Farmers encouraged to build family communication

FAMILY UNIT: Rhianne Boyle and David Low with their children Bridie and Olivia. Photo: Amy Rowsell Photography
FAMILY UNIT: Rhianne Boyle and David Low with their children Bridie and Olivia. Photo: Amy Rowsell Photography

A former local has encouraged farmers that to make their businesses successful, they would need to work on effective communication with those closest to them, their families.

Former Port Lincoln resident Tracy Secombe has been coaching farmers over the past three years and said she had noticed a trend with many farmers unable to communicate very with family members.

Ms Secombe said as well as challenges of the land and weather, farmers face challenges closer to home.

These include in the changeover of a farm business from a father to a son and understanding the challenges of such a changeover, as well as the expectations of working long hours and being away from the partner and children.

"Having an understanding of how the father might be feeling at the handover period where he has this identity as a farmer and then has this loss of identity and control, the son then empathises with how the dad feels," she said.

"Another thing I find is a common thread is people don't generally say what they mean to say because they don't want to offend a person.

"During seeding you don't see family...with honest communication you don't feel guilty when you're out there."

Ms Secombe said farmers needed a balance where they were contributing but also protecting their own wellbeing and getting plenty of rest.

Farming couple David Low and Rhianne Boyle from White Flat know about these lessons from personal experience after speaking with Ms Secombe.

Miss Boyle said through evaluation they had managed to change their own practices and adopt new technologies, and have a happy family life on farm.

She said seeding could be a stressful time to try to get the crop into on time, but by implementing change and having help on board they have managed to have more family time.

"From our perspective we were treading water and David was stressed so we reached out to the farming group to change our practices and focus on the mental side of farming," she said.

"If you continue doing what you're always told to do, you get what you've always got."