Life on the farm can be very satisfying if you live in the country as you get to become multi-skilled and multi adaptable. There are many circumstances where you need to be able to problem solve, there are so many aspects to farming life that are so rewarding and there are so many that are not.
I came onto the farm about 11 years wide-eyed and impressed by my now husband and the work that he has done and continues to do. The work was overwhelming, the animals were beautiful and frightening, I had never been up close to cattle, and loving lamb (as a meal) I never knew how much work animals are to get them from the paddock to the plate.
I also never realized that being summer, winter, autumn and spring brought with them their own set of problems. As the partners of farmers one must get involved so that the burden of hard work does not always fall on the primary person (this could be male or female) I have learnt to drive tractors, use a front end loader, double d clutch on a truck, lamb mark, ear tag, weigh cattle feed out hay and numerous things in my life that I never dreamed I would even have to know, including fire fighting!!
I am the second pair of hands that assists when asked and when I can and also does the farm book work. We decided early on I should be able drive all of the machinery if for nothing else than if an accident occurs I should be able to grab something that may get someone (including myself) out of danger and or trouble. (pulling a bogged Ute for instance).
Whilst the rewards are good there is also negatives, animals need full-time people to care for them, to check them, to feed them, to move them be part of most aspects of their existence and this is the tie that binds people to farming properties. Getting away normally means 24 hours at the most together and if you plan a holiday it can require you to hire staff in to do the daily running of things, this brings its own problems. Most women I know in the country with children take the children away and their partners / husbands join them on and off for that period. The last time we have time away together and our second holiday together was 2009, we have done the odd night here or there but never more than 2.
Living on a farm also means one discusses retirement plans early on in the picture for the following reason. It’s all hard work
THE PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FARMERS
Farmers were more likely to be male – 139,500 or 72% of all farmers were male, compared to 55% of all employed persons in 2010-11.
The age profile of farmers differs from that of all employed persons. In 2010-11, the median age of farmers was 53, compared to 39 for all employed persons. Seven out of ten (71%) farmers were 45 or over compared to four out of ten (39%) employed persons. The largest differences in the age distribution were apparent in the younger and older age groups. While 23% of farmers were aged 65 and over, only 3% of all employed persons were in this age group (graph S8.2). Conversely, only 2% of farmers were aged between 15 and 24, while 17% of all employed persons were in this age group. In 2010-11, farmers comprised a significant proportion of older workers – 14% of all employed persons aged 65 years and over. However, they made up a smaller proportion of younger workers – less than 1% of all employed persons aged between 15 and 34.