We had the pleasure of speaking to hobby farmer Fadi from NSW – our first prize winner in our launch competition.
Here, we share Fadi’s story of becoming a small farm owner and his thoughts on managing the risks on his small farm.
Fadi is an IT professional from Sydney, who bought a 26-acre hobby farm in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, with his brother two years ago.
While he has lived in Australia since the 90’s, Fadi was introduced to the farming lifestyle as a child growing up in Lebanon.
“My grandparents used to run the village farm,” Fadi recalls. “During the school holidays, I would visit the farm and help them out. That’s where I got the farming bug.”
The small farm he now runs in Tallong, has 100 table olive trees (3 varieties), apple, fig and apricot trees, grape vines, and 5-10 acres of pasture paddocks, where he runs dorper sheep.
“I originally purchased the farm for relaxation and to escape the city life, as I have a busy job in IT,” says Fadi. “But I quickly realised it was a lot of work and there was always something to do.”
The olive trees in particular require a lot of attention and hard work, from fertilising, weeding and mulching to picking. The whole family gets involved to hand-pick the olives and the fruits are distributed throughout the family.
“While it’s hard work, it’s so rewarding to share the experience and the fruits of our labour with my family,” says Fadi.
Family members also helped maintain the yard area with push mowers, but the Cox ride-on mower Fadi won, is now saving them a lot of time and effort.
Fadi may be a relatively new hobby farmer, but he realises how important it is to understand and manage potential risks for his farm to be a success. The risks he cannot manage or control are covered by insurance, giving him peace of mind.
Three key risks Fadi identified on his property are equipment failure, fire, and building damage or collapse.
Potential hazards include tractors without roll-over protection structures (ROPS), power take-off (PTO) shafts, chainsaws, augers, motorbikes, and machinery with unguarded moving parts.
When running a farm with livestock, flammable materials such as hay, straw, dust and barn board can add up quickly in the form of feed, animal bedding and other related debris, and all it takes is one little trigger to set a barn alight.
Farm buildings are at risk from weather events such as storms, high winds, hail and severe rain, as well as burst pipes.
In response to this, Fadi and his family have already worked hard to reduce potential hazards on the farm.
They have fenced off a dam to stop livestock and children from entering and help prevent drownings.
To help control any fires on the farm (they burn olive tree pruning), they have bought a trailer, firefighting pump and tank and all family members know how to operate these. They now also mow a wide strip of grass around the house with their new ride-on mower.
With no mobile phone reception on the property, emergency services can’t be reached in case of a farm accident. He is looking to connect to the Starlink satellite service, but the cost of installation and high monthly fees are an issue.
Fadi currently has insurance for his small farm with another insurer. “I took out the policy when I purchased the farm and don’t really know a lot about it,” he says. “When my existing policy lapses, I will be switching to Farmstyle Insurance, because you guys seem to really understand small farming.”
As for his future plans, Fadi intends to retire on the farm, leading a self-sufficient lifestyle and simply enjoying country living. We wish him and his family continued success and bountiful harvests in years to come.