Cham­pion re­vealed

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Rod­ney Jo­han­nessen’s pad­docks were a bat­tle­field af­ter last year’s flood, but the Biggen­den farmer has stood tall and been recog­nised for his re­sil­liance.

WHEN Rod­ney Jo­han­nessen woke up the morn­ing af­ter the 2013 Aus­tralia Day floods, his pad­docks looked like a bat­tle­field.

His prop­erty, south of Biggen­den, backs on to the Bur­nett Range.

Dur­ing the night the moun­tains gave way to flood­wa­ter that swept away ev­ery­thing in its path, in­clud­ing 15 of Mr Jo­han­nessen’s prized bazadaise cat­tle.

Three days later, as he waded through the devastation and man­gled re­mains of cat­tle, Mr Jo­han­nessen felt raw, drag­ging the bod­ies away to be burnt or buried.

Mr Jo­han­nessen and his wife Karen were re­cip­i­ents of this year’s Min­is­ter’s Re­silience Award at the Ekka.

When he ac­cepted the award on Fri­day, Mr Jo­han­nessen choked up and broke down in front of the cam­eras and re­porters who were ea­ger to hear his story.

“I had a mas­sive lump in my throat,” he said.

“I was hold­ing it in and hav­ing dif­fi­culty speak­ing.

“Then I glanced up and the reporter had tears in his eyes. That fin­ished me.

“I wanted to say that I was ac­cept­ing the award on be­half of all those farm­ers out there who are do­ing it tough.”

Like many other cat­tle pro­duc­ers, the Jo­han­nessens’ sit­u­a­tion has not im­proved since the floods, with drought lead­ing to a se­vere mar­ket de­pres­sion, forc­ing farm­ers to make un­be­liev­ably tough de­ci­sions.

“I had to sell a group of preg­nant cows to the meat­works,” Mr Jo­han­nessen said.

“It’s a cruel sit­u­a­tion, (but) you’ve got to do things you wouldn’t nor­mally do.

“When the chips are down, you’ve got to be tough. You can’t give up.”

KEEP TRUCK­ING: Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Govern­ment David Crisa­fulli pre­sented Biggen­den cat­tle breed­ers Rod­ney and Karen Jo­han­nesen with the Min­is­ter's Re­silience Award at the EKKA.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

KEEP TRUCK­ING: Pic­tured at this year’s Ekka is Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Govern­ment David Crisa­fulli pre­sent­ing the Min­is­ter’s Re­silience Award to Biggen­den cat­tle breed­ers Rod­ney and Karen Jo­han­nessen, for their “never say die” at­ti­tude af­ter their prop­erty was dev­as­tated in the 2013 floods.

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