Still the lucky country
It is the grit and determination of those who work the land that make Quairading farmer Greg Richards most proud to be an Aussie farmer.
A fourth-generation agriculturalist, Mr Richards has lived at his 4800ha property for “59 years and one month” and said he would not have it any other way.
Mr Richards, who farms with his son Hayden, produces wheat, barley, canola, lupins and oats and runs about 4000 breeding ewes.
He will spend Australia Day in a similar way to many of WA’s growers and pastoralists — relaxing in the South West.
“The way I look at it, you are a born farmer and you have the option to go out and do something else if you want to, but it’s a terrific lifestyle,” he said.
Mr Richards said he would continue his 59-year love affair with the land for the rest of his life.
He pointed to Australia’s agricultural position on the global stage in 2016 as an indication of how exciting farming could be, including record prices for cattle and sheep, rising wool prices and a record-breaking harvest season of 16.5 million tonnes in WA.
“I am so proud to be an Australian farmer,” he said. “I have travelled a bit around the world and it’s not hard to see we are the best country.”.
The Quairading farmer is one of many generational farmers who are now using technology to work the land.
“It’s an exciting time to be in farming in Australia,” he said.
“Thirty years ago, if someone told me you would be able to sit in a tractor and not touch the steering wheel, I would have said, ‘You’re dreaming’.
“There’s a big future in farming; who’s not to to say that in 15 to 20 years time we might need one shower of rain to germinate the crop.”
Australian farmers are now producing up to $60 billion of food and rural products a year.
Even though the nation’s farmers were at the mercy of the weather, Mr Richards said Australia was still a good place to farm. “I love it,” he said.
“This Australia Day, everyone will be eating lamb. We will be at Siesta Park for an Aussie Day breakfast and then watching the cricket.”
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