Minister Martin Heydon formally launched the evaluation report of FarmConnect, a pilot programme dedicated to prioritising farmer health, safety and wellbeing while encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, in Rathcroghan yesterday (Wednesday).
The programme, which is coordinated by Men’s Development Network and piloted in Roscommon and Waterford, is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri).
Speaking at yesterday’s launch in Rathcroghan School, Co. Roscommon, Minister Heydon said: “Farmer health and wellbeing is one of the cornerstones of improving farm safety.
“FarmConnect embodies the spirit of the eight-farm safety EIPs that were rolled out across the country and has proved itself a hugely innovative project.
“There is significant appetite amongst farmers to improve their health and wellbeing and when provided with the opportunity, they embrace it wholeheartedly”.
The FarmConnect Independent Evaluation Report, co-ordinated by Dr Noel Richardson, examines the critical issue of farmer health and wellbeing and its impact on overall agricultural sustainability.
126 farmers participated in the pilot programme within the two counties with attendance rates of 95 per cent.
“The informal, peer-led approach to the sessions was a vital part in creating the environment for people to feel comfortable,” said Clare Thoma, FarmConnect co-ordinator.
“It is this approach that drives engagement and creates the supportive environment that continues after the programme has finished”.