A young couple in south-west Victoria have managed to find a new home for themselves and their cows at the 11th hour after a desperate search.

Key points:

  • Hannah and Blake Honeysett were sharefarming in south-west Victoria for 15 months when advised the farm was being sold and they had six weeks to leave with their 50 cows
  • Social media posts, ABC interviews and regional communities rallied to help with their search
  • Now resettling five hours away on another sharefarm, the couple hopes one day to buy their own farm

Hannah and Blake Honeysett have been sharefarming at Nirranda South on the Great Ocean Road for the past 15 months and built up their own herd of more than 50 cows.

A month ago they received a fateful knock on the door — the dairy farm was going on the market and they had six weeks to move out.

If they couldn’t find another sharefarming opportunity in the meantime, they faced the prospect of having to sell their cows and maybe even exiting the industry entirely.

Thanks to a social media campaign, however, they received a flood of support and have taken up a sharefarming opportunity near Shepparton, five hours away.

‘A weight off our shoulders’

Hannah Honeysett said it had been an extremely difficult few weeks for her family.

“We were so relieved to find a farm because it had been a pretty stressful time,” she said.

“We’ll miss our friends and our connections in the south-west, but this is our business. We love cows. We love farming. This is our future and we were going to do whatever it took to keep going in the industry.”

Man and baby daughter in a tractor. He's in a dark pullover and baby's all in pink onesie

Blake Honeysett, pictured with baby Grace, has worked toward owning his own cows for more than a decade, and realised that dream together with his wife Hannah last year. (

Supplied: Hannah Honeysett

)

Ms Honeysett said she was overwhelmed with the response she received after going public with their efforts to find a farm.

“The response was just overwhelming and, after that first chat I had [on the radio], my inbox was filled with messages of support and people wanting to help in whatever way they could — complete strangers, people who wanted to follow our journey and wanted to support us as young farmers in the dairy industry.”

On the road to Shepparton

It’s been a big logistical challenge for the Honeysetts, relocating their worldly possessions, including their milkers.

“It’s a bit of a nightmare, as anyone who’s ever moved house can imagine, moving house alone is a stressful situation and especially in [COVID-19] times, with two lockdowns, but obviously we also had to move livestock,” Ms Honeysett said.

A wide-eyed baby Grace in a pink onsie, with her fist in her mouth, lying against the tummy of a baby calf ... very cute

Baby Grace’s pet calf is also making the move to Shepparton.(

Supplied: Hannah Honeysett

)

“It’s a huge relief, especially for my husband, Blake. He could have got a management job, but it would have been a step backwards, because we’ve put in a lot of hard work over the past 15 months.

“In 10 years’ time, maybe we’re leasing a farm and on the way to ownership.”

Short notice: Just six weeks to find a farm or 50 cows must go
Source:
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