Wyuna dairy farmer Terry Hehir's services to industry earn him an OAM.June 11, 2014 3:01am
Wyuna dairy farmer Terry Hehir has so passionately embraced his industry, he has seriously ‘‘infected’’ others.
Mr Hehir, named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list with a Order of Australia Medal for services to the dairy industry, enjoys working with others who have commitment and passion.
He has helped start numerous organisations, including several rural co-operatives.
He sees the award as an acknowledgement for the industry that has brought him so many challenges and opportunities.
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 international agricultural leadership organisation Nuffield, first as a scholar and more recently on the board of the Australian board, has taken him around the country and around the world.
He describes the program as a life-changing experience and encourages others to participate.
Mr Hehir was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to travel in 1994, studying environmental pressures on intensive dairying and the impact of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Nuffield Australia chief executive Jim Gelch said Mr Hehir had contributed strongly to the organisation in the years since, serving as chairman of Nuffield Victoria from 1997 to 1999, and chairman of Nuffield Australia from 2011 to last year.
He and wife Pauline had also has also been a regular host of overseas scholars at his Wyuna farm.
The couple 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.
He said his approach to agriculture had changed from just fertilising the plant, to an emphasis on overall soil health.
Organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture and he expects it to be the sunrise industry of the future.
Mr Hehir, the son of Girgarre dairy farmers, Patrick and Patricia, attended Girgarre Primary School and St Augustines, Kyabram.
He served on the parish council of St Augustine’s Catholic Church and was chairman of the St Augustine’s school council for a number of years.
Terry and Pauline have two daughters, Naomi, a Sydney business analyst who was recently married, and Angela, who is in her fifth year of medicine in Melbourne.
Son Brendan has a commerce degree and has decided to join the farm business. He has recently taken over responsibility for the farming operations as he has entered into a business partnership.
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