Viewpoint: A five-minute chat that can save lives
A TRIP down the N7 in recent days showed a flurry of activity with field after field of silage being cut in between the frequent showers.
It was a swift reminder that farmers are heading into a busy season, and it comes just as many schoolchildren are freed from the classroom for the summer.
The flurry of activity, combined with the machinery on the move, and the time constraints as farmers try to beat the weather unquestionably adds up to heightened danger on farms.
Last year saw a startling jump in farm deaths with 30 lives lost, tragically including five children. It was a shocking increase from 16 deaths in 2013. It was the fifth successive year that the agriculture sector had recorded the highest number of deaths.
Yet there has been a growing awareness in recent months of farm safety, with the powerful 'What's Left Behind' campaign depicting the heartbreak that ensues when a loved one is lost on the farm.
Brian and Norma Rohan set up the Embrace Farm group in memory of Brian's father Liam, an experienced ploughman who tragically lost his life repairing a harvesting machine. They have warned that many dairy farmers are facing increased workloads and stress as they increase herd size.
"One of those videos featured a little boy whose father spoke about how he died after falling into a soak-pit on the family farm. We had a call from a father in Cork who immediately called in a digger to fill in a hole on their farm.
"On Christmas day they took a minute out to think about the young boy and talk of farm safety on their farm," said Norma.