Rural Reflections #26

Dusty dry conditions!  Drought conditions continue despite the essential production and on-farm management routines.  Sometimes the depressing elements of drought, makes you feel like giving up and questioning your future in farming.

At what point is enough… enough?  DAY IN… DAY OUT… farm feeding tasks continue, fencing repairs, machinery breakdowns, bills to pay, no income, increased financial strain… the juggle of it all takes its toll.

Yesterday, another decision made… cattle needed multi-vitamin treatments.  Raising their calves, ready for joining to be able to produce next year’s progeny, the drought is making it tougher.  But as a farmer, your livestock are your priority.  Their health is optimal and your future income is in reliant on them for your survival.

Drafting cattle at the stockyards, left me in thick dust and sticky little flies.  The work conditions are questionable in the big dry.  Nevertheless, business as usual.  When we start to stop making decisions, it becomes a problem.  Just make a decision, right or wrong.  It is the decision-making process that will keep us going during these tough times.

Sometimes I do question the workload, the financial burdens, the emotional and physical strain.  It is at this point that I need to remind myself of why.

Why do we keep nutting away at it?  Why do we persevere?  Why?  Why?  Why?

To protect and secure the future of agriculture in our nation.  To ensure Australian food security is sustained.  To hold onto a legacy and an industry that we love.  That is why!

My family simply love Hereford cattle.  They have a passion for breeding quality cattle and producing the desired product.  When you see the passion in their eyes and hope for a future, you mutually fight-the-fight alongside them.

I wanted to share this photo with you today, taken in the stockyards yesterday.  You can see a beautiful mob of baby calves, quietly waiting for the process of their treatments and then to be returned to their mothers in the dry desolate paddock again.

I like this photo because I see hope.  I see farm production.  I see the future of agriculture in its rawest form.  Future sires and future maternal females bearing the signs for breeding beef for our nation.  Amongst these calves are several sets of twins, surviving the toughest conditions yet not knowing any different.

Rural Reflection #26…

26 Calves of Joy

image subject to copyright

The dust swirling in the background significantly depicts working conditions, yet I am grateful to still breathe every day.  It is by focusing on what I am grateful for in my life, that gives me the strength to face the struggles, the decisions and the adversity in my path.

With this photo that I share today, I ask that you see in your life what you are passionate about and remember every single day what you are grateful for.  Gratitude is how we can turn what we have into enough.

It is all in our own mindset.  Conditions are horribly tough on-farm in a drought, it is how we react and respond within ourselves… that is the key.  We cannot control the weather and many other aspects of farming, but we can control our own thoughts and reactions.  Look after yourself and your family.

Take care, Karen

“Those who have the ability to be grateful

are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness.”

~ Steve Maraboli

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Paddock to Plate Using Unique Virtual Reality Technology

Australian’s have become more interested in where and how their food is actually produced and processed.  Now there is a unique roadshow, bringing farm production and the red meat supply chain, direct to students.

The “Paddock to Plate” concept has emerged all over the nation over the last several years.  Through education, the “Paddock to Plate” movement places an emphasis on the quality and sustainability of Australian grown food products.

The way we engage with food has changed.  Customers want to know where their food has been grown and how it has been produced right along the supply chain.  As a farmer, it is rewarding to see that people not only care about the food that they buy… but they care about the growers and farmers.  We are fortunate as Australians, to have access to high-quality, clean, safe and nutritious food.  Australian farmers produce 93% of Australia’s daily domestic food supply, making us the 6th most food secure nation.

Australian Good Meat is an online platform created by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) on behalf of the red meat and livestock industry.  It provides information about the production of cattle, sheep and goats, with a primary focus on animal welfare, health, nutrition and protecting the environment.  Good Meat allows producers to demonstrate their commitment to red meat production and their high-quality produce as an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

Last month was the start of the launch of the Think Digital School Tour… the Australian Lamb Paddock to Plate roadshow, heading off on a 3-month journey to educate school students across our nation.  It uses engaging 360-degree 3-dimensional virtual reality technology, allowing students to experience real farming tasks and understand the supply chain.  It is a unique opportunity to put on a virtual reality headset and experience lamb production from the comfort of their truly unique coach.

It shows how Australia produces the world’s most sought-after Lamb, from the farmer through to the consumer.  The unique experience takes participants into the world of Australian sheep farming, transportation, processing and the end markets, such as butchers and restaurants.  This really is a great concept making it very relevant to food production today.

This is similar to the Australian Beef Paddock to Plate story that was launched in 2017 at EKKA Brisbane (Royal Queensland Show) and then showcased throughout 2018.  This roadshow focused on telling the story of Australian beef production using the same engaging virtual reality resources.   It allows students an experience that would normally be restricted due to occupational work health and safety standards on the farm and in processing establishments.

The “Paddock to Plate” platform engages people at a grass-roots level… consumers and producers.  New ventures are promoting sustainable agriculture and have allowed for Australian foods to be showcased across our many regions.  This technology is opening up the farm gate for consumers to see first hand the importance of producing such high-quality food for our nation.

Take care, Karen.

Video Credit: YouTube / Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) / Australian Good Meat.

“Technology will not replace great teachers

but technology in the hands of great teachers

can be transformational.”

~ George Couros