Across 7 creek crossings, down an old dirt road, lies my Great Grandparent's old farm. I remember parts of it from when I was a child- taking my first photo and driving out on the front of the tractor with my family to the mountains. But most of all I remember the love my family had for each other, the land and the animals.
Despite selling the farm in the 90's, it is still my favourite place to go. Positioned on a stretch of the river, the little farm has had some improvements- a new set of steel stockyards replacing the old timber yards on the hill and a new machinery shed closer to the house. But the love for that little farm isn't in the memories we created there, my love is in the dream.
Sitting by the river, the water dancing on the rocks, I ponder the thoughts that my family had when they travelled out to this patch of ground. The sound of the water clears my mind and I'm back, watching my Great Grandparents arrive at farm on their horses. Like a black and white photo, time stops. And I am left to dream of the moment they held each other's hand, stared at the patch of ground before them and in a heartbeat decided to raise their family there.
Back in the car towards home, country music fills the cold night air as my mind begins to dream once more. Though my days are often filled with finances and strategy, my brain switches off allowing my heart to once again tell the story. By the edge of a river, the decision is made again. Another family, another patch of ground. Yet between the romanticism and the passion, lies the practicality and the entrepreneurial knack.
Despite the media and our politicians unearthing housing affordability and concessions made for small business, young farmers struggle to find commercial funding to support their venture. Too risky for a business loan, yet not quite a house loan, too often our financial institutions provide holiday loans before farming or agricultural equipment support. Too often, our banking sector removes the support to the industry who provided the foundations for their business.
Young farmers don't have their hands out reaching for more- we just want the same opportunities that any entrepreneur or business person has, or any first home owner would like. As our farm owner populations grows older, we need to be supporting those trying to break new ground and enter the market. Succession can't just rest on the individual farmer, it needs to be acknowledged more broadly.
Alone at the farm, I can't help but dream. A dream of hope, love, a fair go and a patch of ground.