It's just two years ago that Caitlin Martin got her first real taste of dairying, now the 19-year-old is looking at a career in the industry.
Ms Martin has received a DemoDAIRY Foundation scholarship to support her two-year agribusiness degree study at Longerenong College.
Her interest in pursuing a career in dairy was inspired by her family's move two years ago from a beef farm near Mortlake, Vic, to a joint dairy-beef property at Kariah, near Camperdown, Vic.
"We've always had beef properties, although my mum's side of the family was more into dairy," she said.
"Two years ago, we moved and now have 1000 acres (416 hectares) split between a dairy herd and some Angus beef cattle. This farm had the facilities for dairy so we decided to try that."
While many dairy farmers have gone from dairy to beef over the past decade, Ms Martin is pleased her parents Richard and Kylie bucked the trend.
"It's not very common to go the other way but now I'm certainly considering a career in the dairy industry," she said.
"There are so many opportunities. I'm not quite sure yet which way I will go, though I am leaning more towards the agronomy side of things. The dairy industry definitely interests me."
Ms Martin discovered the scholarship on the Longerenong College website.
"DemoDAIRY had done a lot in the area in the past so it was a good opportunity as I hope to do something that will benefit the dairy industry in the future," she said.
It's the hands-on nature of dairying that appeals to Ms Martin.
"You get into a lot more detail when working with dairy cows, with their nutrition, health and calving," she said.
"With beef cattle, they're generally left by themselves but with dairy cows you have make sure their milk quality is up to standard and their calving goes okay and you're milking every day."
Ms Martin took a gap year after finishing Year 12 in 2020, working at the Terang Co-op rural store, along with Elders and at the Mortlake saleyards.
"I saved a bit of money from work but Mum and Dad are also helping with my payments. I couldn't pay much upfront so this really helps with paying fees," she said.
"The course has been very good so far and definitely confirmed that I want to work in the rural field."
Longerenong College will hold an open day on Sunday August 14.
DemoDAIRY Foundation is keen to sponsor more people in the farming industry to pursue study course.
More information can be found at https://www.demodairy.com.au/scholarships-and-grants/ or from DDF secretary Ian Teese on 0427 358987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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