A timely reminder about the support available to farmers has been offered by the Yorkshire Rural Support Network at the latest free farmer health checks in Thirsk.
As the darker winter days draw in, the free checks with nursing professionals were offered to members of farming families at Thirsk Auction Centre’s Christmas Fatstock Sale on Thursday 28th November.
Organised by the Yorkshire Rural Support Network at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, with support from the Prince’s Countryside Fund, the Farming Community Network and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the rolling programme of health checks provides convenient opportunities for farmers to have potentially life-saving health checks.
Held at a number of auction marts and agricultural events on a touring basis each year, the checks have previously detected cases of high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. In some cases, farmers are referred to their GP.
At Thirsk, nurse practitioner Anne Reed, who is a long-time supporter of the health checks, identified some potential diabetes cases – as she explains in the video below.
“Our free checks sometimes detect serious underlying health problems that may have gone undiagnosed, leading to more serious issues for the farmer,” said Kate Dale, co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network.
“Fortunately, members of the farming community are becoming more aware of the need to look after their physical and mental health to ensure that they are fit to farm, but the industry still has work to do to make sure farmers acknowledge and act upon any warning signs about their health.”
A more open dialogue about farmers’ health and wellbeing was championed by the Future Farmers of Yorkshire, another farming network group of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, during a month-long #Fit2Farm campaign recently.
The campaign raised awareness of how a farmer’s ailing physical or mental health heightened their risk of suffering an accident on farm – and there is more about the campaign in this newsletter.
As well as promoting the responsibilities that farmers have for their own health and wellbeing, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network’s free health checks have other crucial benefits, Mrs Dale said.
“Our farmer health checks are just one way in which the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and its farming networks, together with our charitable partners, can remind our region’s farmers that we care about their wellbeing, that there is support from friendly faces who understand their world and that we are here to help all year round.
“Going into the darker winter months at the end of a very wet November when growers have faced difficulties with crops and flooding has hindered farm work, it is important that our farmers know that this support is available.”
The next free farmer health checks are in the new year, at the Ripon Farm Services open day at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate on 15th January, at Farmstar’s open day at its base in Marr, near Doncaster, on 16th January and at the Yorkshire Agricultural Machinery Show on York Auction Centre on 5th February.
Additional funding from the Prince’s Countryside Fund has allowed extra checks to be offered at more venues this winter.