‘There is very little place for young children on a working farm’

A farm advisory group’s director has outlined that he believes there is very little place for children on a working farm.

The director of Teagasc Gerry Boyle also stressed: “We have to demarcate the working farm from the home.”

His comments came as he was speaking at the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) National Farm Safety Conference which took place in the Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Friday, October 26.

Another area which Boyle shed light on was farmers’ overall health.

We think it is the case generally that farming is a healthy way of life; but, when we look at the research, we find the stats say it is one of the most unhealthy ways of life.

He outlined that this is particularly noticeable around proclivity of farmers to high levels of cardio-vascular disease and cancers.

Boyle also highlighted he believes the poor infrastructure on drystock farms is a huge concern, noting that he sees it all too frequently.

He specified that it is seen particularly on small farms that are managed by elderly farmers.

Boyle continued that poor infrastructure is “all too common and elderly farmers tend to be using handling facilities that are grossly inadequate and this poses a serious threat to health and safety”.

Indicating the low profitability of the beef sector, Boyle said: “The problem is that some farmers couldn’t afford to get it sorted.”

The overall aim of the conference was to review current approaches to health and safety in the agricultural sector in challenging times.