AN address by star Fremantle Dockers midfielder Nat Fyfe at last week’s WAFarmers business breakfast provided a perfect warm up to a busy conference schedule.
The star Fremantle Dockers midfielder looked completely at ease as he addressed a room full of farmers and industry representatives at the breakfast and while his speech was often on the light-hearted side, he also had some serious messages for those in the room.
His passion for agriculture and the rural transport industry were clearly evident throughout his talk.
“My parents are transport operators, so I have always had a real passion for transport, for agriculture and for footy,” he said.
“My footy journey started in Lake Grace when I was six or seven – about the same time I learnt to drive a truck.
“I was lucky enough to play for Claremont and was then picked up by Fremantle.
“My favourite players as a junior were James Hird and Matthew Richardson.
“I was actually a passionate Richmond supporter when I was younger and my least favourite team was the Dockers – I absolutely hated them.
“This was to the extent that at the AFL draft camp, two weeks before the AFL draft, I was trying desperately to get in front of the Richmond recruiters, but they weren’t interested in me at all.
“Then I heard Freo was interested so I was trying to do everything possible so they wouldn’t pick me up.
“But I ended up there and my journey with Freo has been fantastic so far, with the highlight being playing in the 2013 grand final.”
Fyfe said speaking in agricultural and regional areas was something he was passionate about.
“I feel I am a product of the country and of my environment when I was younger,” he said.
“But as a spokesperson for Fyfe Transport and the Livestock Carriers Association, I do have a message for WA farmers that run livestock – build some decent loading ramps!
“I have had all sorts of fun over the years carting sheep and I really love it and most of the time they will run pretty smoothly, but often I will turn up to a farm and the yards are built out of old bedheads and sleepers or a farmer with an over enthusiastic dog that puts the sheep through the portable yards. There was even an instance when I turned up to an ex-WAFarmers president’s place who instead of sheep dog had a cat!
“But if you can all have good loading ramps in place that would be appreciated.”
Fyfe said as someone who grew up in the country, but now spends a lot of time in the city, he often sees farmers portrayed in mainstream media as backwards and less than sophisticated.
“We also have some groups wanting to portray farmers as cruel, usually to serve their own agendas,” he said.
“What I want people to know is that this is not the case. To simply survive against ever-increasing costs, the farmer must adopt the latest technology. Simply look a the size of the cropping equipment, the extent of GPS technology and automatic weighing and drafting systems that farmers have access to now. Not to mention all the new loading ramps that you are going to race out and build for me!”
So what does life after footy have in store for Nat Fyfe?
“I don’t really have a clue,” he said.
“I am going to take some time off and go surfing and have a few beers.
“But I have a passion for transport and for agriculture. I am also almost fully qualified as a helicopter pilot and I can see myself possibly moving into that industry.”