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Vale - Peter Stewart

All at Genetics Australia mourn the passing of one of the herd improvement industries greatest advocates, former VAB/GA Director and Chairman Peter Stewart of Stratford.

Peter gave lifelong service to the herd improvement industry and was highly respected by all organisations he served.

Running the family dairy farm Peter could see the value genetics and herd improvement would play in the future of dairying in Australia and in 1955 joined the Maffra Heyfield Herd Improvement Association at the ripe old age of 18.  Chairman Geoff Webster at the time told Peter he was just not to be a pretty face at board meetings and had to express his opinion and contribute with ideas, traits that held him in good stead for his future board roles. Peter was always willing to ask questions when needed, challenge when he thought something was not as it should be or if he failed to understand or believed everything he was told. Peter served the Association for 25 years as Director and 5 as Chairman.

He also has a great passion for the environment and the Avon River and in the early 1970s held various positions on the Avon and Macalister Improvement Trust, Landcare groups, State Rivers and Water Commission Advisory Committees, Salinity groups, in all over 30 years were spent contributing to environmental committees.

In 1981 joined the Victorian Artificial Breeders Coop Board, an important time in the history of the Cooperative. This role took him away from the farm a minimum of 1 day per month to firstly Melbourne and then onto Bacchus Marsh, subject to Melbourne traffic an 8 hour or longer round trip. Following the merger with the DPI AI breeding center Wacol AB in 1993, Genetics Australia was formed and Peter was just the right man to be appointed the inaugural Chairman of Genetics Australia in 1994. Peter remained Chairman until 1997 and he retired from the Board in 2001. His contribution during his time at the cooperative was highly valued and he gained a great deal of respect for his well thought and conciliatory style of leadership.

In 1999 Peter received the Sir John Monash Award for Agribusiness Cooperative Directors recognising his 35 years of contribution to the community, an award he greatly treasured until his passing.

Peter passed away on the 22nd December 2020 and our thoughts and wishes go to his wife for over 58 years Margaret, their 5 children and 13 grandchildren.