Jason and Deena Tharle, Nambrok - October// 2024 Mental Health Calendar
by Steve Ronalds
Jason and Deena's transition from the cabinet-making industry to dairy farming was born out of a desire for change and a more fulfilling lifestyle. Disheartened by the shrinking market for Australian-made furniture, Jason was driven to re-evaluate his career. Taking a leap of faith, he immersed himself in an agriculture course, which sparked a newfound passion that was soon shared by Deena. With no prior experience in farming, they dove into the dairy industry, eager to learn and grow.
Their dedication quickly paid off as they ascended from novices to eventually partnering in a share-farming opportunity with an expanded operation of 1500 cows and a team of ten staff. This drastic life change was not just about business—it was about shaping a new identity and creating a space where their family could thrive.
Arguably the biggest hurdle they have had to face came when their rotary dairy’s platform, complete with a full complement of cows aboard, collapsed on New Year's Day. “I walked into the dairy. I didn't know whether to cry or…I just turned around and we rang the other owners in New Zealand, and said, ‘This is what's happened.’”
In the face of this disaster, Jason and Deena's response was swift and decisive. They orchestrated the relocation of 1450 cows in a single day, a feat that would daunt even the most seasoned farmers. Their rapid mobilization and clear-headed problem-solving minimized the downtime to just a week.
But the hardship was far from over, with the platform collapsing a second time, the traumatic ordeal had to be re-lived, demanding yet another herculean effort to move and manage the cows. “It was a rough year from January when the platform first fell. I can't even explain to anybody that doesn't know…how hard it is to move that many animals.”
The stress of these back-to-back crises culminated in Jason suffering a minor heart attack, a stark indication of the immense pressure they were under. Despite this, their resolve didn't waver. Deena, in particular, showcased formidable strength and management prowess, ensuring the farm's operations continued while supporting Jason through his recovery. Together, they not only faced adversity but emerged stronger from it.
Now, a decade into their dairy farming venture, they reflect on their journey without a shred of regret, only wishing they had embarked on it sooner. “People say you're born to do something, and I reckon this was it for me. All of it. It's stressful, but I love it.” It's a life where their children learn the value of hard work on the farm, surrounded by animals and the freedom of the countryside.
Jason and Deena have become symbols of resilience, illustrating the extraordinary things that are possible when passion is combined with perseverance. Through collapsed platforms, staffing challenges, and health scares, they've maintained their humour, their love for the farm, and most importantly, for each other, proving that together, they can overcome any obstacle.