From scouts to agricultural societies and from local councils to football clubs, dairy farmers are an integral part of their local communities.
Strathmerton dairy farmer Andrew Wilson will do anything for his local community – even pulling on football boots in his mid-40s.
Andrew has lived in the area since he was a teenager and has owned a farm for the past 11 years.
Being in community groups comes naturally to Andrew, whether it’s as scout leader, agricultural society president, or playing football against people half his age.
“It’s just what you do each year; I don’t really think about it, I just get in and do it,” he says.
Like many dairy farmers, Andrew’s community connections reflect his family and farming interests.
When his children became scouts about 12 years ago, Andrew became a leader. “I’m just a person that likes to get involved. I see myself as a male role model; I’m a non-drinker and show kids that you can have a good time without alcohol.”
His football comeback was also family related after he volunteered as runner for the Strathmerton Football Club juniors.
Andrew played nine games in 2019 and hopes to return in 2021 and continue until his sons are old enough to play senior level.
“When you’re older you play smarter,” he says. “You wake up a bit sore and sorry on Sundays but once you get to work you loosen up.”
Along with being part of the Numurkah dairy discussion group, Andrew has been in the Cobram Agricultural Society for about 30 years, initially as a poultry steward before moving on to dairy and serving five years as society president.
“We just put the show on for the community,” he says. “There are a lot of dairy farmers involved in groups; maybe it’s because we have time and feel like we should help our communities.
“In our jobs we’re dealing with animals and that gives us a degree of empathy and maybe that flows on to people as well.”