A new Dairy Australia extension program is guiding the next generation of dairy leaders to forge long-term careers in the Australian dairy industry.
Eleven young dairy enthusiasts from throughout Australia, aged between 18 and 35, have been taking part in Dairy Australia's 18-month DairyPath pilot program.
The program aims to turn ambition into knowledge by providing early career farmers with a tangible career progression framework.
Dairy Australia's Sarah Thompson said the pilot program had already delivered positive outcomes for the industry by giving young farmers a pathway to success.
"These are passionate young people who have bright futures ahead of them, and we want to ensure they have meaningful, long-term careers in the Australian dairy industry," Ms Thompson said.
Participants are equipped with the tools they need to map out their career and personal development, and connect with programs, workshops, conferences and events at both a national and regional level.
All participants are currently working in roles on-farm, ranging from farm hands, to herd managers, to lessees, while one participant works in the herd improvement industry.
Each participant was required to submit an application demonstrating their enthusiasm for the industry, their passion for personal development, their desire to give back to the industry, and their leadership abilities.
The program started in May 2018 with participants creating a learning and development plan, before coming together every six months for face-to-face workshops in Melbourne run by an experienced facilitator.
Between workshops, the group is supported remotely through Facebook chats, regular email conversations and webinars.
These are passionate young people who have bright futures ahead of them ..
At the conclusion of the program, participants will present to the Australian Dairy Farmers National Council in November on the highlights of their DairyPath journey, and the outcomes of their involvement.
As well as attending major dairy events and connecting with Young Dairy Networks in their regions, the group has had the opportunity to visit farms in other dairy regions and be exposed to a range of farming sizes and systems.
"When this program wraps up, participants will have a clear picture of where they are heading in the dairy industry and how to get there," Ms Thompson said.
"While this was a pilot program, its early success means we are excited to see what the future holds for the program."
Dairy Australia will continue to update farmers on opportunities to apply for the program in the future, after a review of the pilot has been completed.
Young dairy farmers can find out more about Dairy Australia's education and careers programs by visiting dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/people/dairy-education-and-careers.
This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer