Friends in the field

Lifting lid on mental health

RECOGNITION of the importance of mental health awareness in the rural community is growing, with barriers and stigmas gradually fading away due to the work of groups like Rural Alive & Well (RAW).

RAW is a not-for-profit charity that exists to provide early intervention mental health support and education to rural communities.

RAW are regular contributors in the Tasmanian Country, often speaking on the need for the rural community to listen to themselves, that their mental health isn’t something we should just bury or hide away.

At Agfest this year RAW are set up to make themselves known to the rural community, to break down the barriers between strangers and supporters.

“At the heart of it, we’re here so that people can come and get to know us and learn how genuine and authentic our team is,” said RAW team member Lauren Harper.

“They’re out in the field, they understand the complexity and stresses that the agricultural life can thrust upon them”

“Some stresses that people feel are normal, and some are more heightened at the moment with things like inflation and interest rates and disease in Australia”

“We are here because we genuinely want to see these farmers succeed through these stresses and to thrive and to show that we’re here to support their mental health and well-being.”

“What we do is with no cost”

“People can come in to get to know us better and know the services that are available so if they do get to a crisis point, they know they aren’t alone, they know the practices and principles available to them”
Site M88 on Main Street.

Scientific look at enterprises

INQUISITIVE farmers and the curiously inclined can get their fill of agricultural studies, findings and updates courtesy of the display at Agfest by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.

Earlier in the week saw presentations on the exploring profitable, sustainable livestock businesses in an increasingly variable climate by TIA research fellow Dr Karen Christie.

Dr Christie presented to the Agfest crowd on the NEXUS project, which explores the intersections between profitability, productivity, greenhouse gas mitigation, carbon sequestration and consumer perceptions of livestock businesses in an increasingly variable climate.

“While society increasingly demands emissions abatement from the livestock sector, farmers are also being forced to adapt to the climate crisis,” Dr Christie said.

“The global scientific community must urgently prioritise new research on adaptation to extreme weather events as well as gradual and long-term changes in climate.”

Two Tasmanian farms were modelled to explore the effect of a future 2030 and 2050 climate on production, profit, and GHG emissions to learn how a range of climate change adaptations or greenhouse gas mitigation options may impact on livestock businesses.

The TIA lectures will continued on Friday with TIA alumnus Dr Max Edgley presenting an overview of the medicinal cannabis industry, including a look at the cultivation and post-harvest processing facilities at Tasmanian Botanics, one of Australia’s largest cannabis facilities. S70, South Street.