OUTGOING Jersey Australia president Chris MacKenzie is leaving with a special honour – a life membership.
While describing it as humbling, Mr MacKenzie said he never entered the industry looking for accolades – he just wanted to do his bit for his favourite cow.
“It’s because of my passion for the cow that I am involved,” he said.
“I didn’t do it for an award; I did it for the cow and the members.”
Mr Mackenzie joined the former Victorian Jersey Society committee in 2004 and progressed to the newly formed Jersey Australia Board when it was formed in 2008. He has been president for the past four years before standing down at this week’s annual general meeting.
At 65, Mr MacKenzie has stepped away from the Jersey Australia board but has no plans to stop farming with his Jireh stud at Cooriemungle in south-west Victoria.
“There are things I still want to accomplish in breeding cows,” he said.
He’s also willing to help where he can to educate farmers about the value of Jerseys.
“I will continue to work for anyone who breeds a Jersey cow because I believe they are the best,” he said.
“I’m old enough to remember when we had bottles of milk at school; 70 per cent of it was Jersey milk and people were fitter and healthier.
“The milk that our cows provide is of value to everyone.”
Mr MacKenzie encouraged younger farmers to consider nominating for the Jersey Australia board.
“There are still many things to do for the Jersey cow,” he said.
“We all need encouragement and support. My family made it possible and supported me from the first meeting I attended.”
Vice0-president Lisa Broad said Mr MacKenzie’s passion for the Jersey cow and his commitment and dedication to Jersey Australia made him a worthy recipient of a life membership.
“The passion for the Jersey cow is the most important thing for someone to become a life member, along with their dedication, leadership and investment in the organisation,” she said.
“There’s no doubt Chris shows all those qualities.”
Ms Broad said Mr MacKenzie had driven research and development, judged numerous shows and on-farm challenges and successfully exhibited at many shows, winning the Great Southern Challenge in 2019.
“His drive and determination to see the Jersey cow stay at the forefront of the industry and steer much-needed research projects has given us the data that shows the industry the Jersey cow is the best cow,” she said.
Mr MacKenzie was due to retire at the organisation’s recent AGM but the meeting was deferred due to COVID.
Life membership for outgoing president