Take the time to find your strengths

GippsDairy chair Sarah O'Brien.

Christmas and New Year celebrations feel distant now, but I hope you all enjoyed some precious moments made with family and friends between rain events, milking and feeding cows, and trying to harvest.

Recently I attended the funeral of Shiona Berry, a successful Gippsland dairy farmer who lost her battle to brain cancer after a brave and unwavering fight.

She gave her time and skills to the GippsDairy Board for six years and was passionate about showcasing the varied skills and attributes of dairy farmers.

Shiona’s care was displayed clearly to me during an important strategic conversation I was privy to where she asked, ‘What do you see when you look at me?’.

While at the time the other person was lost for an answer, it’s a great question to consider and was a pivotal point in that conversation.

This industry is made up of strong and resilient professional business owners with access to many wealth, skill and capacity creation opportunities.

We are skilled engineers, innovators, human resource managers and strategists, just to name a few, and we all work as farmers of both stock and land who understand, care for and value the moral code of what we do.

There are definitely tough times, but we support and encourage each other to make the hard decisions along the way.

What do you see when you look at yourself?

This question helps me to see through the day-to-day grind of what I do. It encourages me to stop, appreciate and talk to others about the amazing opportunities farming offers.

I hope you can see yourself, your team and your farming business in a similar way that I know Shiona saw all farmers.

During her fight, Shiona found the strength to raise $25,000 for ongoing brain cancer research. Her husband Caleb and their three daughters — Ella, Freya and Olivia — are on a mission to continue that legacy.

If you would like to donate, visit: https://www.carriesbeanies4braincancer.com/

Q fever warning

Q fever has spiked in Gippsland this past year.

If you aren’t aware of what Q fever is — or the physical impact it can have on you, your staff and your business — please educate yourself.

Gippsland represents about 31.1 per cent of Victoria’s Q fever cases. So far this year 30 cases have been reported in Victoria, 11 of those have been from Gippsland, and more than half of those cases were reported in the Wellington Shire.

Vaccination is the preferred protection for humans.

GippsDairy is currently in discussion to assist in coordinating a program to make things easier for farm teams to access vaccinations, but this takes time. Please consider what you and your team may be able to do in the meantime to stay safe.

For more information on Q fever, visit: https://www.qfever.org/

Succession planning

GippsDairy is holding a succession planning day in beautiful Inverloch on Wednesday, February 28.

Succession planning is a difficult conversation to have at times and hopefully this day can help — whether you are ready to take a step back or just starting to look at your options. It’s never too early to start preparing for the future.

Remember that Dairy Australia has a range of programs on offer that can support growth, skills and capacity for you and your team.

For more information, visit the People, Skills & Capability page at: https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/gippsdairy

GippsDairy Muster

GippsDairy is proud to announce our next Muster will be held on-farm in West Gippsland on Thursday, March 14.

This year’s theme of ‘Pastures, Pathways, Performance’ promises to be another amazing day with timely topics relevant to our farm businesses in Gippsland.

Please mark your calendar now and watch for registrations to open shortly. It’s a great way to rub shoulders and network with other like-minded professionals and catch up for a long-awaited chat.

I look forward to seeing you all out and about over the coming months.

Sarah O’Brien is the GippsDairy chair.