Gratitude: A Somewhat Silent Expression

How much gratitude have you seen during the current devastating drought, the raging bushfires and the severity of floods in our very diverse nation called Australia?  How does one return from the mortifying emotional, physical and financial loss in our agricultural industry?  Despite the disastrous effects surrounding our every being, you can see the gratitude everywhere.  But you must look past the obvious and observe the more delicate ways that gratitude is expressed.

How can our one single country be experiencing these extreme gut-wrenching weather events?  From flooding in Northern Queensland, to bushfires in northern NSW and Tasmania… and drought almost everywhere we see.  The horrid effects that weather is casting upon our hardworking farmers in crisis, is none other than mass devastation and loss.

But beneath all the heartache, there is a flicker of hope.  A hope that is yearned for, day after day.  With one foot in front of the other, farmers are finding the strength to face the struggles and battle to sustain the future of agriculture in Australia.  Gratitude is expressed in two very different ways and is an absolute reflection on either side from city to country.

We see everyday Australians of all ages, adults and children alike… dig into their piggy banks and savings to throw our farmers a lifeline.  We see donations of canned food, toiletries, water, anything at all… just to show appreciation in a gratifying way.  Many charities step up to take on the challenge of distributing these donated funds and grocery supplies, as the liaison to unite the efforts of the Australian people.

To see the gratitude within the community and the heartfelt actions of lifting the spirits of our farmers, is genuinely profound.  To understand that communities care about farmers, the food they produce, the fibres they yield… and feeding and clothing our beautiful nation, suddenly became of utmost importance and the compassion is sincere.  These actions alone proved that the mental state and future of our farmer’s wellbeing, was accepted with gratitude by a compassionate nation and then a sense of obligation was accepted warmly.

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On the flip side… the farmer’s hearts are breaking, surrounded with the burden of loss and devastation… yet they are overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation to the community and charities holding them afloat and trying to power their natural farming spirit again.  The silence in this case, can be as quiet and non-existent unless you look beneath the emotional surface.  As a farmer presented with a natural disaster accepts some form of assistance… the guilt in their own mind can be over-powering, they can feel unaccomplished or unsuccessful in their usual farming operations and ashamed to have accepted the help.  However, beneath that tough exterior, it is visible but camouflaged in disguise… the gratitude is rampant.

Gratitude is expressed silently in that sad and solemn expression… an expression that is only seen by very few.  Gratitude is depicted as the farmer’s head falls into his callous hands or as he wipes those tears of relief from his cheeks.  Gratitude falls into his burden of work as he feeds his hungry stock and is somewhat overlooked until the day he manages to comprehend the specific degree of gratitude, as he digs himself from that hole consuming his life.  It is then that we see that honest, hearty grace that he feels indebted to.

The thankfulness exists within each and every farmer, but expression is limited, through farming workload and the disastrous burden that has impacted their lives and the welfare of their family.  The warmth and cordial emotions surrounding farmers at the moment is overflowing with acknowledgment and recognition of an industry they are so passionate about.

The Australian community is empathetic, compassionate and resilient… and the division diminishes as disastrous events unite our nation.  With heartfelt thoughts and actions, it allows the gratfulness to emerge.  I am proud to be part of the Australian community and I am proud to be a farmer supporting our agricultural industry.  Gratitude is what makes our nation unique and it is the kindness in ordinary people that make us extraordinary.

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Thank you to the farmers that work to feed and clothe our nation.  And thank you to all those beautiful people, businesses and charities that support farmers and rural industries.  If you eat food and wear clothes, you are supporting the agricultural industry.  So thank you!

Take care, Karen.

“Gratitude drives happiness.

Happiness boosts productivity.

Productivity reveals mastery.

And mastery inspires the world.”

~ Robin S. SharmaCanadian Writer

on leadership, personal growth and life management.

#feb_gratitude  

#greatblogchallenge

@writally

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Toddler Killed In Devastating Farm Accident

The shock a family feels as their 2-year-old toddler is killed in a traumatic on-farm tractor accident.  How on earth do these loving parents, siblings and grandparents cope with this mortifying loss?  The grief is unimaginable yet our hearts go out to this family upon hearing of this tragic event.

