Peter and Kate Mirams, Newry - June// 2024 Mental Health Calendar
by Gippsland Jersey
Kate's journey from off-farm career to farm ownership was driven by a desire to live a purposeful life and set a meaningful example for her children. Kate and Peter purchased their farm in October 2003, a venture that began almost in tandem with the birth of their eldest son Angus. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and Kate shares a candid reflection on their life choices, in particular her changing response to adversity, exemplified by her experiences with two significant floods.
In June 2007, a catastrophic flood caused extensive damage to their property, an event that came at a time when Kate was heavily pregnant with their third child. The sight of their farm in ruins, fences down, and widespread damage was overwhelming for Kate. The magnitude of the tasks ahead, compounded by her physical state and the responsibilities of caring for her family, led to an intense feeling of helplessness. “In every direction was work. And it just overwhelmed that I could never do enough work to get it all done.”
Fast forward 16 years, when a similar flood event occurred in 2023, Kate's reaction was markedly different. The once overwhelming tasks were now met with a calm, methodical approach. “This time was like…just like a start. Doesn't matter how long it takes. You only have to get one paddock a day done.” The cows would be fine as long as there was one secure paddock each day. This shift in perception from an overwhelmed mindset to one of resilience and composure speaks volumes about Kate's growth in dealing with adversity.
What brought about this change? Kate recalls 2007 and how her focus was narrow—centred on the immediate needs of feeding, clothing, and cleaning her babies while relentlessly pushing to get farm work done. It was a life lived in a survival mode: physically demanding, mentally draining, and emotionally taxing.
Kate's personal development since then is remarkable. She has come to recognize the significance of balance between action, thought, and emotion. Learning to acknowledge her feelings, rather than being solely driven by a sense of duty or the urgency of production, has been transformative. This holistic awareness has allowed her to view the same situation—a flood and its resultant destruction—through a lens of manageable challenge rather than an overwhelming crisis.
This emotional and psychological growth is intertwined with a shift in farming philosophy. Kate sees farming as a contribution to the earth, an act of stewardship that is fulfilling on both an environmental and personal level. She sees her regenerative farming method as a gift, a sustainable practice that nourishes both the land they farm and her own well-being, allowing her to face adversity with a resilient and heart-centred approach.