The life of a farmer is not for the faint-hearted. The hours are long, conditions are tough and much of your fortune is at the mercy of Mother Nature. As a result, it can lead some farmers to long bouts of issues with their mental health, says House Rules contestant Toad.
"I haven't been through it personally," the sixth-generation dairy farmer from Candelo, near Bega in country NSW, says.
"But having family in the farming industry for generations, I know people who've gone through really tough times – 20 years without rain.
"I've seen my old man struggling. Knowing you can't do anything to help tears your guts apart, because the only thing that will help is rain."
The effects of drought can be why so many farmers find themselves in financial strife.
"You just keep farming until you go broke," the 32-year-old says. "But at the same time, you're worried about your family, your livestock.
"It's a big pressure and it can get into people's heads."
To make matters worse, drought can lead to debt, as farmers borrow to stay afloat.
Toad, along with fiancée Mandy, have been open about the heavy debt they owe on their property – a 150-year-old run-down former inn with no insulation.
"I'll get on top of our debt," Toad declares. "I don't worry too much about money. I'm lucky to have a bloody good missus and healthy children.
"But I know if I keep doing what I do as far as work goes, and the weather is on our side, then my debts won't be a problem."
Taking out top spot on House Rules would go a long way towards helping Toad and Mandy, but it won't be easy.
"This is full-on," he admits. "I've got a tough job. I was born and bred on a farm, so I know hard work. But this competition is the toughest thing I've ever done."
House Rules airs Monday to Wednesday, 7:30pm, and Sunday, 7pm, Channel Seven.
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