I was reading today about the young boy that was killed when a fertiliser bin fell from a tractor and trapped him on a dairy farm in south-west Victoria.  The shock and chaos that would have emerged when this accident unfolded, is almost impossible to fathom.  The distress the family would have felt as they tried to dig the little boy from beneath the monstrous weight.  My heart just breaks quietly from afar… for a loving family that I do not even know.

Sadly farm accidents happen on our farms.  It is so scary to think in the blink of an eye… devastation can unfold, ever so quickly.  As a mother of 2 boys, I understand knowing their curiosity, their sense of adventure and their indispensable actions… leads us to worry and take precautions every single day on the farm.

One cannot ever understand what happened that day… a simple farm task, carrying out a usual job, family distractions, nobody knows… but it was an accident.  Plain and simple.  An accident that cannot be reversed and an accident that is so heart-breaking for this family.

It is fun for little kids to grow up on farms and this upbringing is a valued and treasured experience.  A life that shapes the country child and develops their skills and attributes.  A possible farmer in the making or a well-developed young person to take on any alternate career one day.

Farm kids learn so much when they are involved on-farm and it has a positive effect on them.  They learn patience… when extra chores have to be done before dinner can be served.  They learn to drive at a young age and maintain vehicles, which is helpful later on when they are getting a drivers licence.  They learn to be handy and help with jobs that just need to be done, no excuses.  They learn first hand where and how food is grown… and understand the work requirements to feed and clothe the world.  They learn to respect the land as this is their family’s livelihood.  They learn about the weather and how farmers rely on Mother Nature and they learn how to adapt when drought is upon us.  They also learn the meaning of family when they live and work with them every single day.

As a farmer, we generally take precautions with our young children and supervise their involvement.  Like other parents, we try to be aware of where our kids are, to avoid accidents of any kind.  But sometimes, unfortunately, accidents do happen, no matter what we do.  Young children will wander when playing and they take risks without even knowing it.

However, it is devastating that too many tragedies occur on our farms and they happen in a split second of a moment.  Farm accidents can involve tractors, quad bikes, motorbikes, farm machinery, horses, livestock, dams and rivers.  Naturally, children with their inquisitive nature, sense of adventure and unpredictability… can have a disastrous effect on-farm.

As standard procedure, the toddler’s fatal accident is being investigated by WorkSafe Victoria.  I understand the necessity of the investigation due to the fatality and the possible need for future prevention strategies on all farms.  But I also feel the family have just lost their son and that devastation alone would be ripping their heart out and a battle of feelings and numbness would exist.  What could be worse than that?  I just hope the investigating organisation can be respectful to this family… as they have been through enough.

Farm safety for children is very important to all farmers and the usual threats of farm safety are managed from a business perspective.  Information for keeping children safe on our farms as well as managing all farm safety can be viewed at Farmsafe Australia.

Most of us do not know that feeling of the tragic loss of a child and so can only empathise with the situation or hold our own children a little tighter now.  I hope the parents and grandparents can support each other through this tragic time and find solace in other family and friends.  How does one get through such a tragedy on their farm?  I do not know.  I guess memories of this little boy… remembering their cheerful bubbly son for all that he was.  And not being afraid to ask for professional help to deal with their grief and loss.

So we need to love our children, watch them intensely on the farm, take precautions to prevent farm tragedies… and respect the tragic loss that this family has endured.  For more of this tragic story see the Sydney Morning Herald article I read today or 9NEWS.

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Take care, Karen.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

~ Queen Elizabeth II

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A Broken Exhausted Life Exposed by Farmer in Drought

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?

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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.

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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

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National Agriculture Day Nurtured But Revelations Exposed

Have you eaten today?  Are you wearing something comfortable?  Did you put on some perfume or cosmetics this morning?  Thank you to our farmers, they are working hard every day… so we can eat and don’t need to run around naked.  (Scary thought huh!)  Today we celebrate.

It is my purpose to help you understand the direct relationship between food and agriculture, and the importance of food and fibre in our culture.  What you will find surprising in my blog is the revelation that, the extra products manufactured from raw agricultural products… and we use these items every single day.  What are they?

