FROM a young age Noreen McPeake has had a passion for agriculture.
As a young child helping on the family farm and attending her local livestock mart in Swatragh, to securing employment at the Mart, agriculture and auctions has been a big part of her life.
Her focus nowadays at the Mart (the Northern Counties Co-operative Enterprises Ltd NCCE) is on its training centre where she has seen a rise in demand for a range of courses.
It is through the training centre that she learned of the farm safety workshops, which RDC and CAFRE deliver free to the farm family.
As she explains: “Agriculture is the most dangerous occupation in the UK and I was immediately interested in farm health and safety and felt it would be beneficial to the community. The NCCE offers many services to the local/farming community as well as the weekly sheep/cattle sales and farm ware store and we thought this would complement our work very well.”
She continues: “I feel strongly that everyone involved in the family farm should attend this information evening, especially women involved in the farm. If the wives, partners, mothers, daughters and sisters are more involved they can play a big part in helping change their family’s attitude towards safety. If we can spread awareness and break people’s habits this could prevent serious accidents or even fatalities.
“To date the NCCE has held numerous well attended sessions. Personally, I found the session very informative and the experiences people shared brought home the dangers of farming!
From chatting to local farmers who have already attended, the overall response has been positive, the videos shown were of local, ordinary men and I think this helped get the message across that anyone can become a victim.”
Teresa Canavan from the Rural Development Council, said: “So many farms in Northern Ireland rely on the involvement of women, whether they farm themselves or support the family farm. Unfortunately, we know that women too can be the victim of a farm accident and/or invariably must deal with the consequences of farm accidents.
“The farm safety workshops cover the four main dangers associated with working on a farm, Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment. It highlights the needs to learn from near misses and seeks to spread the message of farm safety to farm employees, visitors to the farm and more vulnerable members of the farm family.”
Noreen concludes: “If a session can make one person change one dangerous habit then it is worthwhile. I would definitely recommend attendance.”
The Northern Counties Co-operative Ltd will host a FREE farm safety evening at the Mart on Thursday, December 7 at 7pm. Registration in advance is essential. Contact Noreen on 07927 852106 or 028 7940 1246.
Other dates and venues are available across Northern Ireland. Contact RDC on 028 8676 6980 for more information.