Smarter, Safer Farms
Smarter, Safer Farms is a four-year $20 million program, that is investing in projects to:
- keep farmers, workers and farm families safe and well
- help farmers make sound business and farm management decisions
- ensure farmers are prepared and have strategies to manage their business through drought and the impacts of climate change
- support farmers to capture the benefits of innovation and new technologies, and
- position agriculture as a career of choice.
Smarter, Safer Farms includes $10 million of farm safety and wellbeing initiatives to change Victoria’s farm safety culture and reduce the number of deaths and injuries on farms. It also includes a $10 million skills program, that is providing targeted training to build capability in:
- financial literacy
- risk management
- farm planning
- adaptation to climate change.
Resilient Farming Communities project
This $2.9 million two-year project supports farmers, farming communities and farming families to have increased capacity to manage stress and look after their wellbeing.
Eleven organisations have received funding to deliver programs that will enhance social connectedness through community events and training as well as increase awareness of mental health treatment options and care and support services.
Grant recipients are working closely with their local communities to co-develop programs.
The project is funded through Agriculture Victoria’s Smarter, Safer Farms program and is being delivered by the Department of Health.
For more information, contact the delivery organisations directly:
- Bass Coast Council – Strengthening Resilience in Bass Coast’s Farming Communities
- Grampians Pyrenees PCP (Primary Care Partnership) – The Resourceful Farmers’ Project
- Buloke Shire Council – Building a Better Buloke – Resilience
- NCN Health – Farm Community Connect
- Gippsland Lakes Complete Health – Connect Well East Gippsland and Wellington Farmer Resilience
- Resilience Builders – Tools for Tough Times (resilience program in schools)
- Gateway Health – Building Ovens Murray Agricultural Sector Resilience
- Southwest PCP – Reaching Out to Farming Families
- Gannawarra Shire Council – Resilient Gannawarra
- Southern Grampians Glenelg PCP – Building Community Resilience Leadership and Capability
- Wimmera PCP – Farming and Rural Resilience Project
Smarter, Safer Farms project areas
This 12-month preventative healthcare project for remote communities in East Gippsland is increasing health and wellbeing support for farmers, farming families and rural communities.
Funding for Bush Nursing Centres in Buchan, Cann Valley, Dargo, Ensay, Gelantipy District and Swifts Creek will ensure more services are available, including extra primary health, community, clinical, emergency, home-based and referral services.
Results of this project will help inform future health and wellbeing projects for farmers in remote Victoria.
Farmers or community members requiring health support can contact their local Bush Nursing Centre directly:
The project is being delivered by the Victorian Department of Health and is funded by Agriculture Victoria to keep farmers, workers and farm families safe and well.
Two leadership bodies, the Farm Safety Council and Farm Skills Victoria, have been established to provide leadership and guidance across the initiatives and to consider how we can work collaboratively to meet the skill and safety needs of the agriculture sector into the future.
The Farm Safety Council includes membership from the following organisations:
- Kidsafe Victoria
- National Centre for Farmer Health
- Victorian Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation Training Network
- Australian Workers Union
- Victorian Farmers Federation
- United Workers Union
- WorkSafe Victoria
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Agriculture Victoria
- Department of Education and Training.
Farm Skills Victoria includes membership from the following organisations:
Making our farms safer places to work and live
To improve safety on Victorian farms, more than 1000 farms are being supported to make permanent safety improvements.
Examples include projects to improve child safety, and livestock loading and handling in addition to upgrades to electrical machinery and chemical storage facilities.
The $5 million Farm Safety Rebate Scheme is fully subscribed and closed to new applications on 30 March 2021.
Rural Finance is administering the program and will contact existing applicants to advise about eligibility and funding availability.
Agriculture Victoria is working with Kidsafe Victoria to improve child safety on farms. Kidsafe is developing free resources for schools and families. Kidsafe will also run competitions for kids to submit videos, stories, posters and other media to be the focus of an Australian farm safety social media campaign. The program and resources will suit both online and face-to-face classes.
Smarter, Safer Farms is complemented by Making our Farms Safer, a commitment to invest $3 million over four years to:
- increase health checks for farmers
- deliver a new campaign to raise greater workplace safety awareness
- help the Victorian Farmers Federation employ two additional Farm Safety Officers.
The National Centre for Farmer Health has partnered with Smarter, Safer Farms to deliver 20 Gear Up for Ag Health & Safety™ workshops to participating secondary schools.
Through practical and interactive workshops students will be provided training to make working on farms safer. Students will also be provided a kit of personal protective equipment.
Each short AgVic Talk episode provides a snapshot of rural Victoria through real-life stories from young farmers, rural women, aspiring leadings and those whose lifetime of experience is giving them an opportunity to guide and help others in the industry.
New episodes on farm health and safety dive into the lived experiences of farmers across the state, discussing near misses and incidents that have made them realise that their most important farm asset is the people who live and work there.
Subscribe and listen to AgVic Talk wherever you get your podcasts or listen online.
Delivering on the skills and education component of the Victorian Government’s Digital Agriculture Strategy, SmartSkills from SmartFarms is connecting communities with science and collaborating with education providers and industry to build capability and future skills.
- Five SmartFarms have been established at Ellinbank, Hamilton, Horsham, Mildura and Tatura to bring together technologies and data to support smart information and new opportunities for agriculture.
- The Get into AgSTEM suite of workshops for upper primary and secondary students helps develop capability in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Through hands-on workshops at Agriculture Victoria’s laboratories or SmartFarms students will learn about contemporary technologies relevant to the agricultural sector.
The program includes Get into Genes, Get into Gums, Get into Digital Agriculture and Get into Grains. Each workshop is designed to increase the engagement of students with STEM and provide hands-on learning opportunities.
Get into AgSTEM is free, linked to the Victorian school curriculums and designed and delivered by Agriculture Victoria. Workshops are delivered at metropolitan and regional Agriculture Victoria sites. Remote delivery is also available in some instances.
- Victorian Farmers Federation – Be Farm Safe
- WorkSafe Victoria – Agriculture safety information
- Dairy Australia – Farm Safety and Wellbeing
- Kidsafe Victoria – Farm Safety
- The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia – Keep Watch @ the Farm
- Country Fire Authority – Prepare your farm for fires
- National Centre for Farmer Health:
- Primezone – Agriculture education in schools resources
- Get into Genes
WorkSafe can offer Farm Safety Checklists or free confidential safety audits and advice via its programs.