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Marts survey shows up worrying health issues for farmers

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THE general health of farmers continues to be a matter of concern with high blood pressure and obesity the main offenders, according to a recent survey carried out by Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiology Foundation.

Over 60 farmers had their blood pressure taken at two marts in the county last month and also had weight and waste checks, giving results that did provide cause for concern for Croí.

More than half of the farmers checked out had high blood pressure with many of those advised to have a follow-up check – high blood pressure is a primary cause of stroke and heart disease.

Weight problems also featured highly in the survey carried out in early October at Tuam and Loughrea Marts with 61% of those surveyed either being categorised as overweight or obese.

The waistline measurement for those surveyed, indicated that 97% of them were over the recommended 37 inch measurement for men, also a worrying indicator in terms of diseases like diabetes.

Irene Gibson, Croí  Lead Nurse and Programmes Manager, told the Farming Tribune, that the results of the survey were warning indicators of potentially more serious health problems to come.

“The message we want to get across is a lifestyle one. We want people to take note of portion size, to cut down on their salt intake, to reduce the amount of processed foods they consume, and to exercise regularly,” said Irene Gibson.

She also advised that farmers – and the general public – needed to inform themselves better as to what the food they bought in the supermarkets contained. “We want to get them to read the labels and know what they’re consuming,” she said.

Irene Gibson said that they had got a very positive reaction from the farmers they had surveyed with nearly all of them willing to consider making basic lifestyle changes.

Early in the New Year, Croí will be holding a six weeks weight management programme in Athenry aimed at advising farmers on how they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle and still eat well. (Anyone interested in participating should contact Croí on: 091-893500.

“This is not about any short-term diets. It is about moving onto a sustainable lifestyle incorporating healthy and fresh food, regular exercise and blood pressure checks,” said Irene Gibson.

She added that the simple measure of a significant reduction in the salt intake of the general population could save 900 lives each year in Ireland.

The mart health checks – now a regular annual exercise – are organised in conjunction with Galway Rural Development with the support of the marts, who provide a private room for the checks to be carried out.

According to Irene Gibson, farmers have the opportunity to incorporate far more exercise into their daily routines.

“For example, instead of taking the tractor or the quad to check the cattle in the fields, they should either walk or cycle. These are just simple good habits to develop and to work into the daily routine,” she said.

She stressed the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring, as high blood pressure was one of the major factors leading to stroke and heart disease.

 

Connacht Tribune

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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