I am a social researcher working as a consultant for the Agricultural Systems program of CSIROs Ecosystem Sciences division, and others.
Much of my past research has been focused on understanding the influences on farmers’ decision making other than a simple assumption of profit maximisation. I have, for example, conducted research examining farmers’ beliefs about climate change and how those beliefs influence their actions. Having worked with irrigators in the cotton, wine, and dairy industries, my research has often involved disaffected and dispirited populations who are facing turbulent periods of significant change resulting from collapses in commodity prices, government reforms, or changing societal expectations.
I have an ongoing interest in examining the resilience of farmers, farm families, and rural communities as they respond to the unsettling transformations that are underway in rural Australia. I’m interested in understanding those things that affect the quality of life for these people, including the changing role of women in farming families and how that role is becoming increasingly stressful as more demands are made of them.
My interest in rural sociology is deeply rooted in my experience. This experience has been gained through my twenty-five years making a living as a commercial farmer, being a member of a farming family and a participant in a changing rural community, and through my current career as an academic researcher in which I endeavour to understand the changes occurring among farmers, farm families, and rural communities.