Keeping the Faith – Cattle Farmer Lyle Winks

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With so much drought in our
country at the moment it has been a headline for months, for years. It seems a never ending problem in our country. It has happened for years and years and years, but I think some of our brothers and
sisters living in the city and towns forget how tough people
are doing it in the country. So we decided to take a drive to the country
and visit farmer Lyall Winks. Lyall, welcome, thank you for seeing us. Thank you Donna it’s a pleasure
to have you here. What did you want to do when you left school? I wanted to go on the land and as my brother was a veterinary surgeon, I decided I’d like to study agriculture. And how do you feel people on the land are coping because we are seeing you know
highest temperatures on record, worst bush fires on
record, longest drought on record, how is everyone getting by? They’re doing it extremely tough Donna,
even in this area here, in any season you will find some people
that have very little feed in their paddocks, because they carry too many cattle. But in this year, everybody’s doing it tough. Have you seen it this bad before? I’ve talked to lots of people in
recent weeks about this and I don’t think I have seen it as bad as this in my lifetime. And most other people that I talk to, they
share those sediments. What’s a day like for Lyall Winks? The alarm goes off at 5 o’clock and we
climb out of bed and have breakfast and then I meet my brother up the road at
6:30 and we start feeding cattle. And most of the rest of the day is spent either
feeding cattle or going and purchasing fodder which we feed to the cattle and over recent
weeks we’ve been using turnips and carrots from the farms up at Kalbar but the supply
of carrots ran out this week. What happens now? We now have to start feeding hay or some other sort of feed stuff
that we can find somewhere, hopefully. I have molasses, but it’s a bit difficult
to feed large numbers of cattle when you’ve got to cart it a long distance. If it weren’t for Moogerah Dam,
the agricultural industries in this area would really be on their knees. Alright, you talked before about the day you
get up at 5 and you’re off feeding and so forth, do you get a day off? There’s no such thing as a day off when
you’re on the land Donna. You said earlier on today that you come from
the country and we all know it’s the same. The cattle have to be fed every day. And so you can’t be like the fella
who goes to work five days a week and then he’s got the weekend to enjoy himself. You still have to do it. Whether it’s Christmas Day, Boxing Day,
Good Friday or whatever. So the cows don’t
know it’s Christmas day? They sure don’t. And they don’t even get any special treats
like most of us do on Christmas day. Alright, you’re a strong member of the parish,
your local parish, how do you think your local church and parish are coping with all of what’s going on around them. I think most of them are
coping fairly well Donna because there’s a great element of
support from one group to another. And for instance during the recent fires that
have been burning up in the Cunningham gap area. A lot of the local parishioners were actually
volunteering to go and help feed the rural fire people who were
camped on the Boonah showgrounds. I think that when you see the number of suicides
that are occurring in the country there is obviously a lack of support for
people who are suffering from depression. And we certainly do need to
get that message out that we’re there with a helping hand
if anybody feels they need it. And I guess one of the things is
to be able to recognise the signs that indicate that people are
being stretched to the limit and they might be approaching breaking point. Do you think people turn to
prayer in these times? I’m sure they do. Yes, I think the community we have here is
a very prayerful community and Les is a member of a ladies prayer
group that meets every Monday. But I think while we do a bit more praying
when we’re facing tough times, we do pray fairly well as a community. And Les and I have four children
and nine grandchildren. And they’re all — thank God — all healthy. And mostly I think enjoying life. Wonderful, where do you get your strength
from do you think you Lyall? You seem like a pretty strong bloke. I remember travelling with a fellow that I
worked with one time and he said to me, I envy you Lyall. And I said, why’s that? He said you’ve got faith. He said whenever I run into a difficult situation
I don’t know when to turn. But nothing seems to phase you,
because you have faith. And so that’s the way I think it is. I think the good Lord will provide
if you have faith and He’s done the right thing by me so far in my life. That’s fantastic, do you think that’s
been the success of life as well that you’ve got such a great lifelong partner
that you know gets you by. It’s got a heck of a lot to do with it Donna
that’s for sure. And if ever I need a hand,
she’s always there to help me. She goes and gets — helps me feed out carrots
now and feed cattle and and go and get carrots from where we collect them. I can’t say that she always gets as much
help from me at the jobs that she has to do around the place. Is Lyall ever going to retire? I retired from paid work years ago and
I believe that if you still enjoy doing things and you feel that you’re making a
contribution then you keep going. And the good Lord gave me talents, and I always
understood from scripture that if you were given talents by God, you make use of them. Merry Christmas to you and your family. And thank you Donna and the same to you. And thank you for having us at your place
and here’s hoping we get some rain. Hallelujah. Season’s Greetings everybody
and a Merry Christmas to all.


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