By Bernadette Hunt, Vice-President Federated Farmers Southland
In the face of constant news about all the challenges farmers face, I’ve been asked several times lately why farmers do what we do. So this morning, as I walked up and down the tractor lines of an oats paddock looking for weeds (one of arable farming’s more mind-numbing tasks), I gave it some thought.
Lots of things we love most about farming can also be the most challenging. Not much different to other pursuits, I guess. Some people love going to the gym. I doubt they love every minute as they sweat it out – but the feeling of satisfaction at the end makes it worthwhile.
So with that in mind, here’s my list of ten reasons we love farming:
- The amazing office – even on a rubbish day, you know you’re alive when you are working in the elements. And on the good days, who would want to be anywhere else?
- Loads of very cute work buddies – dogs, sheep, cattle, pigs, horses – they make awesome companions.
- Surprises – just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get each day on a farm. Even if the job you’re doing right now isn’t something you love, you know you’ll be onto something different before long.
- Producing a great product – knowing that what you produce plays an important part in people’s lives every day is rewarding.
- Satisfaction – nothing worth having comes easy, but the satisfaction from persevering and making things work when the going gets tough is a pretty awesome feeling.
- Great way to bring up kids – our kids get awesome opportunities and experiences, they know the satisfaction that comes from putting effort into something over a long period of time, and they see struggles and triumphs up close – all setting them up to be adults who will go places.
- The awesome rural community – the vast majority of people we rub shoulders with are salt of the earth good sorts who make us proud to be farmers too.
- Brains and brawn – the combination of skills required to successfully run a farming business puts every organ in the body to good use, including (and most importantly) the brain. Shifting constantly between strategic and physical work means life is never dull.
- Team work – we love combining our strengths as a couple to make our business work, but also utilizing and developing the strengths of our staff and the specialists we rely on.
- The seasonal cycle – the lessons of this season will feed into the things we do next season, so there is always another opportunity to improve and do it better next time.
I am sure every farmer you ask could add to this list. I hope it gives a bit of insight into what makes us tick, as well as being a wee reminder of the positives for any farmer out there who needs it.