Max’s dedication to dairy rewarded
LEONGATHA South dairy farmer Max Jelbart was awarded an Order of Australia Medal this Australia Day (Tuesday) for his service to the dairy industry and the community.
He has been a Murray Goulburn director since 2012, a director at Marcus Oldham College since 1997, is a life member of the Nuffield Farming Scholars Australia and is a past president of the South Gippsland Branch of United Dairy Farmers of Victoria.
His involvement in the community includes work with the Pound Creek CFA, the Tarwin Lower Tennis Club and the Tarwin Lower Primary School.
Mr Jelbart said he was “chuffed” by the award and that it was quite unexpected.
His involvement in the dairy industry started in earnest with the purchase of his Leongatha South property in 1981, after leasing it in 1973.
When he started, Mr Jelbart milked 120 cows.
“I started to get more involved with the industry and began to grow the business,” he said.
Mr Jelbart said meeting the dairy industry’s best and brightest at discussion groups and field days gave him the opportunity to learn and develop as a dairy farmer.
He now milks 1350 cows across two properties, on a total of 2700 acres with around 35 to 40 employees, including the Caldermeade cafe, depending on the season.
Mr Jelbart said he enjoyed the industry in the early days, particularly after completing a Nuffield Scholarship, which he described as “a life changing experience”.
“I realised there was such a lot to be achieved and an opportunity to educate farmers to help move the industry forward,” he said.
“I just tried to give something back to an industry that had given me so much.”
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