Today is the day to formally acknowledge Agriculture and the significant contribution that Australian farming and the agricultural related industries are making to ensure our nation is food secure and satisfying our community needs.  Nutritious Australian grown food and produce assures us of high eating quality, safe and affordable foods.  Food safety standards are in place to regularly monitor farming businesses to ensure our food supply continues to be safe and suitable for eating.

Farmers are feeding a hungry world, caring for the environment and creating important jobs in rural communities.  Through technological advancements and innovation, farmers are becoming more sustainable in quality and quantity and able to feed more people.  Not only are we provided with quality and healthy food products, we are also able to wear clothing made by our Australian-produced superior fibres like wool and cotton.

Wool is the textile fibre produced most commonly from sheep and Australia is one of the largest wool producers, producing about 25% of the global wool clip.  Merino sheep produce the finest wool.  Wool is a natural fibre with unique breathable but insulating qualities.  Wool is used in a vast array of clothing, from underwear to luxury suits.  Wool is also produced from other animals such as cashmere and mohair from goats, and angora from rabbits.  Some wool is also used to manufacture carpets, bedding and quilts.

Cotton is both a food and fibre product and almost all parts of the cotton plant are used in some way.  We use less land to produce more cotton than any other nation and the most water-efficient cotton producer globally.  Cotton is a soft, absorbent, non-allergenic and a breathable natural fibre.  About 60% of the world’s cotton harvest is used to make clothing.  The rest is used in home furnishings and industrial products such as tents, fishnets, book-binding, paper for bank notes, bandages, cotton buds and x-rays.

Cottonseed is mainly used to make cottonseed oil, margarine and salad dressings.  But it also is used in the manufacture of soap, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, paint and candles.  Cottonseed is also used to make stock feed which has been used excessively in the current drought, making it more difficult to meet the demand.

The Cattle industry is the largest farming sector in Australian agriculture, accounting for approximately 55% of all farms.  Although Australia is a smaller producer of beef, we are the second largest exporter of beef in the world.  We produce both grass and grain-fed beef.  Beef quality is determined by the size of the beef cuts produced from an animal and the marbling of the beef.  Australian beef cattle farmers produce 2.1 million tonnes of beef and veal each year, which is safe and of high-quality due to our industry standards.

Not only do we get to enjoy mouth-watering steaks and a variety of delicious beef products, many other products are also made from the cattle industry.  This is why the beef industry is so important (even if you do not eat much beef) as the manufacturing of other products makes it a very versatile industry.  Examples of other products include medicines, dyes, inks, adhesives, plastics, pet food, plant food, photo film, wallpaper, plywood, air filters, brushes, felt, insulation, plaster, textiles, fertiliser, charcoal, tennis racquet strings, hormones, vitamins, cosmetics, chewing gum, detergents, deodorant, shaving cream, perfume, lotions, paints, lubricants, biodiesel, cement, chalk, fireworks, matches and shampoo.  So yes, everyone is using some of these products every single day, thank you to the beef cattle industry.

Farmers are producing many agricultural commodities each and every day… wheat, grains, dairy, wine, sugar, horticulture products, fruit, vegetables, fish, pork, chicken, sheep and lamb, the list seems endless.  In Australia, 385,000 hectares are dedicated to farming land to produce our primary agricultural products.  Agriculture does make our world a better place.

So next time you are warm in your woolen jacket or wearing your comfortable cotton panties… give the farmer a second thought!

Next time you bite into your hamburger… please acknowledge the many hours that farmers gave, to provide you with a flavoursome experience of a nourishing beef patty, sizzling onions, crisp lettuce, tasty tomato, all held together on a bun enticed by our wheat farmers.

Every time you chew and taste a tender steak with a glass of wine… recognise how lucky we are to enjoy delicious, nutritious and top-quality food in our country.

Tonight when you shower… remind yourself that our agricultural industry helped me to wash my hair, lather myself with soap and apply our anti-aging moisturiser.

And on New Year’s Eve or at the Show… enjoy those fireworks, with a sense of appreciation to our farmers.

Today, we celebrate how agriculture makes our nation a better place.

For more information about National Agriculture Day see https://www.agday.org.au/

Take care, Karen.

“Farmers don’t just work til the sun goes down,

They work til the job gets done.”

~ Author Unknown

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