Rural Reflections #18

Most people believe their lives are just routine, procedures… nothing of real interest to anyone else.  But I learned something this week… that we each have our own story that others would like to visually delve into and know more about.

Farming is just a monotonous daily routine yet with complicated twists and turns to keep us at attention.  My youngest son once said… that he has chosen the farming industry because the job is not boring and involves an array of fields combined into one career path.  This is very true.

Farmers are multi-faceted as livestock handlers, vets, machine operators, mechanics, agronomists, horticulturalists, rainfall analysists, cropping experts, builders, administration databases, business marketers, distributors, financial analysists… but with a passion to bring it all together with a single focus.  Food sustainability is that focus and a very valuable asset to our nation.

Today I am sharing this photo with you that was taken earlier this week on our property… a single shot reflecting on the farming zone.  The tractor had finished cultivating a paddock several nights ago, in preparation for the next shower and was heading back to the shed for the next task of loading feed onto a trailer.  A tractor that is used for a multitude of tasks on the farm.

Rural Reflection #18…

18 The Farming Zone

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My son is driving the tractor, unaware that I am snapping photos behind him, but he is focused on the next job and thinking about what else needs to be done today.  I love his self-motivation and business perspective at such a young age.  We are very fortunate to have his passion and perspective as a part of our farming business.

Another reason that farmers are so passionate about farming… is the attachment to family and the generational interest in farming.  Family farms are often managed by multiple generations and with new farming technology, the younger generation can be involved in management.

I also like this photo with the Hereford cattle in the background, a large motivation as to what we commit to in our farming business.  Like everybody, farmers have their own individual motivation that drives them every day.  Everybody is different in their passion yet able to unite to feed and clothe our nation.

The newly erected silos in the distance depict our latest drought-proofing investment.  A building activity that both of our sons were able to physically assist with.  These silos are a reminder to me that family comes together for support when needed.  As my family concreted the silo pads, under the guidance of our eldest son, I am reminded of the important things in life… the love for our family.

Because we tend to work in our industry every day… we forget that other people find what we do interesting.  All industries are interesting to the people that are unfamiliar with them.  So this weekend I attempted my first video to share visually what a brief moment of our life entailed when preparing stud animals.  See my short first video titled Grooming Swanvale Playboy.

We all bring value to this world and unique attributes as we connect with our communities.  See the real value in what you do.  What can you share with someone else today?

Take care, Karen.

“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation,

but the only riches she can call her own.”

~ Samuel Johnson,

an Australian actor, producer, radio presenter & philanthropist.

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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