A Land of Milk and…..Milk! – Guest Blogger, member Elizabeth Reid

1155002_70100397

The annual CWA Agricultural & Environmental seminar was held recently, with this year’s topic, “What Milk is in your Fridge”, providing an interesting and enlightening two days.

Mr Gavin Moore from Gavana Holsteins, Camden was our host on Monday. His farm was originally purchased from Hannibal McArthur (John McArthur’s brother) in the early 1800s. Gavin is a 6th generation farmer and is passionate about his farm and the dairy industry. His dairy and facilities have been designed to accommodate visitors on educational tours. The farm annually hosts 2500 primary school students and 1200 adult visitors from Korea, China and Japan. Gavin has input into the current primary school curriculum regarding food and fibre.

Gavin gave us a generous morning tea and lunch while talking about the history of the dairy industry from hand milking, to producer owned processing facilities, the $1 a litre milk, to boutique processing facilities. For more information you can visit Dairy Australia, or Country Valley Milk.

Pierre aka Pepe Saya began a culturing butter business after he made 20kg of butter from 200 litres of excess cream. The unpalatable butter fiasco encouraged him to learn the art of making cultured butter. His now very palatable product is sold at farmer’s markets and selected stores.

Dr John Pearce from the Manildra Group discussed the chemical components of milk and the composition of commercially available milks.

Robyn Slade of White Cedars Goat Stud gave samples of her goat’s milk soap – all natural ingredients. Robyn informed us of her passion for goats and various uses of goat’s milk.

WIRES representative, Caroline Enfield, spoke on the wedge-tailed eagle, our current fauna study topic.  Wedge-tailed eagles are Australia’s largest bird of prey. Caroline said many birds are brought to WIRES from car accidents.

Our grateful thanks to Joy Beames, State Agricultural & Environmental Officer, for organising our tour and great speakers who delivered their information with humour and panache; we all enjoyed the seminar immensely.

Elizabeth Reid

Thoughts From the Road

cows-84918_1280

Well, hello again and a big thank you to Lyn for being my guest blogger last week. I’m thinking that when I “retire” from my current position I’ll go in search of a derelict vehicle and swap the soapbox for a sh*tbox!! (Spell check is not happy!)

Since I last wrote Bourke has received a bit more rain (note to self; invite PM to come to Rowena) and the Federal Government released its drought assistance measures which was pleasing to see and will help some in the short term. I remain concerned about those who rely on agriculture but who are not farmers and the long term consequences of an even greater population drift as a result of employees having to be laid off. A wage subsidy would have benefitted whole communities more and it will be interesting to see how the banks respond into the future when refinancing approaches are made. However, it is a good start and well done to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce for going in to bat for battlers.

I watched Alex Cullen’s excellent story, “Drought; the last straw” on Sunday night and couldn’t help shedding a tear or two for my own boys, at home with Jeff and experiencing their own “baptism of fire” into farming life.

Last week I toured the Branches in our Blue Mountains Group of CWA of NSW and met the members on their own turf, so to speak. It is always enlightening to meet and talk to those members who, for various reasons, cannot attend AGM’s, schools/seminars, or commit to time away from home by volunteering to be on a state committee, but who quietly achieve good things for the benefit of their communities and the perception of CWA. This week I am visiting the Far South Coast members and look forward to hearing their stories and perspectives because a president cannot represent effectively if she (he) does not know the people for whom they advocate. Besides that, those always manning stockvault-milk135412the kitchen sink are often the ones who know exactly what’s going on! (and at dinner last night it was actually a man!!!)

Next week will see the annual Agricultural and Environment seminar at Potts Point and I hope to catch up with some members whilst they are here increasing their knowledge about “What milk is in your fridge” before finally wending my way home to reaquaint myself with the family and survey the damage from the dust and wind storm Rowena received whilst the rain fell at Bourke.