Country rock singer Shannon Noll is fronting a new support program from GrainGrowers offering farming families access to personal advice and assistance more normally available to corporate sector workers.
The former farmer from Central West NSW appears in a 45 second video message urging grower members to make use of the free, professional assistance program for health and wellbeing, human resources and legal advice.
The Family Support Program, run by specialist provider Benestar, has been rolling out to farmers and their families since July as an extension to services already offered to GrainGrowers' own staff.
Chief executive officer David McKeon said unlike workers in many businesses Australia-wide, farmers and small business operators generally did not have simple access to professional support if they needed to pick up the phone to talk, or seek guidance.
"It seemed logical that if our own staff and others employed in the agribusiness service or processing sector could seek this sort of help, we should extend our own service to our farmer members."
Shannon Noll, who first came to prominence as a singer-songwriter in the inaugural Australian Idol series in 2003 and has since sold 1.3 million albums and singles, grew up between Condobolin and Tullibigeal.
He admitted one of the best things farmers needed was good advice when times turned difficult, uncertain, or depressing.
A helping hand
"Sometimes you just need a hand with what you are doing," he said in the video clip recorded just before the launch of his latest single, 'Wonderful'.
"It could be professional advice on administration or legal matters to do with managing a farm, or you just want to talk to someone because you aren't feeling so well."
Still a regular visitor back in his former home town and in contact with GrainGrowers members and staff from the same district, Noll agreed to give the organisation's initiative some extra profile.
GrainGrowers chairman Brett Hosking said the farm advocacy and leadership body was excited to have him as part of the campaign.
"Nollsie grew up on a grain and sheep farm so we knew he would appreciate why we want to get the word out about being able to get help when you need it, without referrals or wait lists," he said.
"It's so important our grower families have immediate access to support services, and GrainGrowers is proud to make this available for them.
"I hope growers will share the ad across their social media because there may be another family out there who isn't aware of the Family Support Program and could use it.
"We want grower families to say, 'What about me?' and know there's a program there for them!"
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Mr McKeon said the service was not just to help farm parents and business principals, but their children, too, if required.
Shannon Noll actually appears in the video with Eva Gawel, daughter of a GrainGrowers' staff member, to help illustrate the program is for the whole family.
"We want growers to know that if they need some advice or support for their kids at school, the service provides that too," he said
"I'm sure there are always teenagers or university students who could find it helpful to make use of some confidential feedback, wherever it is needed."
The family assistance program is covered as part of GrainGrowers normal membership package.
Benestar's "health and wellbeing" services costs the farmer organisation an initial flat fee, which rises if service demand spikes.
"There could be greater costs involved as the uptake increases, but if we get more farmers getting value out of the support being offered we'll be happy," Mr McKeon said.
GrainGrowers has not disclosed how much it paid to make the advertisement, including the cost of Noll's contribution, although Mr McKeon said the organisation was fortunate to have a connection with the star which helped.
Mr Hosking noted GrainGrowers also had "a few star-struck superfan members on staff".
The advertisement will be primarily promoted to members and potential members via social media platforms.
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The story What about me? Shannon Noll sings praises of helpful GrainGrowers' service first appeared on Farm Online.