WESTVIC DAIRY has welcomed Debbie Twiss to the staff.
Debbie is the new extension officer for animal health and performance. She has been working in the position for one-day-a-week alongside her regular work as a vet at The Vet Group in Allansford, and now joins the WestVic Dairy team full-time.
Debbie was born in Auckland, New Zealand.
She later moved to Palmerston North to study at Massey University and has lived in rural communities ever since.
“I wanted to become a vet but did a science degree in genetics and microbiology first, to get my grades up for vet school,” Debbie said.
Since graduating as a vet Debbie has always preferred working with dairy cattle. After practising in New Zealand for 16 years she moved to Australia where she has worked as a vet for eight years.
So why dairy cattle in particular? Simple, she likes cows and farmers.
“They are real people, and real animals. No matter where you go, they are honest, straightforward and welcoming,” Debbie said.
As a child Debbie learned to milk cows on a family friend’s farm, and that’s how she came into contact with cattle and sheep.
She has always loved engaging with farmers.
“They are healthy people to engage with on a daily basis because of their positivity and resilience,” Debbie said.
“They’re the kind of people you want to talk to, and also a great source of knowledge – which was particularly useful to me as a new graduate all those years ago!”
Debbie said she looked forward to working at WestVic Dairy and in a different role within the industry.
“It is a new challenge and will help me in gaining a more holistic understanding of the dairy industry,” she said.
Debbie said horticulture was her best subject in high school. When she started her study to become a vet, she turned down an apprenticeship in the tomato industry. She worked in a tomato glasshouse before being accepted into university.
Many people who know Debbie are also familiar with her dog K.T.!
“She rides everywhere with me and people know her for that,” Debbie said.