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Hauraki Young Farmers Club is seeking new members. Photo: SUPPLIED

Call for more young farming folk

Easing the mental health challenges of farming is one of the main aims of the Hauraki Young Farmers Club.
The club, which currently has 15 registered members, is open to young people aged between 18 and 31 from the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki districts to meet other farmers and participate in farming activities.
Vice chair Stephanie Gray told The Profile the club was encouraging more young members to join, especially if they had recently moved to the area.
“There’s not many young groups around this area, and especially when you move to a new area, it’s hard to find people to communicate with and get into groups and social clubs.”
The group was strong on supporting mental health among young farmers, she said.
“Farming’s definitely a lonely place and it can be quite isolating if you’re on your own or there’s not many [farm] workers.
“I know I’ve been on a farm recently and needed to call another young farmer because I was having a bad day – I got through it with a laugh and she helped me out which was pretty cool.
“So having that group of people to lean on and communicate with and have a few drinks, it’s really good.”
Stephanie said getting more members was also important because low membership had nearly caused the club’s gates to close four years ago.
“I know the Waihī young farmers has dissolved, and there’s not that many around the country left,” she said.
“It’s been around for a very long time, I know my father was involved in the young farmers and it would be cool to keep it going for the next generation.”
Stephanie said the club was also seeking financial support.
“We do a lot of hay jobs after work, which is our main fundraiser, and that’s picking up hay within our community, and we’ll maize and silage stacks as well,” she said.
“We’ve bought some jumpers recently from maize and silage jobs, but we are looking for sponsors.
“We’ve reached out to a few businesses but we haven’t had time to follow up because calving’s been hectic.”
Stephanie said the club holds monthly meetings at Ngātea Hotel every second Wednesday.
“Every meeting we have a highlight of everyone’s week or month so that gets everyone talking and we talk about events going on at other clubs as well,” she said.
“We’ve got [Morrinsville-Ngarua Young Farmers] and [North Waikato Young Farmers] who will come to our meetings as well, so you get to meet other people in that way.”
Stephanie said some club members had also begun playing for the Thames Valley Women’s Vixens rugby team.
“That’s something we’ve all gone and supported, we go to the games and cheer them on so that’s been another aspect to the young farmers,” she said.
“We’re also looking at putting together a touch rugby team as well which is pretty neat.”