THE Baxter family is sure they’ve done nothing wrong but they can’t help feeling the emotional strain.
Ongoing publicity surrounding their highly publicised battle with neighbouring organic farmer, Stephen Marsh, has placed undue pressure on the family unit over the past six months.
That feeling has also spread throughout the wider Kojonup community with residents holding varying opinions on the issue.
While Michael Baxter has spoken of the family’s decision to proceed with their GM canola seeding this year, his wife, Zanthe, spoke of the psychological and emotional toll the legal threats have taken.
She says it's hard enough being a mother in the bush some days.
But the added strain of facing threatening legal action makes her worried about the potential impact on her three young boys.
Like many country wives and mothers, Zanthe sees herself as part of the backbone that holds her family together.
If she's not running around on the farm she's racing in and out of town, attending school assemblies, taking the boys to sport or cooking, cleaning, washing and generally supporting the four males in her life.
But underneath her jovial exterior, it's clear the legal threats coming from next door, bolstered by the prevarication of the anti-GM camp, have taken their toll.
"It's heartbreaking and it has really had an affect on our family,” Zanthe said.
And it's not just Michael and Zanthe Baxter who deal with the pressure on a daily basis.
It has affected their three school-aged boys too.
Zanthe held back tears as she explained how her 10 year old son asked if they would lose the family farm because of the anti-GM crusade.
"A 10 year old boy should be out there dreaming about becoming a good football player," she said.
"He should be chasing sheep with his dad and riding his motorbike not worrying about if he’s going to have a farm to come back to."
Some days Zanthe has shed tears with everything seeming all too hard.
But the constant banter from anti-GM groups has only steeled the Baxters’ resolve.
They are also grateful for the support of the Pastoralists’ and Graziers’ Association and others who have lent a caring hand during a difficult time.
Zanthe said the battle with their neighbour had hardened her husband’s attitude but she wants to protect his caring spirit.
"He's the most awesome dad and he loves those boys more than words can say," Zanthe said.
"I don't want my husband to come out of this a changed man."
Her sons Rhys (15), Ashley (13) and Codey (10) see a long future in their family farm and want to run the business one day.
They have always been encouraged to return to the farm after they had completed an apprenticeship, travelled or taken some time away to gain a broader outlook on life.
The boys have read about the Marsh legal challenge and heard stories in the media but have grown tired of the media hype and questioning from other students at their schools.
The Baxters believe they were singled out and targeted by their neighbour and others that may be assisting the anti-GM cause.
Many of the Baxters’ other neighbours have expressed support and backed the family’s cropping rotation 100 per cent.
"There's nothing anti-organic in our argument," Zanthe said.
"We're just presenting the facts."
Her husband is also community minded captaining the tennis club, president of the junior football club and local fire chief, in between farming and parenting duties.
Last Week Rural Press revealed the Baxters had withstood a mountain of external pressure to forge ahead with plans to use Genetically Modified canola again, in their 2011 cropping program.
Despite ongoing threats of legal action from their organic farming neighbour over alleged “contamination” from last year’s crop, they planted 160 hectares of Roundup Ready canola having been encouraged by its performance last year.
The new technology was used to improve the farm’s weed control management strategy which helped them clean up several paddocks.
Michael is now looking forward to growing wheat and barley on those paddocks.