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Hopeful: Comboyne dairy farmer Rod Fisher would like to see more hands-on interest from young people – and a better price for farmers.RodFisher was born into dairy farming life more than six decades ago, so he’s in a pretty good position to comment on the industry’s change of fortunes.
The upbeat farmer says he’s been living in hope of a revival and is optimistic that Comboyne’s newfound Legendairy title will bring more attention to the plight of dairy farmers.
The 62-year-old would also like to see more hands-on interest from young people and a better price for farmers – he says an extra five centres per litre would ease local farmers’ concerns.
“Those who are left are getting older, but the bank tells me I can’t retire yet.
“Expenses keep going up, but the price per litre doesn’t really vary and doesn’t get to where it needs to be,” he said.
“We’re a fair way behind the eight ball in my view.”
While Mr Fisher has had great success and growth over the decades, he believes better prices are needed to sustain local farmers.
“We started off with 225 acres when dad bought the farm in 1950 and grew it to 900 acres,” he explained.
“We went from 40 to 300 cows, but have gone back to 200 because we’ve had a bit of a problem finding labour.”
Mr Fisher and wife Susan have two sons, aged in their mid-20s, who have forged their own careers as an electrical engineer and personal trainer.
“When I milk my last cow, I’m afraid it will be last cow ever milked here, which is a shame, but that’s probably how it’s going to be,” Mr Fisher said.
“The boys like the farm and don’t want to see it sold, but they don’t plan to return to milk the cows.
“Originally, there were 120 farmers supplying our local butter factory.
“We had 37 in 2000 when we were deregulated and now we’re down to 13, although we’re probably producing just as much milk because we’ve all expanded,” he said.
Thanks to Dairy Australia’s Legendairy campaign, the profile and reputation of dairy farming has had a shot in the arm.
Mr Fisher also sees potential in promoting dairying to local children.
“We have busloads of kids from Port Macquarie come to the farm,” he said.
“A lot of them have never been outside Port Macquarie and they think it’s fantastic.
“A farm is a really good place to raise kids.”
When Comboyne was crowned the Legendairy Capital of NSW, Mr Fisher said it was “a bit of a shock”, albeit a pleasant one.
“I was quite amazed,” he said.
“There are a lot of areas with more dairy farms than we’ve got, but dairy farming is really important for this community.
“It has kept Comboyne going for all these years.”
Like many, he hopes that tradition continues for a long time to come.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.
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