Late Don Harris Recognition and Young Achiever Adam Hickey

Posted By NHIA  
11:30 AM



Industry “visionary” celebrated at awards ceremony


The driving-force behind the rapid growth of the northern Victorian herd improvement industry more than 40 years ago was recognised with a distinguished industry award recently.  

The late Don Harris received the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA) long-standing prestigious Meritorious Service Award – the Laurie Wells Award – at a presentation in Moama, NSW.  

Don was best known for expanding, renaming, and modernising the offering of the Northern Herd Development Co-Operative (NHD) in the 1970s, ensuring its sustainability for decades to come.  

For example, Don recognised the value of data for decision making on farm.  

Under Don’s leadership NHD purchased its own electronic herd testing equipment and employed staff to analyse and distribute the data generated from this equipment to farmers.  

Former NHD director and dairy farmer Stewart Peace paid tribute to Don, describing him as a “visionary manager” who led NHD to become one of the best and largest herd improvement operations in the country.  

“Don’s belief was that herd improvement could create better wellbeing and profit for dairy farmers,” he told the presentation crowd.  

“Don would have been embarrassed about receiving recognition for his work, as it wasn’t about him, it was all about the benefits for herd improvement and farmers.”  

Don was represented at the presentation by his daughters Leibi Harris, Lesley McDonald and Meryl Smith.


At the same ceremony, Numurkah Nu-Genes director Adam Hickey received the NHIA 2022 Young Achiever Award, with the prize including $2,500 to fund professional development.  

The 30-year-old wants to use this money to foster youth within the industry and is formulating a plan to promote herd improvement as a career for school students.  

Drawing on his own start in the industry, Adam wants more awareness of the benefits of working in agriculture, with a specific focus on breeding.  

“I’ve always enjoyed the work, it’s out and about, and you are on farms, working with different people and generating good relationships,” he said.  

“I had a little taste of the job working part-time while studying to become a teacher, I enjoyed it so much I took up the offer of full-time employment.”  

Adam started working at Numurkah Nu-Genes in 2013 and has since purchased shares in the business as he’s continued to advance his career.  

Numurkah Nu-Genes founder Gerard Daniel nominated Adam for the Young Achiever Award in recognition of his commitment to the business and industry.  

NHIA created this award in 2020 to applaud the commitment and excellence of those aged 35 years and under and support their professional and personal development.