This is my first Rural Reflections of 2020 so a photo to depict my year gone by and to capture the sheer determination, resilience and hope that farmers try to maintain in drought. Our personal strength to endure the battle of drought after 2 years and to still have the vision to sustain agriculture into the future. Livestock that depends on you to feed them and fulfill their nutrition levels and to maintain future productivity. This photo captures the true essence of WHY we do what we do.
As we head into 2020 with 2 years of drought now under our belt, our motivation is struggling, we have become weary, yet our resilience is bold. Every single day without slacking off, our cattle need a daily ration. Without grass in paddocks to satisfy them, their dependability is entirely upon us to ensure their wellbeing is preserved with drought feeding.
It takes time, energy and money to feed our remaining 260 head of cattle. 260 hungry animals need quite a lot of feed to keep them not only alive but productive to produce next year’s calf. Farmers possess this tenacity to take charge and do what needs to be done with a vision to see their business operations in years to come. Debt is heavily incurred to ensure the core breeding herd survives. Sometimes life gets a little hazy with the burden, but with a deep breath and a reminder of WHY we do it… usually is enough to kick us back into gear.
Water is provided from a bore to fill troughs as dams have been dry for a very long time. Daily checking is required to ensure maintenance is not required and their access to clean water exists for their health. Farmers care for the wellbeing of their animals as they have a job to do and each breeding animal is producing their progeny for a future purpose.
Today I share with you this photo specifically to capture the trust that our breeding animals have in us, the persistence that exists in farmers and an appreciation for the courage that it takes to endure the tougher times.
This photo was taken by Peter Hardin from an article written by Carolyn Millet from The Northern Daily Leader in December 2019. This single photo captures so many feelings, experiences and reality below the real surface. Tough times express a heartfelt reality for my husband and I, which is depicted in a single photo when they visited our property.
What do you see in this photo? Perhaps a couple on their property with some cows.
Rural Reflection #30…
Look beyond the obvious to understand. Yes, a couple on their property with some of their cows is the forefront of a deeper observation. This photo depicts so much more:
- A farming couple who passionately preserve an agricultural purpose and a love for the industry.
- Mutual trust between the breeding stock and farmer.
- Desolate farmland that won’t survive without moisture.
- Farm production for future years.
- Eyes that mask feelings of angst, uncertainty and emotional torment from within.
- Gratitude that people care about farm production and farmers.
- Farmers overcome with physical exhaustion and tiredness but masked with a friendly look or smile.
- Financial strain taking its toll on the farm business and threatening the farmer’s mental health.
- Decision-makers with an optimistic vision.
- Quiet Hereford cows doing their job and loving the extra attention while drought feeding.
- A couple committed to animal wellbeing and missed celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a canceled holiday so they could take care of their livestock.
- Farmers in need of some time out and a little enjoyment.
- Big hearts and a love for each other, their cattle and for sustaining the agricultural industry.
- An appreciation for others who show they care through kind words, letters, cards and encouragement.
- Hope for a better future.
This dry working environment is tough, unpredictable and overwhelming at times. Yet farmers see their role and the value they bring to supplying food and fibre for our nation. We have a love-hate relationship with farming during this time. The depressing feelings can be overwhelming with the physical and emotional struggles during times of drought.
But farmers have a huge WHY within them. They love what they do and the variety of tasks that they do on the farm. They see value and purpose in what they do. That is WHY they do it.
So spare a thought for each other. We all have our own interests and serve our own purpose in a variety of ways. Accept all differences, acknowledge everybody’s value and be kind to everyone. How you treat people is a true reflection of you… and it is important that we try to bring out the best in each other.
Take care, Karen.
“Photography is an art of observation.
It has little to do with the things you see
and everything to do with the way you see them.”
~ Elliot Erwitt