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.
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.