City escape for drought-affected families

April 30, 2019 12:03 pm

Two drought-affected beef producing families had the time of their lives at the 2019 Sydney Royal Show thanks to the innovative Business Recognition Reward.

Northern NSW producers Brett and Marissa Woods, Watsons Creek, together with Jeff Kirk and son Angus, Condobolin, in western NSW, were recipients of the Reward given by the NSW State Angus Committee of Angus Australia.

NSW State Committee president Mark Lucas said the Business Recognition Reward was aimed at cattle businesses affected by hardship, including natural disasters such as drought, fire and flood.

Funds for the Reward were pledged by businesses, while the winners were accompanied over the three days by ambassadors, Fiona Petersen, Landmark Insurances, Wagga, Matthew Macri, Skyfall Angus, Camden, and Lincoln McKinlay, GTSM, Patrice Vale, Vic.

The families stayed at the Novatel Ibis Hotel, Sydney Olympic Park, and enjoyed the Centenary of Angus Australia’s celebrations on April 12-14.

For Brett Woods, the three-day trip to Sydney was the first break away from the farm in two years, and the couple was left gob smacked over the sheer size of the Royal Easter Show.

It was the first time Brett and Marissa had attended the show and they now plan to make it an annual trip.

They enjoyed the social networking, watching the cattle judging and talking to the breeders.

“Ambassadors Fiona Petersen and Matt Macri showed us around and spent time with us over the weekend making sure we didn’t miss anything,’’ Mrs Woods said.

The couple had struggled with a diminishing on-farm water supply until 41mm in March replenished dams.

Drought had forced them to cull their herd down to 120 cows and 100 heifers.

Mrs Woods thanked Tim and Margaret Vincent, Booragul Angus, Piallaway, for nominating them for the Reward, and the committee for making the initiative.

“Brett was excited from the day we were told we had won as he hadn’t been anywhere for a couple of years, and he had an excellent time,’’ she said.

“The quality of the cattle on show was amazing – it has opened our eyes to what is out there.

“We plan to go again next year and re-connect with all the people we met, season permitting.’’

Jeff Kirk and his son Angus also enjoyed their break away from their property at Condobolin.

Drought has resulted in their Angus breeder numbers dropping from 300 to 150, plus 40 heifers.

As the newly elected Condobolin Show president, Jeff immersed himself in the Sydney Show and cattle judging.

He found the break a mental relief from the financial and physical pressure of the drought.

“Things are very dry here with no feed whatsoever and I’m about to start feeding again to stick it out a bit longer – I sold all my steers and half the heifers when I got back from Sydney,’’ he said.

Mr Kirk thanked the Wrigley family, Moogenilla Angus, Condobolin, for nominating him for the Reward.

He also extended his thanks to the NSW State Angus Committee for the Reward initiative.

Each day, both families wore their new boots donated by Baxter Boots and Shoes, Goulburn.

 “From the state committee’s perspective, this initiative was the most significant way of supporting our fellow members from NSW we have ever undertaken,’’ Mark Lucas said.

“The Business Recognition Reward will be part of the state committee’s tool box when members are in a situation where their businesses are being strongly challenged.’’

Mr Lucas paid tribute to sponsors Novatel Ibis, Baxter Boots and Shoes, Goulburn, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, Michael Glasser, Glasser Total Sales Management, Victoria, Landmark Wagga, Reiland Angus Stud, Tumut, and Brad Probert, Spring Hill Highland Angus, Mittagong, NSW.

Top Image: Back row: Mark Lucas, NSW Angus, Greg Watson, RAS Cattle Committee chairman, Brett Woods, Watsons Creek, Jeff and Angus Kirk, Condobolin, and Matthew Macri, Camden. Front: Sarah Hemsley, Novatel, Marissa Woods, Watsons Creek, Fiona Petersen, Landmark Wagga, Marion and Brad Probert, Mittagong, Richard Buck, NSW Angus, and Lincoln McKinlay, GTSM.