Leadership Lessons in Cohuna

Agriculture and Natural Resource Management were the focus of a two day visit to Cohuna recently by the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP) participants, sponsored by North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA).

The highlight of the weekend was the tour of Gunbower Forest and the Wetlander Cruise along the Gunbower Creek with Auntie Esther Kirby who is a much respected Aboriginal Elder from the Yorta Yorta country. It was great to hear the positive connection between the Traditional Owners and the NCCMA working together to protect the natural forests to ensure environmental sustainability for the future generations.

The group also enjoyed meeting with and hearing from various representatives of the Ag sector including local small agribusiness operators, VFF Vice-President Brett Hosking, Executive Officer of the Victorian Agribusiness forum, Martin Szakal, and local dairy farmers and industry advocates Di Bowles and Max Fehring. Di spoke to the participants regarding advocacy in the dairy industry and the challenges that farmers face on a daily basis. Di said that it was important to “speak to your passion” and “ensure that you know your facts.” Di has commenced a campaign on social media promoting positive dairy stories using the hashtag “Dairy Love”. The group then visited the Fehring’s farm where they saw the cows being milked and discussed regional issues in the dairy industry.

“I left with a much clearer understanding of, and appreciation for agriculture, agribusiness and natural resource management – none of which have been of particular interest to me previously but all of which I intend to take a lot more interest in now,” said participant Kristy Pilgrim from Quambatook.

Written by Baydon Widdicombe, 2016 Participant