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Opinion: From the Editor

Opinion: From the Editor
Me age three, feeding Snowball. 

Of all my childhood memories on the farm, lambing season is the time of year I remember most fondly.

I was three years old when my father gave me my first lamb to rear.

Her name was Snowball, and she was a robust Corriedale, and from the moment my father handed her to me, we were the best of friends.

Thankfully, because she was a ewe lamb, I was allowed to keep her (Rambo was not so lucky, mysteriously disappearing one day while I was at school).

By the time I had finished primary school, I had a flock of around ten pets, all of who I knew by name and had their diets supplemented with hand-fed discarded apples from our little orchard.

They each had their time in the limelight being paraded in fancy dress and competing in the hotly contested bottle feeding competition at the school pet day.

Aside from the cute factor of raising pet lambs, the whole experience was filled with important life lessons.

Raising lambs gives children a sense of responsibility.

Mixing the right amount of milk at the right temperature and at the right time in well-cleaned bottles was crucial to the lamb surviving and thriving.

So rain, hail or shine, no matter how tired we were or what other activities we would rather be doing, we were responsible for this tiny, woolly and noisy creature.

And so we learned empathy and discipline.

Sometimes, though,  the lesson was a harsher one.

Usually, our first experience with death as farm kids, if we are lucky, is a pet, and that pet is often a lamb.

A lamb would be brought home cold, hungry and sometimes weak.

We would place it by the fire in a box in the kitchen to warm up and patiently try and get the lamb to feed.

Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, the lamb didn't survive.

And so we learned that life isn't always kind, and sometimes endings aren't happy ones.

We learned you had to be tough to survive.

We learned resilience.

Tailing time was a family all-hands-on-deck affair.

We each had our roles, and mine was usually lifting the lambs into the Shute with my brother.

The best thing about tailing time was the time spent together as a family, the picnic lunches in the paddock and the feeling of satisfaction at being able to contribute in a meaningful way to the farm business.

We learned the value of hard work and how to work collaboratively as a team.

Growing up on a farm is a privilege I consider myself lucky to have experienced.

In this issue, we celebrate the next generation of farmers with Emma Pooles' success at last month's FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final.

I was lucky enough to attend the practical day and the awards night.

The electricity in the room and the cheers from the crowd when Emma was announced as the competition's first female winner was one I will never forget.

We talk to Rabobank agribusiness associate Sam Bryan about his recent shearing trip to Mongolia and discuss bearing prevention with Vet South sheep and beef vet Donna Hamilton.

We have a yarn with Robbie "Gooserooter" Shefford about rural mental well-being and explore a bit of farming history with the Tipapa Woolshed.

We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you.

by Claire Inkson