Brunches to boost morale

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Off the farm... Waipounamu Dairy Farm staff (from left) Annie Reed, Sasha Bolstad, Codie Tuffley, Sheldon Hughes and owner Tracey Miller enjoy a time of socialising at a Southland Rural Trust organised free brunch. PHOTO: RACHAEL NICHOLSON

There may be no such thing as a free lunch but brunch was on the house at Riversdale on Tuesday.

The brunch was part of a Southland Rural Support Trust initiative aimed to help boost farmer morale.

The event was sponsored by industry groups and Rural Women New Zealand.

Trust chairwoman Cathie Cotter said the challenging weather had come at a busy time of the year for farmers and was taking a physical and mental toll.

“We’re encouraging farmers to get off-farm for a couple of hours to take a breath and reflect on how well they have coped,” Mrs Cotter said.

“These events will help farmers realise they are not alone and are all facing the same challenges.”

The trust held seven brunches throughout Southland this month.

Trust co-ordinator Lindsay Wright said about 40 people attended the Riversdale event.

“Numbers were a little bit lower but it was also a fine day,” he said.

“Farmers prioritise their work and play accordingly.

“There were probably a few guys out tailing and on tractors.

“It’s been a tough season.”

It had been a good opportunity to socialise.

“We’ve been pleased to see farmers have brought their staff along with them.”