Holstein Australia CEO Rohan Butler with (L-R) Nathan Hart, Kaitlyn Wishart, Andrew Gray, Courtney Afford & Georgia Sieben
Melbourne Royal, Jersey Australia and Holstein Australia have announced the team that will head to the Young Breeders School in Battice, Belgium next month to represent Australia on the world dairy youth competition stage.
The team members, selected after a rigorous application and interview process, come from five dairy regions across two states and represent a number of dairy breeds.
The team members are:
Andrew Gray from Chapel Hill, South Australia
Courtney Afford from Woods Point, South Australia
Georgia Sieben from Torrumbarry, Victoria
Kaitlyn Wishart from Cohuna, Victoria
Nathan Hart from Stanhope, Victoria
The team reserve is Oakley Henry from Tinamba, Victoria, and the team will be led by Justin Johnston, Glomar Holsteins, Bundalaguah, Victoria
The Young Breeders School is an annual five-day event run by the Association Wallonne de l'Elevage (AWE). It involves hands-on workshops including bedding, showmanship & clipping, as well as classroom-based sessions such as marketing and herd promotion. After three days of workshops and practice, participants put their skills to the test in stock judging, showmanship & calf classes.
An Australian team competed at the Young Breeders School for the first time in 2019, with all team members finishing in the top third of the results, three in the top fifteen. Formerly called the European Young Breeders' School, the event’s increasingly international nature has seen it rebranded as the Young Breeders School to reflect its global reach more accurately. This will be the first time the School has taken place since the beginning of the COVD-19 pandemic.
Team leader, Justin Johnston, says: “The Young Breeders School is the international reference point for training and show preparation, with many countries entering teams year-on-year. It will be a great learning experience for our team members, and a real opportunity to showcase the talent of Australian dairy youth on the world stage.
“It’s about more than the show ring too. Key selection criteria for our 2022 team were that individuals were focused on a dairy career and were able to demonstrate leadership potential. What became clear to us during this process is that Australia is in a good place in terms of youth participation, with opportunities like this playing an important part in nurturing and developing that potential.
In addition to team partners Melbourne Royal, Jersey Australia and Holstein Australia, the team has been embraced by the Australian dairy industry with STG Australia, WFI, Genetics Australia, Bega, Coprice, Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Yarra Corporation and Ridley supporting this year.
Glen Barrett, Jersey Australia General Manager, says: “The Young Breeders School is not only a great opportunity for the participants to hone their show craft and compete against the world’s best but also enables the dairy industry to foster the personal development and growth of each team member through the dairy industry.”
Rohan Butler, Holstein Australia CEO, says: “This experience will enable the team members to hone their skills, already at a high level, and benchmark themselves against some of the best young competitors from Europe, the UK and Canada. We see our 2022 team members as emerging leaders so we along with the other partners will be working with them once they return from Europe to develop those skills further.”
Following the European Young Breeders School, the Australian team will travel through Holland on an educational tour visiting several farms, Alta Genetics and Lely in what is regarded as one of the world’s most productive dairy regions.
Team member quotes
Andrew Gray from Chapel Hill, South Australia: “I hope to meet other likeminded dairy people and build a global dairy network and friendships. Once back home, I hope to share my experiences and learnings developed through the Young Breeders School with other young dairy breeders here in Australia..”
Courtney Afford, Woods Point, South Australia: I see my selection as a great opportunity to gain greater knowledge about training, showing and managing dairy cattle in a foreign setting and to be an ambassador for the Australian dairy industry. Taking part in the Young Breeders School competition will be a great privilege and one I know will be a stepping stone to help me achieve my long-term goals within the industry.
Georgia Sieben from Torrumbarry, Victoria: “Young Breeders School is great opportunity for youth around the world who are passionate about cows to come together doing what they enjoy and to share knowledge on the dairy industry. I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Australia in Belgium.”
Kaitlyn Wishart from Cohuna, Victoria: “Being selected to represent Australia at the Young Breeders School is an honour. It will be an incredible learning and networking experience in which I aspire to further build my skills and knowledge regarding the showing, preparation and management of dairy cattle."
Nathan Hart from Stanhope, Victoria: “I am hoping to learn and expand my knowledge of fitting and showing cattle, my chosen profession, by working with some of the greatest youth in our industry not only from Australia but other countries too. At the same time, I would like to gain educational knowledge about farming across Europe so I can learn from these different ideas and adapt them to work in to our farming here in Australia.”
The European Young Breeders School takes place in Battice, Belgium, from 31st August to 4th September 2022.