Start a conversation

Kane Brisco’s into his seventh year 50/50 sharemilking at Ohangai near Hawera, in South Taranaki. He’s started his own social media page to get farmers talking.

“One of the things I’ve noticed with farmers under pressure is that they withdraw into themselves. I’ve done it myself. So I think that as a farming community we need to be much open to discussing the pressure we are dealing with.”

“We need to get better as a community at genuinely finding out how people are doing. The common answer is often ‘yeah good’, no matter how people actually feel, so we need to combat that.”

“First, people have got to know that you’re not going to judge them. So, if you’re the leader of your business or team, you’ve got to lead by example and show your team that if you’re not feeling ok, you’ll talk about it. We need more farmers showing that vulnerability because that gives other people permission to speak up as well.”

“When you actually break down a farmer’s day – the movements they do and the loads they carry, the mobility required, the responsibilities and decision making – there’s a hell of lot that goes into farming that we don’t even think about. A lot of strain on both body and mind.”

“I know for me in terms of managing work stress, the big thing is to just acknowledge how you’re feeling and be honest about anything that’s getting to you. It’s important to let go of the little things – often we give little problems so much time and space that they start consuming us. That’s where talking to others really helps.”

“That’s why I started my own social media page Farm Fit NZ. I want to start that conversation among farmers. Since then I’ve had people messaging me and telling me how they are and what their challenges are, because they feel comfortable to do that with someone who is putting himself out there. It’s helping more people in our local community to start those convos that are a bit harder to have.”

“I reckon there’s a 100% correlation between doing these things and how well you perform on farm. It’s black and white to me. It’s part of becoming a better farmer.”

“My mantra is: let’s be proactive about our health and mental health. We do it on farm when we grow winter crops, because we know we’re going to need feed, but we don’t always do it with our own health. Let’s talk about this stuff.”

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