I was the city chick who, after uni and travelling overseas, headed out west for work, fell in love with a farmer (Owen, a grazier), married him in 2000 and have lived on the land ever since. 

 Farming family

By the time ‘The Farmer Finds a Wife’’ was a popular reality television show, I had been living the dream for a decade and knew a few things about life on the land such as:

  • Most men on the land are allergic to paperwork, meetings and anything that involves working inside.
  • There is no work/life balance, but rather a work/life integration.
  • Romantic gestures do not include candlelight dinners or bunches of flowers but rather practical acts of kindness like checking your tyre pressure.
  • Light- coloured furniture should only be found in photo shoots.
  • When you get told ‘I only need your help for a minute’ – pack your lunch.
  • You don’t just enter into a marriage with a farmer; you marry into a family business.
  • Neighbours are more than just friends, they are your support network who understand and ‘get’ what life is like for you.
  • Generosity is what keeps the bush alive, in times of trouble you know others will have your back.
  • The importance of humour can never be understated, laughter really is the best medicine.
  • Farming is not just a lifestyle; it is also a business with many external influences impacting on how it operates within regulatory frameworks and consumer expectations.
  • The iconic image of a farmer is not the reality. We are well-educated, environmentally aware producers who use the latest technology and equipment to remain viable players in a keenly competitive international market. 
  • There is no ‘Jack of all trades’- her name is Jill.

A year after we were married, the family purchased a breeding property at Blackall, in western Queensland. After 8 months the dream became a nightmare as drought forced us on to the stock route for 9 months and 2 days.

We have lived through droughts, floods, battled government departments for the right to manage our vegetation and more recently experienced the reality of co-existence with a CSG company.

My city chick background took a while to adjust to the bush. However, my experience in audit and finance working with the government enables me to translate government/corporate terminology into practical tools and resources to ensure our business operations are compliant while still demonstrating core country values.

From little things, big things grow

At a Best Management Practice workshop in 2015 I came the realisation so much great content is not being shared to those who need it because they are unable to leave their farm. 

I thought surely a website could help.

How hard could it be to build one?

Let’s not go there, instead…

 

Welcome to your online community

As with everything in agriculture Rural Resources Online continues to adapt and update in support Australian farming families. Issues, experiences and opinions are shared in the ‘’Farmers Voice blog and anyone with a positive attitude towards improving the future for farming families is welcome to submit an article.

There are experts, consultants, coaches and mentors who provide specialised support services. However, sometimes you just want a resource you can download, work through at your own pace and tailor to your specific business needs.

I have been to many functions and heard producers lament about the hassles of officework and finding time to get all the inside jobs done. Many times I sat there thinking IÏ have something that could help”.

In 2020, the site’s resources expanded further to include tools and templates I developed for our own business and others designed to help when you take your paddock hat off and put your management hat on.

As a regular contributor to the Qld Country Life’s ‘View from the Paddock’ column and public speaker at iIndustry eEvents (recent events include – Australian Farm Institute conference panelist 2019, Food and Fibre forum 2019, 2019 DAF Celebrating Women in Agriculture, IWD, Ekka 2019 Food Future advocate, Young Beef Producers Forum 2018) I appreciate the opportunity to engage with and advocate on behalf of grass roots producers.

 

Recent awards and / achievements

  • 2020 Completed Australian Institute of Company Directors, Governance training
  • 2019 Australia Day Citizen of the Year, Maranoa Regional Council
  • 2019 Completed the Advisory Board Centre’s Certified Chair training
  • 2018 Completed the National Farmer’s Federation Diversity in Agricultural Leaders program
  • 2018 Australia Day Award – Member Contribution, Maranoa Regional Council
  • 2017 QRRRWN Strong Women Leadership Award, Volunteer of the Year A True Story from the heart of Queensland