The stories behind our bush-led recovery
Six farmers are the faces of a new initiative by the National Farmers’ Federation to highlight the important role of agriculture and the bush in Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.
“During these challenging times, the importance of locally-grown, fresh, healthy and safe produce has come into sharp focus,” says National Farmers Federation President, Fiona Simson. “Throughout the pandemic, Australian farmers have continued to grow the fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs and grain we all depend on.
“Now, with many other parts of the economy suffering, agriculture and the people behind it have another job to do: to accelerate our nation’s return to the better times we have become accustomed to.”
#BackOnTrack looks at how the everyday extraordinary efforts of farmers from different sectors and regions have continued to produce food and fibre to sustain Australians, to stimulate the local and national economies and to create and maintain jobs.
South-east Queensland dairy, beef, pork, lamb and egg farmers Kay and Dave Tommerup had to think creatively when COVID-19 hit.
“Like most farmers we know, the pandemic didn’t impact our production a great deal, but it did change how we could get our produce to our customers,” Kay says.
“So, we adjusted and overcame that pretty quickly. I set up an online store on our website and off we went, delivering our meat, dairy and eggs directly to our customers in Brisbane. It was so popular we considered buying a larger vehicle so we could keep up with demand.”
In Katherine, in the Northern Territory, stations manager Henry Burke has overseen the safeguarding of his people and business from the threat of COVID-19.
“Our remoteness is our best defence and we mobilised quickly to ensure visitors were only permitted on station for essential purposes and that best-practice isolation and hygiene practices were strictly adhered to,” he says.
Burke says the cattle industry is the lifeblood of northern Australia: “To keep people working and to keep supplying beef to Australia and the world, it was paramount we protected our workforce from the virus,” he says.
“All in all, I know that it’s been a tough year for many, but I hope that other Australians know that we are still here, working hard to get things back on track.”
Simson says that, despite some challenges, through ingenuity farmers had adapted their businesses to ensure they could keep providing for their community, the economy and the nation as a whole: “Australians have supported us in recent tough times, now we’re working even harder to put the economy and our communities back on track,” she says.
The #BackonTrack campaign is part of the Telling Our Story initiative, the National Farmers Federation’s commitment to strengthen the connection between farmers, food and fibre production and all Australians. Telling Our Story is proudly supported by Meat and Livestock Australia, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Woolworths. To find out more about the everyday extraordinary efforts of our farmers, visit farmers.org.au