Bob Guest (Canadian Farmers with Disabilities Registry Chair) Testifies Before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on the Mental Health Challenges that Canadian Farmers, Ranchers and Producers Face.
National Disabled Farmers Entrepreneurship and Leadership Network
The Canadian Farmers with Disability Registry (CFWDR) is building a National Disabled Farmers Entrepreneurship and Leadership Network. The members of this private network will be disabled farmers due to injury or illness across Canada.
An injury or illness can suddenly place a farm family in an unknown situation. Local friends and family may not have the understanding or knowledge to help. This is a common situation for many farm families dealing with a disability. Suddenly, the disabled farmer and their family are isolated without the ability to rely on their existing community to provide answers. The network will be designed to allow these people the opportunity to find support from other disabled farmers across Canada. Disabled farmers would post questions to the network or search for existing answers. Other disabled farmers and industry experts can provide answers and assistance. This will greatly assist with bringing together disabled farmers.
The network will be a community to connect all disabled farmers across Canada. As a member of the network, the disabled farmer’s community grows. Instead of having nobody in their local community to help them with their situation, they have hundreds of people that can completely understand their situation. Someone from BC can have the opportunity to reach out for help and the assistance could come from someone in Newfoundland or vice versa. Disabled farmers can help other disabled farmers and provide information. This information and experience would be unique to only someone that has experienced the challenges created by a disability and not available anywhere else.
Members of the network would have the option to join anonymously. It will provide an opportunity for farmers across Canada to connect online with their desktop computer, mobile device, cell phone(text messaging), and/or landline phone. The software will hide the personal contact information of people using the system regardless of how they choose to access the network to protect privacy. Because members will be able to access the network using a cell phone or landline, Internet access will not be a requirement to access the network. Therefore, access will be open even to farmers in remote areas. Disabled farmers and their families will no longer feel isolated.
The mandate of CFWDR is not just to help support disabled farmers but to help them succeed and grow their farm. The network will ask industry experts to provide information on helping disabled farmers to successfully grow their business. Entrepreneurship and leadership information will be available specifically to help disabled farmers.
CFWDR has an existing database of disabled farmers. These people would be given the opportunity to join the network first. As the word spreads about the network, other members would be added as they come forward.
Timing is critical; we want to reach disabled farmers as soon as they have a disability to assist with all phases of recovery and developing a successful farming business.
We have an opportunity to apply for funding to assist with making this project a reality. However, this will only cover part of the costs. We are looking for industry partners to make a tax-deductible charitable donation to help create the project. We realize the significance of this contribution and do not expect businesses to give without getting something in return. We will offer to provide all industry partners with an opportunity to advertise their products and services directly to our members, in exchange for the tax-deductible charitable donation. Your contribution will be recognized as making this project possible. Industry partners will get a tax receipt for their contribution, an opportunity to advertise their products and services on a private network to disabled farmers, and the satisfaction of helping hundreds of disabled farmers and their families to connect across Canada. This advertising opportunity will not be available anywhere else.
Many times each day, disable farmers will use the network to reach out for help. At a time when they are in need; another member of the network will help them overcome their challenges. When a disabled farmer has that feeling that someone was there for them in their time of need, they will see your company name as making it all possible. You will be recognized as making this project possible every time your name is shown. This will not just happen once, but many times a day.
Growing up on a farm, I can remember times when we needed help on the farm. Those events are crystallized in my memory. They are so vivid it is hard to imagine they happened many years ago. The help freely given by our neighbours has never been forgotten. Perhaps, you can think back to a time when you needed help. Someone came forward and helped you. Can you remember that feeling and the person that helped you? I guarantee you can.
If your company is in a position to offer financial support at this time, that is great. The sooner we start this process the better. We are reaching out to many companies. But, we will only be accepting support from a limited number of industry partners. Please contact us at Jonas Johnson at (204) 296-3865 for more information.
If you would like to donate directly to the project. Please click on the link below.