Footy's Favourite Farmer kicks a goal for safety

Gippsland is now home to Footy's Favourite Farmer after a young beef producer from Rosedale was crowned the winner in a competition that recognises the important role of farmers in local footy and netball.


Luke Stuckey, 27, who runs 750 Angus breeders across seven properties in Gippsland, has won $10,000 worth of safety improvements tailored to his business. His club, Rosedale Football Netball Club (RFNC), will also receive $10,000 to spend on safety upgrades.

The competition, developed by WorkSafe as Premier Partner of AFL Vic Country, encourages country footy and netball clubs to nominate a local farmer for the grand prize.

"It's a massive thrill to be Footy's Favourite Farmer of the year … it's not just me, it's the whole club that got behind it – it's a team effort," Luke said on learning of his success.

Almost eighty years after his grandfather established Leawood Angus, the young farmer has some refreshing safety advice to offer: "Don't get stuck in your old ways. It's such a thing in the farming industry, you just do what your parents did or grandparents did, but if you are doing something new that's working really well, don't be afraid to share it."

One change Luke says has boosted safety on his farm has been managing fatigue.

"We've tried to minimise fatigue. You're always so buggered at harvest time… but if you run your body down, you run your mind down, you take shortcuts and you're not thinking straight. So keeping an eye on staff, not making them work massive hours and giving them a break when they need it is pretty important."

Luke has also helped develop a culture of open dialogue on farm, which is something he says he picked up through footy coaching.

"Since coaching at Rosedale I've learnt how to communicate with players and have been able to take that home and communicate better with staff. It's about knowing how they're feeling and what they feel safe doing and not doing. It’s the same as the footy club."

WorkSafe Executive Director of External Affairs Sam Jenkin said community recognition through competitions such as Footy's Favourite Farmer were a great way to reinforce the primary reason to stay safe on the job.

"Farmers are a hard-working bunch, but sometimes this causes them to put safety on the back burner," Mr Jenkin said.

"When they're reminded of how many people they impact daily – family, friends, employees and those at their local football-netball club – it can really put the reasons for staying safe at work into perspective."

Luke shares this view, appreciating WorkSafe's support of country football and netball.

"The WorkSafe message is massive... if you see WorkSafe footies in your kids' hands or you just see the banner somewhere it just makes you stop and think about getting home at the end of the day to see your kids and family."