A NEWLY-released book is helping shake up the stereotypical image of farming by presenting the industry in a new light.
What Does A Farmer Look Like? aims to debunk outdated views about farmers and present Australia’s current generation of farmers in a positive and accurate light.
Author, photographer and central NSW sheep farmer Kim Storey was inspired to produce the book after conversations on social media showed how far perceptions of farmers differed from reality.
“I googled the term `what does a farmer look like?’ and the images were mostly of older men in overalls with a pitchfork and chewing straw,” Ms Storey said.
“Farming was really dumbed down and there were very few women; I wanted to do something to change that and show the diversity of farming in Australia.”
The book, which has been supported by Dairy Australia, features six Aussie dairyfarmers, including SA dairyfarmer turned politician David Basham, Mount Compass, who says it is important to share a positive vision about farming.
“Telling positive personal stories about farmers, what they do and why they do it, is a great way to improve understanding about agriculture among our city-dwelling friends,” he said.
“We care deeply for our animals’ welfare and we look after our land because it’s in the best interests of our businesses, our communities and our country.
“Australia’s farmers across all agricultural pursuits feed millions of people in Australia and overseas every year and directly contribute more than $60 billion to the national economy in terms of production value—these are important figures but they’re not as powerful as connecting with people by telling stories like those in the book, and that’s why I was very pleased to participate in this project.”
Now the Liberal Member for Finniss since the 2018 state election, Mr Basham is a former president of Australian Dairy Farmers and has a family farming history on the Fleurieu Peninsula dating back 170 years.
For more than a decade he was president of the South Australian Dairyfarmers' Association and oversaw the development of the SADA Fresh milk brand.
Finding subjects to include in the book was not a difficult feat for Ms Storey.
“I set up a Facebook page and I was inundated with people from all over the country,” she said.
“Most farmers want to tell their stories and connect with people who may not have visited a farm or met a farmer before.
“People buy our food and fibre, but they don’t always have the chance to connect with farmers.”
In the book, Ms Storey tries to represent all facets of farming, from dairy and beef to cropping and horticulture.
Many family farms are featured and the subjects range in age from two to 101.
“I hope it proves a point about today’s farmers and promotes a positive image of farming,” she said.
“Sadly, when farming hits mainstream media it’s usually about drought or flood or animal rights.
“It’s very rare that it’s a positive story but there are a lot of good stories out there.”
Ms Storey said farmers from all backgrounds share common traits of being friendly and dedicated to their profession, their land and their animals.
“Everyone welcomes you into their kitchen and loves to talk about their farm and what they produce,” she said.
“I hope this book encourages other people to learn a bit more about where their food and fibre comes from and the challenges associated with producing it.”
Ms Storey is planning on producing a second book focusing on farm children aged between three and 16.
- Details: whatdoesafarmerlooklike.com/store