DAN & BRODIE MCDONALD
Dan McDonald’s first taste of farming was as a young boy, visiting his grandparents’ dairy farm at every opportunity and working there in school holidays.
Owning his own farm was his dream, and it became a reality three years ago when Dan and his wife Brodie purchased 550 acres at Nyora. Today they have 270 head of cattle and a bright future as dairy farmers in a warm and welcoming community.
“I’ve been a dairy farmer for 12 years,” said Dan. “I started off running my grandparents’ farm, and I did the same at another farm before taking on some contract management. Then we bought this farm three years ago, with my grandparents’ help.”
When asked what he likes best about his job, he answers with a question.
“What’s not to love about dairy farming?,” asks Dan. “It’s different every day. We get to work outdoors, and to work for ourselves. We knew it would be hard work, and it is, but we love it. It’s a great way to bring up our three kids, too.”
While Dan has made some improvements to the farm, such as adding a feed pad and a lot of fencing, he finds the biggest challenges are input costs and the weather.
“The extreme weather we’ve had over the last few years has been especially hard,” Dan explained. “Working in the wet is much more difficult. We need to protect the animals and cover extra feed costs too.”
In previous jobs, Dan had worked with four or five different milk producers but when it came time to renew the contract on his own farm, the choice was easy.
“Burra is absolutely fantastic. Staff are friendly and straightforward, and that’s how I like to work,” he emphasised. “It’s a simple process. The Burra truck comes every second day and I receive regular payments on time.
“That hasn’t always happened with other producers. My grandparents were with Burra for many years and were very happy with them too.
“Burra’s genuine community spirit flows through into the fantastic support they give to our local community. I’m definitely with Burra for the long term.”