Cdn. farmers needed for wellbeing studies

Cdn. farmers needed for wellbeing studies
Aug 21, 2023

The University of Manitoba is running the studies with the University of Guelph

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Two post-secondary institutions are looking for Canadian farmers to participate in research about wellbeing on Canadian farms.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba and the University of Guelph need Canadian beef and dairy producers to discuss various topics.

“The goal of this research study is to explore the relationships between dairy farmer health and well-being, animal health and welfare, farm management, barn design, and technology/automation,” one of the study’s consent forms says.

Dairy farmer organizations from B.C. to Ontario are helping fund the study.

Dr. Meagan King, a supervisor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of Animal Science, is helping lead the research.

Producers who consent to be part of the study are asked to answer questions about herd size, what kind of milking system the farm has, and if he or she would be willing to have a graduate student come to the farm to score cow health and welfare.

A second part of the dairy study relates to the transition to robotic milking systems.

The survey looks to understand how the transition to robots affects the wellbeing of farmers and their animals.

Participants would be required to fill out up to three online surveys before and after installation, grant researchers permission to access bulk tank records, and participate in a confidential interview with a research student.

Beef producers across Western Canada and Ontario are being asked to consider participating in a similar study about farmer and animal wellbeing.

Farmers interested in participating must be at least 18 years old.

They’ll be required to complete a 20-minute online survey about his or her role on the farm, 25 short questions about the farm, 10 questions about personal support, stressors and resources to reduce stress, 40 questions to help assess stress, resilience and mental health, and some questions about animal health.

The goal of the beef study is to answer multiple questions, including:

  • How are beef producers doing in terms of mental wellbeing?
  • Are there any differences in the wellbeing between cow-calf, backgrounding and feedlot producers?
  • What other factors are there related to producer wellbeing and connections to animal health?
  • What are some unaddressed needs of the beef industry that could be addressed with resources or future research?

More information on the surveys can be found on Dr. King’s website.

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