Representatives from Murray Dairy, AgriSafe and the Rural Financial Counselling Service attended a barbecue lunch last week to talk to dairy farmers about the services available to them to improve their mental, physical and financial health during what has been a tough period for the industry.
Hosted by Numurkah District Health Service, the day was put on to see how farmers are feeling about recent changes to the industry.
‘‘I organised this day to talk to farmers about how they are tracking with the recent changes to the industry and so we know how to really help them,’’ Numurkah District Health Service’s community development dairy industry support worker Emma Knapp said.
‘‘It will also help shape the project I’m doing. The project is to develop resilience and build capacity in the dairy industry and aims to raise awareness of local support services and to establish and enhance social networks.’’
While Numurkah District Health Service has programs in place for dairy farmers, Ms Knapp said it was difficult to tell how many had enrolled in them.
‘‘There are 200 farmers within the Moira shire but it is hard to say how many farmers have taken up these services,’’ she said.
Murray Dairy’s community liaison officer Karen Rowlands said her role involved talking to farmers to see how they were feeling, and pointing them in the right direction when they needed help.
‘‘I’m usually ringing farmers and asking them how they are feeling and whether they have tapped into government initiatives available to them,’’ she said.
Agrisafe clinician and community health nurse Sue Crowther said the reason for her being at the event was to promote the new clinic based in Shepparton and to discuss how farmers can improve their overall health.
‘‘We’ve recently established an AgriSafe clinic in Shepparton which offers farmers a 10-minute occupational, health and wellbeing assessment.
‘‘The health checks include blood pressure checks, respiratory testing and hearing screenings,’’ she said.