Our very own Stephen Wait recently spoke at an event run at Underbool football clubrooms on Friday 15 July. The event was called “Look Over the Farm Gate” and was organised for farmers and residences to discuss recognising and managing stress related to rural life.
Stephen spoke to the group about areas covering risk management, business structure, succession planning and estate planning. The Farm Protectors work with farmers to ensure that all of these areas are in order to help remove a lot of stress for farmers and their families. Stephen finished his talk by saying “Peace of mind and understanding: to me, that’s the main thing people get out of it”.
Read the full article below:
Underbool Told to ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’
By Naomi Leach
Underbool farmers and residents have had a crash course in recognizing and managing stress related to rural life, A ‘Look Over the Farm Gate ‘ event held at the Underbool football clubrooms on Friday, July 15 encouraged those present to be aware of potential signs of stress in their own life as well as keeping a watch out for the well-being of mates who might be struggling.
Similar events were held at Patchewollock and Lascelles in the last few weeks.
The evening started with a free dinner of sausages for the kids and lasagna for the adults with the bar available throughout the night.
An estimated 40 adults and 25 children took part in the event, with many younger farming couples present.
More than an information night, ‘Over the Farm Gate ‘ was a mix of socialising, live music, a screening of local historical film footage and the start of a conversation about the pressures of farming and how to deal with them in a healthy way.
‘Waldo the Greatest’ – Hopetoun-based magician Wal Ferguson – entranced the crowd with card tricks, bamboozling pom-poms and ropes that changed length apparently in front of the audience’s eyes.
The children were particularly taken with Waldo and formed a tight row of chairs in front of his makeshift magic bench.
The adults weren’t immune: Waldo was able to use maths to get most people in the room to guess the colour and animal design of a credit card, apparently set fire to a participant’s $100 note and have another attempt to hypnotise a balloon.
Live music was played by Maurice Conway, a singer-songwriter from Hopetoun. Maurice performed a song he and event organizer Michael Robertson had written on the theme of the evening about looking out for your mates when times are tough.
Maurice also performed several songs he has written about the towns of Tempy and Patchewollock, which will form part of an album of Mallee town songs Maurice is planning to release by the time of the Patchewollock Music Festival this year.
Maurice says that the songs have proved hugely popular on social media. The Patchewollock song was viewed 4,000 times on Facebook while the Tempy song has attracted over 14,000 views.
So far Timberoo and Goyura have also had their own songs composed and Underbool might hope that Friday night’s event will be enough to inspire Maurice to tum his focus to the northern Mallee towns.
Michael Robertson gave a short presentation mid-way through the evening listing the signs of stress and the damaging effect that it can have on health, relationships and farm businesses.
“Farming is the most stressful occupation of any,” Michael told the group.
“One in three in the room here tonight will suffer from stress.”
Difficulty getting motivated and withdrawing from social activities were two signs of many which Michael suggested may signal excessive stress.
Taking regular exercise, making good use of breaks in farm work to relax, learning to laugh more and settling disputes as they arise were all suggested methods of de-stressing.
Stephen Wait, a financial planner and founder of the Farm Protectors, spoke to the group about the benefits and importance of arranging organizing a will, discussing and finalising an equitable and appropriate succession plan for your farm and ensuring that you have arranged medical, financial and guardianship powers of attorney.
Stephen, who grew up on a wheat farm near Manangatang, says he founded the Farm Protectors because he said he saw a need that wasn’t being met. When working with a farm business, he’ll look at the areas of risk management, business structure, succession planning and estate planning, noting that, ensuring that everything is in order can help remove a lot of stress for farmers.
NORTH WEST EXPRESS – THURS, JULY 21, 2016 – PAGE 3