Talk about a year.
In 2023 I've covered three royal shows, driven thousands of miles, accidentally hit a kangaroo and moved house twice.
To be cliche sitting down this time last year to write my year in review feels both not very long ago and so very long ago.
It was again a year of firsts for me with so many new adventures and experiences where I've tried to jump in on anything and everything.
At times it's been hectic, at others challenging but for the most, rewarding and plenty of good fun.
I launched straight into 2023 by covering six weaner sales in four days at Wodonga and Wangaratta. There was no such thing as easing into the new year as I watched about 23,000 cattle go under the hammer.
This was closely followed by a few days of Stock of Land Beef Week, travelling to studs across northern Vic and southern NSW. I quickly learnt efficiency as I went to eight studs the first day, seven the second and three the third.
The producers however were well versed in Beef Week and were quick to jump in a photo and have a chat, before handing me a sandwich and a bottle of water and sending me on my way.
The Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial was a highlight for the year. I learnt a lot chatting to the winning producers and while it was a mad rush to get it all done, it was gratifying to see the 14 page feature in print.
Canberra was my first royal show for the year and a chance for me to get my bearings before the big one.
And breathe, it was March.
Coming into April I ticked off my first Sydney Royal. It was not only my first time covering the event but also my first time attending.
Following event after event it was time to get out and about on farm as much as possible and tick off one full year with The Land in May.
In August I covered my third show for the year, heading north of the border to Brisbane for the Royal Queensland Show and working with the Queensland Country Life team. I covered a variety of breeds I don't see in the Riverina, and of course had the iconic strawberry sundae.
It was interesting to see the differences between the shows and gain more experience, even if I did almost melt in the Queensland heat. It was also good fun to work closely with the then QCL livestock editor, Clare Adcock, and by the end of the busy two weeks we were both almost delirious and far too amused by the discovery there was a champion fish at the Ekka.
It was straight back down south to launch into the rather hectic stud sale season mixed with Henty Field Days, spring store sheep sales and cropping field days and for a while there my office was the Mitshubishi.
For agriculture it's again been a year of triumphs and challenges. Off the back of an extremely wet 2022, sowing and harvest didn't involve anywhere near the number of stories of being bogged.
On the cattle front it had been a year of decisions - whether to hold or sell. Prices dropped but have been coming back up with rain in key areas boosting competition. A number of factors were involved in the big picture including large stockpiles of beef in Asia and other global factors, processing capacity and drier conditions, among others.
Most weeks I have a yarn with a family friend about the cattle market. I let him know what's happening down here and he keeps me informed on the north of that state. It's good to get a gauge of the market more as whole and my Dad always jokes that when I visit and we go out to dinner all together that the two of us spend the night "selling cattle".
Water buybacks have been and will continue to be a key issue. Talking to stakeholders across the irrigation industries the buybacks would have a detrimental effect in many communities. Many felt unheard, ignored or misunderstood by the government so it was a pleasure to share their side of the story.
This year I really valued how important being in a good team is, and there aren't better people than the rest of The Land crew. We may work in different areas of the state but that doesn't make us any less of a team.
I am thankful for the guidance and support of the whole team, but in particular our editor Andrew Norris, and senior journalists Sam Townsend and Denis Howard.
The team shares plenty of laughs in morning meetings and it's always much appreciated, even if I do shake my head at the many terrible 'dad jokes'.
When I started the role last year it did take a bit of getting used to not working in the same location, so it is nice the two times a year we get to see each other in person, rather than just over a computer screen.
My colleagues all work hard to pull together such a cracking paper and there's nothing I love more than seeing this in print on Thursday mornings.
It's all thanks to the people who open their farms to us and tell us their stories. It's a pleasure to write for the 'bible of the bush' and even more so when you go somewhere and people tell you how they love to read it every week.
There's far too many individual stories I've enjoyed writing to name them all but getting out on farm is always a highlight and one of the things I love most.
At times I have been asked what a typical day was like, and my answer is always - "there's no such thing". Some days I'll be in the office on the phone and writing, and others I could be anywhere from chatting to winegrape growers near Griffith to a cattle sale at Cooma, or on farm at Walwa with a delegation from Kazakhstan like I was earlier this month.
It's a busy job but I wouldn't have it any other way. So for now I'll be recharging my batteries before jumping into weaner sales on January 2. I'm continually learning more and more about agriculture. Next year I'm aiming to get out to more areas of southern NSW and am looking forward to all the stories and new adventures 2024 is bound to bring.