Social Affairs Executive Irish Farmers Association
The IFA is Ireland’s largest farming representative organisation representing Irish farmers at home and in Europe, lobbying and campaigning for improved conditions and incomes for farm families.
The Farm Family & Social Affairs Committee provides a voice to farm families on social issues within the Association, as well as at National and European levels to ensure that policies are developed to help farm families. The Committee strives to keep farm families notified of changes in procedures or policies, as well as dealing with individual cases that affect them and their community.
Previous work undertaken in Health, Safety and Wellness/Farm Safety
Some of the issues that the Committee are currently working on are:
- Pensions – updating farm families on changes to the pension system.
- Fair Deal Scheme – Lobbying for a cap on the maximum charge that can be applied to non-residential, productive assets.
- Farm Safety – SAVE LIVES – Think Safety, Farm Safely campaign to encourage farmers to improve working practices and take preventative action to reduce risks.
- Health – Supporting farm families to make positive changes to improve overall mental health and well-being through awareness and education.
Key areas of responsibility include education, farmer physical health and wellbeing, farm safety, supports for older farmers and social welfare.
IFA lead the annual Farm Safety Week campaign within Ireland. The campaign is initiated by the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) in the UK and brings together farming organisations from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland Britain on the topic of farm safety.
IFA’s Let’s Talk and Walk are a series of walks that are organised as part of the national Green Ribbon campaign, to encourage farmers and their farm families to talk openly about mental health problems and to break the stigma of silence associated with mental health. These walks are organised in partnership with See Change, Coillte and Mental Health Ireland to raise awareness and support the Green Ribbon campaign. Ending the stigma around mental health in farming is essential if the industry is to address the rising trend of depression and suicide. There are so many challenges facing the farming community at present, that even the most resilient and determined farmers may struggle to keep on top of things.
About CPD Training
Unfortunately, the rate of farm accidents and fatalities on Irish farms remains too high, therefore training is very important to help improve awareness of the main causes of farm accidents and to encourage farmers to adopt safer behaviours.
The Farm Family CPD project aims to change this by educating and encouraging farm families to adapt a stronger culture of farm safety. The multigenerational approach of the training is welcomed due to the increased farm safety risk associated with older family members and children on farms.
This project emphasizes the need for farm families to work together to achieve a safer environment and help each other to adopt a safety-first culture in the hope of reducing accidents and fatalities on Irish farms. The project will also further develop farm safety culture within farm households by encouraging all family members and influencers to participate.