Bayer reeling in rural mental health

Bayer Crop Science is committed to building healthy rural communities for our growing population by improving physical and mental health outcomes.

That’s why we created the Bayer Big Fish Challenge (BBFC).

BBFC is a friendly fishing competition which supports rural mental wellbeing through a partnership with Australian registered charity The Fly Program.

Matt Tripet, from The Fly Program, gives a crash course on fly fishing.

Bayer Crop Science Managing Director, Warren Inwood, says the program was born out of a desire to give back to rural Australia.
“Rural mental health is a key focus area for Bayer Crop Science,” Warren says.


“The program benefits the mental fitness of rural Australians. It encourages individuals and teams to go fishing and enjoy nature, while helping their communities and raising funds for those needing some ‘time out’ to attend Bayer Retreats."


"We know rural Australians are disproportionately affected by mental health challenges. And when they do need help, it's harder for them to access the appropriate services."


"Bayer's vision is for a world with 'health for all, hunger for none'. Supporting the mental health of rural Australians is key to achieving that vision. That's why, when you consider the direct and indirect contributions, Bayer has contributed more than $500,000 to running this project."

Australia Fishing
Bayer Big Fish Challenge participants can nominate a family or community member to attend a Bayer Retreat.

The Fly Program

Bayer Crop Science National Key Account Manager, Ben Thompson, says the program has grown significantly over the years, now offering men's and women's retreats to those in need.


"The retreats are held in the NSW Snowy Mountains and are designed to give participants a gentle push out of their comfort zone and equip them with skills to better support their mental wellbeing."


The Fly Program was founded by Matt Tripet after the loss of his brother-in-law to suicide in 2010. Matt said the loss helped him identify an opportunity to help others improve their mental fitness through fly fishing, reconnecting with nature in a non-threatening environment.


"The stats around men's mental health help-seeking are pretty poor." Matt says.

The competition funds places on Bayer Retreats, which help rural Australians needing some ’time out’.

"Men are around 70 per cent less likely to reach out and seek help compared to women. And when you look at those numbers in rural communities, it's worse again. Then there's the added challenge of limited access to health services."


Matt says his partnership with Bayer helps extend support to farmers and rural Australians – an otherwise hard-to-reach community.


"More than 100 rural men and women have already directly benefited from Bayer Retreats, however that number is easily doubled or tripled when you consider the ripple effect – the friends and loved ones of our attendees."

Keen angler and Bayer Big Fish Challenge participant, Kevin Brooks, with an impressive catch.

Participant views

"It took a bit of self-reflection and courage, and there were many times when I didn't want to be there, but I'm proud of myself for going" – Katrina Dickie. 


"In the tough years, many farmers have taken their own lives. It's partly because if you have one bad year in farming, it nearly equals two years of no income. Bayer Retreats are about relaxing, having a barbecue, having a fish and talking about the issues you're comfortable with" – Mick McCallum.


"You only need to save one life and it's all worthwhile" – John Hamparsum.


“The competition is a talking point. It’s a reason to touch base regularly. 
I found I started to be more aware and present in those conversations…"
– Dale Mott.


"At the end of it, I was in a group of blokes standing around in a circle explaining what they'd be remembered for if they were no longer with us. It was an amazing experience" – Kevin Brooks.

Bayer Crop Science Managing Director, Warren Inwood, says the company is proud to support rural mental health. Warren is pictured with Matt Tripet, of The Fly Program, holding his catch.

Get involved

Anglers in rural communities across Australia are invited to join the Bayer Big Fish Challenge. To get involved, simply contact your local Bayer Crop Science representative or email  
You can download the Bayer Big Fish Challenge app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Seek help

If this piece has raised any issues for you, please talk to a GP or health professional.
If you need urgent support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you are looking for tools to support for yourself or a loved one, visit