Conference proceedings

Opening the Gates on Farmer Health

National Centre for Farmer Health Inaugural Conference

Held: 11-13 October 2010 – Hamilton, Vic, Australia

The concept of this conference was to ‘Open the gates on farmer health.’ The conference provided a stimulating forum for delegates to discuss the under-recognised area of  the health, wellbeing and safety of farm men and women, agricultural workers and their families.
To reflect the true diversity of agriculture, the conference program was specifically designed to encourage and develop relationships across a range of disciplines, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Health sciences
  • Medicine
  • Public health
  • Occupational health
  • Veterinary science
  • Health promotion
  • Allied health

The conference agenda included various thought provoking speakers. Their presentations helped delegates consider innovative approaches to improving health outcomes for the farming community via advocacy, policy, research, planning, health and workforce domains across local, state, national and global sectors.
All conference presenters and chairs were asked to identify their key message, which was then woven into The Hamilton Charter for Farmer Health.

Under the guiding hand of Professor Evelyne de Leeuw, Deakin University’s Professor of Community Health Systems and Policy, the charter was collated and fine tuned.
Professor de Leeuw says the aim of the charter is to formulate a statement on farmer health which anyone can take home and use to advocate for farmer health in their own constituencies.
The key message of the charter is to:

  • Empower ourselves and others to consider the health impacts of agricultural production and campaign to ensure negative impacts on farmer health are recognised and not normalised as a by-product of production.
  • Understand the cycles of farmer health and the relationship of farmers to nature while delivering appropriate and quality farming health programs to all.
  • Defend and celebrate profitable and sustainable rural industries in a global market recognising and valuing the key role of farmers in providing food and fibre for the world.
  • Broaden the identity of farm men, women and communities, beyond the life is work ethos, and thus enable them to successfully meet their new challenges through opportunities, alliances and education.
  • Recognise improving farmer health involves building new relationships and strengthening existing ones across and within sectors. Research, policy development and service delivery will need to be developed in place, recognising the valuable interaction in, and with, communities. The interdependency and synergistic drive of these relationships will move this Charter forward.

Go forth and sow and water the seeds of the Hamilton Charter for Farmer Health into your work, workplace, community, governance or new policy.
We would like to thank all of our sponsors, delegates and supporters in helping to make the 2010 conference a great success.
National Centre for Farmer Health  WDHS and Deakin University    Vic Health      Victorian Government
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia       CGU        Rural Industries Rewards and Development Corporation          National Centre for Dairy Education - Australia          National Climate Change Adaption Research Facility
Diabetes Australia - Victoria    PCP - making a difference       Grains Research and Development Coorporation         Bendigo Radiology Group       Southern Grampians Shire Council