Article by: Hari Yellina
In March, the fourth successful Active Farmer Games were conducted in Coleambally, NSW, a Riverina town with 660 residents who went out to support, cheer, or participate in the community-building event. The games include a rural obstacle course that includes climbing hay bales, jumping fences, balancing on irrigation pipes, and crawling through mud, all for a non-profit charity that provides motivational, challenging, and fun training sessions to help small farming communities promote great physical health and mental wellbeing. Joe Briggs, a local cotton farmer and Active Farmers board member, said hosting the games in his hometown was a terrific way to show off what the area has to offer, with local businesses contributing prizes and local suppliers providing some of the food.
“Even the RFS got involved to keep the mud pit filthy and to spray off the competitors,” Mr Briggs said. “We had 30 three-person teams, over 20 helpers, a kids’ event, a DJ, a gumboot throwing competition, and spectators who helped cheer everyone on.” “Everyone I’ve spoken to has said how much fun they had, and most importantly, we brought the community together while raising money for a good cause.” Corteva Agriscience was a key sponsor of the games this year, sending a crew to Coleambally to assist with the event and compete in it. Karen Deane, Corteva’s communications lead, said it was her second year attending the Active Farmer games after missing out on the Western Australian edition due to the pandemic.
“I’ve seen such amazing community involvement both times,” she said, “and Coleambally really turned it on this year.” “The enthusiasm, excitement, and sense that we’re all in this together contributes to the development of strong communities.” “I’m so delighted that my firm, Corteva, supports fantastic organisations like Active Farmers, which help develop strong, resilient communities in locations that lack the support and amenities that their city cousins have.” In addition, during the morning of the games, Corteva worked with MSCAN (Melanoma Skin Cancer Advocacy Network) to deliver free skin checks to the Coleambally community. The skin checks were appreciated, according to Tamara Dawson, founder and director of MSCAN. “We know that people working outside and on the land are exposed to UV radiation up to ten times more than inside employees,” Ms Dawson added. “And, in alarming news, farmers in Australia have a 60% higher melanoma death rate than the overall population.”