When you're up against the harsh elements of the Aussie outback, and those elements dictate your livelihood, you need to be an optimist.
And that's what Don Hahnel is. A wheat and sheep farmer in Victoria's Mallee region, he's a "a broad-acre, quintessential Aussie farmer," said Tom Alber, co-director of this short documentary series, Work Docs.
"According to the local newsagency, Don is one of two people in the town that reads the Age. He loves the great outdoors and is also a firm believer in climate change, and feels that farmers, more than anyone, are at the coalface of the climate crisis. Put plainly, he's a top bloke," Alber told HuffPost Australia.
To the average punter, the pros and cons of farming tend to weigh further down the con lists. It's hard work, lonely, and you're gambling your income into the ground, banking on the weather.
"But it also has its rewards. Don's his own boss, he's got no one telling him what to do or when to do it. It felt like total freedom out there in the middle of the wheat crop sitting next to Don in the harvester as the sun was setting over his incredible property. I've never had that feeling at any job before. Ever. They don't tell you that sorta thing at school."
Alber and Leslie wanted to shine a light on an extraordinary profession, but one that is out of fashion.
"It's an intrinsically rewarding job rather than an externally rewarding one, and unfortunately not enough people's career choices are motivated by intrinsic aspirations... Maybe being a farmer would appeal more to young people if it was painted it that light."
Work Docs are doing a series celebrating everyday Aussies doing extraordinary jobs. You can watch more from the series as they come, right over here.
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