Cotton & sugar 2006-2007

‘Without good health you are no good to either your family or farm productivity. You and your health is the most important aspect and only you can improve it.’

Sustainable Farm Families™ received funding from RIRDC to follow up with our original cotton and sugar growers to look at the impact of the program.  Following valuable feedback from SFF participants, we designed the fourth year workshop to include important topics of respiratory health and agri-chemicals.
Following the expansion of the Sustainable Farm Families program™ from the Broadacre project into the Dairy project in 2005, there existed an opportunity to expand the project to include other industries. The ongoing expansion of the program would provide a platform to further validate the SFF approach, understand and refine the SFF process and continue to evaluate the impact on farming family health, wellbeing and farm safety in other agricultural settings.
The Cotton and Sugar project extended the SFF program into both ‘other agricultural industries’ and ‘other states’.


The Cotton project commenced in 2006 during a period of drought, decreased water allocations, lower cotton prices and higher production costs.
The Cotton Research and Development Corporation funded two SFF workshops in the cotton regions as pilot programs to observe the impact and success of the program to cotton farm families.  Wee Waa and Dalby were chosen as they were considered central to the New South Wales and Queensland cotton regions, respectively.


Given that 94% of Australian sugar cane production is in Queensland, two regions of the state were selected by the Sugar Research and Development Corporation to conduct the trials; the Herbert region based in Ingham and the Burdekin region based in Ayr.
The Cotton and Sugar program ran between 2006 and 2007.

Cotton and sugar program partners

Recognition must be given to the collaborative partners for their ongoing support and dedication to the support and promotion of rural farm family health, wellbeing and safety.  The goal of improving the health, wellbeing and safety of farm families was always a priority for the program and the success of the program reflects this dedication.

Funding and support

We thank the following organisation for funding and supporting the program:

  • Joint Research Venture for Farm Health and Safety managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, with additional support from the Sugar Research and Development Corporation and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

Publications and reports

May 2008 – Living Longer on the Land: Case studies of the Sustainable Farm Families Program in the Sugar and Cotton Industries
This report provides an insight into the current health status of rural farming families in the sugar and cotton industries.  It increases our understanding of what affects farming families’ health and identifies measures to improve their health wellbeing and safety.  Many of the specific strategies to improve farming family health were provided by farmers themselves.
Read the report


What participants said about the C&S program 2006-2007


12-12-06 Managing your most important asset – your family’s health – Media release – SRDC [PDF 1mb] 01-05-06 Stoicism masks high rate of health worries – Excerpt Agriculture Today [PDF 21kb] 10-04-06 How healthy are farmers – ABC News [PDF 11kb] 04-04-06 Get a medical check up farmer Brown – ABC News: Listen to radio report [PDF 11kb] 30-03-06 Farmers and farming families – How’s Your Health – Media release – SRDC [PDF 22kb] 26-02-06 Farm family health workshops – Excerpt The Australian Cane Grower  [PDF 174kb] 18-01-06 Dalby families sign up for health and safety workshops – Media release – CRDC [PDF 28kb]


SFF Cotton and Sugar newsletter No.2 – October 2007 [PDF 423kb]