Southland District Health Board (SDHB) claims it is stepping up its investment in primary maternity services in rural areas.
The organisation is encouraging farmers to either get on their bicycles or don their walking or running shoes to benefit both their mental and physical health and to help the Farmstrong Cycle Challenge achieve its target by the end of May 2016.
Supported by the Mental Health Foundation, the challenge is designed to give farmers the skills and resources to live well, farm well and get the most out of life.
Farmstrong hopes Kiwi farmers will commit to collectively covering the four million kilometres set in the Cycle Challenge target. This equates to every farmer and grower biking, running or walking a total of 70km at any time before the May 2016 deadline.
So far, farmers have pledged 385,974 kms, with 52,310 kms travelled.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Scott Champion says B+LNZ is pleased to be able to support the campaign.
“Mental and physical health are really important issues for our farmers and rural communities and for their resilience in tough times.
“These initiatives will help raise the profile, open up the lines of discussion and give us all practical steps we can take to improve our health and wellbeing.”
In March 2016 the inaugural Farmstrong Fit4Farming cycle tour will travel the length of the country to raise awareness about the importance of keeping fit on the farm. Farmers will be encouraged to join events being held en-route.
Organiser of the Fit4Farming cycle tour, Ian Handcock says farming is stressful and while farmers cannot change the stressors, they can change the way they deal with stress.
“Sport is a great way of doing that. It’s about planning ahead and understanding that you will have good days and bad days.”
Farmers can pledge to the challenge on the Farmstrong website www.farmstrong.co.nz and log their activity.