Newly Elected Federated Farmers Southland President Pledges To Address Mental Health

Newly Elected Federated Farmers Southland President Pledges To Address Mental Health

Dairy Farmer Jason Herrick was elected as the new Federated Farmers Southland President earlier this month.

Herrick's journey to leadership is underscored by his personal struggles with health, a testament to his tenacity and the mantra, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." 

Herrick delves into his perspective on the financial challenges faced by the farming community. He is particularly critical of local councils' spending habits, advocating for sensible budgeting and greater accountability. 

"So we kind of expect our councils to do the same as every other business and cut their cloth a wee bit," Herrick asserts, highlighting the economic pressures on farmers and the need for controlled spending by councils. 

Physical and mental health, and their importance to farming, is a recurring theme. Herrick shares his own health realisation, emphasising, "Physical and mental health go hand in hand... if you don't have your physical health right, you're not going to have your top paddock right." 

He underscores the need for farmers to prioritise their well-being as they would their livestock's, noting a deficiency in this area among his peers. 

Looking forward, Herrick outlines his agenda as Southland president, focusing on local issues such as rates and council expenditures, a shift from the previous leadership's central government focus. 

He discusses the importance of collaboration and communication with farmers to represent their interests effectively. 

"I want to talk to multiple farmers and get a good broad spectrum of opinion."

Mental health in the farming sector is a pressing concern, with Herrick citing a statistic that mental health cases among Southland farmers had doubled. He attributes this to a range of factors, including government regulation, social pressures, and the constant fear and uncertainty about the future. 

Herrick expresses his commitment to alleviating these pressures, "I actually enjoy talking and speaking up for the people who can't speak up for themselves." 

The conversation ends on a hopeful note, with Herrick's readiness to tackle the challenges ahead, empowered by his recent health improvements and passion for advocacy. 

Listen to the full chat between Jason Herrick and Dominic George above.

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