A NEW online course aims to educate people on the unique health issues faced by Aussie farmers.
Research shows that Australian farmers are now working harder and longer than their predecessors, leading to poorer health.
Deakin University and the National Centre for Farmer Health have come together to create an online unit to explore how environmental, social and political factors influence farmer well-being.
The course says that limited access to essential health services, a weaker health knowledge and higher rates of workplace injury and lifestyle disease are shaping the well-being of rural communities, along with everyday pressures like tight budgets and the variable climate.
The new 12-week online unit is the second part of the graduate certificate of agricultural health and medicine, which has already drawn students from as far as Alice Springs and Perth.
Jeanne Dekker, a practice nurse who lives on a 120-hectare dairy farm in South Gippsland, has recently completed the first part of the graduate certificate and believes farmers need to be healthy and happy for their enterprises to flourish.
“Like many businesses, in farming, profitability is the driving factor, but you can’t sustain a business without a healthy, happy workforce and this philosophy needs to be encouraged,” she said.
“Well-being needs to be an important factor in agribusiness planning. Active involvement in life outside the farm gate, daily commitments to doing something with family and holiday time need to be encouraged to be part of the bigger picture.”