SFF Archives

SFF forced to shut down after decade of unmatched success

Date: 18 June 2013
Sustainable Farm Families™ (SFF) – the award-winning educational and awareness program for Australia’s farming families – is being shut down next month after a decade of outstanding success because there is no funding.
Ironically, as the Australian program disappears, farm groups from around the world are starting to adopt SFF, with a contingent from Canada at the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) this week to learn all about it.
The final Australian workshops reflect the diverse industry appeal of SFF with vignerons in Victoria’s Alpine Valley, mixed farmers from a LandCare group, croppers and egg producers at the CFA Wooronook and mixed farmers at Cavendish participating the program.
NCFH director clinical associate professor Sue Brumby said it was a tragedy such a vital program would be lost at such an important time in Australian farming.
Associate professor Brumby said despite coming out of a decade of drought, much of rural Australia was still in the recovery process, not helped by global economics, and farmers needed all the support they could get.
“The headlines in rural media tell the story – our farmers are facing some tough challenges in the next few years yet everywhere you turn more and more services are being reduced, or cut, because of funding issues,” she said.
SFF started in 2003 with funding through the Joint Research Venture for Farm Health and Safety, managed by the Rural Industries Development Research Corporation and was an immediate hit with farmers and agricultural industry groups.
Running across a 2-3 year period through their relevant industry organisation, and meeting with them in their local community, it had incredibly high retention rates and acceptance amongst farmers.
Ms Brumby said “It also trained up many rural health professionals, creating a long-term support network for all farmers by teaching these professionals to better engage with farming men and women.”
It was a visionary step for a regional health service, Western District Health Service, based in the Victorian agricultural hub of Hamilton, to develop and deliver a health, wellbeing and safety program for farming families.
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SFF flood recovery

The Victorian Coalition Government has funded the Sustainable Farm Families™ to deliver 10 additional programs to flood impacted farming communities. It is also pleasing that over the course of the SFF project that some efficiencies have been generated which has allowed for two additional SFF programs to be held being the total programs being deliver to flood impacted farming communities to 12.

Bushfire preparation

Fire season is approaching and you should be fully prepared. Whether you live, work or play here, almost any part of Australia could come under threat from bushfire at some time. The suburbs, the beach, the forest, the countryside, the mountains – every Australian resident or visitor in every environment has a role to play in personally protecting themselves from bushfire.
Please refer to your state fire authority for further information about preparing, acting and surviving bushfire:

Sustainable Farm Families™ assists in flood recovery

New funding announced

The Coalition Government announced another substantial package of measures to help Victorian communities and families recovering from months of devastating floods.  As part of these targeted flood measures Sustainable Farm Families™ has been funded to deliver in partnership with Department of Primary Industries and supporting health agencies 12 programs across Local Government areas impacted by flood.
View program details »
Great participants, trainers and facilitators involved in the
SFF flood recovery in Wooroonook

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The most important aspect of a healthy Australian farm? A healthy farming family.

Developed to bring better health, wellbeing and safety to people on the land, Sustainable Farm Families (SFF) is a program of practical, straightforward information and advice that has proved life-changing for many participants.
Working long hours, often far from town, farming men, women and families can be neglected in terms of preventative health care. Making time for health and wellbeing is often the last thing on a busy farm agenda.
Research proves that taking responsibility for personal health can dramatically lower the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, mental illness and diabetes. We also know that stress impacts on your health and wellbeing which is particularly relevant to those on the land.

SFF workshops in 2010

A number of workshops are being run in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia in 2010. These programs will be updated on a regular basis so check back regularly to see if there is a program running in your area.  Please feel free to contact the relevant contact person regarding these programs.
Find out more about SFF programs


Roberts Evaluation Pty Ltd was contracted by the Department of Primary Industries in 2009 to provide an external evaluation (process, impact and outcome) of the Sustainable Farm Families program from 2008-2010. A qualitative approach was taken to explore in depth the impact the program has had on participants and to assess how the program has created or contributed to any changes observed in the data on health outcomes.
Find out more about the SFF evaluation report