Peter Ser­pell

Alpine Observer - - News -

What is your job?

I am a farmer. We have Fleck­vieh or Sim­men­thal, both beef and milk­ing strains and sell stud an­i­mals. My wife Rhonda is in­ter­ested in ge­net­ics and we im­port se­men from all over the world.

We sell all our spare heifers to China, who need them in pris­tine con­di­tion and pay a pre­mium for them so they are shipped in top con­di­tions. I also chair the Kiewa, Mitta and Up­per Mur­ray Wa­ter Ser­vices Com­mit­tee for Goul­burn Mur­ray Wa­ter, run­ning meet­ings about ser­vices and prices.

GMW looks af­ter all the dams in the Vic­to­rian side of the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin and is re­spon­si­ble for wa­ter man­age­ment for North East Wa­ter and other ur­ban wa­ter au­thor­i­ties.

I am also a build­ing de­signer – an ar­chi­tec­tural draughts­man.

I work out of home, mak­ing plans for new houses and ren­o­va­tions, com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial.

I de­signed the Rocky Val­ley Bikes and Snow Sports eat­ing area, and I also did the plans to turn the Catholic Church in Eskdale into a res­tau­rant.

I am a grad­u­ate of Mar­cus Old­ham Agri­cul­tural Col­lege in Gee­long and also of Wodonga TAFE.

Is it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

We have al­ways had the beef cat­tle, but no, Rhonda and I grew rasp­ber­ries com­mer­cially for about 28 years.

We were found­ing mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Rubus Grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which is now the Aus­tralian Berry-grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

The bulk of the fruit was ma­chine picked and then be­came frozen berries or went into 20 litre pails for com­mer­cial jam mak­ing.

We did pick-your-own, Rhonda made jams for sale, and we sup­plied su­per­mar­kets in Al­bury Wodonga and Syd­ney.

We were al­ways very en­vi­ron­men­tally aware and used in­te­grated pest man­age­ment.

The va­ri­ety we had needs 2000 hours be­low 10 de­grees over win­ter and if it doesn’t get that the plants only flower in dribs and drabs and won’t come out of dor­mancy.

Global warm­ing was do­ing a lot of dam­age and the last straw was the 2009 fires which burned us out.

When I saw the end of the rasp­ber­ries, that’s when I went to the TAFE to get my build­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion. What do you love about the job?

I’m my own boss. Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent and you know what they say - if you have a job you re­ally like you don’t have to go to work.

What else do you do?

I am in­volved with the Up­per Kiewa Land­care sub­group and was the chair for six or seven years of the Kiewa Catch­ment Land­care Groups, which com­prises Up­per Kiewa, Ker­gun­yah, Yackan­dan­dah, Kiewa/Bonegilla and Gun­dowring.

We had monthly meet­ings to guide strate­gic plan­ning, man­ag­ing the bud­get and em­ploy­ing the co­or­di­na­tor.

I’m not do­ing much out­side my job at the mo­ment be­cause I had a heart at­tack in June and nearly died.

I have been do­ing car­diac re­hab in Mt Beauty for the last eight weeks, 40 per cent of peo­ple who have what I had are dead, and the other 60 per cent mostly end up with long-term health prob­lems. Rhonda and I are both CFA first aiders, so we are con­stantly be­ing told about CPR.

My ad­vice is if you have any un­usual chest or shoul­der pains, call an am­bu­lance.

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