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Farmlands and FarmIQ launch free high-tech tool to help farmers stay safe

FarmIQFarmlands’ 68,000 shareholders will from today be given free access to innovative technology that allows them to make their land safer by easily recording hazards, tracking incidents and marking the location of emergency equipment.

Rural supplies and services co-operative Farmlands and software company FarmIQ have launched a free Health and Safety application, SafeFarm, designed to help New Zealand’s primary sector improve its poor Health and Safety record.

According to WorkSafe New Zealand, the agriculture industry is New Zealand's most dangerous to work in. The harsh reality is that as of August 2018, nine people had lost their lives working in the sector this year – seven of those people dying as a result of quad bike or vehicle accidents.

SafeFarm creates a single site for farmers to record core data such as hazards and their risk mitigations, incidents and the learnings from them and emergency equipment locations, with the objective of making farms safer.

Farmlands Chief Executive Peter Reidie says Farmlands is taking a leadership role to help the New Zealand agricultural sector improve its Health and Safety performance.

“We have seen the statistics and the headlines regarding serious injuries and fatalities in rural New Zealand. Farmlands wants to assist with the protection of our shareholders and effective Health and Safety management is a cornerstone of this – as is their personal attitude to safety,” Mr Reidie says.

“SafeFarm was created to offer our shareholders the opportunity to work safe and get home safe, every day. We consider this free offer the start of the digital farming journey for some of our shareholders.”

SafeFarm includes a farm diary, inventory control and the ability to allocate tasks on-farm, while a later release will focus on safe visit tools, so farmers know who is on their farm and can ensure they are aware of the hazards and the methods of mitigation.

The SafeFarm tool has been trialled with Farmlands shareholders on their properties, to ensure the end users have a practical, simple way to develop their Health and Safety initiatives and plans.

FarmIQ Chief Executive Darryn Pegram says it is not easy for farmers to stay on top of their responsibilities and many are looking to their smartphones for apps that can help.

“Our customers were telling us they wanted all their farm information in one place and that Health and Safety was a critical part of their farm management system,” Mr Pegram says.

“Our partnership with Farmlands helps many more farmers access best in class Health and Safety software. It’s now easy for Farmlands shareholders to join up all their farm information and keep their farm team safe.”

Farmlands invested a 30 percent stake in FarmIQ in late 2017. The rural co-operative is joined as a shareholder by three other companies with a vested interest in the future of New Zealand agriculture – Pāmu (Landcorp), Silver Fern Farms and VetEnt.

SafeFarm can be downloaded by Farmlands shareholders free of charge from the Farmlands website.