Following graduation from the College, Cliff enlisted in the Army and it was there that he had his first glimpse of the agricultural potential and productivity of Western Australia.
Despite receiving offers of several very good jobs after the war, Cliff followed his dream and returned to farming, buying part of the family farm in NSW.
In 1959, the Emery family bought a rural property near Busselton where they gained a reputation as progressive dairy farmers with a fine herd of Guernsey stud cattle. For health reasons, dairying gave way to beef farming, with Cliff establishing one of the first Charolais studs in Western Australia. As well, they ran Ryeland and Corriedale sheep and showed at many Agricultural shows in Western Australia.
Cliff became involved in agricultural shows and community organisations at an early age. He was a Rotarian for several years.