NFU Mutual Tidy Farmyard Awards return

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After a successful launch in 2018, the NFU Mutual Tidy Farmyard Awards will run again in 2019, promoting farmyard safety on Northern Ireland’s farms.

This year’s Tidy Farmyard Awards was launched on 18th February 2019, and is offering cash prizes to farmers who have addressed common hazards on their farmyards.

Winners will be recognised across four different sectors: pigs and poultry; arable and horticulture; beef and sheep; dairy. The winner of each category will be awarded £500, along with a Kärcher pressure washer worth £1,300. Farmers can nominate themselves – and neighbours. Family members and friends can also make nominations.

Entries will be judged on four submitted photographs which show how common farmyard hazards have been addressed to reduce the risk of an accident.

The photos should show: How the farm and farmhouse are separated; How machinery and equipment is stored; That signage, warnings and marked routes are in place; How potentially dangerous areas been fenced off.

Details of the award and how to apply are on a dedicated page on NFU Mutual’s website:

www.nfumutual.co.uk/tidyfarmawards

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place at the Balmoral show in May.

Last year’s winner, Gareth Kee, of Castle Mervyn Farm, runs a family farm in Trillick, Co. Tyrone with his father Norman. Gareth is himself a father of three young children and clearly demonstrated his commitment to maintaining a well-kept farmyard and the positive impact this can have on efficient and safety.

The award judges are: Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation; Barclay Bell, former UFU President; Malcolm Downey, HSENI; and Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Manager for Northern Ireland.

The initiative is being supported by NFU Mutual Risk Management Services and the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity set up by NFU Mutual to help farmers work safely.

“We were incredibly impressed by the volume and standard of entries last year,” said Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Manager for Northern Ireland.

“We set up the awards to showcase what can be done to make farmyards safer, and to reward farmers who have really gone the extra mile to make their farms safe. After the success of last year’s competition, we were keen to re-run the event in 2019 to refresh these vital messages.

“As a mutual insurer which is closely connected with most of Northern Ireland’s farms, we are all too aware to the heartbreak farm accidents cause. Because most farms are homes as well as a workplace, there’s always a risk that we can become complacent about the hazards of large machinery working close to homes and children so we’re running an award scheme which will act as a reminder.

“Unfortunately, today’s farmers are under huge pressure to get work done, often alone, and familiarity does breed contempt when we do the same tasks day in day out - and eventually luck runs out and the result is all too often horrific injuries and fatalities.”

Stephanie Berkeley, who heads up the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Farming remains a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy, employing nearly 47,700 people across 24,500 farms, but 2018 has been the worst year since 2012 for farm deaths.

“Eight farmers lost their lives in the workplace in 2018. These are not statistics, these are eight families, friends and communities who are grieving for a loved one. We fully support the NI Farm Safety Partnership and its 21 affiliate members, in their efforts to raise awareness of farm safety in Northern Ireland and help improve the health and safety of the local farming community.”

The Tidy Farmyard awards are being supported by leading worldwide cleaning technology provider, Kärcher. Northern Ireland’s only Kärcher Center, Craigmore, based in both Craigavon and Belfast is providing prizes worth more than £5,000 for competition winners. Kärcher Center Director, Geoff Baird, said: “It’s great for Kärcher to be able to support an initiative that encourages ever cleaner, tidier and safer farms across Northern Ireland.”