THE region’s producers are learning how to make health their priority through free ‘Fit for Farming’ workshops.
Local farmers converged on Loomberah Town Hall last Monday to hear how prioritising physical and mental health can improve all other aspects of their lives.
The free one-day workshop, conducted by Tamworth Regional Landcare Association and and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Rural Resilience Program, highlighted the need for farmers to better look after themselves in changing times.
“The purpose (of the workshop) is to connect with the farmers,” DPI’s Caroline Hayes said.
“It’s all about getting a healthy mind, healthy body.
“Our farmers are going to be fitter mentally, physically and be more productive.
“There’s a lot of evidence that suggests physical health and mental health are intrinsically linked.
“So I’ve done a lot of research on optimism versus pessimism.”
Mrs Hayes believed farmers were slowly waking up to the age-old she’ll-be-right attitude, and beginning to prioritise their health.
“Over a generation or two, farmers’ lives have become a lot less physically active and so that is probably an issue,” she said.
“I would suggest obesity is as much a problem for farmers as it is for other people.
“We’re learning more and more about the links (between mental and psychical health) and that if you keep yourself physically and mentally well, you’re going to be in a much better position to ward off a lot of degenerative diseases.
“There is so much talk about degenerative diseases as we age and we all want to give ourselves the best chance we can.”
A local NSW Ambulance paramedic addressed the workshop on emergency first aid and encouraged farmers to seek help when and where necessary.
“Something else that we heard from the paramedic this morning is the tyranny of distance (for farmers),” Mrs Hayes said.
“It can make all the difference. (The message is) don’t hesitate, ring us.”
Nutritional consultant Caroline Cudmore spoke to the crowd about healthy choices and food options.
Landcare regional facilitator Felicity Steel said it was important for farmers to come together and talk about ways to help themselves.
Local nurse practitioner Vicko Prozinski was also on hand to offer free mini health checks to participants.
The Rural Resilience Program works with farming communities and service providers to strengthen networks, exchange information and deliver relevant initiatives that build personal and business resilience skills, enabling people to move forward in a positive direction.