Honour for farming consultant’s expansive agriculture career

Michael TraillGreat Southern Herald
Darkan farming consultant James “Bob” Hall is one of the latest additions to the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Camera IconDarkan farming consultant James “Bob” Hall is one of the latest additions to the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Darkan farming consultant James “Bob” Hall has been recognised for five decades of service to WA agriculture, joining more than 1200 Australians on the latest Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The “Ten Pound Pom”, who migrated to Darkan in 1966 with his young family, was made a Member of the Order of Australia on Monday for his “significant service” to the agricultural industry.

Mr Hall, pictured, was drawn to Australia by an advertisement in agricultural journal British Farmer and Stockbreeder for a consultancy position with Darkan Farm Management Advisory Services.

It became the catalyst for the former English hill farming and sheep consultant to move to WA and forge a successful agricultural career.

Mr Hall was integral in co-founding the Yardstick Central Sire Evaluation Scheme, the Federation of Performance Sheep Breeders WA and was an Australian Merino Society foundation member.

His resume also includes a stint as president of the now defunct Australian Association of Farm Management Consultants and being an inaugural fellow of the Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants.

Despite the many roles and positions, Mr Hall said helping drive the controversial abolishment of the Australian Wool Corporation’s reserve price scheme in 1991 was a memorable achievement.

James “Bob” Hall outside of the now Icon Agriculture in Darkan.
Camera IconJames “Bob” Hall outside of the now Icon Agriculture in Darkan.

“A lot of farmers hated me for it, because they thought the scheme was great,” Mr Hall said.

“They’re pretty happy with the situation now though.”

Mr Hall still works part-time in farm management consultant Icon Agriculture’s headquarters in Darkan on Hillman Street — the same building he first lived in on Australian soil.

He acknowledged the WA agriculture sector was battling labour shortages, but said farming enterprises had rapidly developed since he arrived in the State more than 53 years ago.

“Farmers are better educated, the younger farmer is much more up to date with everything that’s going on,” he said.

“Farming in the past was very traditional, it was all hard slog, whereas now it’s getting much more sophisticated.”

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