When Carissa Wolfe and Karyn Cassar found their farm in Hannam Vale, they knew it was going to be home.
Nestled in hinterland south-west of Port Macquarie, the farm and local community have turned out to be everything they’d hoped for.
“We looked from Bega to the Queensland border and talked to more than 440 farmers and this was one of the most idyllic places we found in all of our travels,” Carissa said.
“It’s an amazing valley and we feel fortunate to be here. It’s very much home now.”
The Mid North Coast Women in Dairy Group shares that view and successfully nominated Hannam Vale as the 2017 Legendairy Capital for New South Wales.
Carissa, who helped with the application, says the town’s new standing is totally justified.
“The history of Hannam Vale involved dairy farming from the beginning,” she said. “It’s such a welcoming community and the paddocks look as gorgeous as they do because farmers are taking care of the land.”
The new title has sent a pleasant buzz through the community. “Everybody is thrilled,” Carissa said. “We never thought little bitty Hannam Vale would be picked but it truly is a Legendairy valley.”
Carissa said Manning Area dairy farmers in general and the Women in Dairy group are part of a close-knit community.
That close knit community is planning a celebration on Sunday, August 20 at the Hannam Vale Recreation Reserve. Graham Bird, chairman of the town’s recreation reserve trust and a local dairy farmer, has issued the invitation to a dairy farmers’ picnic to celebrate the win. For more information phone Graham on 0403 447 042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Legendairy Capital grant will be used to upgrade the Hannam Vale recreation reserve and continue the annual dairy farmers’ picnic that successfully debuted in 2016.
“A lot of people moved here from Sydney or Brisbane and the picnic was to help the broader community to appreciate what the dairy industry means to the valley,” Carissa said. “Everyone enjoyed it and the community wanted to make it an annual event. By being the Legendairy Capital we can highlight the community for what it is.”
Karyn did her dairy apprenticeship on the south coast while Carissa grew up in the mountains on Montana in the United States. She got a taste for farming visiting her grandfather’s beef farm on summer holidays.
“My first trip to Australia was in 2002 and I found out what it meant when people said they felt at home or they found their roots,” she said. “I fell in love with it.”
Carissa and Karyn worked for 10 years in the US in a business servicing dairies. “We wanted to learn as much as possible from the different systems because the plan was always to farm in Australia. When the timing was right we looked for a farm and after 18 months we leased this property.”
“The community is like the community my grandfather’s beef farm was in.”
Hannam Vale is one of eight 2017 Legendairy Capitals from around the country’s dairy regions to receive $2,500 to invest in a community project. In September, one of those eight communities will go on to secure the coveted title of Australia's Legendairy Capital 2017, receiving an additional grant of $7,500 to put towards their community initiative.