Farming communities gain physical support for mental gains
Nearly three quarters (72%) of Australians living in regional areas do not get enough exercise and experience poorer health outcomes compared with those in metropolitan areas.
That’s why Bayer Australia and Active Farmers today announced a new partnership to support the delivery of fitness programs across rural Australia, aimed at improving the physical and mental wellbeing of farming communities in remote areas and drought affected communities.
The fitness program, not only helps farmers to get physical, but also tackles mental illness. While the prevalence of mental illness is considered similar in urban and regional Australia , the rate of suicide is almost double in remote areas.1
Founder and CEO of Active Farmers Ginny Stevens says: “For farmers and people living in rural communities, the benefits of participating in group fitness aren’t just physical but mental and social as well. The support of Bayer Australia will not only allow us to expand our reach, but offer free group fitness classes for 4 weeks to those situated in drought affected areas. This support will make a true difference to the health and wellbeing of more rural communities across Australia.”
Commencing in 2020, Bayer Australia will be a platinum partner of Active Farmers for an initial three-year period. The partnership was announced at an event hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at Parliament House in Canberra this morning.
Mr McCormack said: “I’m a strong supporter of initiatives that bring regional and rural communities together to promote a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing. Programs such as Active Farmers are so important in being able to achieve this. I am delighted to be able to announce the new partnership and the support of drought affected communities.”
Active Farmers is one of many community initiatives Bayer Australia supports to help improve health outcomes in underserviced remote areas.
Joerg Ellmanns, Chairman and Managing Director of Bayer ANZ explained: “Bayer has worked with Australian farmers for over 90 years. We are proud to partner with Active Farmers to support a program that gives back through preventative health and wellbeing. Better health outcomes results from people understanding how to take preventative measures and to self-manage their own health, as well as engaging with their local community.”
About Active Farmers:
Starting in Mangoplah NSW in 2015, Active Farmers was founder Ginny Stevens' response to her concerns about mental health issues in rural areas, growing isolation rising from expanding farm technology, and the scarcity of locally available health and wellbeing activities in small farming communities. Today, Active Farmers has over 600 regular monthly participants* in over 30 small farming communities stretching more than 4,000km from Hughenden in Queensland to Borden in Western Australia, and then down to Campbell Town in Tasmania, and many additional communities are in the pipeline.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. The company has operated in Australia since 1925 and has a long-term commitment to the health and nutrition of all Australians. Locally, Bayer currently employs almost 900 people across the country and is dedicated to servicing the needs of rural Australia and the local community. Bayer is deeply committed to research and development and has a strong tradition of innovation. The company’s focus on people, partnerships and innovation underpins all aspects of its operations. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.au
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Rural & Remote Australians. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/population-groups/rural-remote-australians/overview. Accessed September 2019.
 National Rural Health Alliance Inc. Mental Health in Rural And Remote Australia. Available at: https://www.ruralhealth.org.au/sites/default/files/publications/nrha-mental-health-factsheet-dec-2017.pdf. Accessed September 2019.