WHEN the bush family of Cootamundra attended the Hereford National at Wodonga earlier this year it was the 51st successive time they exhibited there.
The milestone notched up by Geoff and Heather with cattle from the Kirraweena Hereford Stud demonstrates a commitment to the rural industry that has lasted the test of time. The Kirraweena Stud was founded in 1953 and aside from a long association with the national event Mr Bush also says he hasn’t missed a Sydney Royal Easter Show either.
The family runs stud beef cattle, commercial cattle, stud sheep and grows fodder crops. They are also involved in running the Cootamundra Show. In fact, Mr Bush is currently vice president but has previously held the role of president and Mrs Bush is the show society secretary. “The show is still the best place to show the rest of the world what you have to offer as a community, it also gives people a sense of pride when they exhibit in the pavilions or show their livestock,” he said.
ADVANTAGES: Mr Bush said the high livestock prices had started to filter back to seedstock producers and there was certainly a portion of operators who were keen to improve their genetics.
This has helped to boost interest in the family’s artificial insemination business, which they diversified into during the drought. This business has continued to grow.
“Cattle prices are good and there is plenty of demand … it has turned into a seven or ‘eight’ day week,” he said with a laugh.
CHALLENGES: Cootamundra is experiencing one of its wettest winter and spring seasons. “Heather’s uncle is approaching 87 and says he has never seen it as wet as this,” Mr Bush said.
“So much country is saturated … we have 100 broken water pipes.” He conceded that he would prefer the wet conditions over a drought. With a growing population and constant pressure on resources he said a challenge for Australia was to maintain viable farming land. Land was not just at risk of being snapped up by foreign investors but the urban sprawl also tended to push producers into the “more marginal” farming areas.
THE FUTURE: Sam Bush, 21 is studying agriculture and law and is in his final year. His younger brother Jack, 18, is currently studying agriculture science, and little sister Cassie, 14, is at Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
All three children plan to forge a career in the agricultural sector.
“The children have a keen interest in the agricultural at this stage,” Mr Bush said. Mr Bush said the agricultural sector was looking good at this stage and the time was right to encourage people to take up a future in the industry.
”The returns for farming have been so much better in the last couple of years than they were 10 or 15 years ago,” he said.