Growing our future farmers comes with its risks

Tourello farmers Steve and Ruth Kinnersly believe the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how lucky their children are to live on a property with so much space and freedom, but they are aware this luxury comes with associated risks.

Their two children Olivia, 14, and Ryan, 12, were brought up from a young age following their parents around the farm, where they run a mixed sheep and cropping operation.

While Mr and Mrs Kinnersly loved having their kids by their side, they were – and still are – overly conscious about their safety.

“We’ve never really set them off working on their own, but we often have them walking by our side and doing what we’re doing,” Mrs Kinnersly said.

“In the last few years, we have had them in the shearing shed, roustabouting for the shearers and penning up.

“They are also a great help preparing our prime lambs for the weekly sheep market.”

Mr Kinnersly said they had made a conscious decision to not allow their children to ride motorbikes on the farm.

“We’ve never encouraged motorbike riding, as it’s probably one of the major sources of child farm injuries,” he said.

“Others around us, as well as some of our friends, have let their kids ride motorbikes, but we decided to steer away from that.”