Wangoom family’s trans-Tasman dream crushed by reality

SIXTEEN years ago, Trevor and Gail Emeny emigrated from New Zealand to pursue their dream of developing a dairying enterprise that would support them and their four sons.

The Emenys bought a 234-hectare (700-acre) farm on Wangoom Road on Warrnambool’s eastern outskirts where they milk about 500 cows. However, inconsistent farm gate milk prices in the south-west have allowed only one of their four sons, Paul, to work on the property. And big fluctuations in returns mean he can only do so for nine months of the year. For the other three months, Paul runs his own farm contracting business to boost his income.

Trevor Emeny, 56, said Paul would like to get more involved in the family business but could not afford to do so.

“He has gone out to start his own business,” he said.

Mr Emeny said he had been encouraged to shift from New Zealand by a south-west real estate agent who had toured the country, promoting Australia’s dairy industry as having a bright future. He is disappointed that bright future had not been realised. 

“It has taken longer than I would have liked,” Mr Emeny said. Low milk prices and high running costs had undermined his hopes for his family.

Mrs Emeny told the 600 people who attended Monday night’s dairy crisis meeting in Noorat that they should never tell people they are “just a farmer”.

“You’re special people,” she said. “I don’t know who would do a job like ours for nothing.”

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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