Farmers do goodwill well | OPINION

Aussie farmers do goodwill well | OPINION

Editorial
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For Aussie farmers, the idea of "goodwill" goes beyond Christmas.

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EDITORIAL

GOODWILL toward men.

That's the phrase the angels said to those blokes standing in a paddock at that first Christmas in Bethlehem.

It's poignant they spoke to some farmers (shepherds) first.

Perhaps they knew farmers were good at goodwill?

For rural producers, it may be hard to muster up a lot of goodwill at the moment.

Dry times seem to sap the enthusiasm and joy from the chosen career.

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But growers keep on giving.

Some might suggest that with supermarket prices, growers are already giving their produce away.

But what if agriculture set the standard for an industry in terms of donation and charity?

In does already, what with the considerable contributions to the likes of Food Bank and similar organisations.

Farmers continue, somehow, to produce the vegetables, nuts, herbs and fruit that will adorn Christmas meal tables throughout the country.

Most will do it without much fuss, hiding the worry within, for the greater good.

There's work to be done back home but someone has to man the school break-up barbecue, not to mention supply the watermelon and orange slices.

It's funny how goodwill goes. It's almost like a "pass it on" situation.

There is a fair bit going out to farms in terms of drought support, hay donations and so forth at the moment.

It makes for positive headlines and warm social media posts.

But those on the land are traditionally big-hearted people. They help neighbours and relatives in need, without taking selfies of the act or waiting for the news crews to arrive.

There's work to be done back home but someone has to man the school break-up barbecue, not to mention supply the watermelon and orange slices.

Diesel costs haven't dropped but the truck will be available again this year for the kindergartin's float in the street parade.

Sacrifices are made to support the community, to give when the cupboard is already bare, to donate time when it's already stretched.

The idea of the "whinging farmer" is an easy tag to throw around when you don't have to watch stock starving or vegetables wilting.

And when the season turns around, and it will, that attitude of giving will continue, maybe even grow as a sign of thankfulness.

It's just how farming families are put together.

It wouldn't be hard to become cynical as a farmer. There are so many forces pushing from every side, and so many sets of eyes staring, watching, analysing your every move, from the blocky neighbours to the higher end observers.

The idea of the "whinging farmer" is an easy tag to throw around when you don't have to watch stock starving or vegetables wilting.

Sure, there's plenty to whinge about that's not going to get the crop off or the mob fed.

Most shrug it off, power on, get through. It can break some, but not most. This is the resilience rural Australia is renowned for.

It seems like purely a festive thought to think about goodwill but it doesn't have to be.

It continues throughout the year, perhaps just a little more unseen.

It's that selflessness that is at the very centre of Christmas - a sacrificial gift to an ungrateful world to save it.

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