The National Rural Network (NRN) team at NUI Galway’s Rural Studies Centre have produced a new booklet showcasing Ireland’s eight Farm Health, Safety and Wellbeing EIP-AGRI Operational Group Projects worth €1.8m announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) with responsibility for Farm Safety, Martin Heydon T.D. in July 2021.
The European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) was launched in 2012 to contribute to the EU’s ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’ of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. As of July 2022, 57 EIP-AGRI Operational Group projects have been funded by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the EU under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 (extended to 2022).
The eight Farm Health, Safety and Wellbeing EIP-AGRI featured in this booklet are listed below:
- Farmers4Safety Project
- FORUM Connemara Farm Health & Safety Initiative
- Embrace FARM Encircle Programme
- Mid Leinster Farmer Wellbeing Project
- Safe Farm EIP Project
- FarmConnect EIP Project
- Béal Átha na Muice Project
- Farm Family CPD Project
As farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland in terms of the incidence and seriousness of accidental injuries, with an estimated 2,500 incidents reported annually on farms, this Farm Health, Safety and Wellbeing EIP-AGRI initiative is very timely and illustrates the DAFM’s commitment to addressing this significant challenge through such innovative, farmer-centred policy interventions. Moreover, agriculture exhibits disproportionately high fatality rates, when compared to other sectors, with around 21 deaths every year. Indeed, fatalities on farms account for nearly half of all fatal workplace incidents in Ireland but only represent 6% of the workforce, hence the importance of this initiative in helping to bring about positive change in the mindset and mannerism of the farming community towards farm health and safety. This EIP-AGRI call’s focus on ensuring and securing the mental health and wellbeing of the farming community is also essential in addressing increased levels of social isolation and loneliness in rural areas brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.