This post was meant to be filled with photos of the lambs that are everywhere at the moment, all 20,000 of them, skiddish and spindly and bleating for their mums. I have been meaning to do some more ‘farm blogging’ but I often forget to grab my camera if we go out on a weekend to check cattle. Then as I set off early on Sunday morning with Matt in the ute finally armed with my camera I realised my battery was dead in my older camera body which I take around the farm. That’d be right. So instead I snapped some quick photos with my phone of the steers we were checking, eating their way through the very rich feed of the irrigated lucerne.
Matt’s parents are here at the moment, and despite the general assumption my farmer husband is born and bred a stockman, he is not actually from farm stock. Well, his grandparents were farmers but Matt is not ‘off a farm’ as the majority of those working in agriculture are. He is quite the anomaly, not having a family farm to return to but still having a deep love of the land, his stock and the industry we are passionate about. Because his parents are not farmers themselves they are quite interested into what Matt actually does for a living – and it makes me realise what is second nature to me (as being one of those ‘off a farm’ and from a farming family) is actually quite foreign to others.
On Saturday morning I helped Matt finish mark (ear tag, ear notch, castrate and vaccinate) some calves he didn’t quite finish on Friday night. As I prepared the eartags, scanned them, matched them up to the NLIS tags, sterilised his ear notches, loaded rings, passed things to Matt, put calves in the race, did my thing – Matt’s parents looked on quite interested. Interested in things that are part of our every day.
We get asked often why we do what we do, what keeps us in the industry, especially Matt not being ‘off a farm’. A large proportion of Matt’s fellow agricultural science graduates don’t work on farm, we don’t have to be doing this particular job – Matt could be an agronomist, a consultant, in agribusiness management of some sort. But ask any farmer why they do what they do and they speak of an enduring love for the land which they work. We have a huge amount of pride in what we do – after all, we have the most important job of all, producing food and fibre for the world. We don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Of course, some days you want to throw in the towel, some days are hard. Really hard. It’s not uncommon for my husband to work 7 days a week, from before dawn until well after dark. But I can’t imagine us doing anything else. Yes, perhaps we will work off-farm in the future, but we will always be a part of agriculture – it is just such a huge part of who we are, both individually and together as a couple, it flows through our veins, challenges us, rewards us. We don’t do this for the glory, the great hours, we sure as heck don’t do it for the money – we do it for so many varied reasons which are hard to explain to people that don’t get it. But we get it, and I guess that’s all that matters.