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Legendairy Farmer Day a new challenge for traditional rivals

Legendairy Farmer Day a new challenge for traditional rivals

The inaugural `Legendairy Farmer Day’ on August 20 will give traditional football rivals Stanhope and Girgarre a new challenge for a common cause.

Already the teams, just six kilometres apart, have a combative rivalry but the Legendairy Farmer Day will bring them together not only to chase football glory but to support local dairy farmers.

Essendon legend Kevin Sheedy will be special guest at the game, which will be held at Stanhope, the Murray Dairy region’s Legendairy Capital.

Stanhope dairy farmer and former player, Andrew Hipwell, said the day evolved from discussions with Stanhope Community Health and football club president Brett Sloane.


“Stanhope Community Health received funding from ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’ and we came up with the idea of putting on a day for local dairy farmers and because we’re the Legendairy Capital we thought we’d call it the Legendairy Farmer Day,” Andrew said.

“It’s not a fund-raiser or anything serious; just a casual day out for local farmers to enjoy the footy for free and something to eat and drink.

“Some farmers don’t get off the farm often enough but there are a lot of benefits from going to a social gathering.”

Both teams have relied heavily on dairy farming families over the years, not just as players but as committee members.

Andrew admits the close proximity between the two towns creates some rivalry, but from 1948 to 1956 the two clubs were actually one. “They were apart, came together and then went out on their own,” Andrew said. 

“Our junior footy teams have merged with Rushworth to keep going but Stanhope has done really well over the years to keep two senior teams and the under 18s, and Girgarre is the same.”

The Kyabram and District League teams expect the Legendairy Farmer Day to become an annual event to recognise the importance of dairy farming to the community and to support farmers. 

Andrew said the program was yet to be finalised but the presence of Kevin Sheedy would be a bonus. “He’ll be around to speak to farmers and mix with the crowd. It’s fantastic to have him here and he’s gone out of his way to help us. I reckon 90 per cent of people in Stanhope barrack for Essendon.”

One thing not up for grabs is Stanhope’s title as the Legendairy Capital of the Murray Dairy region.

“We’ll never give that away,” Andrew said. “We’re hanging on to that for as long as we can. It’s been fantastic for the town and for dairy farmers.

“It’s brought a lot of opportunities for our kids, including the new playground and Legendairy Capital branded sports tops for students. It’s really put us on the map and everybody’s proud of winning the title. I don’t think there’s a car in Stanhope without a Legendairy Capital sticker on it.”

The Legendairy Farmer Day is being sponsored by the Legendairy Capital program with support from the Stanhope Development Committee, Campaspe Shire, and local sponsors who will help provide food and drinks for farmers.

“That’s why we were named the Legendairy Capital – we look after each other,” Andrew said.

A Sign of LEGENDAIRY Times

A Sign of LEGENDAIRY Times

Craig Bray is in charge of a fleet of milk tankers for global dairy processor, Fonterra, and he’s achieved something unique. Some might even say what he has done is rather ‘Legendairy’.

“I look after farm milk collection for Fonterra for the whole of northern Victoria,” Craig said. “And, this is the first milk tanker anywhere in Australia that’s got the chance to feature the Legendairy logo.”

Craig is standing proudly in front of one of his milk tankers, a gleaming chrome mammoth with a capacity of up to 30,000 litres, which is now adorned with a gigantic Dairy Australia “Legendairy” decal.

 

“The tankers are on the road day and night and the signs are reflective when headlights shine on them in the dark,” Craig said. “This is a fantastic way to raise the profile of both the Legendairy program, which has done a lot to boost Australia’s dairy image, and the dairy industry itself.”

Recently Craig brought the tanker to Stanhope, in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, to join the community celebrations to recognise the town’s new title of Australia’s Legendairy Capital for 2015. Over 200 locals, equating to half the entire community, gathered on the footy oval for the event.

“I think there’re both Legendairy achievements,” Craig said of the new tanker artwork and of Stanhope’s success.

“The guy who took the tanker out on its first trip got some funny looks and one of our guys was picking up milk from a farmer we’ve been collecting from for the past 20 years when he came down the road on his bike yelling; ‘Stop the pump! Fonterra pick up our milk!’ Craig laughed. “He calmed down when we told him we were Fonterra of course.”

