Originally from the UK, Derek Ramshaw and his wife immigrated to Australia in 1954, where he became and Agricultural teacher with the South Australian Education Department. In 1963 they moved to Tasmania, to become Agricultural Officer with the Department of Agriculture. He became the “driving force” behind several dairy, beef and sheep discussion groups in the district.
Derek moved to Burnie in 1974 to take up a position as District Agricultural Officer. Under the guidance of Derek, local farmers from the Yolla-Elliot district formed a discussion group. For several years, the group consisting of about 30-40 people would meet monthly at various local farms around the district to discuss the different farming methods, with information being provided to them by Derek and other guest speakers. Derek also organised for the discussion group to attend various Field days both around Tasmania and interstate. Expert advice was provided to the group on everything from shearing sheep and making silage to bucket rearing calves and pasture management.
The idea for a buying group stemmed from a rainy field day at Bill French’s dairy at Mount Hicks Road in Wynyard. As the group waited for the rain to clear, they expressed their concerns about the high prices of farming inputs. Derek suggested that they form a buyers group. (use this highlighted section as a stand out quote as per other articles) At the same time local farmer, businessman and discussion group member, Jack Brown, had just returned from the UK where he had witnessed the power of collective buying which he had seen in operation in the UK.
From there, Yolla Producers Society was established in May 1977, a buyers group for primary producers, with annual subscriptions being set at $12 per member.