Fay – a legendairy farmer

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Fay – a legendairy farmer

SEVEN days a week, Fay Sinclair rises at 5.30am to milk her 280 strong dairy herd.
Come midnight, she is just as likely to be baking a birthday cake for those without a family or finishing the paperwork for one of the many committees she dedicates her spare time and energy to.
For most of us, it would be exhausting. For Fay, it’s what life in a farming community is all about.
“You have to enjoy what you’re doing,” she said.
“I enjoy milking cows. I wouldn’t get out of bed at 5.30 every morning if I didn’t.”
With husband Daryl, Fay runs a Stony Creek dairy farm that has grown from a rudimentary property to an efficient farm, a model of modern dairying.
Healthy cows, rich pastures and modernised infrastructure are the keys to making the South Gippsland farm a productive and profitable dairy business.
Their milk is high quality and their young cows are in demand from international dairy producers looking to boost herds from China to Mexico.
Closer to home, Daryl and Fay’s remarkable revegetation efforts saw them win the 2003 National Landcare Award. Since then, the total number of trees planted on the farm has topped 40,000.
“We like shade and shelter in the winter, and so do the cows. If the cows are comfortable, they actually give you better production,” Daryl said.
It’s this commitment to the bigger picture of their local environment that makes the couple such a special part of the South Gippsland community.
Daryl, who prefers to stay in the background, has been president of the local umpires association, helps maintain the immaculate playing surface at the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve, has held various football management positions and has been secretary of the cricket club for many years.
For Fay, well where do you start?
For 30 years she has been secretary of the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve, has been involved with the Meeniyan Dumbalk United Football Club for almost a decade, is secretary of the Meeniyan basketball stadium, secretary of the Leongatha branch of the Cake Decorating Association, teaches baking to local primary school children and helps out each week at three year old kinder in Meeniyan.
She has also been a netball player, coach, umpire, administrator, office bearer or canteen helper for 30 years.
Apart from all that, Daryl and Fay were inaugural participants in Dairy Australia’s Focus Farmers program, regularly participate in on-farm discussion groups and have mentored young dairy farmers.
In their spare time they also managed to raise four boys.
In 2011, Fay was honoured with the South Gippsland Citizen of the Year award for her community work.
“I was very excited. It was a bit daunting to start with,” she said.
“I do the work because I want the community to go forward and be in good shape for the next 50 years, for our children.
“Small towns are great places but someone has to do the work. If we can keep the facilities up to scratch, then it’s going to survive.”
Now in their early 50s, the couple is adamant involvement in off-farm activities is vital for their wellbeing.
Whether it’s helping at the local footy club or participating in a farm discussion group, getting away from the constant demands of the farm is crucial to both Daryl and Fay.
“It’s important for any farmer not to be at home all the time. Any person in any industry needs to go outside their own field, to give them an interest,” said Daryl, who had just returned from his sixth Great Victorian Bike Ride.
Speaking to other farmers also helps remind the pair what they love about dairy farming and the passion that drives so many in the industry.
“You need to go and see other farms,” Fay said.
“Even for us, it’s still exciting seeing other farms where they are doing things slightly differently.
“It might only be the way they clip a gate, but you think, ‘well, I can apply that on our farm.”
With each gate clipped, every cake baked, every meeting attended and each lap of the footy oval on the mower, Daryl and Fay Sinclair are making their farm and their community a better place to live.
Truly, a Legendairy effort.

Community minded: Fay and Daryl Sinclair are passionate about serving South Gippsland.

Community minded: Fay and Daryl Sinclair are passionate about serving South Gippsland.

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Posted by on Feb 3 2015. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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