“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Greeting friends of Yellow Wellies. I’m Stephanie Berkeley and I have recently taken on the role of Farm Safety Campaign Specialist for the Farm Safety Foundation. What that means is that I will be out and about meeting young farmers, working with, and supporting, like-minded organisations, and developing educational programmes to help raise awareness of farm safety, change attitudes about farming safely and reduce the toll of injuries and fatalities which bring a catalogue of heartbreak and misery to numerous families and rural communities every year.
While our farmers are among the best in the world, farming remains one of our country’s most hazardous industries. Farmers, and their families, are exposed to numerous health and safety dangers on a daily basis – from vehicular fatalities, to injuries from falls, machinery and chemicals. With preparation and proper training, these risks can be limited and lives and livelihoods can be saved.
At the Farm Safety Foundation we are asking young farmers to seriously think “who would fill your boots” in the event of a life-changing injury? A serious head or spinal injury could put an end to somebody’s career or livelihood as a farmer and, as well as the physical and mental consequences of being involved in an accident on a farm, what about the lasting impact it can have on loved ones and dependents?
We must be determined to change and maintain that determination for the future. I do believe we can make a difference but we can not do it alone. This is your industry. You know what works well and what holds you back. Together we can make a difference and change attitudes to health and safety in the farming community. Together, we can ensure a safer future for this great industry.
Stephanie Berkeley is the former editor of Northern Woman magazine and Marketing Manager of the award-winning W5 science centre, a Northern Ireland charity with educational aims. She lives in Stratford-upon-Avon with her husband Jim, a graduate of Seale Hayne Agricultural College, and two children Charlie (14) and Tara (11).