I often talk about how we do things and what we have achieved. But why do I keep processing milk?
Initially it was to get out of milking cows. I finally employed people to do that twice a day. I also needed to prove to myself and others that I could set up a successful business. Not a business passed on by the previous 5 generations of Fairleys. A lot of it was also to prove to certain people I could do it. Looking back these are all the wrong reasons. It was external drivers influencing me. And a bit of ego maybe.
I felt that once the business was successful I would be able to take stock of my own internal visions. We did a Carbon audit to measure our reduction in pollution. We accidentally changed the way we farm to Regenerative Farming, storing more and more carbon in the soil. Before COVID we did a lot of community work and that will return. Three generations – the 5th, 6th and 7th generations of Fairleys – presently work on the farm and in the business, giving something for Dad to do at the age of 86.
When I adopted the herd to the public in 2008, due to the drought, there were many interviews in the press. The one that I remember the most was with the ABC where they asked which block of land did the Fairleys first buy in the 1850s. She said let’s do the interview on that block. The first question was “how would it feel to lose this land due to the drought?” I stared at her for too long and was so close to crying on national television. Deep breath. I was able to answer strongly with, ”we are not going to lose it”.
Recently I found out I’m going to be a Grandfather. The feet of the 8th generation, of non-indigenous Australians, are about to hit the Fairley soil. It has focussed my attention and it’s really made me rethink about why we do things. Very different to the reasons back when I started Country Valley. I also have semi retirement in my sights.
I ran around the hills barefoot with my cousins until I went away to school. I swam in the creeks and fished for eels. Helped, or hindered, my Dad, Uncle and Grandfather on the farm. I can really relate to being part of country, not taking away from the history of the indigenous people in any way. Coming back to the farm where I live, after being away awhile, is a feeling I can’t describe. I hope you know what I mean.
These activities are what I want the 8th, 9th and 10th generations of Fairleys to experience. To me, there is no better way to grow up. And it’s my new WHY I will keep doing what I do.