Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Richard and Becks Tosswill have farmed their 646-hectare property near Ponatahi for nearly a decade. They run up to 5,800 stocks units on the hill country Richard loves working.
Richard says a key aspect of the farm’s success is the way he manages his own wellbeing to stay fresh and motivated. This includes regular catch-ups with mates. He’s heavily involved in his community – previously chairing the Wairarapa Farming for Profit Group for a few years, being a member of the Ponatahi Discussion group and an AgInnovation trial farmer with Beef & Lamb NZ.
“Staying connected to your community is important in farming. These are great opportunities to get off farm, hear new ideas and make friends. In winter I also play social soccer on Saturday afternoons despite being a lifelong rugby fan. It’s not about the soccer, it’s about the run around and a few beers after with mates. 20/20 cricket and touch rugby in the summer provide the same benefits of getting off the farm and talking to others. It helps you keep things in perspective.”
“The reality is farming can be a psychologically challenging job. You drive up a road and think, ‘bugger, there’s post that needs fixing’, then fifty metres ahead, ‘oh no, the trough’s leaking’, or ‘there’s a dead animal’. Farm work’s never done and the pressure of work and the isolation can really build up. The new regulations and off-farm pressures heading our way recently have brought additional pressure too.”
“You can’t just be head down, bottom up and chasing your tail all the time in farming or you’ll burn out. Your wellbeing has to come first. People need to recognise when they are under the pump and talk about it. Talk to your partner, talk to your friends, keep an eye out on your mates. If people aren’t turning up at Field days and farm discussion groups get in touch with them.”