How did you get into farming and agriculture?
I grew up on Cressvale. I had a brief period away from the farm to obtain a teaching degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Education. I have a Diploma in Agriculture from Tocal College and completed an Implementation of Environmental Systems course from Monash University. I am very proud to be the fourth generation here. Our earliest deed is dated 1896.
What do you love about farming and agriculture?
Everything. We breed the most beautiful, gentle, adorable Herefords. It’s a wonderful lifestyle for our family.
What does your farm produce?
Herefords – we just love them.
What do you think is the biggest thing to have happened in farming in the last 10 years?
Along with drought followed by floods and far too much rain, fence replacement, pasture die-back and a session of quarantine for cattle ticks, the advances in research and technology and efforts to increase overseas markets have been heartening.
Who is your biggest inspiration in agriculture and why?
My biggest inspiration is family. From the three previous generations to my husband and children, I draw positivity and strength. They welcome research, innovation and new ‘adventures’!
Why are you a NSW Farmers member?
Ah! The big question! Cattle ticks arrived in NSW from Queensland in 1906. Cressvale
has three kilometres of the Queensland border fence as its back boundary, and we have really been through the cattle tick ‘mill’. I was on the Tick Action Committee in the 80s and 90s, and then served on the Board of Tick Control as representative for Tweed and Ballina areas for 12 years from 1995 until it was disbanded by the then Minister for Agriculture, Ian McDonald.
I wrote letters, spoke with politicians, met with Department representatives. Being a lone voice, I was very soon branded as ‘that woman’… Realising that being only one voice got me exactly nowhere, I joined NSW Farmers.
Now, hopefully, we can overcome our isolation from Sydney (since we can feel like we’re out of sight and out of mind up here). I am looking forward to being part of a collective voice to further the interests of the livestock industries in NSW. We need to keep our state free of cattle ticks and tick fever.
What do you when you are not farming?
Cressvale Education Centre is another passion. I teach either face to face or online. My students range from three years to 18 years of age. They need assistance for a wide variety of reasons such as learning disabilities, illness, representative sports and so on. It is very satisfying to see children increase in knowledge, and especially in confidence.
What’s your favourite book or podcast?
I read my students’ set texts. If I have a spare minute I delve into light reading such as Kay Hooper or Norah Roberts. We listen to the morning Rural Report and watch Landline.
What is your favourite section of The Farmer magazine?
All of it. It’s a great read with a cup of tea between jobs.
If you enjoyed this Meet a Member, you might also enjoy our interview with NSW Farmers member Philip Melbourne, a wood-chopping icon.