Knowledge Translation

Knowledge translation plays a very important role in the work of the National Centre for Farmer Health—helping to bridge the gap between scientific research and its application to practice and policy. Effective knowledge translation allows:

  • farmers to access and use NCFH information and resources to be empowered to make decisions and take action to improve their health, wellbeing and safety—reducing risk, enhancing quality of life and supporting the success of the farming business.
  • health and agriculture professionals to access and engage in NCFH training and information to help them (i) understand and connect better with farming populations, and (ii) provide the best possible health, wellbeing and safety support for farmers, farm workers and farming families.
  • policy makers to (i) stay up to date and understand the latest evidence on farmer health, wellbeing and safety, (ii) communicate complex information, (iii) make informed decisions about funding and further research needs, and (iv) measure the success of policies and programs over time.

Translating Research into Clinical Practice

In-field Personalised Cholinesterase Assessment Project (In-field PCAP)

This important research (supported by Deakin University and the Shepherd Foundation) addresses a significant health issue faced by farmers exposed to organophosphate pesticides. Creating a database of cholinesterase activity in farmers provides valuable information that can help identify individuals who may be at risk of developing chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Understanding and improving the integration of cholinesterase monitoring into routine farmer health checks, such as AgriSafe™, means farmers can now receive regular monitoring, better manage their exposure to pesticides and make informed decisions about their use of pesticides. This is particularly important as exposure to agrichemicals can happen years before neurological symptoms become noticeable.

This research provides a valuable contribution to the field of agricultural health and safety, and has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of farmers worldwide.

For further information please contact:

Dr Jacquie Cotton
03 5551 8533

Translating Research into Community Practice

Health and Lifestyle Assessments

Farmer Health & Lifestyle Assessments [AK1] (HLAs) were developed to promote the importance of health, wellbeing and safety to farming men, women and agricultural workers across Australia. We have been attending agricultural field days, education workshops and farmer gatherings since 2009 and have delivered over 4000 HLAs to date.

The 20-minute assessment is delivered by a trained agrihealth professional (often in partnership with local health providers) and participants are given a take home ‘personal health passport’ along with recommendations and relevant education and resources to help them take follow-up action. Evaluation of the program has shown that many participants follow-up with a health professional after their HLA and/or make lifestyle behaviours to improve their health, wellbeing and safety.

The de-identified research data and information which is collected as part of the Health and Lifestyle Assessments provide critical insight to the relationships between the farmer, their health, and the farming business.

The collaborative approach to delivering the HLA program builds capacity in the workforce, community, agricultural industry and the individual.

Further Information:

If you are a rural professional or a farm man, woman or agricultural worker and interested in the Health and Lifestyle Assessments, please contact:

Tracey Hatherell
03 5551 8533

Digital storytelling workshops

The National Centre for Farmer Health have used the process of digital storytelling to record powerful personal stories on a wide range of topics including the lived experience of suicide and poor mental health, physical health challenges, financial struggles, drought and farm succession. These stories are used in a variety of community-based applications including reducing stigma, raising awareness, increasing empathy and stimulating personal action to improve health, wellbeing and safety.

For further information please contact:

Dr Alison Kennedy
03 5551 8533

Suicide prevention research

A range of suicide prevention projects have been conducted by the team at the National Centre for Farmer Health including research to improve understanding of:

  • The Impact of suicide bereavement on farming families
  • The needs of mental health carers
  • What works to reduce the experience of stigma for those with a lived experience of suicide
  • The contributing factors to farming-related suicide in rural Victoria.

The outcomes of these projects have informed:

  • Resources to enable farmers to (i) plan ahead for challenging events (Steering Straight), and (ii) prevent work-related risks to mental health (Campfire)
  • Professional development workshops for service providers engaging with farmers during challenging times
  • Evidence presented before the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health Services; a submission made to the Senate Inquiry into Accessibility and Quality of Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Australia; and, direct presentations to government departments; professional development for health and agriculture service providers; and, presentations to the community.

For further information please contact:

Dr Alison Kennedy
03 5551 8533

Financing Fortitude: evaluating scholarship in strengthening Victorian rural woman and agriculture

This research project investigated a group of Victorian women who attended the 2nd International Conference on Women in Agriculture in Washington DC, 1998. Following the rural women’s movement of the 1980s and 1990s, the Conference was designed to recognise the contribution of women, globally, to agriculture, education programs in rural areas and commitment to furthering the status of rural women. Attending the Conference provides women with the opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge through exposure to the ideas of women involved in agriculture from across the world.

Acknowledging a selection of Victorian women for their ongoing contributions to agriculture and rural women’s issues, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment awarded 20 travel bursaries and organised a pre-Conference Agricultural Tour through California. Limited follow-up evaluation has explored whether the intended objectives and outcomes of the Conference and travel bursaries were realised. This research measured Conference attendees’ association between different elements of the experience and their career choices in the last two decades. Findings were reported to government departments and improved understanding of the opportunity for growth and progress when investing in Victorian women in agriculture.

For further information please contact:

Dr Susan Brumby
03 5551 8533

Translating Research into Policy

Rapid review of resilience in agriculture-dependent communities

This research (funded by the Victorian Government’s Smarter Safer Farms program) included a review of the literature and interviews with community-based stakeholders to develop an understanding of initiatives designed to support the resilience of people living and working in agriculture-dependent communities. Twelve recommendations were proposed as incorporating the best possible design elements and approaches for resilience building in agriculture-dependent communities. These included a focus on prevention; high quality co-ordination; sustainability (through funding, governance and appropriate resourcing); place-based approaches tailored to the needs of target populations; effective engagement strategies; enabling pathways and opportunities for support; prioritising evaluation; peer-to-peer models of support/engagement; adaptive delivery models; good governance; and, purposeful resource development.

Findings from this project informed:

  • The funding and development of 11 resilience projects across Victoria
  • The evaluation of the Resilience Farming Communities project.


For further information please contact:

Dr Alison Kennedy
03 5551 8533

Influencing and measuring farm safety culture

Agriculture continues to have high rates of injuries and fatalities. Safety culture refers to the shared attitudes, values, and beliefs about safety in the workplace, and it is important to foster a positive safety culture on farms to promote safe work practices.

A range of programs, such as safety campaigns, hazard checklists, and safety training programs, have been designed to influence safety culture on farms. However, it is unclear how effective these interventions are and whether they provide value for investment. Therefore, it is important to establish ways to measure farm safety culture for farmers, policy makes and the Australian agricultural industry as a whole.

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) has worked to identify a range of factors that influence farm safety culture. We are now working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to develop ways to measure farm safety culture. By measuring safety culture, it will be possible to identify areas for improvement and tailor interventions accordingly. This will ultimately help to promote safer work practices and reduce the high rates of injuries and fatalities in the agricultural industry.

 For further information please contact:

Dr Jacquie Cotton
03 5551 8533