'Townie' makes her way in dairy
"I've been very lucky all the way along to have really good employers," says Gippsland dairy farmer, Katherine Byrne.
"As an outsider, they have all been very good at teaching me and encouraging me to gain knowledge."
Growing up as a 'townie' in Gippsland, Katherine was always entranced by the stories her father told about growing up on a dairy farm.
When she got to VCE, she decided to do a Certificate II in Agriculture alongside her VCE studies and started her first work placement at Caldermeade Farm in West Gippsland; a tourism destination as well as a working dairy farm.
This led to her first full-time job after leaving school.
"There is literally something for everyone in dairy farming," Katherine said.
"Whether it's animals, machinery or numbers (accounting), it's actually difficult to decide because there are so many options."
Encouraged by her employers, Katherine completed a Certificate III and IV at the (former) National Centre for Dairy Education with a Diploma of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham wedged in between.
A naturally quiet person, Katherine has found joining the Gippsland Young Dairy Network has given her great social connections and improved her skills in speaking and running meetings - she is chair of the West Gippsland Extension Network.
Now into her 12th year in dairy farming, Katherine is considering further change and advancement from her current senior farm hand role to possibly taking on a teaching course to "give something back" before looking around for an assistant manager or manager role.
Professionalism and flexibility in dairy work
With the demand for food growing, Peter Kerr sees agriculture as a definite growth industry.
The biggest change he's seen is the improved flexibility in working hours as farms get bigger, more professional and have more outside employees.
Peter Kerr grew up in suburban Melbourne and had family friends in dairy farming.
He spent holidays and other free time on the farm. He liked the animals, working with his hands and working outside.
To get his dairy career underway, Peter started an apprenticeship at 16 with those family friends at Simpson and did his Certificate III in Dairy.
Over the past six years Peter, 29, and his wife Marnie, have progressed from 10 per cent to a 50pc share farming arrangement at Bostocks Creek, milking 300 cows.
"We plan to employ more people and have more time away as we get more established," Peter said.
Want to read more stories like this?
Sign up below to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week.