Kevin Sheedy on overcoming challenges in farming

JUNE 24, 2016

Mr Sheedy with local young farmers Andy Laidlaw, Sam King, Brendan Menz + Sam Madden

AFL legend Kevin Sheedy travelled to Tatyoon last week to share wisdom and insight into overcoming the challenges of life on the land.

Speaking at the Look Over the Farm Gate event hosted by VFF YAPs, Mr Sheedy reflected on the many hurdles in his journey from humble plumber to four-time AFL premiership coach.

“I’m in the business of sport which, like the business of farming, has its challenges,” Mr Sheedy told the room of young farmers, families and interested locals.

For Mr Sheedy the answers to most contests can found in a collaborative and co-operative approach. “Farming is a team game…we’ve got to group together and think how we can get smarter.

“The real challenge and excitement comes when you’ve got a negative and you try and turn it into a positive.”

Recalling his disappointment at the dismal attendance to AFL games on ANZAC Day in the early 1990s, Mr Sheedy spoke of his dream to organise a fitting tribute to honour the ANZAC spirit and those who serve our country.

The ANZAC Day Clash is now the largest AFL game of the home-and-away season, a feat Mr Sheedy credits to “futuristic thinking,” something he believes is relevant to farmers young and old.

“Always think about what is next. Be forward thinking; be flexible. When you’re willing to change, all your anxiety dissolves,” he advised. “You’re not dwelling on the now, you’re focused on what’s next.”

For Mr Sheedy, his next focus is further developing a Country Game to honour Australian farmers.

The first Country clash was held between Essendon and Geelong during Round 4 at the MCG in April this year.

“Next year the AFL have given us Round 2, which is before the start of the Country league, so more of you should be able to come along,” Mr Sheedy said.

“We want to celebrate the contribution Australian farmers make to our way of life because they’re the ones who put food on our table…we need to thank them for their effort.”

The Tatyoon afternoon tea was organised with support from the Victorian State Government, VFF, Country Fire Authority, Country Women’s Association, Royal Flying Doctors Service and National Centre for Farmer Health.

Mr Sheedy encouraged the room to make the most of the ‘Stress Management’ resources supplied by Look Over the Farm Gate and the services offered by the National Centre for Farmer Health.

“It could make all the difference…it could save a life,” he said.

Mr Sheedy shares some on-field wisdom with the Tatyoon Hawks