Dairy women share journeys
Recognising dairy as a career for women was a big part of the theme of the Women in Dairy Gippsland gathering on Thursday, November 23.
More than 100 women attended the second annual Christmas lunch.
Sarah Kelly, Alanah Moore and Chloe Brown, as a panel of speakers, shared insights into their journeys into the dairy industry.
Sarah farms alongside her father on the family farm at Skye.
Alanah works as a milker and farm hand on two dairy farms in West Gippsland.
Chloe Brown married a dairy farmer who wanted to continue his family legacy, at Kirkstall.
Chloe and Rodney Brown milk 200 Jersey cows and are leasing a family farm on a vendor finance agreement.
“Rodney worked on his parents farms, then we became sharefarmers and now we’re leasing the farm,” she said.
“We’ve converted from a mixed herd of Jersey, Friesian and Holsteins to straight Jerseys.”
Chloe said when she began learning about farming, she didn’t know the difference between a heifer calf and a rising-two-year-old.
Sarah Kelly works alongside her father on a family dairy farm, milking Holstein cows in a rotary dairy.
She became interested in genetics when herself and her father decided to breed their herd down to medium-sized cows.
“I’ve also brought in changes to our record keeping system,” she said.
“One of the best things about coming back to the farm is working with my Dad.”
Sarah’s ambition is to buy her own farm, and continue working alongside her father.
In the meantime, her three daughters are also learning how to be dairy farmers, growing up on the farm.
Alanah works in two teams on two different farms and enjoys the responsibility of working on her own.
“Working on my own is something I thrive on. I’ve always liked having responsibility,” she said.
“I thrive on juggling milking the cows with checking the paddocks are set up, and working on two different dairy farms, with two different dairy sheds and production systems.”
Donna Gibson, program manager for Research and Innovation at the Gardiner Foundation, thanked the panel of speakers. Gardiner Foundation was a key sponsor of the event.
Donna spoke about how the dairy industry thrives by supporting women across a range of career roles, from milking to research and executive roles.
“Dairy is not just a male domain, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the dairy industry,” she said.
“From dairy farmers to researchers, women have been making their mark in this industry, driving innovation and ensuring the sustainable future of dairy farming.
“The Gardiner Foundation understands that empowering women in agriculture is about more than gender equality, it also provides an economic advantage.
“Women’s participation in the dairy sector ensures its resilience and growth.”
Gardiner Foundation support extends to education, training and leadership development, including scholarships to support tertiary studies, and funding for people within the dairy industry to participate in the Australian Rural Leadership Program and the Gippsland Community Leadership Program.
“Women play a vital role in diversifying and growing the dairy sector, which benefits the entire community,” Donna said.
“We’re here today to celebrate the incredible women in dairy — all of you — and honour your dedication to the industry.
“You inspire future generations of women to take up roles in the dairy sector.”
New group launched
The Christmas gathering was also the official launch of Women in Dairy Gippsland group, supported by GippsDairy.
Gippsland women in dairy are being asked to design the logo for the Women in Dairy Gippsland group.
The logo will be used as a key focus of merchandising and promoting the group.
Entries are open until February 29, and can be sent to Allison Potter of Bulla Dairy Foods, by email to Allison.firstname.lastname@example.org