Dairy farmer Sally Downie loves her work, but it’s not without its challenges.
Odd hours, long distances, and the reality that it’s really hard for most people to understand the unique pressures of your business.
But since the 19-year-old from Jemalong has taken on the role of Central West coordinator for the Young Dairy Network, she has seen the power of community and wants to create a similar support network for other farmers.
The Network has connected her to others in her industry through farm tours, workshops, field days and conferences.
“We get to see different set-ups, learn from each other’s stories,” she said.
Crucially, this builds a social support network as well. That’s more important than ever in the current tough, dry conditions.
“I have heard numerous people tell me that they wish they could have access to opportunities such as these for other farmers, not just dairy farmers,” Sally said.
She’s calling her new venture “Grassroots Blueprint”.
“It’s about what you know, what you love (grassroots),” she said. “But also about making a plan for the future (blueprint).”
Sally wants to both connect farmers to each other and tell their story to the rest of the community.
“Far too many people are unaware of the importance of agriculture and what goes into producing the food and fibre people require each day,” she said.
In Sally’s day-to-day, that ranges from the daily 4am start to the impact of rising grain prices and the shortage of feed with the widespread drought.
Sally’s first step is to connect people through social media, then in person starting with a “smoko” event or barbecue.
Her first free smoko will be in Forbes on Saturday, July 21 at Bernadis Marketplace from 9am.
She’s also hosting a Condobolin smoko on July 26, with the location to be confirmed.
And she’s planning on visiting Parkes, Trundle and Cowra in the coming weeks or months.
Sally’s dream would be to attract financial sponsorship to be able to sponsor farmers’ attendance at industry conferences so they can keep in touch with developments and opportunities.
Find out more or join Sally on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram under Grassroots Blueprint.