Syngenta-invited representatives from the horticulture industry take part in field walks at their GrowMore event at the Gatton Research Facility.

Syngenta-invited representatives from the horticulture industry take part in field walks at their GrowMore event at the Gatton Research Facility.

More than just dollars and cents

More than just dollars and cents


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Advertiser content: Helping maintain the social fabric on the land for farmers and producers is an ongoing job that many community minded volunteers help out with.

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This article is advertiser content for Syngenta.

FARMING is often described as a lifestyle, not a career – and there is a large element of truth to that statement.

While attention to the bottom line is critical for farmers, and those in the agricultural service industries, they do not operate in a vacuum.

They see value in being a meaningful part of their communities, and furthering their industry through collaboration, proving that agriculture’s worth cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone.

With rural communities often being shortchanged in terms of government support there’s a rich tradition of service above self, with individuals pouring untold hours into industry bodies, local organisations, and sporting groups.

Sponsors, agronomists and growers inspect the Lancer crop of the Goodell family, Kybah, Trundle, during the 2018 Suncorp Bank/Agricultural Societies Council Dryland Field Wheat competition. Photo: Mark Griggs

Sponsors, agronomists and growers inspect the Lancer crop of the Goodell family, Kybah, Trundle, during the 2018 Suncorp Bank/Agricultural Societies Council Dryland Field Wheat competition. Photo: Mark Griggs

In order to maintain these clubs, industry organisations and services, volunteers are shouldering a growing workload, as rural populations decline.

Someone who embodies these values is Brussels sprouts producer Scott Samwell.

The Syngenta Growth Awards regional winner has been tireless in his contributions, in order to progress the future of his industry. Mr Samwell, who farms at Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, has regularly hosted field days and trial work, sharing his insights in collaborative ways that help growers like him.

Scott Samwell regularly hosts field days and trial work, sharing his insights in collaborative ways that help growers like him.

Scott Samwell regularly hosts field days and trial work, sharing his insights in collaborative ways that help growers like him.

Equally, he has shown dedication to his industry by spending two days each month serving on the boards of horticultural groups and research organisations, helping growers produce more food, more sustainably. It’s efforts like these that made him the Ausveg Grower of the Year in 2018.

But there is always more to do to help maintain the social fabric of the Australian bush.

Now, more than ever as the mental health crisis bites hard in rural and regional Australia, there is a need for farmers to look over the back fence and nurture that sense of community which can help beat back feelings of isolation, which are the beginning of mental health issues for many.

Mental health challenges have also been created by the seemingly never-ending east coast drought putting immense financial and emotional tolls on the agricultural community.

Across the country there are fine examples of people doing extraordinary community work with a minimum of fuss.

Take Tony Lockrey, an agronomist based at Moree and a regional winner of the Syngenta Growth Awards in the Community and People category.

Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey runs a monthly Men’s Campfire on his farm.

Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey runs a monthly Men’s Campfire on his farm.

Mr Lockrey has worked to build community engagement by organising gatherings of young farmers to share information, but just as importantly to have social connection with their peers.

Along with that he runs a monthly Men’s Campfire on his farm, with an eye on mental health, and has had a tough role as a chaplain with the local rugby club this year, after two members committed suicide.

In spite of the many hurdles in rural life, the indomitable spirit of the bush fights on, embodied by the Regional Winners of the Syngenta Growth Awards.

This article is advertiser content for Syngenta.

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