Farmers’ tips for staying well

December 17 2019

How do other farmers look after themselves and their teams? Check out the advice below, including some great ideas from Farmstrong.


Farmstrong’s top tips

Farmstrong is a nationwide, rural wellbeing initiative that helps farmers and their families cope with the ups and downs of farming. Here are some of its suggestions for keeping well.

  • Stay connected – Surround yourself with a network of people you can reach out to. It can be as simple as having a conversation in the pub or over the fence.
  • Keep active – Biking, walking, hunting, team sport – whatever appeals. It keeps you ‘farm fit’, boosts your mood and gets you off-farm.
  • Enjoy the small stuff – When you’re working, take a moment to stop and enjoy the view or the nature. Not a bad office, is it?
  • Eat well – Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to keep your energy levels up.
  • Look after yourself, look after your team – People are the most important part of the dairy sector.

Farmers’ top tips

Cheyenne Wilson

“I make sure I have a network of people I can reach out to when I need to. On my days off, I always get off-farm, whether it’s to catch up with friends or go hunting.”
Cheyenne Wilson, contract milker/agribusiness student, Canterbury.

Tangaroa Walker


“If I’m feeling down, I’ll ring my mates straight away and have a yarn. That’ll always lead to us going diving that week or playing rugby. Then, all of a sudden, the little dramas I had on-farm, that were really getting to me, feel like bugger all and I’m good to go again.”
Tangaroa Walker, contract milker, Invercargill.

Tony Coltman


“Keeping well is absolutely crucial to the success of this business. How do I get time off? By having good rosters, good staff and booking it in.”
Tony Coltman, equity manager, Canterbury.

Dylan and Sheree Ditchfield


“The number-one thing is to look after myself. If I don’t look after myself, I can’t look after my family, our team, our farm.”
Dylan and Sheree Ditchfield, farmers/owners, Southland.

Marc Gascoigne


“When you’re getting stressed and anxious on the farm, the world closes in. What I discovered was the best thing I can do is pull on the running shoes and go for a run. It clears my head and burns off stress.”
Marc Gascoigne, farmer/owner, Waikato.

Duncan Rutherford


“You have to look after yourself and your staff because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy farming as much, your business isn’t going to thrive and people won’t want to work for you. If you look after your staff, they’ll look after you.”
Duncan Rutherford, farm manager (14 staff), North Canterbury.


To find out what else could work for you, check out Farmstrong’s farmer-to-farmer videos, stories and tips at

Also, see DairyNZ’s wellness advice, ‘10 signs of illness and burnout’, and helpline contacts at

This article was originally published in Inside Dairy December 2019

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Vanessa Fever

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Lee Cowan

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