding of the importance of safe practices to positively influence farm safety behaviours.

“2023 is building up to be another big year for farmer health, wellbeing and safety. We’re excited to once again be able to deliver research programs, services and education programs face-to-face in farming communities across Australia. We’re also continuing to find effective new ways to engage farmers and share information, including online webinars and education programs, community events and podcasts.” (NCFH Director, Alison Kennedy)
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