It’s not just a job, it’s a ‘way of life’

Farming is a “way of life”


Life & Style
Kempsey dairy farmer and columnist Sue McGinn talks about life on the land.

Kempsey dairy farmer and columnist Sue McGinn talks about life on the land.

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Kempsey dairy farmer Sue McGinn talks about life on the land. Tell us your story.

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Early in my farming career, I boldly declared to my father-in-law-to-be that farming was a business, not a lifestyle.

He was of the view it was “a way of life”, which with hindsight, and almost a quarter of a century of farming behind me, I finally understand what he meant. Farming isn’t always profitable.

There are months when the expenses outweigh the income especially in times of natural disaster recovery or a down turn in commodity markets. It isn’t easy and very few farmers are actually paid for the number of hours they work. 

I like to think that even when cash flow is tight, most of us are still growing wealth over time. That’s what I think my father-in-law meant.

Somewhere along the continuum between lifestyle and being profit driven lays the truth. I never expect to be paid for every hour of imputed labour but I wouldn’t be in my current financial position if I had remained an employee all my working life.

 I now believe we were actually in agreement.

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