Todays Youth Tomorrows Farmer

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.

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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.

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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 

As my John says “what would I do”.  Indeed unless your lifelong dream is to spend your retirement travelling the world then where better to spend your time than doing what you love best. clip_image003

In my dad’s case that is growing prime Angus steaks for your table

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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.

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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

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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

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Norm and Tom Pearce work side by side to milk 260 cows in a 16 aside swing over herringbone dairy

The farm is beautiful

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And the cows  _

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and their offspring are happy and contented

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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

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Tom’s sister is getting married shortly here and you can see the views will make for great wedding photos

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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

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and was recently immortalized on the front of Bega’s Colby CheeseTom-Pearce-Farmers-Tasty-Cheese_thumb.jpg

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

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Tom tells me this is an antique wooden ice chest now home to Roger the Rat

2 thoughts on “Todays Youth Tomorrows Farmer

  1. Great Post! What lush countryside and beautiful cows.
    And that ice chest is what I call a “treasure” and it should be cleaned up and taken into the house immediately! It’s gorgeous!

  2. This story and behind the scenes shots of a working dairy farm are so heartening to see! You hear and read about Australian farming life but it’s great to actually see the story behind them. Especially one connected with such a well known brand. This story and the photos have created a connection between what we put into our supermarket trolleys and where it came from and the faces behind the product. It will be great to see more of these posts!
    The enthusiasm you talk about, coming up from the next generation of Australian farmers is encouraging. We need to hear their stories and learn about their farming history so that the appreciation and support for Australian agriculture and Australian products can grow. The value of being able to sustain our communities through locally produced food is critical to ensuring the future of our communities.

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