Gloucester beef farmer joined the Hunter Local Land Services board

Jamie Andrews feels it's important for Gloucester to have a voice on the Hunter Local Land Services board. Photo supplied

Jamie Andrews feels it's important for Gloucester to have a voice on the Hunter Local Land Services board. Photo supplied

Supporting Gloucester farmers to keep on producing is one of the motivating factors behind Jamie Andrews' decision to nominate for the Hunter Local Land Services (HLLS) board.

"I felt like the Gloucester region needed a voice again," Jamie said. "And I have an interest in the rural community being a farmer myself."

Jamie grew up on his family farm, west of Uralla. After high school, he got his degree and worked as a personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE) and agricultural teacher before relocating to Gloucester about 10 years ago, where he returned to farming.

He got the idea to nominate after it was suggested by fellow Gloucester beef farmer, Ted Laurie, who has also spent some time on the board.

Ted and Jamie have worked together over the past three years or so as part of the Gloucester Beef Network, both of which are founding members. The network was started to help promote the beef industry of the region.

The HLLS board comprises of seven people made up of one chairperson, three appointed members and three elected members. Jamie is one of the recently elected members and this is his first term on the board. He will be serving for four years.

Although it's early days in his term, he has a good idea of what he's hoping to achieve.

"I'm looking at the beef and dairy farmers, and the loggers to some degree, to help support them to keep farming," Jamie said. "Gloucester has a large beef and dairy industry and I want to push so farmers have as much support as possible to produce."

One of the issues of concern is around the viability of farming in an increasingly difficult market, where monopolies like large supermarkets control the value of product. The diary industry has been continually lobbying to get a higher amount at the farm gate to help keep the industry going.

"We are losing dairies due to the farm gate price and they employee a lot of young people," he said. "We need to ensure we don't lose any more."

Water security for Gloucester is another area Jamie is interested in. Off the back of the worst drought in living memory, where the town needed water trucked in as its water source, the Barrington River ran dry, he wants to ensure there are better water sources in future. Jamie understands firsthand the impacts of the drought, having to truck in his own water for his livestock.

He'd like to see more bores put in, giving access to the region's aquifers to help secure the farming industry's water supply.

Part of his role is to consult with the community about things that should and could be done when it comes to agricultural production, biosecurity, natural resource management and help during emergencies.

And he's open to hearing suggestions from the local producers.

"I always say, 'you've given me the problem, now what's the answer'," he said.

And another feather in Jamie's cap is his nomination by the State Local Land Services to the Tocal Local Advisory Council, an appointment he's quite excited about.

"It combines my interests of teaching and agriculture," he said.