Family and fleece at farm's core

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantThe West Australian
Angus and Trish Armstrong with their two children at their Normans Lake property.
Camera IconAngus and Trish Armstrong with their two children at their Normans Lake property. Credit: Countryman

Trish Armstrong, who farms with her family in Nomans Lake, is bearing a new-year baby.

The timing couldn't be more appropriate, with Trish due in March, in this the International Year of Family Farming.

The mother-of-two makes for a fitting representation of farming's future, holding the fibre of the nation against the belly of her unborn child, as a symbol of purity for those who make their living off the land.

"We have reason to celebrate the new year off an exceptional season in WA, and it is particularly special for Australian farming families," Trish said.

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"Looking forward into 2014, we can only hope there is prosperity for all Australian farmers as we continue to teach future generations the true value of farming life."

National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay explained the family farm was the heart and soul of agriculture in Australia.

Mr Finlay said 99 per cent of Australian farms were family-owned and operated - and this year, the United Nations-declared International Year of Family Farming gave the opportunity to celebrate the enormous contribution these farmers made to the community.

"Australia's 157,000 farmers not only produce 93 per cent of Australia's daily domestic food supply - the clean, healthy, fresh food that Australia families enjoy - they also contribute $38 billion in export income to the economy and manage some 59 per cent of Australia's land," he said.

"This year, the focus on our farmers via the International Year of Family Farming will help us tell their story and raise awareness of agriculture's contribution."

In the case of WA's Armstrong family, which produces sheep meat, wool and grain, there is a strong connection with the land.

Trish, husband Angus and family have faced some tumultuous dry seasons, affecting their livestock and livelihood.

Angus said the family was working an excellent season and took pride in producing food and fibre to support the family and community.

"We must remain vigilant that there will be below-average seasons," he said.

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