General manager of Embrace FARM Norma Rohan said the charity puts a person to each one of the statistics when it comes to farm accidents and supports families experiencing the “true toll of the devastation caused”.
Rohan was speaking during a presentation on Wednesday to the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine alongside Minister of State for Farm Safety Martin Heydon.
Describing the “people behind the statistics”, she said farmers injured or killed in farm accidents are “more than just a number” and that “they each leave a legacy behind them, none more so than to their family”.
Embrace FARM has built a community of support in response to their needs
Rohan also said that Embrace FARM supports “people who unexpectedly find themselves on a journey of loss and trauma”.
“To help the wellbeing of our farm families, Embrace FARM has built a community of support in response to their needs,”she added.
The charity currently supports about 300 farm families in its peer-to-peer support network and was recently awarded European Innovation Project funding to enable it to put a structure of one-on-one support for farm families impacted by tragedy Irish farms.
The Department of Agriculture is using “every available means” to reach as many farmers as possible on farm safety, the Minister Martin Heydon told committee members.
He said training for farmers, media campaigns, television adverts and farm safety leaflets in Basic Payment Scheme packs are among the measures being taken.
“In Budget 2022 a dedicated allocation of €2m has been provided for farm safety. This will allow us to continue our important work on farm safety, health and wellbeing. It is the first time the Department has ever had a dedicated budget for farm safety and it will be an important tool,” he said.
It is important that advisers are alert to the warning signs that farmers may be facing difficulties
The minister also said that the training of farm advisers began last month and is ongoing under the On Feirm Ground project.
“This project is providing training for agricultural advisers to engage with and signpost farmers to supports in relation to health and wellbeing.
“It is important that advisers are alert to the warning signs that farmers may be facing difficulties and know how to advise farmers on where they can get help. Our farm advisors do tremendous work. They are often those who have the most regular contact with farmers and they are trusted by them too,” he said.