Another day, another hat.
I sit here as Mitchell has returned to help with the clean up of a fire he was out fighting most of last night and was thinking to myself, how would I define a farmer.
Google will tell you a farmer is a person who owns or manages a farm.
I'm going to tell you that, that barely scratches the surface. Many jobs require a person to wear a variety of hats, but I think the extent of the variety for farmers comes down (again) to the fact that being a farmer isn't just a job, but a way of life and so these 'hats' they wear also extend beyond the usual 9-5 work day.
The first hat, besides the actual farming hat would be the everyday hat. Farmers are often partners, husbands/wives and parents. Perhaps the most common hat amongst differing jobs, this is still a huge part of life and the balance of this with the never ending commitments of farming is not only important, but I think difficult at times.
I don't know what hat a counsellor wears, but add that hat to the rack. Beyond their immediate families is the support farmers give to other farmers in their communities and abroad. I have witnessed many phone calls of friends calling for advice, to ask questions or just for a chat to perk up their day. It can be difficult and I imagine quite helpless waiting for rain to know if you will make any money and it can often help to talk to someone in the same situation. Support though extends to when tragedy or hardship hits. During their busiest times of year farmers are willing to lend a hand to a friend or community group in need. These sacrifices, when they are running out of time to harvest their own crops before a rain falls and damages the grain must be tough, but really strengthens communities.
The next hat I would think would have to be the greasy, oily cap of a mechanic. Sure they get the professionals out for major repairs on their expensive machinery, but you'd find most farmers could fix or diagnose more than just your backyard lawn mower. Their 'qualification' comes from years working with machinery, loving the machinery and knowing how it works to get the best out of their time and money.
To bring us full circle, the last hat to add to the rack would be the firefighters helmet. Rural and regional communities rely on volunteer firefighters to arm fire trucks and firefighters to fight fires of all scales. While some training is provided these are volunteers. Farmers can be called out anytime of the day or night to protect their land, their neighbours land and even townsites and entire communities.
Not only are our farmers feeding the world, but they are saving people's homes, their livelihoods when they are called upon and that's pretty special.
As I post this many people have lost their homes in the Wooroloo fires which is an unimaginable situation to be in, our thoughts and support are with them as both career and volunteer firefighters continue to control the blaze and save what properties they can.
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