John Rodd nominated for NSW Volunteer of the Year

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: John Rodd of Wagga is pictured with the Poll Hereford steer which sold for charity. Picture: Nikki Reynolds
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: John Rodd of Wagga is pictured with the Poll Hereford steer which sold for charity. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

JOHN Rodd isn't one to talk up his achievements.

He's humble to the core. Yet generosity and a love for the cattle beef industry run through his veins in equal parts.

Over the years he has prepared charity steers, which have amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Wagga charities.

In fact, estimates put the total at more than $200,000.

It is this longstanding commitment which prompted the nomination of Mr Rodd in the upcoming NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

In addition to the money, there are children in the Riverina who have been able to participate in "hands on" agricultural experiences and learn about different breeds of cattle because of the work Mr Rodd has undertaken.

This is what he values most.

While the funds charity steers earn is significant Mr Rodd says bringing agriculture to the classroom, or more accurately in his case, children to the cattle yards, can't be underestimated.

It sows a seed. Pupils learn about the supply chain. They also gain an interest in livestock and learn about the process of preparing animals for show and sale.

In talking about his nomination in the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards Mr Rodd said it was overwhelming to be acknowledged.

"I have enjoyed this process," he said.

LOOKING BACK: John Rodd with Kimberley Rodd, Sophia Hall (3), Amanda Hall, Charli Hall (20 months ), Fiona Rodd, Nicole Rodd pictured back in 2013 when they sold a steer to raise money for mental health programs.

LOOKING BACK: John Rodd with Kimberley Rodd, Sophia Hall (3), Amanda Hall, Charli Hall (20 months ), Fiona Rodd, Nicole Rodd pictured back in 2013 when they sold a steer to raise money for mental health programs.

"I have been involved in the cattle industry all of my life," he said.

Mr Rodd says there has been around 25 steers, he has prepared, that have gone under the hammer at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre to raise money for charity.

The first one was a Murray Grey steer that raised funds for Country Hope. And there's been plenty of others too.

Partnerships with the Wagga RSL and Willans Hill School have been numerous.

Plus there was a steer prepared and sold to raise money for mental health programs in the region.

A fondness for beef cattle is something Mr Rodd shares with two of his daughters, Kimberley and Nicole.

Kimberley established the Wagga Poll Hereford Stud. And both sisters were involved in showing cattle when they attended Kooringal High School.

Mr Rodd will openly tell you he likes Poll Herefords but "colour" and breed preference hasn't stood in the way of making money from the charity animals.

When they go under the hammer at auction, and ultimately head to an abattoir Mr Rodd said it never gets easier.

He tells a story of being at Sydney Royal Show with a steer that had won champion on the hoof. He remembered leading the steer on the truck (obviously destined for an abattoir) and the animal slipped his halter and made his way to the top of a pile of straw.

It was the straw that had been mucked out from the cattle stalls at the show. Mr Rodd, then uncomfortably climbed to the top of the straw, put the halter back on, retrieved the steer and sent him to the ultimate destination.

"I will say it. I was sad that day."

The preparation of steers for charity events usually runs over a period of 90 days.

They are fed, broken into halter and taught to lead etc. The pressure is often much higher on Mr Rodd because he prides himself in getting the steers quiet enough so the children from Willans Hill can pat them.

"The school involvement is just so important ... the children really enjoy it," he said.

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