We’re joining with other organisations across New Zealand’s agricultural sector to get behind a new initiative aimed at ensuring better health and safety outcomes for farming communities.
Farm Without Harm is an industry-wide strategy and action plan to drive practical changes that prevent physical and mental harm to those working on farms. It has been developed by the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group (Safer Farms), which Fonterra has been an active member of for the past few years, and includes a pledge that organisations and farmers can sign to show their commitment to the cause.
“We’re fully supportive of this initiative because nothing is more important than people getting home from work safely each day,” says Douglas.
“Unfortunately there’s still too many injuries and fatalaties happening on farms across Aotearoa, so we need a concerted and collective effort to address this.”
Fonterra’s General Manager of Farming Operations Matthew Roach says its important to lead by example.
“We’ve got our own Fonterra farms across the country – predominantly in and around our manufacturing sites – and we take our responsibilities seriously in terms of managing the risks and hazards we have on farm to make sure people go home safe,” says Roach.
Safer Farms Chair Lindy Nelson says the cost of producing food in New Zealand is too high, with 13 farmers losing their lives on farms last year and more than 2,000 suffering serious injuries that forced them off work for a week or more.
Douglas says that as the farmer-facing part of the Co-op it’s important for Farm Source to work closely with Safer Farms.
“We want to play our part to deliver the outcomes this Farm Without Harm strategy is aiming to achieve. Working in a coordinated way across the industry often leads to the best results,” adds Douglas.
Like all parts of the Co-operative, Farm Source puts considerable effort and focus on health and safety.
Having a Health and Safety Plan is a critical part of Fonterra’s farmer recognition framework known as The Co-operative Difference.
There are also minimum standards that are set out in the terms and conditions of supply that farmers need to meet and which are communicated with them each year.
The Farm Source team work alongside farmers, providing tailored support to help them meet the standards.
Farm Source is also currently in the middle of a three-year collaboration with the Rural Support Trust to improve access to wellbeing and resilience services for farming families.
For more information about Farm Without Harm go to: https://farmwithoutharm.org.nz/.