NATIONAL AG DAY: 10 farmers tell what they love about ag
TODAY is National Ag Day, and a chance to celebrate the men and women who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs.
To celebrate the industry that put the Lockyer Valley on the map, we asked 10 farmers and producers why they loved doing the job they did.
These are their answers:
Anthony Staatz - vegetable grower
Lake Clarendon's Anthony Staatz is a fifth generation farmer and runs Koala Farms, one of the biggest farms in the Valley - growing mostly lettuce and broccoli.
"Its diversity, the level of change is rapid and opportunities are plentiful," Anthony said.
"There's heaps of opportunities in the industry."
Di Piggott - artisan cheese maker
Di Piggott grew up making cheese alongside her father and now operates Awassi Cheesery in the Grantham Hills, producing artisan cheese from her Awassi sheep herd. She said she loved the resilience of the industry.
"It's time to diversify and look forward to the new face of farming in the future," Di said.
"I've got respect for the farming culture and the people who have been through it before. If they can do it, so can we."
Zoe Bayliss - stud principal
Zoe Bayliss operates 3 Sisters Droughtmaster Stud with her mother Geraldine, breeding quality cattle on the banks of Laidley Creek.
"What I enjoy about the ag industry is it doesn't matter how long you've been in it, you can always learn something new," Zoe said.
"You can teach the younger generations what you know, and they can teach you something you didn't know."
Luke Stock - dairy farmer
Third generation dairy farmer Luke Stock milks jersey cows on his Glenore Grove property with his dad, and said he always knew he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.
"I really enjoy the fact that we produce a quality product," Luke said, "and knowing that you're producing a quality and nutritious product that a lot of Australians consume."
Rob Bauer - organic vegetable grower
Fourth generation grower Rob Bauer said farmer was all he ever wanted to do, and he got his wish - he now grows organic garlic, potatoes and carrots.
"What I like about my industry is living on my farm with no chemicals, eating food with no chemicals and being my own boss," Rob said.
Emma Harris - stud principal
Farming is in Emma Harris's blood, her family has been producing cattle in the Fernvale area since 1886, and now she carries on that tradition with her charolais stud, Mayfield Ridge.
"I love working with the beef cattle, it's been tough lately with the drought," Emma said. "But seeing all your hard work come through when the calves hit the ground - I wouldn't change it for the world."
Angelo Maggione - farm worker
Angelo came to Australia as a backpacker and found work at Koala Farms. He also found a new home and now works as the farm's quality assurance manager.
"I've never experienced working this close with nature. It makes me feel alive," Angelo said.
"It's also a good field where you can get a good career."
Daniel Pollock - lucerne grower
Fifth generation farmer Daniel always knew he was going to stay on the farm, where he and his father Lance grow lucerne and barley.
"I just think it's getting back to the land and being outdoors. I just really love to do it," he said.
Matthew Sirett - stud principal
Stud owner Matthew Sirett grew up on his grandfather's farm, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that he plunged into ag. He runs Diamond Valley Brangus in Gatton and said despite hard times, the industry was still fantastic.
"There's not much to celebrate at the minute, but you've got to stop and think about the fact we feed and clothe the nation and beyond," Matthew said. "We forget to celebrate that a bit because of the conditions at the moment, we've got a lot to be proud of."
Raneece Lerch - vegetable grower and farmer's wife
The Laidley Heights vegetable grower works alongside her husband Andrew Lerch at the family's farm, predominantly growing beetroot, broccoli and cauliflower for the fresh market.
"I enjoy doing the work knowing you're producing something for the people," Raneece said.
"It's always good when you get feedback from the markets when they say the product looks good. It's doing the hard work and getting a good outcome."