Subtropical stories

Beaudesert’s farmers continue to punch above their weight

The 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capital of the Subtropical region has 34 dairy farms, 8 per cent of Queensland’s total.

Those farmers produce 47 million litres of milk per year, just over 11 per cent of the state’s total milk production. “That shows how great our farmers are,” said Lisa Harrison, a member of the local online Daughters of Dairy Farmers group which is celebrating the town’s LEGENDAIRY Capital success.

“It’s a fantastic achievement,” Lisa said. “The area is very rich in dairy farming, and we’re proud of it.”

Local dairy farmer Brian Cox spearheaded the LEGENDAIRY Capital nomination which highlighted the town’s resilience and the contribution local dairy farmers make to the community.
 
“We think the town is LEGENDAIRY because of the community spirit, the connections and the support locals give other locals,” Lisa said.

That spirit is reflected in Daughters of Dairy Farmers, formed by Lisa, Rachel Rohan and Jo Mollinger to raise awareness of the challenges dairy farmers face and to encourage consumers to buy branded milk.

The trio grew up together and credit their parents for inspiring their passion for the dairy industry.

“The local dairy industry is very family connected,” Lisa said. 

Their campaign to buy branded milk to support farmers has struck a chord and helped to breakdown stereotypes about farmers.

“Farmers don’t want people to support one specific brand just because they supply that brand,” Lisa said. “They don’t care what brand you buy because it will support other farmers across Australia. They all support each other.”

Lisa says the local economic contribution of the dairy industry is huge. “Because we’re so rich in dairy it supports our town,” she said.

Farmers also contribute on a community level, they get involved in schools, community groups and local sporting clubs. “Dairy farmers seem to have a very strong sense of community; they like to get involved and help,” Lisa said. “If one of their neighbours is in trouble they’ll go and help them. Community spirit is amazing out here.”

The new title has given dairy farmers and the community a lift. “People are so excited to have that recognition,” Lisa said. “It adds to the town’s reputation for agriculture and put us on the map.”

With the 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capital grant, life-size cutouts of cows will be created and presented by farmers to businesses and schools. 

Daughters of Dairy Farmers plans to host a LEGENDAIRY event during August to launch the art.

Beaudesert is one of eight 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capitals from around the country’s dairy regions to receive $2,500 to invest in a community project. One of those eight communities will go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500 to put towards their community initiative. 

The national 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capital will be announced in September.


Monto residents urge dairy towns to nominate now!

Monto residents urge dairy towns to nominate now! 

Nominations now open for Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017 

With the search on again for Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, Dairy Australia is encouraging those interested in nominating their town to reflect on Queensland and northern NSW’s inaugural title holder: Monto. 

The small town, 500 kilometres north-west of Brisbane with a population of just over 1000, used the program’s funding to build new campdraft yards at the local showgrounds.  

“It’s been great to profile Monto’s long history and involvement in Queensland’s dairy history and the contribution dairy farmers make to their community,” said Subtropical Dairy’s Executive Officer, Brad Granzin. 

“Monto’s farmers are typical of the dairy farmers who produce fresh milk every day for five million people across Queensland and Northern NSW,” he said. “We encourage other great northern Australian milking towns to apply for the next LEGENDAIRY Capital title so they can enjoy the recognition that it brings.”

Helen Goody, who was behind Monto’s nomination, said being a part of the LEGENDAIRY Capital program was a great experience for the area.

“It gave the community a real buzz,” she said. “We’re only a little town but we had a great day when it was announced and it brought together representatives from a lot of community groups.”

Helen said the showgrounds would reap the benefits for years to come. “The new yards are up and running and were used for the last show,” she said. “Everyone said they were great.”

The LEGENDAIRY Capital title gave a particular boost to Monto’s long-running Dairy festival. “It was a pretty big deal,” Helen said. “It gave Monto a bit of a plug and got our name out there. It would be good if we could keep the title forever but we realise we have to hand over to another worthy town.

“It was a fantastic achievement for our town and we encourage other dairying communities across the Subtropical region to nominate in 2017 for this fantastic program.”  
 
Dairy Australia is calling on people across Australia’s eight dairy regions - Gippsland, south west Victoria, the Murray region, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Subtropical region - to nominate their town for the prestigious title by sharing stories about what makes their town LEGENDAIRY.

One finalist from each of the eight regions will receive $2,500 to invest in a community project, and one of those towns will then go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500. 

Nominations are open until 5pm on 10 April 2017. For more information on Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital program, and to nominate, visit www.legendairy.com.au/nominate


Is your town the next LEGENDAIRY Capital of the Subtropical dairy region?

Is your town the next LEGENDAIRY Capital of the Subtropical dairy region?

As a dairy farming region that produces more than 500 million litres of milk each year, dairy is at the heart of the Subtropical dairy region.

That’s why Dairy Australia is calling on people across the Subtropical dairy region to nominate their town as the next LEGENDAIRY Capital by sharing their stories and highlighting the way their town embodies the LEGENDAIRY spirit.

