Years 8 and 9 agriculture and horticulture students from Nathalia’s St Mary of the Angels Secondary College enjoyed a guest visitor in class last week, with student Lauren McIlveen bringing in one of her favourite dairy show cows, Reckie.
Lauren used the chance to talk to her classmates about the requirements and challenges associated with judging show-level dairy cattle.
Born and raised on a dairy farm at Strathmerton, Lauren has more than just a vested interest in the dairy industry, she is a passionate young advocate and dairy youth mentor for young up-and-comers in the industry.
And at just 15 years old, she has her sights set on the world stage.
Lauren has already established her own stud of dairy show cows and as a seasoned competitor she now hopes to get into youth judging in Australia and, eventually, Canada.
‘‘Not many of my peers are from farming backgrounds and not many of them understand what it is that I do with my show cows, so it was great to be able to bring in a cow like Reckie and talk about the attributes that judges look for and what’s involved,’’ Lauren said.
‘‘Everyone seemed really interested, which was great and I even received a lot of questions and messages after class which was really good too.’’
Lauren invests a lot of time in her show cattle — grooming, washing, clipping and monitoring daily dietary feeding rations, with some shows taking two months to prepare for.
Lauren’s next big event on the calendar is the Tatura-hosted Australian International Dairy Week in January.
In the meantime, Lauren is just happy to have been able to contribute to a unique and engaging class presentation for her peers.