Michelle Golder a “Legendairy” farmer from Jervois has been part of a committee guiding a new Dairy Australia farm safety starter kit.
By: Emma Zirkel
Source: Murray Valley Standard
Since the roll out of the kit across Australian farming communities Mrs Golder said it will contribute to a safer dairy industry and is being “embraced” by farmers.
“It looks at different aspects of farm safety; such as use of quad bikes and working in confined spaces, and gives information and help we need as farmers to establish safety programs and procedures,” she said.
“It will help farmers to become more aware of their health and safety obligations.”
Mrs Golder said the initiative is important in fostering safety culture on farms and will help alter people’s perception about farming.
“A farm is a business and workplace, not an adventure playground,” she said.
“People from the city see the big open spaces and think you’re there to have fun and hoon around and your quad bike,
“We’ve got to change that perception.”
The Golders and their six staff milk around 240 Friesians, the black and white cows often associated with dairy farming in popular culture, and have 100 beef cattle.
The Golders also produce all their own hay and grain.
“It’s rewarding working with animals,” Mrs Golder said.
“I like to rear calves and see their genetics improving, while Lawrie prefers the cropping side of things.
“The cows all have their own personalities. People laugh when you say that but when you’re with them all the time you get to know their mannerisms and what they are like. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to them when we get to the point of retiring.”
Following a bad drought in 2009 the Golders considered relocating, retiring or restructuring, eventually opting for the latter, after they won trips to Canada and USA through milk quality awards.
“We learnt a lot about feed-lots and introduced a partial mixed ration with a feed wagon. It worked well and we were amazed at how much production improved,” she said.
The Golders have a good farm safety track record but Michele said many farmers can benefit from the new kit and adapt its information to suit their business.
“I find it difficult to create a policy from scratch so templates were important for me,” she said.
“The rollout is a proud moment for me. I was apprehensive about being involved but realise now my opinion is just as valuable as everyone else and it’s good to contribute to a safer dairy industry.”
For more information on Dairy Australia’s Farm Safety Stater Kit visit www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/people/farm-safety.