Thomas James Dwyer 21.8.1942 - 1.11.2023
The death of Thomas James Dwyer, known to friends as "Uncle Tom", at 81, on November 1, was a loss to many.
A lifelong advocate for agricultural improvement and the education of younger generations, Tom had a celebrated career and made a meaningful impact on the industry.
He was a pioneer in improved farming practices, a staunch supporter of the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW, now AgShows NSW, and the district exhibits at Sydney Royal Show, his show involvement also leading to an appointment as delegate/director of the ASC for 10 years and a produce judge at nine shows annually for many years.
But his agricultural journey began on his most favourite of places, "Pleasant View", the Dwyer family farm near Bogan Gate, which he farmed with his brother Pat.
There, the pair ran a mixed farming operation, including prime lambs and winter cereals and it was in those fields where his passion for innovative farming took root.
From his early days, Tom sought avenues to expand his skills, such as through the local TAFE, securing certificates in sheep and wool classing, a veterinary course, welding, agronomy, machinery maintenance, chemical handling, grain sampling and farm book keeping.
Tom and Pat were also the first locals to introduce clover and lucerne pastures, use top dressing and chemical weed control, spray-topping and chemical fallows.
To share their ideas, Pleasant View became host to 48 field days through the years with more than 2500 attendees, among which were busloads of agricultural science students.
They would begin lotfeeding lambs in 1972 using clover hay and grain oats in self feeders. And from 1969 to 1979, Pleasant View ran 600 bacon pigs, fed on a high protein ration to produce top quality bacon.
In 1998, they celebrated 75 years of registered seed wheat production, Tom and Pat being among the oldest seed producers in the State, by then also with a seed cleaning business handling all types of grain.
They sold certified seed across five states and during this time Tom was recognised as an authority in certified seed production and marketing.
He would also become the first registered seed grower from the Lachlan Valley to attend the southern NSW registered seed growers meeting, held at Temora, and later help form the Western Seed Growers Association. He was a member of the NSW Small Seed Growers Association, and, through his involvement with these three organisations, played a role in their amalgamation to the NSW Seed Growers Association.
Pleasant View was also host to NSW Department of Agriculture trials across a period of 30 years.
Tom's expanding industry involvement also led to a position as one of three farmer representatives in NSW selected to declare noxious weeds, and was a Gunning Gap Agricultural Bureau member for more than 40 years.
On four occasions, Tom and Pat won the Outright Wheat Trophy, a local competition spanning just five years,and the inaugural local pasture competition trophy.
Tom spent three years as treasurer and 17 years as crop coordinator for the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and ASC crop competitions and as exhibitors with the ASC the brothers entered 42 competitions for wheat, producing eight wins.
It was no surprise, therefore, that Tom was also Forbes PA and H Society crop coordinator for 14 years for wheat, barley and canola competitions.
During his time with the association, he also exhibited a district display of produce at Forbes similar to the district exhibits at Sydney Royal.
He served a stint as Forbes vice president, being on the committee for 12 years, and introduced the dairy cattle section to the show, organised many a grain competition, and personally took exhibits to Bedgerabong, Eugowra and Parkes shows.
He was overjudge for grain, fruit and vegetables at eight different shows in Group 10 district, and for Group 10 grain judging finals for 31 years, plus would introduce grain judging to Castle Hill, Gunnedah and Mittagong shows.
During his ASC Dryland Field Wheat Competition crop coordinator role for 10 years he introduced four new regions based on maturity of crops to bring fairness at the time of judging, his wheat competition involvement also extending to the launching of the inaugural ASC Durum Field Wheat Competition, and inclusion in the initiation of the Excellence in Farming Awards.
Somehow, amid all his community involvement, he managed to catch the eye of his wife to be, Forbes lass Marie (nee Sullivan), whom he married on February 27, 1982. She would pre-decease him by five years, on November 16, 2018, but as Tom would share at her funeral "you made a lonely country boy very happy".
A young Tom Dwyer had first asked her out in 1965, only to be told 'no'. In 1981, he plucked up the courage to ask again, and after first answering 'no', Marie changed her mind, joining him that same evening for their first date at the Forbes Golf Club.
After many years living in "Ningadoo", a new home Tom had built on "Pleasant View", they moved to "Whistler", in Forbes, 16 years before Marie's death, but Tom would always miss the farm.
Despite the hundreds of miles in any given trip for his causes, the eternally positive Tom always had a joke to tell and will be remembered for playing Slim Dusty with the volume up loud and having time for a yarn with his mates.