Merrigum resident Matthew DeCicco will be heading to Cornell University in New York for a four-week placement after being awarded the 2017 Greenham GOTAFE dairy scholarship last week.
The 23-year-old is currently in his fifth year of studying veterinary science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and is interested in focusing on herd health, transition cow management, metabolic diseases, fertility and reproduction across small and large operations.
‘‘I have a strong interest in calf health and management, as I see these animals as the future of our dairy herds,’’ Mr DeCicco said.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to making a serious contribution to the field.
‘‘I love the idea of being faced with something to test me, working through the problem and then ultimately finding a resolution that benefits the animal or farmer. It’s like a puzzle; you just have to solve it.’’
Mr DeCicco said the $12000 scholarship had allowed him to make the trip to the prestigious university.
‘‘It’s actually one of the most highly regarded veterinarian teaching institutions in the US and because dairy farming is the main livestock business in the area, dairy cattle account for a large part of the caseload.
‘‘I could have never made this happen off my own bat so the chance to follow my dreams to the US is an amazing opportunity.’’
Mr DeCicco grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Merrigum milking 150 cows.
His mother Angela is delighted he’s chosen to become a vet, rather than enter straight dairy farming.
‘‘However, every time he comes back home, he questions us about the cows and what we can do better,’’ she said.
HW Greenham & Sons Pty Ltd joint managing director Grant Ryan said the company offered the scholarship to encourage young leaders in agriculture.
‘‘Matthew is a very impressive young man and we see him as a future leader in the industry,’’ Mr Ryan said.
‘‘Dairying needs a new generation to maintain its strength and Matthew certainly fits the bill.’’