Thanks to the opportunity to showcase the tanker at Stanhope’s Legendairy celebration, people now know what the sign is all about.

“It’s helped us show how Fonterra is involved in the local community and also how the local area supports Dairy Australia’s Legendairy Capital competition.”

A competition Craig describes as ‘fantastic’.

“You can see what it has done here in Stanhope,” he said. “It’s brought the community together and it’s brought me closer to the community. Many of those at the Legendairy Capital celebration are our suppliers who I’ve not actually met before. It’s really good to meet our suppliers face to face.

“There’s been some tough times over the years with drought and water allocation and all of the different issues people face, but to be able to bring the community together in the middle of the week for a celebration … it’s a great thing. It’s definitely Legendairy.”

For media and Legendairy inquiries please contact:

Mark Pearce – Media Manager, Dairy Australia
03 9694 3809
0423 783 756   
mpearce@dairyaustralia.com.au

Suzi O’Dell — Communications and Engagement Manager, Farm Communities, Dairy Australia
03 9694 3718
0439 336 369
sodell@dairyaustralia.com.au

100 years of making milk and community connections

Like Stanhope itself, the Emmett family farm on the town’s boundary is about to celebrate its centenary.

During that time, dairying has been the cornerstone of both the town and the Emmett family and for young farmer Craig Emmett, the fourth generation to work the land, dairying remains the key to success.

Stanhope has been named the Legendairy Capital of the Murray Dairy region. Craig says the gong is justified.

“Getting the regional title was a little puffing the chest-out moment,” he laughed. “I think we are a pretty good dairy community and we’re proud of it. We’re a dairy town. The main employment in the town is dairy and a lot of the people involved in the bowls club, the footy club, the cricket club are dairy farmers or work with dairy farmers.” Craig has played football for Stanhope for as long as he can remember, including the years when he was at university.

Craig’s great Grandfather, William Emmett, started an orchard on an original solider settlement farm when the town was settled in 1917. Dairy was introduced in the late 1920s.

History plays a big part in farming life when you’ve had nearly a century on the same land, but Craig also has his eye on the future. After school he worked on the farm for a few years before doing his Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne and then working as an agronomist for two years in Echuca.

The off-farm experience helped before his return to the land about two years ago. “It was good to see other farmers at work and to get involved in broad acre cropping,” he said. “But I decided I’d prefer to do rather than preach.”

From July this year Craig entered a full three-way partnership on the home farm with his parents Gordon and Lyn. He’s also invested in the industry by buying a neighbouring farm. “I’ve just paid a deposit so I have 114 acres in my own name.”

The new farm adds to the 300 acres of the existing milking property and calf rearing and dry cow farm.

There’s a lot of work to be done on irrigation and pastures to get the new land up to scratch, but Craig is confident that it will be worth the effort. They hope to increase the Jersey stud from about 180 to 240 when the new property is ready.

“We think there’s a reasonable future,” Craig said. “The milk price has been pretty good for the last couple of years. This year is up in the air a bit but there’s been a significant jump in the commodities recently so hopefully we can hit that $6 mark.”

However, there are still challenges, particularly in the water price.

“Water is the number one issue,” Craig said. “The price of buying water is over $200 now and that’s the main challenge. If you don’t have your own permanent water you’ve got to buy it. It’s very difficult to justify spending $200 a megalitre on water but at the same time you can’t do without it.”

Luckily the well-established Emmett farm is mostly covered by a permanent water supply.

“We’re budgeting on buying 100 megalitres this year but we’ve got enough to get us through to after Christmas. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the price comes off a bit and the next month or six weeks is the crucial time for filling storages.”

However, he remains concerned about the amount of water being allocated for non-farming purposes.

The Emmett farm is on the edge of Stanhope, with the main house and dairy actually inside the town boundaries. The town isn’t growing but it’s a close-knit community.

“Most people know each other and get involved in local clubs and organisations. Most small towns are quite community minded because if they don’t they don’t exist.”

