December Newsflash from Farmstrong
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Dear <<First Name>>,

Season's greetings!

With summer and Christmas just around the corner, things can get pretty busy on the farm. But it's also important to have a break and catch up with family and mates.

In this issue, I offer some tips for getting through the busy summer season. Whether it's playing rugby or farming, having a break is key. It's important to make a "plan to stop" because breaks don't just happen, you have to make them happen.

Also, farmer Marc Gascoigne reveals how he improved his life by opening up to friends and family about the stress he was under. He shares some of the ways he's learnt to manage stress and stay on top of things.

And read about Hastings dairy farmer Lydia Baty who attended the Farmlands Ladies Night in Napier. It gave her a chance to get off the farm, have a break and have a fun night out. 

Finally, Farmstrong is celebrating another successful year helping farmers, growers and their families to live well and farm well. Read about the positive impact Farmstrong has had on farmers' lives over the last two years in the Two Year Report on Farmstrong June 2015-2017.

Thanks for another great year. Farmstrong is looking forward to helping you live well and farm well in 2018!

Sam Whitelock
Farmstrong Ambassador

Sam's tips for getting through summer 

Farmstrong Ambassador Sam Whitelock says he’s looking forward to recharging his batteries over the summer season and making a “plan to stop”.

“A quality break from the farm or rugby paddock doesn’t just happen, it needs to be planned. Good breaks are important, but they don’t just happen, you have to make them happen,” he says.

It’s also important to remember what you can and can’t control when heading into the busy summer season. With Christmas thrown into the mix, extra expenses and extended family get-togethers can ramp up your stress levels, so it’s good to have some tools at the ready. 

“It’s about figuring out what you can and can’t control and focussing on what you can control. For example, in rugby everyone has a go at the ref. Can we control him? No. So we focus on what we can control,” Sam says.

How to deal with stress on the farm

The day Marc Gascoigne told family and friends about how stressed he felt was the moment his life began to improve.
His message to other farmers who may be struggling with the ups and downs of farming is to "stop bottling it up and start talking".
“Really good friends of mine had no idea anything was wrong. Only I could decide to get help and get better,” he recalls.
Marc and his partner Marcia run a successful 150 hectare, 450 cow, family dairy farm just south of Cambridge. 

But years of long hours and pressure had taken a toll on Marc’s wellbeing. A few years back he started to feel "under the pump". The trigger was continued wet weather over winter and spring. 

Ladies Night provides break from farm

Farmlands Ladies Night was the perfect opportunity for Hastings dairy goat farmer Lydia Baty to get off the farm, have a fun night out and watch the latest Farmstrong video of women in farming sharing their wellbeing tips.

The annual event was hosted by popular TV and radio cooking personality and author Annabelle White, aka the “cuddly cook”, who brought her unique sense of humour to the table.

“It was awesome and really interesting. Annabelle was hilarious. She told quite a lot of jokes and lots of funny stories about things that had happened to her,” Lydia says.

The theme of the night was: How to be the host with the most and the very best guest. Annabelle talked about a variety of topics including how to throw a successful dinner party and how to make delicious desserts.

Farmstrong making positive impact

Farmstrong is celebrating another successful year helping farmers, growers and their families to live well and farm well.

In the two years since the programme was launched, it’s been making a positive difference to the most important asset on the farm – you!

The Two Year Report on Farmstrong June 2015-June 2017 outlines Farmstrong’s reach and achievements, nicely reflected in our most recent survey results.

Farmstrong’s 2017 survey shows the positive impact Farmstrong has had on farmers who are engaged with the programme. Some of the cool things we're seeing are an increased ability to cope with the ups and downs of farming; time spent learning new things; time taking notice of small things in life that bring enjoyment; and contribution to other farmers and the local community.
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