Thursday, 13 June 2019 10:55

Paralympian to inspire farmers

Written by 
Liam Malone. Liam Malone.

Former Paralympic blade runner Liam Malone expects to inspire dairy farmers attending the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) in late June.

He will encourage them to stay strong and continue rising above the challenges facing the industry.

The two-day SIDE, run by farmers for farmers, with support from DairyNZ, will be held at the ILT Stadium in Invercargill on June 25 and 26. 

The event, themed ‘Creating Our Tomorrow’, will also include All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka.

Malone is a double amputee who was born with fibular hemimelia. He is no stranger to overcoming adversity. In his teens he suffered anxiety and depression and admits he made some bad choices.

But when his mother died he decided to take control of his life, and three years later won two gold medals at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. 

“I realised you can’t outrun your problems. You need to face them,” he says. 

“While the dairy sector has done a good job facing its challenges for a decade, these keep coming. And understandably this has taken a toll on some farmers. I hope to provide them with tools to help them be more resilient.”

Malone likens dairy farmers challenges to a marathon, not a sprint. And while the changes are coming fast they are constant and farmers need to be prepared to stay the distance. 

“At times farmers feel as though they’re in a race to meet all the new regulations and consumer expectations coming at them thick and fast. The finish line seems a long way off. 

“While I’ve never worked in the dairy sector, I can relate to what farmers are going through. But they’ve put in the training and they’re off the starting blocks and that’s half the battle.”

SIDE event chairman Simon Topham says the first day of the event will focus on ‘Celebrating Today’ and the second day will look at ‘Investing in Tomorrow’. 

“SIDE will celebrate farmers’ sheer grit and drive to constantly do better by their people, cows and environment. The sector has come a long way in a relatively short time and farmers have a lot to be proud of. 

“SIDE is an opportunity for farmers to get together, celebrate their wins and discuss the future of dairy.”

www.side.org.nz 

 

SIDE Information

The South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) is among the big dairy events of the year. This year it will be held on the 25-26 June at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.

It will have four keynote speakers, 19 workshops and opportunities for dairy farmers and their team to learn and network.

This year’s theme is ‘Creating our Tomorrow’ and will focus on sector positivity, celebrating dairy’s successes and overcoming challenges.

The keynote speakers include:

• Former Paralympic blade runner Liam Malone

• All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka

• Business leader Sue Lindsay

• Golden Bay YOLO (you only live once) farmer and blogger Wayne Langford.

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