Welcome mat ready to roll

Kate MatthewsCountryman

If you're a primary producer and sick of the city/country divide, get involved with Farm Day, says a Cranbrook farming family.

Rohan Toovey, his partner Kathryn Ratcliffe and their daughter, Stella, believe it's well worth the effort.

Rohan, who runs cattle and sheep with his dad, George, and brother Andrew, says it's a big commitment for city families to visit farms like theirs, which is more than three hours from Perth.

"It's away from their comfort zone, so the people who sign up are genuinely interested and want to know about farming," he said.

Rohan and Kathryn have been involved for two years hosting city families and say its been a great experience.

"Neither of the couples we've hosted have been down this way so for them, it was their outback adventure," Kathryn said.

The Tooveys showed the families around their farm, feeding out hay to cattle, catching yabbies, checking lambs and feeding chooks.

They even managed to coax vegetarians into trying home-grown beef.

"The upside for us is it's our chance to give some good media on farming," Rohan said.

Besides being able to promote farming, it's also a way to show off local communities and make new friends.

And this year, as International Year of the Farmer, the call for farm hosts is even more important.

Farm Day founder Deb Bain said it was a great way for friends in the city to experience all the things that were part and parcel of being a primary producer.

"This first-hand experience leads to a better understanding of the agricultural sector," Ms Bain said.

Farm Day is a not-for-profit organisation supported by Meat & Livestock Australia.

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