A ground-breaking farming campaign designed to raise money for a mental health charity culminated in an auction-based livestock event in Ireland on the 2nd of March.
The ‘Rearing To Go’ campaign has been organised by Angela Hayes (The Thomas Hayes Trust), David Corkery and Paula and Peter Hynes. The initiative was first launched by Helen Carroll, a journalist and presenter of Irish TV network RTE’s programme Ear to the Ground.
“The aim of the initiative is to create awareness around mental health and mental wellbeing amongst farmers. The campaign highlights the importance of farmers talking to each other, remaining positive and seeking help if required,” explains organiser Peter Hynes. Cases of farm suicide have increased in recent years and charities are trying to break down the walls and reach out to farmers who may need help. One such charity is Teac Tom, which was founded by the Hayes family to support individuals and their families affected by suicide or contemplating suicide.
Samantha Sampson, from sponsors Volac, adds: “This campaign has seen a superb uptake from the farming community, which shows how important bringing mental health to the fore is for farmers. We are committed to supporting the dairy sector and its farmers, so are delighted to be involved in such an important mental health initiative focused on our industry.”
The campaign organisers asked farmers to kindly donate a dairy-bred heifer calf; Peter Cagney, from Ballingarry, donated a calf while Salesian Agricultural College gave a maiden heifer by FR2339 out of the dam of Pallaskenry Premier. At €1,450 it was the highest price on the day in Corrin Mart. All monies raised will go to Teac Tom which supports individuals and their families affected by suicide or contemplating suicide.
Two of the celebrity auctioneers were rugby legend John Hayes and his wife, Fiona Steed – no stranger to speaking to large audiences in her role as a rugby analyst.
Volac was one of the main supporters of the Rearing To Go campaign, aimed at breaking down stigmas and raising awareness around mental health in the agricultural sector. Farmers who donated calves to the campaign received a free bag of Volac Heiferlac. Volac’s Young Animal Nutrition Product Manager Samantha even had a go at auctioning off some of the calves and has said she will be leaving it to the professionals in the future. The auction was also supported by Dairgold and Cork Marts.
To date the initiative has raised €19000 for Teac Tom and there are plans to run a similar event in the UK with a UK based Mental Health Awareness charity.
The charity auction is being promoted through social media with the Twitter handle @RearingToGo and hashtag #RearingToGo, as well as Volacs Feed For Growth channels.
At the auction of calves in Corrin Mart, Fermoy, were (L-R) Sam Sampson, Volac UK; Liam Gannon, Volac calf rearing specialist; and Peter Hynes, one of the organisers of the campaign.