Rural Reflections #4

Hope and memories exist somewhere within us all.  This widespread drought has left farmers and rural communities battling every day… which is a reminder that we all need time to just stop and reflect.

Memories seem to find warmth from within us.  Those memories of a time when a season was able to produce food and fibre, with only the usual effort on the farm.  Farm production without the mental tribulations, physical exhaustion and financial debilitation.  Time to enjoy life… time to spend with our families… time to feel content.  A time we all yearn for once again.

This weekend I did stop, relax and reflect a little… a feeling and action that seemed so long lost.  A reminder that time with our loved ones is essential for all… and time to take care of yourself.  I needed to find this place… a moment where I could bring back hope.  This hope… or feeling of desire… for our season to break, for the heavens to open and rain soak into our paddocks and fill our tanks and dams.  For this rain to wash away our stress, our weariness and our pessimism.  One day it will happen… we are one day closer to rain every day.

So today I would like to share this photo with you, to show that hope is only around the corner.  This photo was taken in July 2017, at the end of a good Winter season, as sheep fatten for sale on the green grass.  It also depicts a storm to the east over Tamworth NSW.

Rural Reflection #4…

04 A Distant Storm Overlooking the Sheep

image subject to copyright

I showed this photo to my husband, and at first, he didn’t even recognise it to be our property.  Sadly, the scenery now is paradoxical to back then.  Now every day is a vision of thick dust and short dry vegetation sparsely consuming the paddocks… and more so have consumed our lives.

I really like this photo because of how it depicts the storm in the background yet the sun shining brightly on the sheep feeding on the green grass.  It symbolises the intensity of how farming relies on storms and rain to continue our production effectively.  It also illustrates diversity within rural areas, and only 20km away the weather can differ so dramatically.

We may not be able to control the weather and a farmer knows best as they gamble every day upon the odds.  But we can have some form of control regarding how we respond to the drought, how we prepare for the drought and how we protect our families mental state in the meantime.  In any industry and family situation it is important to retain our optimistic state of mind and take care of each other.

It is now more than ever, we need to focus on our memories of the good seasons on the farm.  A time that will return to us once again.  Hold on to hope, enjoy time with your family as you anticipate a better season soon and remember we will get through this… together.

Take care, Karen.

“The greater your storm,

the brighter your rainbow.”

~ Author Unknown

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

winery