Livestock

Scales help club, community

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Merrigum Lions Club was unaware of the success that calf scales would bring when it started the program 40 years ago to fundraise for town benefits.

Now the club has beaten the odds and is one of the last ones standing this side of the Goulburn River — and is still offering calf scales.

Club president John Sullivan said when the program started there were a lot more calf scales in the area.

‘‘There was a lot more farmers then too, and prices back then were quite reasonable, all in cash,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

He said the good thing about the club still offering the service was making contact with the farmers in the area.

‘‘Especially in years like this one when things have been very tough for them, you do potentially see someone you might be able to help down the track,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

The club’s calf scales program continues through winter and spring on a weekly basis.

‘‘Farmers can get up to 35 calves a day through calving season and it’s easier for them to come here rather than driving into Shepparton at 8.30am,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

He said money from over the years had gone to a variety of fundraisers in the area, including the Merrigum Hall upgrade.

‘‘Just people in need of a hand, even with fuel vouchers, or if a home is burnt down and they need money straight away, that’s what we’re here for,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

‘‘The palliative care unit in Tatura, we did some painting there and provided them with some garden furniture, to Legacy, St Vincent de Paul, Salvos, the list goes on.’’

The club is looking forward to continuing its service to the community for many more years to come.

‘‘We’re running a program next week called Opportunity Plus where we’re taking the Grade 5 and 6 children from the school to local businesses, just to show them you don’t necessarily have to be in tertiary education, there are other opportunities out there,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

He said the club’s annual fishing boat raffle was coming up in October and was always a success.

‘‘The fishing boat raffle has been going since the club was founded and we’re in preparations for the draw on Easter Saturday at the Rushworth Easter Fair,’’ Mr Sullivan said.

■For more information about the Merrigum Lions Club’s calf scales program, phone Murray Yates on 0400 078 854.