Milk’s been good to us

Al­though his di­ary profits have dwin­dled over the last year, life is still look­ing good for Trevor Hourigan

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE - BY JARRAH LOH jloh@ne­me­dia.com.au

THE Ox­ley Flats farmer has been milk­ing in the Wan­garatta re­gion his en­tire life.

“Over the whole jour­ney, milk’s been good to us,” Mr Hourigan told North East and Goul­burn Mur­ray Farmer.

“We are go­ing through a rough patch at the mo­ment, but it will come good.”

The Hourigan fam­ily started their foray into milk when his fa­ther made the now le­gendary de­ci­sion to swap his horse for three cows.

To­day, Trevor Hourigan and his broth­ers milk more than 800 cows.

“We’re all in beef and dairy,” said Mr Hourigan.

“We’re all within four kilo­me­tres of each other and all help each other out.”

Mr Hourigan also has his own kids on the farm, with his old­est son now in full time op­er­a­tions.

His daugh­ter Amie is a com­pet­i­tive horse rider, mak­ing it to the school ti­tles in Syd­ney last year.

She is also fol­low­ing the fam­ily tra­di­tion, up early be­fore school to milk the cows and at­tend her horses.

Aside from his Friesians, Mr Hourigan has also run a Limousin stud for the last 25 years.

“I used to work on Home Sta­tion for Tony and Jill Whistler, which is just up the road,” he said.

“They had a big Limousin stud – that’s where I got mine.”

He cur­rently runs 50 fe­males, sell­ing 15 bulls a year on- prop­erty to reg­u­lar clients.

He also feeds a lot of their Friesian bulls into steers to sell at mar­ket, which helps sup­ple­ments the dairy in­come.

“With the way milk is go­ing, it is very handy to have the cat­tle,” said Mr Hourigan.

The whole fam­ily has been with Mur­ray Goul­burn since their fa­ther first sold to them over 60 years ago.

But un­like many in the in­dus­try, Mr Hourigan doesn’t feel be­trayed, nor does he put the sole blame on the shoul­ders of MG.

“They didn’t cause a glut; they didn’t cause the world mar­ket to drop.”

Though he does con­cede that MG didn’t han­dle it that well.

“It is a shame all these peo­ple are los­ing their jobs, but as a farmer you of­ten go through sea­sons like that.

“Some peo­ple get an­gry about it, but I stay pos­i­tive and try and do my best.”

He sees a big­ger prob­lem in farm­ing be­ing the lack of sup­port from the greater com­mu­nity.

“The com­mu­nity’s views on farm­ing are not good.

“Some peo­ple have no con­cept of how their food gets from pad­dock to plate.

“The gap is got­ten wider and wider.”

He said it is com­mon for farm­ers in the area to get “petty” com­plaints about dust off tracks, spray­ing or noisy cows.

“I don’t think peo­ple re­ally un­der­stand how much the farm­ing com­mu­nity puts into the local econ­omy,” he said.

“We rarely get to keep much money for our­selves.”

And though the at­ti­tude dis­ap­points him, Mr Hourigan isn’t likely to go any­where soon. Or ever. “You couldn’t get him away from here,” said his wife Julie Hourigan.

“It’s a great life and he wouldn’t do any­thing else.”

PHOTO: Jarrah Loh

STAY­ING STRONG: Trevor Hourigan and wife Julie say it’s a great life and they wouldn’t do any­thing else.

PHOTO: Jarrah Loh

GREEN GRASS AND BLUE SKIES: Trevor Hourigan sur­veys the dairy cows on his prop­erty in Ox­ley Flats.

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