Supporting farmer wellbeing: exploring a potential role for advisors

Conor Hammersley, Noel Richardson, David Meredith, Paula Carroll, John G. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Farmers experience poor health outcomes and are considered ‘hard to reach’. Agricultural advisors (‘advisors’) are uniquely positioned to support and signpost farmers on health issues. This paper explores the acceptability and terms of reference of a potential health role for advisors, and offers key recommendations for developing a bespoke farmers’ health training programme. Methodology: Following ethical approval, eleven focus groups were conducted with farmers (n = 4), advisors (n = 4), farming organisations (n = 2) and farmers’ ‘significant others’ (n = 1). Utilising Thematic Content Analysis, transcripts were coded iteratively and emerging themes were grouped into primary and subthemes. Findings/practical implications: Our analysis identified three themes. ‘Scope and acceptability of a potential health role for advisors’ examines how participants envision and are receptive to such a role. ‘Responsibilities, boundaries and self-care’ considers both a health promotion and ‘health connector’ advisory role–normalising health conversations and sign-posting farmers to services/supports. Finally, ‘trouble-shooting potential obstacles to advisors assuming a health role’ reflects on the barriers that may impede advisors capacity or potential to have a broader health role. Theoretical implications/original value: Within the context of the stress process theory, findings provide unique insights into how advisory can mediate stress and contribute to farmers’ health and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022


  • Advisory
  • extension
  • farmers’ health
  • health promotion
  • training
  • wellbeing


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