I always wanted to be a farmer. It was the natural progression as I grew up on a farm that’s been in the family for three generations. While I was still at school, I decided to do an engineering course. Not because I wanted to be an engineer but I know the skills I learned would be beneficial on the farm.
We’re currently running about 2,000 breeding ewes and putting in about 1,000 hectares of crops each year. We’re growing wheat and barley for grain, as well as some vetch hay, and producing first cross ewe lambs, Merino cross Border Leicester, as well as prime lambs, which are sold for meat production.
Mark’s passionate about sharing his story with all of Australia.
Sharing our farm with the world
Recently I’ve been part of the ABC’s trail blazers program, which has been really cool. The program helps young people who are working on projects in rural areas to develop their ideas and eventually present them to members of parliament and community leaders.
Being involved in trail blazers led to a lot of exposure for my youtube channel and social media. They showed me how to best tell my story, how to promote myself basically, which is where this journey really started. This year, I’ve more than doubled subscribers on YouTube and picked up 800 more followers on my Merret Contracting Facebook page.
In 2016, I started making some short farm videos for my nephews and niece in Melbourne to keep them up-to-date with what we were doing on the farm
Being kids, they weren’t quite as passionate as I was about the videos. But in 2020, after seeing supermarket shelf after supermarket shelf wiped clear during COVID panic-buying, I was once again inspired to make them because I realised there was a big disconnect between the people growing our food and the majority of the people eating the food.
Social media has really opened up the reach of farmers. Traditionally, farms are remote and far away from major city centres. So someone’s got to do the travelling, and social media is a great way of eliminating that.
In the videos, we run through the tasks we’re doing, with a deeper look into the reasons we make the decisions we’re making and how they affect us both financially and physically in the extra work, or other things that we have to do.
I wanted to provide a space where people could find out where and how their food is grown. I never expected my project of farm videos and vlogs to take off like this. It was something I started for a bit of fun.
Mark creates videos and photos to share his story.
Mark captures his day-to-day life workin on the farm to help people unerstand where their food is produced.
Loving what I do
I love what I do, no two days are the same when you’re farming. There are always changing variables, the weather conditions, the crops, the animals, the soil. For me I find it cool that at the end of the day, what our farm produces is something that people can eat.
Growing up on a farm has given me a good look at how a lot of things really work, especially the environment. Growing up rural, where travel is required for most things, it means you work out what you’re really passionate about and what is worth travelling for. It’s taught me to follow my passions and chase my dreams. It’s easy for me to keep farming because I love doing it and talking about it, and I love making videos.
I don’t know what it will turn into, or what it will be, because Farm Vlogs has already surpassed my expectations.