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Community Liaison Officers are members of the dairying community employed by Murray Dairy to reach connect with dairy farm businesses and their workers across the region.


Community Liaison Officers provide information about the services and resources available to dairy businesses, in particular information on farm management, risk management, personal health and wellbeing, as well as community services and events. 

During the roll-out of the Tactics for Tight Times project, the Community Liaison Officers connected with over 1000 farm families and workers, most of whom had not been engaged with Murray Dairy previously. Many of those who were contacted by the Community Liaison Officers opted to undertake a one-to-one business support session, to subscribe to Murray Dairy’s newsletter, or to attend one of the events or courses offered by Murray Dairy in 2016-17. 

The Community Liaison Officers will continue to work with Murray Dairy throughout 2018, supported by a grant from the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund. Their ties to dairy communities will help us to better understand the current needs of the dairy community and guide us in the development of resources and activities to meet these needs. We will work alongside community to build capability in areas of financial and risk management, job-readiness and leadership development. 

Meet our Community Liaison Officers: 

Cindy Lucas
Contract Calf Rearer/Beef Farmer and Community Liaison Officer 

Cindy grew up in a coastal country town in South Australia and has had a varied career, from teaching to hospitality, mining to dairy.

Cindy began rearing calves as a result of the 2009 Black Saturday fires that impacted her community. Having a calf shed on the property, she decided she could help those who had lost farm land by taking up calf rearing, despite never having any experience in the industry prior. What followed was a massive learning curve, a discovery of a passion for dairy cows, calves and the dairy industry as a whole, and a new career which she loves.

Cindy lives with her partner, three dogs, cows and calves, along with plenty of poddies. She enjoys spending time with her community and is currently the President of the local CWA, a member of the CFA and local Landcare group, and co-ordinator of the community UHF Emergency Radio network.

Andrew Hipwell
Community Liaison Officer

Andrew grew up in Stanhope and has been a part of the farming community there for the past 44 years. He and his wife, Mary, have three children – their daughter, Belle, and two sons, Bill and Jim. 

Andrew coaches his sons in footy and has been Auskick Coordinator for the last six years. After two years with the Under 10s, he will be coaching the Under 12s in 2018 and carrying on the role of the Junior Development Officer for the Stanhope Football Club. 

Karen Rowlands

Community Liaison Officer

Karen and her husband moved to Katunga ten years ago to develop a large scale dairy operation. Previously they farmed on Gunbower Island where they were actively involved in local sporting and community organizations.  

Karen has previously been on the Torrumbarry Water Services committee and Torrumbarry Reconfiguration and Modernisation Strategy (TRAMS) committee.  More recently Karen has been on the Katunga Water Supply Area Consultative Committee as well as the Murray Dairy Business Forum committee this year.  Both Karen and her husband Greg are members of the Waaia Football Netball Club where their boys play football.

Rob Schloss
Community Liaison Officer

Rob grew up on a dairy farm in Gippsland. He spent ten years in the building industry before returning to dairy farming in the 1990s. Rob has held various roles throughout his farming career, from farm-hand to manager, leasing to share-farming, and now is owner of a 300 cow farm in Stanhope. Over this time Rob also completed a number of courses, including the Marcus Oldham Leadership Course, the Emerging Dairy Leaders Program and his Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Agriculture.

Rob is involved in two dairy discussion groups and is the Publicity Officer for one of them. He is also the supplier delegate for his local milk company. Rob is involved with United Dairy Farmers (UDV) and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) at a local level. 

Rob has two sons, one a qualified builder, and the other who is training to be a Paramedic. When he’s not farming, Rob likes fishing and camping with his family, or a game of indoor soccer. 

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