Farmers encouraged to invest in wellbeing

Farmers are being urged to look after themselves as much as they do their animals.

For many farmers, it has been a challenging year and, for some, its feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.   

In February, Cyclone Gabrielle caused unprecedented flooding and damage across parts of the North Island, particularly in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. This event caused significant disruption to farmers, growers, and rural communities.

Further north, Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty also endured record rainfall from January 26 to February 2, 2023.

MPI funding

The Ministry for Primary Industries has provided funding to coordinate clean-up efforts for the primary sector and rural communities in these regions.

“We need to acknowledge that this has been an extraordinary and stressful time for farmers in these regions,” says Virginia Burton-Konia, ACC’s Injury Prevention Workplace Manager.

“We recognise that further support and help is required in these communities and the Ministry for Primary Industries is leading this work.

“We know it must feel like you have endless challenges and if you are in this space, we encourage you to get in touch for the help and support you need.”

Agriculture is New Zealand’s biggest export earner but it’s also one of our most high-risk industries.

Injury claims

In 2022, there were 22,631 farm-related injury claims accepted which came at a cost of $96 million to help people recover. This was the highest cost over the past five years.

That's over 60 farmers getting injured every day. That’s a big impact on them, their families and the rural community when they get taken out of play.

In all, ACC has spent $421 million on farming related injuries in the past five years.

“It’s important for farmers, to take a moment to think about what they are about to do and think about what could go wrong to prevent injury.”

ACC is a strategic partner of Farmstrong, alongside FMG and the Mental Health Foundation.

Farmstrong is a rural wellbeing initiative for farmers and growers to help them ‘live well to farm well’.

It encourages farmers to share their stories and to look after themselves as well as they do their pasture and livestock.

An ACC-funded study for Farmstrong shows 58 per cent of recently injured farmers linked their accident to stress associated with farm work. A quarter of them said it was a major factor.

Exhaustion, lack of sleep, the stresses of farming, being isolated from friends and family, and being unable to take a break all add to the risks that a farmer or farm worker will have suffer an injury, the research shows.

New research from Massey University professor Jarrod Haar on TVNZ Breakfast showed that farmers and farm managers have a 70 per cent chance of burnout.  The report says that in comparison, chief executives have a 30 per cent risk of burnout and hospitality workers are just under 20 per cent.

“We’re proud to partner with Farmstrong and its focus on simple tools like getting enough sleep, eating right and getting some exercise,” says Burton-Konia.

“Farmers can get better at putting in systems to look after the most important asset on the farm, themselves and those who work in the business.”

Five ways to wellbeing

  • Connect - research shows that people with strong social connections are happier, healthier and live longer.
  • Give - When you give your time to others, they benefit, but it makes you feel happier too.
  • Take notice - paying attention to smaller things can help you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Keep learning - learning new things keeps your thinking flexible and open
  • Be active - keeping active is a great way to feel good.

For more on Farmstrong visit:


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