MICHAELA THOMPSON has spent a huge part of her life in and around the dairy industry. The 23-year-old from Rochester loves nothing more than breeding, showing, looking at and talking about cows and that dedication paid off when she won the coveted $10 000 Dairy Youth Travel Scholarship at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show. The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Ms Thompson, who has just completed a commerce degree at Federation University.
“The win is recognition for everything I have achieved in the industry over the last few years and the timing is perfect,” she said.
“I wanted to travel next year, but realistically I wouldn’t have been able to afford the trip I am now planning so it has been great.
“I have always wanted to travel to Europe and see their cows because they are a lot different to Australian and North American cows. I will return to do the Winter Fair in June and then the second half of the year I will head over to North America and Canada.”
Ms Thompson was quick to add she couldn’t have achieved what she had without the support of her parents. As the youngest of three daughters, she is the one who from a very young age has loved farming life and had a passion for cows.
“My sisters are proud of me but they also think I am crazy at times,” she laughed.
Ms Thompson owns a small Holstein stud, Sunrise Holsteins, on a dairy farm her father manages at Rochester. She began showing cattle as a little girl — the cows may have towered over her in the ring but that did little to curb her passion, in fact it only fed it over the years.
She bought her first cow when she was just 14 years old.
“I paid $6000 for a heifer — Donnybrook Talent Sheena. I saved up all my money from working at a café to buy her, so you could say I have had that passion from a very early age.”
Ms Thompson hopes her passion for the dairy industry will extend into her working life and she plans to use her degree to bridge the gap between accountants and dairy farmers. She hopes the overseas trip will give her a worldwide perspective on the industry.
The scholarship is hosted annually at Royal Melbourne Show. Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria chief executive officer Mark O’Sullivan said it provided an emerging dairy industry leader the opportunity to gain insight into global agricultural and food industries.
“RASV is committed to providing and enhancing compelling opportunities for youth development and recognition for future leaders through the Royal Melbourne Show Dairy Cattle Competition and we congratulate Michaela and look forward to supporting her in her travels to international dairy regions,” Mr O’Sullivan said.