Tributes have flooded in from national and local dairy industry leaders for John Harlock who died on Monday.
Mr Harlock, 71, was inducted into the Western Victorian Dairy Industry Honour Board only last week for his outstanding contributions. He was unable to attend the ceremony because of illness.
Mr Harlock was a strong advocate for the adoption of improved dairy farming practices and his contributions include time as chairman of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme, Genetics Australia, Western Herd Improvement and as a founding member of Datagene.
His brother, Andrew, said Mr Harlock was often asked why he gave so much to agriculture and his reply was because he got so much from agriculture.
“He loved what he did,” Andrew Harlock said.
“He was also a good mentor to a number of people.”
Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said Mr Harlock “was a really remarkable man who has been a big contributor to so many parts of the dairy industry as well as supporting so many people in their careers, including myself.
“He has been a rock for so many," he said.
“A great example of that is how he represented farmers as the herd improvement industry built a new strategy and created DataGene.”
Anne Adams, who worked with Mr Harlock when they were both involved in the local branch of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, said he understood the value of good science to agriculture.
“He was also a real people person,” Ms Adams said.
WestVic Dairy chair Simone Renyard said Mr Harlock and his wife Shirley were “icons” of the regional dairy industry.
“He had milk running through his veins,” Ms Renyard said.
“He was extremely passionate about our industry, about young people in farming and breeding.
“He knew what had to be achieved and he had a plan.”
Mr Harlock is survived by his wife Shirley, is a father to Scott, Matthew and Blair (dec.) and a grandfather to Ella. His funeral will be held on Monday at St John’s Presbyterian Church.