At 29 and engaged to school teacher Erin Hopkins, Craig is one of the young guns of the local dairy industry and plans to be involved long-term. “I like being my own boss and being outdoors; that’s the main attraction,” he said.

“You have to milk twice a day and you have busy days but then there are quieter times of the year when you can take it a bit easier… I try to take a holiday at least once a year.”

Craig says the Legendairy communications initiative to raise the reputation and profile of the industry is good for the industry and for the town.

“It’s good promotion; Stanhope has always been a dairy town and hopefully it will continue to be one for the foreseeable future.

“It’s good to have more support and understanding of how important we are to the community. There used to be 130 kids at school, now we’re down to about 30 because there are less than half the dairy farms here.

“It’s not the same as it was when there were more dairy farms around but hopefully it has bottomed out.

Craig sees young farmers as the future.

“The average age is pretty bloody old – a helluva lot older than 29 – but I’ve got quite a few friends around my age getting into their family farms.  The future is looking bright.”

 

FOOTBALL AND FARMING UNITE TO HELP COUNTRY KIDS

FOOTBALL AND FARMING UNITE TO HELP COUNTRY KIDS

Footballers and dairy farmers are joining forces to give country Victorian kids a taste of footy.

Stanhope dairy farmer and local Auskick coordinator, Andrew Hipwell, has organised a major Auskick clinic at the Stanhope Recreation Reserve on March 26 that will bring together about 300 students from seven small local schools.

“It’s just something to give the kids an opportunity and promote fitness and sport,” Andrew said. “Our small schools seem to miss out on opportunities because of their size and location so we thought we’d do something about it.”

The clinic is being supported by Legendairy, the dairy industry’s communications initiative to raise the profile and reputation of Australian dairy.

Andrew said having Legendairy involved was fantastic.

“It’s great that Legendairy has an association with football. That’s what people relate to. Sport in the country is what makes towns tick.”

Legendairy is supporting the event by providing mini-footballs, arm bands and a special Legendairy-branded Sherrin football, which will be given away as a prize on the day.

A father of three and milker of 300 cows on his family farm near Stanhope, Andrew said dairy was the lifeblood of the district.

“It’s all about dairying in this area,” he said. “Stanhope and other towns in the area are real dairy farming communities. Probably 50 per cent of our kids in Stanhope Auskick are off dairy farms and most of the others would have parents or grandparents working at Fonterra.”

The Auskick day also has the backing of the Kyabram District and Goulburn Murray Football Netball Leagues and other local sponsors.

Interest is strong with about 300 students from Stanhope, Girgarre, Harston, Rushworth P-12, Rushworth St Mary’s, and Colbinabbin expected to take part in the clinic.

The clinic comes at an opportune time, as some local football clubs struggle to field junior sides. Stanhope, for example, has lost its under-14s team, although it retains an under-12s side.

“If we can encourage these kids to play we might encourage a few to keep going,” Andrew said. “We’re missing a bit of sport and fitness in the area at the moment.”

The tide is starting to turn in Stanhope. A few years ago only about six children regularly participated when Auskick started. That number grew to 40 last year.

Andrew played football for Stanhope and got involved in Auskick when his twin seven-year-old sons were keen to play.

At 48 and still fit thanks to his farming work, Andrew is happy to get out on the field and lead the way.

“I cramp up a little bit some Thursday nights but I absolutely love it,” he said. “We’re a football-mad family so it’s all good. That’s one of the great things about Auskick. Parents are always there, either watching or helping.”

Parents, teachers and local football clubs, including Stanhope, are supporting the March 26 Auskick clinic and children will wear their local club jumpers.

“This is a real community effort and hopefully one the kids will enjoy and remember for a long time,” Andrew said. As he helps junior football ranks to revive, Andrew is also looking to a positive future for dairying in the region. The third generation dairy farmer continues to love working in the industry.

“I wish the prices were better but it’s going along not too bad,” he said.

Access to water is the biggest challenge for local farmers.

“Temporary water is $130 a megalitre so people are tending to let pastures dry off. They’re watering a bit less and feeding a lot more in the bale,” he said.

“But I think the attitude is that if we can get through the next 12 months then the industry is going to get better and the prices will come back.”

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