Almost one in five of Embrace Farm supports are now directed at sudden deaths on farms that are not related to an accident.

The changing nature of deaths on farms is not being adequately recorded, founder Norma Rohan told the organisation’s Encircle conference last week.

“In one year, almost 20% of our supports are now directed to sudden deaths other than farm accidents, such as sudden medical event or suicide, which shows the demand for these kind of services,” Rohan said.

She added that both the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Teagasc figures only account for farm accidents and Embrace Farm wants more accurate recording of sudden death and injury among full- and part-time farmers.


Over 30,000 people die in Ireland each year. In 2022, 12 of those deaths were fatal farm accidents, almost half of the country’s total workplace fatalities.

Since it was founded, Embrace Farm has supported 405 bereaved families. In the last year alone, 101 families have been supported through the Encircle programme, one of eight European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) funded by the Department of Agriculture focused on safety, health and wellbeing.

Opening the Encircle conference in Tullamore, Minister of State Martin Heydon acknowledged farming as “the most dangerous occupation in Ireland”, with a farmer seven times more likely to lose their life in a workplace incident than any other of the two million workers in Ireland.

Research carried out by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has revealed a lack of any sort of coherent national policy on bereavement in Ireland.

The report’s recommendations include better signposting to support organisations, such as the Embrace Farm Encircle programme.