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Grain Producers Australia’s successful mental health partnership returns this year, with a fresh focus on empowering local leaders and sharing resources, to support farmers and rural communities.


Now in its third year, GPA’s Farmer Mates Mental Health Initiative has put the spotlight on mental health, to help raise greater awareness and reduce stigmas, including on suicide prevention. 

Australian cricketing legend, Brad Hogg, will return this year in his role as National Ambassador and – together with partners Nufarm, GrainGrowers, Rural Aid and Lifeline – will aim to include new voices in broadening the conversation. 

Brad will head up a series of regional roadshows involving leadership forums and other events, where community leaders can come together and share important resources, knowledge and conversations about mental health and wellbeing. 

“I’m looking forward to joining GPA and our partners to expand the focus of what we’re doing together, to build greater leadership and knowledge-sharing, on this vitally important issue,” he said. 

“I’m excited about continuing to advance this important partnership, making sure we can reach out and connect with even more people in regional towns and communities.” 

The program will build on key themes from the first two years, which highlighted key messages about; the importance of farmers staying connected with friends, family and communities during testing times; and the importance of taking a break from work, to focus on health and wellbeing. 

Events on the roadshow will be coordinated to include Brad’s appearances at the: Eyre Peninsula Field Days, Cleve, SA (August 13-15); AgQuip Field Days, Gunnedah, NSW (August 20-22); and the Dowerin Machinery Field Days, WA (August 28-29). 

Later this year, GPA will also bring together key stakeholders for a national symposium in Canberra, aimed at building on the program’s leadership and awareness.  

GPA Chair and WA grain producer Barry Large said empowering community leaders to continue the conversation about mental health resources, will help support more people in rural communities. 

“We’re extremely grateful for the continued, fantastic support that Nufarm is providing to back this program, and all of our project partners, to help deliver even better outcomes this year,” he said. 

“There’s a lot of good people and organisations doing good things and we want to ensure people understand where to go to, to access the services and tools they need, when they need it. 

“We also welcome other farming groups and industry members reaching out to see how they can support what we’re doing – be it getting Hoggy along for a good chat at a community morning tea, dinner at a local country pub, visit to the machinery shed, game of bowls or school visit.” 

Nufarm Australia Commercial General Manager, Peter O’Keeffe, is excited to see the initiative and work with Brad, to improve mental health awareness and suicide prevention in rural areas, continuing this year. 

“We have a strong focus on doing what we can at Nufarm to improve mental health across rural areas and this program is one of the great initiatives working to help address this situation,” Mr O’Keeffe said. 

“The support this program now has from across the industry is testament to its value.” 

GrainGrowers Chair and WA grower Rhys Turton said his organisation was committed to supporting the GPA’s Farming Mates Mental Health Initiative. 


“It is a valuable program, and we are happy to play our role, strengthen the message, and have some valuable conversations about this issue,” he said. 


“It is far too easy to underplay mental health, and yet it is vitally important for growers, rural industry and the wider community to reach out and maintain good health and wellbeing. 


“Being resilient is fine to a point, but for everyone, there comes a time when issues outside their control can cause a significant emotional burden.  


“The simple act of checking in, being aware and learning from initiatives like this can make a real difference.” 


Mr Turton said GrainGrowers was pleased to support this important initiative of GPAs.  


“I would encourage other industry bodies and agricultural businesses to step up and get involved and help deliver better outcomes for growers,” he said. 


Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing team of counsellors are based in rural towns throughout Australia and provide a key area of professional support and advice, for GPA’s partnership. 

GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said other initiatives and engagement opportunities were also in the pipeline for the revitalised program, with more details to be revealed, throughout the year. 

“We’ll be aiming to do more events and getting Hoggy on the road again out into rural regions. In fact, we’re open to ideas and opportunities for events and engagement forums, that help reinforce what we’re doing, for people in our farming communities,” he said. 

“Hoggy’s passion for mental health and wellbeing, his leadership experiences and genuine love and passion for farming communities, given he was born and raised in one in WA’s sheep and wheatbelt, makes him a fantastic Ambassador and one we’re all proud to support.” 


· Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team HERE 

· GPA’s Farmer Mates Mental Health initiative HERE 

· Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14 

· Mental Health and Wellbeing Team intake line 1300 17 55 94 - Head Office 1300 327 624 




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