Farmer Stories: Winsome

Winsome’s a primary producer with beef cattle breeding and fattening operations near Dubbo, New South Wales.

She shared her story with us.

I wish more people knew, not only where their food comes from, but what it takes to produce it. For example, people want a high quality, good tasting steak on the BBQ. But that steak can take years to produce, and during those years farmers are constantly managing multiple risks coming from areas out of their control: environmental, financial, economic, over-regulation, trade-related, etc.

There’s certainly a sense of achievement in farming, which can be years in the making. Part of why I love what I do is working with livestock, getting to know my property and being outdoors. Farmers have deep knowledge of their property: soils, paddocks, vegetation, livestock. We gain insight and see opportunity. We participate in something bigger—feeding and clothing the world. For example, beef is a nutrient-dense food and people need nutrients to be healthy and survive. I don’t think any other product compares in that way to meat. That’s amazing to be part of the bigger picture.

Agriculture isn’t like any other industry. All farms and farm operations are different. Individual operators like me, family farms and corporate farms are some of the common set ups in Australia. Input costs can be high. Take fencing for example, which requires materials made from steel for longevity and to withstand the elements, and skilled labour with the right equipment to build it. Individual operators and family farms often don’t have the resources or the cash reserves immediately available when the need arises. The same goes for improvement works for soil and vegetation, or when things outside of their control such as a drought or flood, impact farm operations.

I’m no different to any other Australian at the moment in seeing increases in the cost of goods and services. The cost of living will be top of mind for many for the next few years. Some of the biggest challenges in farming are things that I have no control over, for example the weather, the economy, the cattle market and finance market. They are all bigger than me and I have little influence on them.

I first contacted Aussie Helpers during the last drought when I was looking for any kind of help at that time. Aussie Helpers provided wide-ranging support: a simple cup of tea, a smile and friendly ‘hello, how are you going?’, food hampers and water supplies, livestock feed and even fuel cards. It was unbelievable. And it wasn’t so much the dollar value. It was the relief that I didn’t have to reach into my pocket to pay for one more thing that day.

The Aussie Helpers’ depot is a cheerful and welcoming community meeting place. It’s a nice place to go and visit because they always have a smile on their face no matter, and smiles are contagious – even when you’re living day by day and trying to work out what’s coming next.

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If your business or organisation is interested in sponsoring or partnering an Aussie Helpers initiative to help Aussie farmers, farming families and communities, please register your interest below.

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Helping Aussie farming families this Christmas

Like millions of Aussies right now, many farmers are struggling. And, as hotter and drier conditions return, we’re anticipating more farmers will need our help than ever before.

It’s a tragic irony that farmers work from sun-up to sunset to feed our families—and yet many will struggle to afford a Christmas lunch and gifts for their loved ones.

There are many ways to helps us to help Aussie farming families in need this Christmas, including donating funds, donating goods, volunteering, fundraising and partnering.

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Wherever possible, please deliver goods to one of our volunteer collection points (see here).
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We’re here to help you and your families

Times are really tough for farming families across Australia.

Please know that you’re not alone.

With the help of our donors, partners and volunteers, we’re doing everything we can to support you through this tough time and bring a smile to your family this Christmas.

If you’re a farmer and would like to register for support this Christmas, please complete the form below.

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Supporting schools in farming communities

With the help of our donors, partners and sponsors, we’re committed to extending Brekkie in a Bag to support even more schools in farming communities in 2024.

We are pleased to confirm that Sanitarium and The Big Little Dairy Company have generously agreed to support Brekkie in a Bag in first semester 2024 and we are actively seeking further support to extend the program and ensure we can keep up with an increasing demand.

If you’re a rural or remote school with farming kids in attendance and are concerned about the risk of food insecurity impacting families, please register an expression of interest for Brekkie in a Bag.

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Participating schools are required to:

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  2. Ensure breakfast is easily accessible to all students
  3. Ensure food is stored, prepared and handled safely and that good hygiene is practiced
  4. Provide brief quarterly feedback so that we can continue Brekkie in a Bag, improve the initiative and share with our partners and sponsors.

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Help farming kids with free healthy breakfasts

With the help of our donors, partners and sponsors, we’re committed to extending Brekkie in a Bag to support even more schools in farming communities in 2024.