For Like minded people who like to see-
Russell Holland passed away this morning at the Timboon & District Hospital in South West Victoria. While I am not privy to all the details at this time, I can tell the members that Russ had developed a heart condition some eight months ago and the prognosis at that time was not positive. That he would enjoy the period of time that he eventually did was a testament to Russell's fortitude, his family's love and support and the medical care he received.
While the Dairy Farmer Group on the Just Grounds Community hasn't been particularly active of late, Russ was a member of the group and followed the postings with great interest and the occasional offering of his 'two bob's' worth.
For those of us who were privileged to have known Russ beyond the cyber world, his passing represents a significant loss of an independent voice who was not prepared to accept everything at face value as too many in our industry do.
Russ was prepared to stand up at every meeting to ask the difficult questions of the day(sometimes off point) or to remind factories or industry representatives of previous commitments or comments that they may have much preferred to be forgotten. For anyone (and that includes just about all of us) who has ever stood up in front of a crowd to do this, we will all appreciate that it is a difficult thing to do and few of us ever do it on a consistent basis.
A son in law of Russ's once joked to me that going to meetings and keeping abreast of all industry matters was Russ's hobby, but we both agreed that Russ's driving motivation was always founded in the rock of trying to better the farmers lot in life, to ensure that all farmers were not left behind in the rush towards corporatisation and the various schemes being championed by the governements and industry leaders of the day.
Deregulation, Managed Investment Schemes, Dairy Australia, Bonlac and Production Incentives were all issues (among others) that drew forth comment from Russell. On the Bonlac topic alone, I understand (from others with more grey hair) that Russell's persistant questioning of management strategies drew scorn from many but he was unperturbed in his spirited pursuit of this topic. It is perhaps a well earned compliment that Russ was to be later approached by some who scorned him both privately and publicly, to apologise and acknowledge his efforts to shine a light when other preferred the room remain dark...
While I have focused for now on Russell's passion for the broader Dairy industry, it would be remiss of me not to extend my condolesences to his wife Sheila and his immediate family. He lived a good life, raised a family and ensured that everyone he came in contact with were challenged and if fortunate to recognise what was being done, were richer for the experience of having met Russell.
Vale Russell. Rest easy old friend, your friends treasured our time with you.
Well done on remembering the great work of this "stand up " man. You are right about the meetings.
Nearly all are contrived and stacked to stifle any meaningful debate and you really have to have self belief to get up (heart pounding ) and say what needs to be said. Of course if you are a snakeoil salesman or politician it all gets pretty easy as their conviction levels decrease
A sad loss and I'm sure I saw his name(logo) on the activity visit window just a few days ago.