Host: AG Workforce
Written by Caleb, Mixed Farm Hand and Mechanic
My name is Caleb and I’m a Mechanic. Just over five months ago I was looking for a change in career path. I had spent the past year or so doing FIFO (Fly-in fly-out) and was looking for something different. Soon enough, I found an ad on the AG Workforce website for a mechanic on a mixed farming property near Rockhampton. I registered with the company, applied for the position, and through correspondence with Pippa and the efficient work of the AG Workforce team, I landed an interview with the farmer and got the job! Now nearly 6 months later, I am pleased to say I am still here and thoroughly loving it!
The property is forty thousand acres, made up of wheat, sorghum and chickpeas, and the rest cattle grazing land. I was quite nervous to start with, having entered the role half way through a plant of nearly five thousand acres of chickpeas (which has had a tremendous yield this year since we started harvesting) and having come from a mainly sheep and cattle background. I was amazed at the logistics of having organic and non-organic farming spread throughout the properties that I work on, and even more so also working with organic cattle has its own strict requirements and challenges.
Watching how the headers go and working towards jumping in one myself!
Cattle in the yards at sunset.
Driving the self-propelled spray rig.
My typical work day varies from day to day whether it be driving trucks to tractors and spray rigs, to the inevitable servicing and breakdown repair where my trade qualification and expertise comes in! Be it working on pumps, firefighting, fencing, windmills, mustering, and a whole lot of mowing which I take pride in, each day presents itself with new and exciting challenges for me to face!
As a young person, coming from the hustle and bustle of the mining hype, and then to see the downturn and the impact it had, I found myself quite lost in the career path I was on, and made me re-think what I really wanted to do. For those of you who have been in the same situation, there is hope. There are even government incentives for business-owners to employ people from the mining industry. I am so grateful for the agricultural background I grew up in, and I know now, that it is always something I can count on.
Making my way up the windmill for a quick service.
Each day is a different day! Found this big boy on a trek.
Looking after this little poddy as she enjoys the sun.
The family I work for has taken me in as one of their own and we get along very well – albeit some of them are pretty hard on the gear I service and fix! Predicting the weather will always be a thorn in my side as I tend to misjudge “local knowledge” and the ever untrustworthy meteorologist. Time and time again, the weather leaves me caught out fencing and doing cattle yard work in heavy downpours, making the task at hand an absolute physical drain! Having a great team to come home to at night for a good meal, a laugh and a yarn makes for a great end to the day. All in all, being in my current position, I would never consider going back to my FIFO roles, and would recommend this rural lifestyle, with all its highs and lows to anyone gearing to give it a try!
Just one of the pieces of machinery I look after – looking a little cleaner after some rain.