At a social get-together today, someone said dairy farming was glamorous. Rewarding, challenging, interesting, in touch with nature, a great way to raise a family, yes. Glamorous? I’d never thought of it that way. My friend (not a farmer) pointed out that many urban professionals might envy the freedom and sense of purpose enjoyed by dairy farmers.
It’s all about perspective, I guess. My husband saw me engrossed in reading a farmer’s newsletter last night and said: “You really love your farming, don’t you?”. “Yes,” I said, “Look at this! Turns out the nitrogen in the first effluent pond is much less volatile and…”. Well, there’s nothing sexy about a primary effluent pond. Realising how ridiculous I sounded, all I could do was laugh at myself. I do love it – especially learning how all the natural systems that come together in a farm work – even though there are days when it’s a really hard, dirty and uncomfortable grind that’s anything but glamorous.
But how do other Australians see us? According to one 2010 poll, as trustworthy. I wonder how the milk wars have affected public perceptions.
2 thoughts on “Dairy farming a glamorous job?”
Dairy farming is unique in that product is created on a daily basis rather than waiting an entire year to bring in one crop. This is part of the reason for the perception of glamour – the throughput is rapid and the assumption is that income also has a quicker turnaround. Dairy farming has continuous activity and produces a universal foodstuff compared to other farming that has a peak of activity followed by months of inactivity or routine maintenance.
I acknowledge that the continuous level of activity is also one of the major downsides of dairy farming.
I think you make an excellent point, Kevin. Dairy is often seen as one of the “best” farming sectors. What took me by surprise, though, was that my friend feels dairy farming might be considered a glamorous alternative to an urban professional career.
Lots of farmers do wear other “hats” to make ends meet or simply to reduce their family’s reliance on highly volatile farm incomes. I’m one of them who’s lucky to be able to have the best of both worlds, working here in gorgeous Gippsland as both a farmer and a consultant. Getting the balance right can be tricky but it’s certainly worth it!