A man known as ’The Resilient Farmer’ has spoken up about having endured the worst drought ‘in living memory’.
Speaking at a tour jointly organised by The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and rural charity RSABI, New Zealander Doug Avery told the audience the key to farming was ‘to have the capacity to change’.
It followed a time when his family farm in the Marlborough area was nearly put out of business during the 1990s when a decade-long drought gripped the area.
Mr Avery has since built up a reputation for helping and advising farmers in his home country facing crisis in their lives, after recovering from depression and a dependence on alcohol.
The results could have been devastating in a country where the suicide rate is high, especially amongst farmers.
He said his turnaround was triggered after reluctantly attending a talk on the drought defying characteristics of properly managed, which revitalised his enthusiasm for farming.
“It gave me the tools to deal with the problem. Too often fear drives people the wrong way,” Mr Avery said. “The key is to have the capacity to change.”
Mr Avery has since been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in supporting his fellow farmers through difficult times.
He and his wife Wendy were in Scotland for three weeks on a speaking tour, with support from Easter Ross farmer John Scott.
His itinerary and booking details for his talks can be found on www.dougaveryscotland.co.uk.