30 year ag career built on passion
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30 year ag career built on passion - Crawford Taylor

Category Leadership

Crawford Taylor

A flurry of dusty lanolin-scented activity, accompanied by a frenetic background chorus of bleating sheep and the whir of whip-quick shears – shearing time is, perhaps, Rabobank National Farm Support Manager Crawford Taylor’s most cherished childhood memory.

“As a lad I had the honour of helping the number one shearer turning on or off the gear, and sweeping the board, and from time to time I threw the fleece onto the fleecing table,” Crawford reflects.

“One fond memory is of my grandfather who was always in charge of the weighing table when we fleece tested the hoggets. He was almost deaf, most likely industrial deafness, yet heard every tweak, noise and instruction in the cacophony of the shearing shed.”

Crawford admits he looked for every excuse he could to stay home from school during shearing, however – thankfully for Rabobank – his education won out.

Having enjoyed a career with Rabobank for 30 years, Crawford is one of the company’s longest serving, and most passionate about the sustainability of the industry.

Growing up in Tambellup in the Great Southern Region of WA, a town straddled by the once mighty Gordon River, Crawford has seen first-hand how poor decision-making and policy can impact the agricultural landscape.

“Unfortunately today the Gordon River is not in a healthy state, it was a river full of fish in generations past, but land clearing in gullies and along water courses that feed the river have destroyed it.”

But he firmly believes all is not lost.

“It is interesting that in the lifetime of my mother and father, to see the change in land management from clearing and development in the early years, to planting trees for land care and biodiversity in more recent years,” he said. “It is truly amazing to see how the land recovers and the natural intelligence stored within our landscapes.”

Crawford Taylor

Crawford’s family run a fourth, potentially fifth, intergenerational family property, a traditional mixed-farming operation consisting of sheep/wool and grains.

“Growing up, it was a very conservative operation,  with the emphasis on sheep and wool - grains was mainly oats with some wheat, barley and canola depending on rotation, with sheep controlling the weeds.”

“Our sheep enterprise was merino based and self-replacing, breeding our own rams from a nucleus flock with outside genetics from time to time to refresh the bloodlines.”

The advancement of the industry since his childhood days is still a great source of fascination, particularly the newfound awareness around sustainability, and subsequent technological advancements of recent decades.

“Progressively the world is waking up that action is required to change the way we live so we can leave this planet in a better place for future generations,” he said.

“Agriculture is at the forefront of sustainability and the challenge of nourishing a growing population and lowering our footprint on the planet opens up incredible opportunities for Rabobank and our clients, with the adoption of new technology, products and services to meet this challenge.”

Education, he believes, will be the key driver in meeting these challenges, and will take a concerted effort by the whole agricultural industry, including within Rabobank.

“Our participation in National Ag Day provides focus to these important issues.”

Crawford Taylor

While Crawford jokes that his pecking order behind a large line-up of siblings meant returning to the family farm was not an option, and high hopes of being an AFL footballer kicking the winning goal in a grand final proved a pipe dream, he has no regrets following his path with Rabobank.

His role has afforded him the opportunity to work with clients who are equally considered when it comes to agriculture’s continued sustainability, and help set direction for a more environmentally friendly future industry.

“Our business has a core competitive advantage in relationship banking to leading producers, which is now intergenerational in my time at the bank. We grow because our clients grow, generation to generation. If we stick to this and care for our staff and environment, then that’s something to get excited about.”

This National Ag Day Crawford said he will be wearing his ‘ag day’ T shirt and hopes to get into the office, or enjoy a ‘virtual’ morning tea with the team…or, he laughs, do ‘whatever I’m told to do!’

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