Friday, 11 November 2016 20:26

Celebrating dairy’s colourful characters

Written by  Marian MacDonald
Marian MacDonald Marian MacDonald

OPINION: WE dairy farmers love to compare notes on everything from the latest processor stuff-up to the newest brassica variety.

And whether it’s on Facebook or at the local discussion group, a bakers’ dozen of characters regularly emerge. Do you recognise them?  

The Cocky Cocky 
A low talker who sits a little bit behind the rest. Rarely says much, except for the occasional cutting remark. 
Favourite phrase among the neighbour’s milkers during discussion group farm walk: 
“My cows’d refuse to go in this paddock.” 

The Young Gun 
Share-farming on mum and dad’s place.  
May inhabit the same body as the Cocky Cocky. 
Favourite phrase over discussion group lunch after low milk price announcement: 
“There’s plenty of money to be made with the right management.” 

The Share Farmer 
Share-farming on somebody else’s parents’ place.  
Favourite phrase when standing next to discussion group whiteboard: 
“They won’t spend the money.” 

The Outraged 
Not long into farm ownership. Shell-shocked. 
Favourite phrase over discussion group lunch after low milk price announcement: 
“How’re we supposed to make this work? Unbelieeeevable.” 

The Old Timer 
Exudes a quiet wisdom. 
Favourite phrase after The Outraged’s rant runs out of steam: 
“It’ll be better next season. It always comes good in the end.” 

The Morale-Raiser 
Has the worst farm in the district.  
Makes everyone else feel better about their own place and loves fishing. 
Favourite phrase in response to discussion group probing: 
“Yeah, well, we would’ve had it done but the bloody (insert machinery type) is busted.” 

The Cynic 
Reluctant attendee who has seen it all and knows it’s all BS.  
Here for a “free feed” or to get away from “the joint”. 
Favourite phrase at any dairy meeting: 
“Let’s get rid of all the bloody leeches. Betcha the field reps/consultants/feed reps/DA shiny bums won’t be taking a pay cut.” 

The Analyst 
Knows all their figures like a savant.  
Frequently dashes off mid-meeting to answer important mobile calls. Owns the farm everyone wants to visit for a tall poppy harvest lunch. 
Favourite phrase over discussion group lunch: 
Actually, there isn’t one. Generally contributes little to discussions, answering only direct questions. 

The Left-Fielder 
Doing it differently. If they’re at the discussion group, not fazed by ribbing. 
Favourite phrase over discussion group lunch: 
“Urea is poison.” 

The Politician 
On three different boards, generally either has the Young Gun at home running the farm or doubles as The Morale Raiser. 
Favourite phrase at dairy gatherings: 
“We need more people to move into industry leadership positions.” 

The Service Provider 
Drives the clean car. Says little unless performing the role of moderator but likes to quiz prospects in depth in the privacy of farm walks. 
Favourite phrase at any dairy gathering (may mutter in sleep, too): 
“…of course, every farm is different.” 

The Story-Teller 
Loves nothing more than a good yarn. 
Favourite phrase over discussion group lunch: 
“Met Johnno’s new share-farmers yet? Reckon they’re in for a bit of a…” 

The Great Unwashed 
There because they might pick up an idea from The Analyst or The Left-Fielder, get the inside word from The Politician, anticipate the fall of the Cocky Cocky and Young Gun, let The Cynic, The Share Farmer and The Outraged air what might have crossed their own minds but never dared say, take a business card from The Service Provider, have a chat with The Story-Teller, soak in the serenity of The Old Timer and return home feeling better for it all. 

Marian MacDonald is a dairy farmer from Gippsland. You can read her blog at milkmaidmarian.com 

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