Farm kids tell their stories as part of new initiative

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It’s been a tough year but, for our farmers, there’s been much more than just COVID-19 to cope with.

Eleven-year-old Campbell Evans and his younger brother Dougal may be children, but living on a farm at Vacy in the Hunter Valley means they’ve experienced more than others their age.

“With the drought, it was really hard because all the dams went down really quickly and we had to go and feed our animals with grain and hay, which there wasn’t much of, the paddocks were dry,” Campbell said.

“We just had to hope for rain and I guess it was just Mother Nature farming from then on,” Dougal added.

Bushfires, pests, drought and flood are just a few of the challenges farming families face, and it’s in these times children can feel like they are uninformed and unheard.

Hunter Local Land Services, Hunter Region Landcare Network and Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection have teamed up to change that, creating the ‘Farm Force’ program.

Campbell and Dougal Evans.

It provides children from the Hunter Region with a chance to have a voice through the creation of a series of books addressing these issues that are written and illustrated by local kids, which will then be used as a resource for the local community.

Hunter LLS Community Engagement Officer, Daniel Trudgeon, said the first of the book series will focus on local experiences of the recent bushfire season.

“Last summer’s bushfires were the most severe on record as they affected so many parts of our region and across NSW,” Mr Trudgeon said.

“This will make them a ‘force’ to be reckoned with as they are better equipped to help their families prepare for future events.

“We want rural kids to reflect on past experiences, learn about the importance of good bushfire preparedness and recognise how communities come together to support each other in times of crisis.”

It’s hoped creating the books will enable the children to help their families prepare both now, and in the future, when they become the next generation of property managers.

“I reckon it will be good to tell other people how it is to live on a farm while we’re battling through hard things like fire and drought and tell them how it feels,” Campbell said.

“It’s great living on a farm – even though there are tough times, you just have to get through them,” Dougal said.

The next three series will focus on Flood Fighters, Drought Defenders and Pest Patrollers.

Entries are now open and will be accepted until 31 October.

Click here for more information.

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