When the new farmer-driven Waterpool Co-operative was being established two years ago, a small group of farmers had to come up with $250000 in two weeks to make it work.GEOFF ADAMS June 10, 2014 3:03am
When the new farmer-driven Waterpool Co-operative was being established two years ago, a small group of farmers had to come up with $250
The Kyabram based co-operative has been embraced by irrigators and now employs five people.
Terry Hehir was the inaugural chairman of the independent water trader and describes the establishment of the co-operative as an example of the power of a group of motivated and committed farmers.
Mr Hehir, named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division for services to the dairy industry, points to the capabilities of many in the sector with whom he has worked during the years.
‘‘I like being surrounded by equally passionate people; having believers with you,’’ Mr Hehir said.
‘‘I hate being surrounded by negative people.’’
The award he sees as an acknowledgement for the industry.
A Wyuna dairy farmer, Mr Hehir has served on dairy industry organisations continuously for about 30 years and has played a key role in starting Waterpool, the Australian Dairy Conference and the Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia Co-operative.
His involvement with the agricultural leadership organisation Nuffield, first as a scholar and more recently as the immediate past chairman of the Australian board, has taken him around the country and around the world.
Dairying leader Max Fehring, who has been something of a mentor to Mr Hehir, once told him: ‘‘You can work as hard as you like on the farm, but unless you can get out and surround yourself with motivated people and reach out to the broader industry, you are limiting your capacity to achieve your own opportunities’’.
‘‘He showed me how to look beyond the farm gate,’’ Mr Hehir said.
‘‘Nuffield showed me to look beyond the region, the country, to the world.’’
He describes the program as a life-changing experience and now encourages others to participate.
He has served on the international board of Nuffield for three years.
Mr Hehir and wife Pauline adopted biological farm principles in 2000 and decided to certify their production several years later.
He helped establish the Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia Co-operative as inaugural chairman, and still supplies the co-operative which markets its products under the True Organics and Organic Dairy Farmers labels.
Mr Hehir said he couldn’t have been involved in the industry organisations without the support of his wife.
While he has an impressive CV of community service he has also had his share of small dramas along the way.
‘‘I’m probably the only person who stood for the secretary’s position with the Kyabram UDV branch and was defeated,’’ he said with a smile, recalling the 1980s when he took an unpopular stance against quotas in the dairy industry.
The Kyabram UDV branch, one of his earliest forays into community groups, became the first dairy branch to win the VFF’s branch of the year awards.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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