A positive attitude helped Chloe Davidson survive a tough season.

The arrival of Spring has brought so much happiness to Roan Farm! Calves have arrived, milk supply has increased so the anxiety around supply has settled, and there is a sprinkling of grass in the paddocks. As this is the last column for 2020, I thought it would be poignant to take a moment to reflect on the biggest year of our lives so far. It has been the hardest, yet also the most rewarding year, and I’m so proud that we have got through it as a family.

I read a post this week that said that with every challenge comes opportunity, and this sums up 2020 perfectly for us!

At the beginning of the year we decided to end our contract milking job with nowhere to go, a brand new small business and two very young children. This was very challenging both practically and for our mental wellbeing as we had no stability, but the opportunity that resulted from this decision has been life-changing. We never thought that farm ownership was in our sights in the short term but, with the help of a very generous farm owner, we were able to get our foot in the door with a farm sale with an extended settlement and a place to call home for the first time in eight years. This ended up providing the perfect amount of stability for our young family.

I think it definitely shows that you don’t need to have all of your ducks in a row to succeed, you just need to have a dream and the confidence to jump in and do it!

Covid has undoubtedly been the biggest challenge for many of us this year, particularly small businesses starting out, not just in the physical sense but also in the emotional sense. I know for me, as a mum of two little ones and with a busy husband who is very rarely home, being unable to head out the door into a social setting made life very difficult. The normal daily routines were gone and I found myself sitting at home trying to satisfy my mental wellbeing with food. I had A LOT of time for baking and, funnily enough, I also had a lot of time to eat it!

Covid presented an unexpected opportunity for us in that it gave us the chance to grow our business into a door-to-door milk delivery service when demand was at its absolute peak. Between the pending lockdown being announced on the Monday and lockdown beginning on the Wednesday, we processed literally hundreds and hundreds of orders.

Being adaptable to any situation is the key to successfully running a small business. I believe that it is imperative that all small businesses adapt to enable them to run effectively during a Level 3 lockdown in some capacity. If we hadn’t become a door-to-door delivery service, Roan may not still exist because we lost all our stockists overnight.

Winter 2020 has undoubtedly been our hardest season of farming to date. With barely any grass cover we had huge outlays buying feed in, a significant drop in supply which took its toll on the bank account, and costly development to get the farm fit for purpose. I’m still not quite sure what the opportunity was that presented itself here, but I do know that it made me teach myself to be consciously grateful. Every single day I consciously looked for the good in our life, whether it be seeing the sun when I looked out the window, truly appreciating the happiness exude from our children’s faces, or just simply opening our fridge and seeing fresh fruit and veges inside.

The power of a positive mindset is greatly underestimated. It will get us through the darkest of days, weeks, months and years. James and I often sit down and wonder how we managed to get through this year intact, and I truly believe a positive mindset has helped push us through the hard times.