“My greatest ambition in life was at 50 years old, to still be of such value to the cricket team that I was denying a place to a young fellow.” Alas David was never to realise that particular dream. Other more important things came along, like his charming wife Sue, who he met at the Show Society Dance. They now have two adult children - daughter and a son.
David attended Melbourne University whilst studying Agriculture. Originally a beef and sheep farmer, he became a dairy farmer after he bought a dairy farm, share farmed it for a while and then he and Sue decided to milk the cows themselves. They did that for 14 years and it is now back to share farming. Roast beef is David’s favourite meal so he must still have that connection to his early days as a beef farmer.
His Stacey’s Bridge property is located on the site originally selected by his grandfather in 1882. His grandfather migrated from Scotland, first heading to the Bendigo area, where after 10 years he was driven out by drought and headed south to Gippsland to join his brother. David still values his Scottish heritage and has maintained the links though attendance at Highland games and his enjoyment of Scottish music. His daughter even plays the Bagpipes.
Landcare may be 25 years old but David and wife Sue started caring for their land over 40 years ago. Having grown up with a love for the bushland surrounding his families property, David wanted to find a balance between productive farming and the environment. "I started thinking that some areas of the farm were better off being fenced off and preserved rather than being cleared". Not concerned about "the last blade of grass" David wanted the benefits of his Landcare work balanced with the performance of his dairy farm.
Long before it was common practice, David was fencing off waterways, protecting native vegetation, using sustainable water use practices and managing the retention of soil and nutrients on his farm. Fencing his water frontages, David saw the immediate benefits with regard to stock management and water quality. The recent bushfires have seen the protected remnant vegetation on David and Sue's property flourish. More recent revegetation work have transformed eroded river banks, which all adds to the satisfaction David receives from his hard work.
David has also had a long history of involvement with countless community organisations. His passion for the environment is obvious when you look at some of the organisations that David has been involved in. They include the Lands Department, Soil Conservation Authority, Corner Inlet Waterway Authority and Management Group, Gippsland Riparian Project, South Gippsland Bass Implementation Committee, Nooramunga Corner Inlet Project, YYLN JARR Project and the West Gippsland Catchment and Land Protection. Most people would struggle to have time to dedicate to all of these worthy agencies, but for a dairy farmer, it can only be from sheer dedication.
David also finds time to be the Treasurer/Secretary of the Albert River Landcare Group.
In 2011 he was awarded the YYLN "Individual Landcare Award".
YYLN Coordinator at the time, Dan Garlick, said that "David has been an inspiration and a shining example to many." Judges of this award commented that "David practices what he preaches, shares his knowledge, and actively contributes to environmental improvement and enhancement. His winning of the Individual Landcare Award is a worthy acknowledgement of a lifetime of effort".
David is an active member of the JARR Steering Committee and serves as Treasurer on the YYLN Board.
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