Proceedings

PR – Exploring And Improving Farmer Health Across Victoria – A Response To Drought (p224-234)

Sustainable Farm Families™ is an initiative of Western District Health Service, Hamilton. Commencing in 2003 the program has been delivered to over 2,300 farming men and women across Australia. The program has proven to be life changing and in some instances life saving for the participants. In July 2007 the program was funded by the Department of Primary of Industries (DPI) to deliver the program to 1,000 farmer participants across Victoria as part of DPI’s drought recovery response. The intended outcomes of this project for DPI were fourfold:
– Increase the resilience of farming families to cope and recover through drought from improved physical and mental health and reduced risk of farm accidents,
– Increase the capacity of the workforce,
– Increase the knowledge of the state of farming health; and
– Institutionalise the funding of the program
The Sustainable Farm Families™ (SFF) is a program that seeks to improve the health, well-being and safety of farming families through health assessments and the provision of education to farmers within their own local communities.
SFF represents an effective and valuable tool in the assessment, education and empowerment of farm families across various agricultural industries. It also demonstrates that when farmers are provided with information relevant to their health, well-being and safety they consider these factors in both day-to-day and strategic decision making about their farming business. In this paper we will outline in detail the implementation of the Victorian SFF™ program and show how it has been applied across Victorian rural health services and the way in which it engages across different agricultural sectors.

Keywords: health, well-being, safety, agriculture, family, farming

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Author(s): Brumby, S., Harper, T, Hatherell, T., Mercer-Grant, C.

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Organizations(s): Deakin University, National Centre for Farmer Health, Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Western District Health Service