This is our 14th farming story in our commitment to share 52 stories in 52 weeks. Enjoy!
1. Summary of your family & farming enterprise
I live on my parent’s dairy farm with my husband Phill and my newborn son Laurence in Northern Victoria at Katandra West which is 20 mins north of Shepparton. My family have owned the farm since 1985 and phill and I took over in 2002 so mum and dad could retire.
We normally milk 120 cows and dad still comes out most days to help around the farm (once a farmer always a farmer!)
2. For you, what is the best lifestyle factor that you enjoy as a farmer?
The best factor of being a farmer is working in the fresh air and every day is different. Phill has to know how to do a bit of everything. One day could be spent in the tractor doing work out in the paddocks and the next he could be busy helping cows that have gone down with milk fever etc No day is the same as the other there is always something different going on. There is also that bit of freedom to be able to come inside and have a cuppa without a boss looking over your shoulder.
It’s also great having the room to move without your neighbours being able to hear everything you do or say and being able to get out there and have a bit of fun on motorbikes.
As much as farming is serious business there is/can be a fun side to it as well.
3. What do you foresee as your biggest short term and long-term challenges in farming?
Our short term challenge at the moment is coping with flood water! One moment we were flat out getting ready to over sow our pasture paddocks and the next thing we knew we had 300mls of rain and have spent the better part of a week pumping like mad to get the water of our paddocks so that the cows have some dry land at night.
The long term challenges is the future of farming and trying t o keep our children on the farms as there is no incentive to keep them here now days s the price we receive for our products is nothing compared to what they can earn in the cities. There needs to be more done to try and keep future generations interested in staying on the family farm.
4. What do you wish non-farmers / city people & the Australian government understood about farming?
I wish city people would take the time to learn where things come from and discover that it just doesn’t come from a carton etc. I recently had to spend 9 weeks living in Melbourne and was amazed and shocked and how little a lot of people knew. They thought we still milked by hand and were amazed when I told them about my life on the farm and that we were just as technology advanced as they were. They honestly thought we still had to milk the cows by hand and lived in the dark ages!
As for a slogan to put on a bill board in Collins st “Farming – The forgotten part of Australia” How much do you really know about your rural cousins?
This story is number 14 in our celebration of the Australian Year of the Farmer