Recognised as a trailblazer for women in dairy, Timboon dairy farmer Jan Raleigh is finally calling time on her remarkable career.
Jan was just six months old when her parents purchased the property between Timboon and Scotts Creek in 1946, farming a small herd of Dairy Shorthorn.
Jan loved the life and wanted to stay on the farm, but followed her parents’ wishes and started a 25-year career in nursing when she turned 18.
That all changed in 1983 when Jan’s father passed, leaving her to assume control of the family property.
“For my whole life all I wanted to do was come home to the farm. My brothers didn’t want to, so this was my chance.”
Inheriting an 80-strong herd that was producing just 50 kilograms of butter fat per cow annually, Jan quickly realised she had to overhaul every facet of the farm.
“If we stayed like that, the farm would have to be sold. You just can’t live on that.”
Eager to learn more, Jan enrolled in a one day a week course at Glenormiston College.
“That was a real eye opener for me – what should be done, compared to what Dad had been doing.
“He hadn’t improved the herd, opting to use the same bull, which led to inbreeding. It was clear to me the herd badly needing improving.
“I did a course in artificial insemination, but that was just after the mad cow disease hit the UK. That was when I started looking at Aussie Reds and thought I’d give them a try.”