I am feeling tired, exhausted beyond the every day responsibilities in life. Like you, at certain points in life, it just becomes far too exhausting. Farm life, our responsibilities, household chores, financial stress, feeding stock and coping with the current drought… it is breaking me. When do you say enough is enough? How do you make that decision that it has been too tough for too long? When life feels broken all around you, where do you turn?
When farm life is all that you have lived and a passion you have enjoyed, why would you want to say “it is time to get out”. On one hand you know, financially time is up and borrowed funds have been exhausted to keep your livestock in production and to pay the bills. Yet on the other hand, farmers are fighters. We have been here before, managing drought, we believe we will get through it. How does one admit that the fight may be over?
The compassion may be all around us, people caring and helping in our community where they can. The support for the agricultural industry has been so greatly received. But the charities are unable to really help to solve a bigger problem than one could imagine… as 10 bales of hay donated, “will only feed our stock for 2 or 3 days”. Then the farmer is on their own once again. With no income and the need to borrow more money to pay the never-ending bills.
But the truth is… there are only 2 things that will get us through this drought. Consistent rain allowing time for growth… and money. Money to feed the remaining stock, money to spray the weeds that are emerging, money to pay for farm vehicle maintenance, money to pay the household bills, money to pay interest on an over-enlarged loan. Nobody can help farmers at this level… we can only help ourselves.
How much more debt does a farmer get into before drawing the line? If only someone could tell you. The decision comes back to the farmer… a decision so very difficult to make. Farming is a gamble… and so is the decision to stick with it or get out. As a farmer, how do they make that decision and feel confident that the decision was the right one?
Making the decision is the hardest.. and controlling the feelings of inadequacy despite being out of one’s control. There is no failure or shame… the drought has placed this heavy burden on the farmers shoulders. There are other chapters in life… just turn the page.
My blog has become my voice to express the importance of our industry and to share the pain of our farmers. I wish all the pain and worry, experienced by our Australian farmers, to just disappear. Their work is of so much value and is significant for the future food security of our nation. But mental health is more important at this time. Please show a little kindness and understanding to the person hiding behind the farmer persona. Life is really tough on the land… much more than is ever revealed.
Take care, Karen.
“Decisions are the hardest thing to make,
especially when it is a choice between
where you should be and where you want to be.”
~ Author Unknown