West Victorian dairy families take out industry awards

By Dairy News Australia

The 2020 Great South West Dairy Awards have been announced, with dairy farmers across the region receiving accolades for their hard work.

Presented online over three weeks the awards saw Doolan Farms, Matt Grant and Paul Thompson named winners on August 19 across a number of categories.

Mr Grant, who sharefarms on his family property at Cowleys Creek, took home the Young Dairy Leader Award, sponsored by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

Mr Grant said he was thrilled to receive the award, which had a special meaning to him.

“It's made extra special as my late friend Andy Powell was the previous recipient,” he said.

“He and Po (his father) made significant contributions to the dairy industry and our local community.

“They left a lasting legacy of innovation, knowledge sharing, volunteering, industry advocacy and helping others succeed, making the local community a better place to be.

“I believe it's important to help create the community you want to be a part of, and the work those guys put in has really inspired me.”


Doolan Farms in Brucknell won the Natural Resource and Sustainability Award sponsored by Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority.

They have a strong focus on reducing energy use overall and using solar to meet as much of the farm’s energy needs as possible.

Paul Thompson’s entry Farming family won the Farm Photo Award sponsored by Jefo Australia.

Mr Thompson and his young family farm at Timboon, where he took the picture by setting up the camera on a bale of hay.

“It was taken on Christmas Day, that in itself reflects the best and worst of dairy farming,” he said.

The second week of awards on August 26 saw Colac’s Nadine Markham and Isaac Hose from Garvoc named winners.

Ms Markham won the Service Provider Award, sponsored by Moyne Shire after impressing the judges with her dedication, passion and commitment to the industry over 25 years.

In the Employee Award Mr Hose took the honours, winning the category sponsored by Union Dairy Company.

“It’s not why we do the job, but it is nice to be recognised every now and again,” said Mr Hose.

Matt and Alli Reid were announced as winners of the prestigious Dairy Farm Business Management Award in the final week of presentations on September 2, with Phillip Harris and Christopher O’Keefe inducted on to the Western Victorian Dairy Industry Honour Board.

The Reids moved to their Carlisle River farm in 2003 and have since built the business up to 650 ha, milking 700 Holstein and crossbred cows.

“Winning this award is less about the recognition from our peers or the wider community and more about reward for our team. For them to know we are doing our best not only in business management but people and safety management too,” Mrs Reid said.

“It’s definitely about the broader community, we value each and every person who contributes to our business; our family, our employees, our advisors, our bankers and service providers - and have always regarded our journey as a team effort. We appreciate the guidance received and the principles instilled in ‘the know how’ of what it means to do a good job.”

Mr Harris from Larpent and Mr O’Keefe from Warrnambool were inducted to The Western Victorian Dairy Industry Honour Board following their outstanding contribution to the dairy industry over many years.

Mr Harris has had a huge impact on the Colac district dairy industry and more broadly across the south-west.

Along with building a successful dairy farm business at Winslow, Mr O’Keefe has also served the dairy community through a 40-year involvement with United Dairyfarmers of Victoria.

“I feel it a great honour and privilege to be inducted onto the Honour Board, beside the great legends that have preceded me,” said Mr O’Keefe.

WestVic Dairy's regional manager Lindsay Ferguson said he was happy with how the digital format was received.

“Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up, it has been enjoyable to see the calibre of those involved in our industry over the past few weeks, and to acknowledge and celebrate those that are excelling in our region.” said Mr Ferguson.