Limits hit farmers

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Sonja Johnson at her South Stirling property.
Camera IconSonja Johnson at her South Stirling property. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

For those living in cities and towns, the restrictions on products at supermarkets could just mean they go to the shops more often.

But for those running farms out of town, the restrictions have them worried about how they are expected to continue their operations at one of their busiest times of the year. With seeding approaching and calving in full swing for many, the number of workers on farms is growing.

South Stirling’s Sonja Johnson — a farmer and an Olympian — said farmers could have a lot of people to feed normally, let alone at this time of year.

Living in some cases hours from supermarkets, they also tended to buy multiple items to avoid frequent long drives.

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Now, Ms Johnson said she was forced to make the 40-minute drive to Albany several times a week to keep people fed and keep her farm running.

“A normal shop would involve us buying 12L of milk and that will do us for a week,” she said.

“We like to bulk buy our green vegetables and have enough for us to get us through for a week or 10 days. It is not unusual for us to go a week or 10 days without going to town. Other people in the district are feeding eight people or more, putting in crops and calving, and they are having to run to town every couple of days to get enough food.”

She is calling on supermarkets to consider the people who are working hard to keep up food production at a time when it is more important than ever.

“That is the one thing that I hope that might come out of this, that finally the agriculture community may regain a degree of respect through the general community,” she said.

Ms Johnson suggested farmers could show their address, their farming ABN or use their rewards card information to show how they normally shop.

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