But it turned out, when he spoke to our group in December, that he is far more than that. For two days a week he is paid to be a regional engagement officer for the Murray Darling Basin Authority - there are five around the basin - and for another two days a week, he has helped develop and co-ordinates activities, related to a Benalla Rural Council plan for how to deal with emergencies like fires, floods, storms, heat waves and even blue green algae.
Josh asked the group what he should talk about first and the response was his family’s farm.
Killawarra Farm, operated with wife Clare and their two children, is adjacent to the Warby-Ovens National Park and features the seasonal Sandy Creek which runs through the property. He said they aimed to produce the highest quality lamb and beef at the lowest possible cost to the natural environment. “Our farm is home to about 100 Dorper ewes, Blonde d'Aquitaine and Limousin cattle, free range chooks and other home grown produce”.
Because of lower than normal rainfall in the last couple of years, they have reduced production to suit. Market ready animals are processed in Wangaratta and 18 to 22kg lamb carcases are available whole or as cuts, direct to customers like family members, friends, or others attracted through social media.
Josh said they chose Blonde d'Aquitaines because of their good temperament and because they yielded about 50 percent meat compared which was better than most breeds.
As emergency management liaison officer for Benalla, Josh said he was “the main conduit between the public and the council about emergency matters”. The Municipal Emergency Management Plan committee, of which he is a member, meets once a month and often in Benalla because it is central to the north east. He said the lead body in an emergency would be the SES.
Regarding the MDBA, Josh said he regretted the opening of the water market since 2007 to anyone who wanted to invest. “It was established to get people through the millennial drought, but it had the advantage of opening up new country to irrigation, like almond plantations on the Murray,” he said.
He said it was not widely realised that there were huge water losses in the basin due to evaporation. For example, in a good year 530,000GL (gigalitres) might be recorded flowing in the upper ends of the Barwon-Darling river systems. “But 90 percent of that will have evaporated by the time it gets south to Broken Hill,” he said.