Launched in 2015, Dairy Australia’s LEGENDAIRY Capital program celebrates regional communities around the country by highlighting how dairy farmers contribute to their town, their industry and the Australian economy.

Dairy Australia program manager, Suzi O’Dell, said the program recognises the strength and resilience of hard-working communities and the vital role dairy farmers play in building the social fabric of their towns. 

“Dairy farmers - and people working across the dairy supply chain – are at the heart of hundreds of Australian regional communities,” Ms O’Dell said. 

“In 2015, Monto, was named the LEGENDAIRY Capital of the Subtropical dairy region. Now we’re back on the road looking for the next Capital of the Subtropical region which could also become the overall LEGENDAIRY Capital of Australia for 2017.”

Locals from each of Australia’s eight dairy regions in Gippsland, south west Victoria, the Murray region, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Subtropical region are encouraged to nominate their town for the prestigious title by sharing stories about what makes their town LEGENDAIRY.

One finalist from each of the eight regions will receive $2,500 to invest in a community project and one of those towns will then go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's LEGENDAIRY Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500 to put towards their community project. 

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), a not-for-profit organisation working towards enabling communities to build their social capital and economic resilience, is supporting Dairy Australia on this program. 

Natalie Egleton, Chief Executive of FRRR said: “Every day, farmers juggle the demands of their operations with the needs of the local community. The LEGENDAIRY Capital program celebrates this commitment by pulling together as one, and finding ways to build robust communities that will endure and prosper.

“FRRR is pleased to be able to support Dairy Australia in this important initiative,” said Ms Egleton.

Nominations are open until 5pm on April 10, 2017. 


Monto farmers prepare for next generation

Monto farmers prepare for the next generation

With the highly contested title of Legendairy Capital of the country’s Subtropical region under Monto’s belt, local farmers Helen Goody and Steve Pailthorpe have their eyes set on the future.

Steve and Helen think the resilience of local farmers who battle on despite floods and low prices inspired the Legendairy win, and they hope the success inspires more interest in the industry.

Their dairy was set up so it could appeal to young people and Steve and Helen’s four children are already showing interest. “Steve’s father Ross was always encouraging the next generation to farm,” Helen said. “When they re-built the dairy they made sure it was low enough so children could easily get in there.”

With four children aged between two and 10, Steve and Helen have some potential farmers in the wings. All the children love going to the dairy. “Our six year old can name every cow,” Helen said.

Helen is happy to see her children continue the lifestyle, although she admits a better price for their milk would make it more appealing.

Helen but leaves the dairy work to Steve who farms in partnership with his mother Barbara.

“I don’t milk or do any of the dairy work but I help with everything else,” she said. Helen also works on other local farms.
 The Pailthorpe farm has been in the family for 35 years and milks about 80 Ayrshires; an ideal number for a one-man operation. Today it’s one of only eight active dairies in the region.

“Monto was built on dairying and it’s still a big contributor, but we’ve gone from more than 400 farms to eight,” Helen said. “It’s good that a few dairy farmers are still around; they’re pretty resilient.”

They’ve had to be resilient after floods in 2013 and again this year, together with a prolonged dry spell over recent months.

Monto is home to a biennial dairy festival and will use the $2500 Legendairy prize money to upgrade yards at the showgrounds.

Helen, the Monto Show Society senior vice-president, says the work is long overdue and will help to keep dairying in the spotlight.

“The yards get used not only by the show society but by many other organisations for camp-drafts, rodeos and things like that,” Helen said. “They’re in a dangerous state and we need the upgrade for these events to continue and bring people back to Monto.”
 
The dairy festival, believed to be the only one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, will return on September 24 next year.

“It celebrates everything to do with farming,” Helen said.

Helen hopes the Legendairy title bestowed on Monto as part of the communications initiative to raise the profile and reputation of the industry will promote the festival and help local dairy farmers. “It’s good because it’s promoting all dairy, not just one brand,” she said. “It would be great to get the word out a bit more; a lot of people in towns don’t understand how it [dairy farming] works.”

Steve supplies Parmalat and has the commitment needed to be successful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“We’re paying our bills and staying ahead but the cost of living has gone up and we’re not getting the money we were getting before deregulation,” Helen explained.

But, the lifestyle continues to appeal to the couple and their family. “It’s rewarding and the kids love it. There’s still a regular cheque and we know we’re feeding the nation,” she said.

“I enjoy the lifestyle but it would be good to have holidays that last more than half a day between milking’s,” she joked.

Along with their fellow local farmers 120 kilometres west of Bundaberg, Steve and Helen have endured tough weather conditions but cope with thanks to their typical farmer resilience.

“We’re still getting over the last few floods,” Helen said. “Our fences washed away but that’s normal when you cultivate on flood flats. There were a lot of places a lot worse than us.”

Disaster brought out the best in the local community. 

 According to Helen “everyone helped, people get behind you when you need it”…important qualities that help make Monto truly Legendairy and deserving of its new title.


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