The NI Agri Rural Health Forum highlights the importance of you and your farming business succeeding together

The Northern Ireland The Agri-Rural Health Forum (NIARHF) was established in 2021 with a vision of empowering the agri-rural community to grow, live and maintain the highest levels of health and well-being in support of stronger farm businesses and healthier farm families.

Their mission is to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of those in the farming community in Northern Ireland through the development of practical and innovative solutions that address emerging trends or challenges.

As key decision-makers in agriculture, community, voluntary, government and related commercial organisations, the Forum aims to influence public opinion and ensure that mental and physical health needs are properly addressed in rural communities – especially families – in strategy and policy development.

Panel discussion throughout the evening – Peter Alexander, YFCU President, Kelly Rouse, Rural Support Teacher, William Irvine, UFU Deputy President, Rebecca Orr, Chair of the Rural Health Forum and Sam Strain, Director General of Animal Health and Welfare NI .

On Thursday 10 November, the NI Agri Rural Health Forum hosted their first in-person event, You and Your Farm Business Thrive Together. The event focused on farming business and how taking care of personal well-being allows both the person and the business to thrive. The event was an opportunity to focus on areas of professional stress for farmers and to come together during these difficult times in the agri-food sector.

Dr Sam Strain, CEO of Animal Health and Welfare NI, who was the keynote speaker, said: “I was delighted to be asked to speak at this NI Agri-Rural Health Forum event and to have so many farmers in attendance. Farmers need to think about themselves as seriously as possible

health, as well as about the health of their animals. If the farmer is not aware of the occupational stressors and does not do something about them, the agricultural business will perish at best and fail at worst. My main message to farmers is to give yourself the best chance by knowing your health indicators, getting support and speaking up. It will be better for you, your household and your household.”

Chair of NI Agri – Rural Health Forum, Dr Rebecca Orr commented: “Simply put, if more farmers can feel good about themselves, the whole industry will not just survive, it will thrive from the ground up. Like any asset on the farm, maintaining our health requires an investment of time, effort and money. It’s all too easy to give that time to other things ahead of you with farm responsibilities. Health should be at the forefront of any successful farm business plan, whether it’s making sure to check your eyes or blood pressure, or being mindful of available labor hours for your next long-term capital investment. We have only one health

Agricultural Health Forum

industry, and if we all do our part, we will all reap the rewards.”

For more information about the Forum go to or contact Farm Support on their free confidential support line 0800 138 1678 which is available between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday for more instructions.

Sam Strain, Director General of Animal Health and Welfare NI, is the evening’s keynote speaker The NI Agri Rural Health Forum highlights the importance of you and your farming business succeeding together

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