A school in Co. Leitrim has been announced the national winner of the Agri Aware Farm Safe School 2022 programme for highlighting farm safety in the community.

St. Joseph’s National School in Killenummery, Co. Leitrim was presented a prize of €2,000 by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Martin Heydon.

The national winners chose farm safety as the theme for their St. Patrick’s Day parade; welcomed farm safety speakers into their school; visited a farm to spot potential dangers; and created role-play videos showcased as part of their school blog.

The minister with responsibility for farm safety said the programme is making an important contribution in reducing the unacceptably high incidence rate of farm fatalities and serious injuries on Irish farms.

“By engaging with children – some of whom will be tomorrow’s young farmers – this programme is an opportunity to ingrain a lifelong culture of safety in their approach to farming.

“The pupils of St. Joseph’s National School are to be congratulated for their great effort and initiative in the projects they undertook to increase not only their own awareness of farm safety, but also to raise awareness in their homes and in their community,” Minster Heydon said.

Farm Safe Schools

Agri Aware, AgriKids and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), supported by the DAFM, have teamed up to bring the programme – which aims to kickstart farm safety conversations – to Irish classrooms.

As part of the programme, schools engaged in a series of farm-safety themed modules, helping them to be ambassadors for farm safety and empower cultural change within their communities.

A total of 19,500 children from over 450 schools across the country signed up for the programme, which is sponsored by DAFM.

Farm Safe Schools coordinator and AgriKids founder, Alma Jordan said “it sends a very powerful message to adults when young children take on such a serious topic”.

Agri Aware executive director, Marcus O’Halloran also expressed his delight to the national winners:

“The children are really bringing their learning home to their parents and grandparents. It is great to see the effort and imagination that goes into the annual submissions.”

The Athlacca National School in Co. Limerick also received €500 for winning the class champion award for their innovative farm safety keyrings for tractors and their ‘Eye on Safety’ project.