Last weekend I went back to my roots and visited my dad who I have always called John
John is one of a large number of farmers who are contributing to the rising age of the average farmer i.e. still going strong at 83.
John and Lucy
I always thought the ‘average age of farmers’ figures are pretty woolly in that farmers who continue to live where they work never retire.
Just to prove my point meet John’s next door neighbour also called John (on the bike – check out my John’s hot Ute) 82 years old and still running a slick operation his farm
In my dad’s case that is growing prime Angus steaks for your table
And growing the best pasture he can (and conserving it) to make sure those cows he loves so much are well fed
Now my dad is still waiting for his son to return to the farm.
Things where looking up 3 years ago when all his worldly possession arrived on the door step
But he was lured away by lucrative offers from the mining companies and my dad lives for the time he comes home on short breaks as he is this week. I will do a whole blog post on my dad and his farm shortly.
We know young people are the key to success for agriculture and I know agriculture has talented young people ready to take on the challenge. Young people with fire in their bellies taking every opportunity to generate a buzz around Australian agriculture .
I know this because I work with these exciting young people every day
This weekend I am down in Bega and taking time out to visit two of these dynamos in Art4Agriculture Young Dairy Farming Champions, Andrew D’Arcy and Tom Pearce.
Both Tom and Andrew have been farming side by side with their dads ever since they left school (and in reality since the day they were tall enough to put cups on cows)
The Pearce family lives on Pearce’s Rd as you do when generations of your family have farmed in the one spot. My dad lives on a road named after his farm
940 acres of rolling hills, bush and pasture. The pasture is currently 50:50 perennials to annuals with the traditional kikuyu base over sown with perennial and annual ryegrass, chicory and plantain over sown with oats in the autumn for those into the technical
Norm and Tom Pearce work side by side to milk 260 cows in a 16 aside swing over herringbone dairy
The farm is beautiful
And the cows _
and their offspring are happy and contented
This one peeking around the corner of the tree is a bit like Tom’s dad a bit camera shy
The farm is heaped in tradition and I so enjoyed the walk from the ‘new’ dairy up to the original walk through dairy where the cows where milked by hand up until the 1950’s
Tom’s sister is getting married shortly here and you can see the views will make for great wedding photos
The Pearce’s have recently installed a K-Line irrigation system to improve water use efficiency. Whilst they have a 560 mega litre water license , they currently only have a 40% allocation. Water is indeed a very expensive and very precious water resource.
You can check out how K-Line irrigation works in this great little vid
Tom Pearce is of course the farmer who puts the cheese on your cracker
Tomorrow I am off to visit the Andrew D’Arcy. Wow wait till you see the technology on Team D’Arcy’s farm
BTW Curious like I was what this is
Tom tells me this is an antique wooden ice chest now home to Roger the Rat