Unit 8

On Feirm Ground 2

Aim of Workshop

On Feirm Ground 2 is a training programme that equips agricultural professionals and service providers with skills, knowledge, and competencies to engage farmers on their health and wellbeing and to signpost farmers to appropriate support services.

The programme also provides a platform to mainstream a health promotion and prevention focus into routine farming practices.

This programme is relevant to all the frontline agricultural professionals and service providers who engage with farmers in the office, over the phone and/ or on the farm.

The course is Unit 8 of the ‘Engage’ National Men’s Health programme and is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Health and Health Service Executive.

It is coordinated by Men’s Development Network and was developed in partnership with Engage Training partners such as South East Technological University (SETU), Men’s Health Forum in Ireland and HSE Ireland.

The course modules are evidence-informed around engaging farmers on health and social services and will be delivered in a hybrid format; a 2-hour flexible and self-paced E-Learning that will be followed by a one day in person workshop (6-hours).



  1. Explore how to create a welcoming, inclusive and safe working environment when engaging with farmers on health issues.
  2. Consider the rationale for having a specific focus on farmers’ health, including the unique challenges and stresses associated with different demographic groups of farmers.
  3. Reflect on how farming identity and farming masculinities influence the values and attitudes that farmers develop in relation to their health and, in turn, shape farmers’ health behaviours and health outcomes.
  4. Offer participants the opportunity to reflect upon their own personal talents and shortcomings in engaging with and supporting farmers on health issues.
  5. Equip participants with practical tips to recognise signs of distress in farmers and to support farmers’ mental health.
  6. Provide participants with practical tips to engage with and signpost farmers who may be in distress to appropriate support services.
  7. Explore advisors’ role in normalising health conversations and mainstreaming a health promotion focus into routine extension activities, including farm discussion groups.

One Day Workshop Programme Outline


E-Learning (To be completed before the in person workshop)

  • Introduction On Feirm Ground 2
  • Why Farmers Health?
  • Farming Identity and Farming Masculinities

Arrival / settling in

  • Registration
  • Tea / coffee


  • Welcome
  • Housekeeping announcements
  • Introductions
  • Safety and boundaries (what this training is / is not)
  • Developing a group contract / ground rules
  • Model of working together

Consolidation of E-Learning Course

  • Introduction On Feirm Ground 2
  • Why Farmers Health?
  • Farming Identity and Farming Masculinities
11:00 am



Agricultural professionals and service providers as ‘health  connectors’

  • Consideration of a ‘health connector’ role in relation to farm discussion groups and one-to-one situations
  • Personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to working with farmers, more broadly, and in relation to health, specifically
  • Roles, responsibilities and boundaries
  • Minding the minders – how are agricultural professionals and service providers minding themselves and how could they be supported more?
11:50 am

Recognising the ‘signs’ of distress in farmers


  • Key indicators of farmers’ mental health
  • Reading ‘the signs’ of distress
  • Practical tips to support farmers’ mental health and wellbeing and to cope with the pressures of farming



Responding to farmers in distress

  • Appropriate strategies to deal with distress or
  • Signposting to appropriate support services

Comfort Break


Mainstreaming farmers’ health into routine farming activities

  • Learning from key milestones, to date, in farmers’ health
  • Top tips on things to do to actively engage
  • Potential actions, activities or events that could happen within or through farming activities, including farm discussion groups

Pulling it all together

  • Synopsis of issues covered
  • Evaluation forms
  • Signposting to sources of information, help and support
  • Final round of feedback


Related Programmes.

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After taking part in ‘On Feirm Ground’, when going out on the farm I feel more confident when harder and more personal subjects are bought up by the farmer. I know the right questions to ask and what signs to look for instead of not knowing what to say to try and help the situation. Having this knowledge is a great advantage as you are never worried going into a farm of not knowing what to say or not saying the correct thing and making the situation worse.

‘On Feirm Ground’ has improved my understanding of how Agricultural Advisors can more effectively engage in supportive communications with farmers

I thought the ‘On Feirm Ground’ training was very good, I am much more aware of how to spot the signs of someone in distress, and comfortable enough in opening the conversation with most of my clients. The EARS approach is very effective.

Since ‘partaking in the On Feirm Ground’ training, I have tried to be more open to talking to farmers about issues they may have physically or mentally and encourage them to get help they needed if it is not already sought.

I suppose doing ‘On Feirm Ground’, it helped me to see that poor health can be very common across the client base. I think it can be hard to try to help someone that is under pressure but with this training it has helped me in ways of addressing these types of situations Really it has raised awareness of what we can do to help farmers and where we can also look for help for them if they require it.

The ‘On Feirm Ground’ programme definitely made me more aware to monitor farmers well being and to encourage them to seek help.