Gerringong’s David Mayo was honoured at International Dairy Week in Victoria, awarded the Lex Bunn Memorial Award.
The award was introduced to IDW in 2002 to provide recognition to someone within the industry who is a major contributor, yet does so in a manner not seeking award or recognition.
The award is named after legendary Ayrshire breeder Lex Bunn, who along with his brother Ian, ran the famed Wattle Park Stud for more 50 years.
“It was very humbling,” Mr Mayo said.
“I had no idea it was going to happen so it was a complete shock.
“To be recognised and honoured with such a prestigious award that honours Lex Bunn is incredible.”
The Bunn brothers, and Lex in particular, exhibited at Melbourne Show his entire life.
“Lex dedicated his whole life to the dairy industry - showing and breeding cows and was also there when IDW started,” Mr Mayo said.
“He was a big part of setting up IDW with Brian Leslie - he was a feed merchant, the person who helped set the show up and was there at the finish each year when everything was gone.
“A great person of the industry. One who served the industry. To be mentioned in the same circles is indeed an honour.
It was very humbling. To be recognised and honoured with such a prestigious award that honours Lex Bunn is incredible.Lex Bunn Memorial Award winner David Mayo
“A lot of the previous winners of this award have been mentors to me - people I have looked up to, people who achieved incredible things in our industry, people who exemplified what the award is about, people deeply involved in many different areas of dairying and all been highly successful at what they have done.
“To be included among such a group is a great honour.”
Mr Mayo is well-known locally through his job, the current general manager of Semex Australia and New Zealand, having started with the company in 2002, and has worked closely with a number of local farmers on breeding and genetics in their herds.
He was presented with the award by the inaugural recipient Jim Conroy, a long-time friend and great mentor and his former boss at Semex, and last year’s winner Lindsay Wilson, of Shirlin Jerseys at Tamworth.
Mr Mayo was emotional in accepting the award, especially when he spoke of the support of his family, in particular his parents Geoff and Lexie, with whom he ran the Ayrshire stud Parkvale at Yellow Rock at Albion Park.
“I farmed with dad after leaving school,” he said.
“Dad was a great mentor for me - mum and dad both were.”
The family’s dispersal sale in 1990 set records - at the time Parkvale held the record for the most successful herd average Ayrshire sale held at a public auction and also record prices for an Ayrshire cow and unjoined heifer.
The same year with his wife Sharon, they started the Regal Park Stud, with two heifers given to them by his parents.
From those small beginnings Regal Park has slowly grown into a very successful stud, winning 22 All Australian Awards, four champions at International Dairy Week, plus a number of champions at numerous Royal Shows, including Sydney.
He paid credit to close family friends Paul and Vicki Timbs, of Mayfield Farms at Jaspers Brush, who for the past 10 years have managed their cows.
“We wouldn't be able to run and do what we do without Paul and Vicki’s support,” he said.
“They are great cow managers.”
He has also had involvement with numerous local show societies, having exhibited, judged and generally as part of the dairy industry.
“Dairying is a great industry and it has taken me to many places around the world,” he said.
He was awarded a scholarship at the first dairy week event for a person under 25 involved in the dairy industry to travel to the United States.
“From there I went on more overseas travel and broadened my outlook on the dairy industry and my understanding of it,” he said.
He has judged all the Royal Shows in Australia, many times in all breeds, International Dairy Week on three occasions judging the Ayrshires, Guernseys and Brown Swiss, as well as the Youth Challenge on three separate occasions.
Internationally he has judged around the world - in Canada, South Africa, Finland, Scotland and New Zealand - and in some places multiple times.
The one major judging experience that has eluded him is World Dairy Expo in the US.
He encourages young people to get involved in the industry, to get an understanding how it works.
“There are so many facets to the industry,” he said.
In winning the award Mr Mayo spoke of the importance of immersing yourself in the industry no matter what part “takes your fancy”.
“Be it showing, judging, being part of the industry involved in producing milk, working with nutrition, there are so many aspects - it’s a great industry - with good people involved - the future is only limited by your own imagination,” he said.
“In showing you get an understanding a cow’s correct conformation and how that can contribute to the long-term profitability of a dairy farm.”
And the Mayo name is set to continue in dairy circles, with his daughter Ash (Wright) following in his footsteps, a third generation cattle show judge and exhibitor, while his son Josh, although better known for his hockey skills where he has represented both NSW and Australian, is also involved in the family’s showing endeavours.
In fact the father and daughter have both won the Australian National Junior Judging Title.
And while he has achieved many things in the dairy industry, he rates the award right up there with judging at the Royal Winter Fair in Canada, at IDW and winning champion at numerous major shows.
“All great things in their own way,” he said.