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TAS Country : April 12th 2012
14 Friday, Apr News PRIVATE OASIS: TFGA chief executive Jan Davis has made some significant renova Jan Davis is no stranger to tackling constant rural challenges but she has her sanctuary, writes KAROLIN MacGREGOR Jan's right WHEN rising flood waters threatened to engulf 20 sheep trapped next to her Perth home earlier this year, it was Jan Davis' quick thinking --- and a box of Weet-Bix --- that saved the day. ''There I was in my PJs and gumboots at six o'clock in the morning trying to move these sheep to higher ground and they didn't want to go anywhere,'' she said. ''I'd never had anything to do with sheep before, so I thought 'what would I do if they were dogs? I'd use food'. So I got a box of Weet-Bix and it worked, they just started following me.'' Ms Davis's introduction to sheep wrangling came just months after she moved into her house on the banks of the South Esk River late last year. A self-confessed city slicker, Ms Davis moved to Tasmania about 18 months ago to take on the job as chief executive of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA). She is the first woman to hold the position in the organisation's 30-year history. And now, after falling in love with Tasmania, Ms Davis is determined not to leave. ''It's such a wonderful place --- it's just the best-kept secret,'' she said. ''I love the climate and the country- side; everywhere you go there is a view. You don't feel crowded and I love that I can live in a place like this and I'm 10 minutes from town.'' Growing up in Sydney, Ms Davis's journey to the TFGA was, she says, a long and convoluted path. She attended university in Sydney through a scholarship bond arrange- ment, which meant after qualifying she had to work as a teacher for a minimum of five years to pay off her education debt. During her 10 years in teaching, Ms Davis developed skills that, although she did not realise it at the time, have been helpful for her career. ''I got to be the economics master at the Blacktown Boys' School and if you can deal with Year 8 boys after lunch when it's windy and raining and sports have been cancelled that afternoon, I think you can deal with anything,'' she said. ''Farmers are easy after that.'' After a decade of teaching, Ms Davis decided she'd had enough and a career change was in order. While teaching, Ms Davis also com- pleted a course in horticulture. This led to her taking on a role as the chief executive of the Australian Nur- sery Industry Association. After several years working in the nursery industry, Ms Davis got a job as chief executive of Greening Australia and was instrumental in establishing the Billion Tree Campaign in the early 1990s, which is still continuing today. After a stint working for the Federal Government in Canberra, Ms Davis began working for the Mushroom Growers Association, a position she held for five years. Wanting a break from agriculture, Ms Davis set up a consulting business and a bed and breakfast in the outer Sydney suburb of Windsor. ''Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disaster because I was trying to do it all on my own and it just wasn't working,'' she said. ''The bed and breakfast business is actually still going, but it just wasn't the right thing for me.'' Ms Davis moved to Western Aust- ralia and worked as a consultant before being headhunted for a job at Queensland fruit and vegetable growers association GrowCom. She spent several years there and helped the organisation undergo struc- tural changes, including the shift from statutory to voluntary membership. ''It was a very interesting place to work, full-on at times, but I learnt a lot there and I enjoyed it,'' she said. Prior to moving here, Ms Davis said she had only really had one proper visit to Tasmania in 1975 when she toured the state on her honeymoon. ''Apart from my honeymoon, I'd been to Tasmania for a few conferences over the years and I think I'd driven from Hobart to Launceston once, but I 5 0 1 2015500-120413 Wheeled Offset Discs Subsoilers Rollers Stump Jump Harrow Bars www delmade com au R C 1800 335 623 PHONE NOW FOR MORE INFORMATION FREECALL 1800 335 623 Hydraulic Bale Ha dlers Grai ugers Slashers
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