Tuesday, September 20, 2016

You are not alone

Times are tough as a dairy farmer at the moment.  Its wet.  Its muddy.  Milk price is low and confidence is understandably low as well.
Its hard going getting out of bed each morning wondering what the day will bring - what disaster will come upon us to challenge us even more and do we really want to keep going.
I am usually a positive person, but of late Ive been really challenged.  Thankfully Gary is positive and believes there is a future - it would be horrible if both of us were struggling at the same time. This morning I went to check the calving cows and even struggled to walk into the paddock - but I found new life and it was cute!
This brought me to thinking , we recently attended a dairy meeting and met other farmers there.  We got talking (as you do) and were asked - is it hard for you?  How are you dealing with the mud? And the rain? How are your cows producing? How are you keeping going?
And our answers - we are not!  Well we are, but its hard.
And that brings me to the reason for this post - yes its hard, yes its tough but you are not alone.
Most are in the same boat - and at the moment its very hard rowing that boat. This is what our laneways and dairy yard looks like at the moment - and its challenging.  We dont want to walk through it and neither do our cows.  Its hard.

What can be done about this?
If you are a dairy farmer - dont isolate yourself.  Make time to talk to others - your spouse, your family, your neighbour, other dairy farmers.  Give yourself permission to say its tough but also give yourself permission to say "this too will pass".
Seek advice and help - its out there.  Im happy to pass on info for those who need it as are many others.  There is financial help available (and yes its convoluted and time consuming to apply - but do apply).  Go on a farm visit or just go into town for a coffee - even a break of an hour can lift the spirit.
For those of you who are reading this and are not dairy farmers - can I encourage you to make contact with one or two?  Let them know you appreciate what they do to produce the world quality standard milk that you use on your breakfast cereal and in your cuppa.
And buy dairy - any dairy - but in particular branded milk if you can afford it and value added products such as cheese, yoghurt, cream, infant formula.  It does make a difference.
I hope by writing this blog post that I might just be able to make a difference for someone - and if its only just one person then its been worth it.
I might just have to create a new hashtag - I already have #dairylove and #lovewhereIlive and might just have to add #youarenotalone