Landcare Voices: 15th Interview Available!

Alex Arbuthnot AM, born in Warragul has been a strong voice from Gippsland over a long career as a dairy farmer and as a representative and leader on Dairy Industry and Farming Organisations.

Alex’s observations of paddock issues came from early days on the family farm, then as a student at Dookie Agricultural College and through his first job with a Surveyor. He had to deal with tussocks, blackberries and rabbits as did many on farms in those days.

Following their marriage Alex and his wife Isobel went share dairy farming with 160 cows in in what was to be a sixty inch rainfall area but the ’86 drought brought economic ‘crunch time’ and Alex’s new approach to a drought policy was to sell up and move to an irrigation farm in the McCallister District.

Initially somewhat uncertain about the name Landcare – the ‘care’ bit seeming odd in terms of how farmers would take to the new VFF-Vic Government Program and in relation to what some thought was ‘greenies’ saying what they could do on their farms.

However, once seeing how quickly Landcare was adopted by many landholders across Victoria, Alex went on to champion what Landcare could do by being a politically bipartisan approach to improve farm health and to benefit rural communities. He went on to sit on several Landcare State and National Committees.

Alex gives an interesting history of what was happening in the VFF during his time on Committees and later as VFF President after Heather Mitchell - and the fact that at one stage six people were employed to service the increasing number of Landcare groups forming and their activities.

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