New look for farmers

By Alana Christensen

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover and a new publication shows you also can’t judge a farmer by a stereotype image.

What Does A Farmer Look Like? aims to debunk outdated views about farmers and present Australia’s current generation of farmers in a positive and accurate light.

Author, photographer and central NSW sheep farmer Kim Storey was inspired to produce the book after conversations on social media showed how far perceptions of farmers differed from reality.

‘‘I googled the term ‘what does a farmer look like?’ and the images were mostly of older men in overalls with a pitchfork and chewing straw,’’ Ms Storey said.

‘‘Farming was really dumbed down and there were very few women; I wanted to do something to change that and show the diversity of farming in Australia.’’

The book features six Aussie dairy farmers, including Victoria’s Jason Smith, who said it was important to share a positive vision about farming and to show the diversity among farmers.

Originally from Cohuna, Mr Smith recently moved to a property at Simpson and said he wanted to represent the dairy industry and LGBTQIA farmers.

‘‘There are quite a few LGBTI farmers that people don’t know about and I wanted to represent them,’’ he said.

Mr Smith said the book would benefit all fields of agriculture.

‘‘In the old days, everyone had a cousin or uncle on a farm but that’s no longer the case; books like this will educate the community on how their food and fibre is grown.

‘‘It shows a cross-section of farmers from different areas and different situations, so it’s valuable in highlighting diversity to people who aren’t involved with agriculture, but also for people who are and don’t get off the farm very often.’’

While some farmers got dressed up in their best gear for the photo shoot, Mr Smith stuck to his regular wet-weather farm gear.

‘‘They wanted to see what farmers look like, so that’s what I showed them.’’

Finding subjects to include in the book wasn’t a difficult feat for Ms Storey who set up a Facebook page and was ‘‘inundated’’ from across the country.

‘‘Most farmers want to tell their stories and connect with people who may not have visited a farm or met a farmer before,’’ she said.

‘‘People buy our food and fibre, but they don’t always have the chance to connect with farmers.’’

The book focuses on farmers from all aspects of farming, from dairy and beef to cropping and horticulture, and includes family farms with subjects ranging from two years old to 101 years old.

‘‘Sadly, when farming hits mainstream media it’s usually about drought or flood or animal rights. It’s very rare that it’s a positive story but there are a lot of good stories out there,’’ Ms Storey said.

‘‘Everyone welcomes you into their kitchen and loves to talk about their farm and what they produce.’’

■Supported by Dairy Australia, What Does a Farmer Look Like? is available for purchase for $69.95 at: