The next generation of dairy farmers were celebrated in Shepparton last week, with more than 80 primary and secondary school students recognised for their knowledge of the dairy industry.
Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers program saw students get hands-on, rearing and caring for two three-week-old calves at their school.
As part of the program a local dairy farmer taught the students how to care for calves, while an industry advocate visited the students at each of the 11 participating schools in northern Victoria to discuss their career in the dairy industry.
The program aims to increase awareness of the diversity of educational pathways and career opportunities in Australia’s dairy industry, with students not only given a chance to be hands-on raising and caring for a calf but also to learn about the different skills required in the dairy industry.
Dairy Australia workforce development program manager Sally Roberts said it was encouraging to see primary and secondary students passionate about Cows Create Careers and Australia’s vibrant dairy industry.
‘‘It is great to see enthusiastic students getting involved and learning about the industry, while making important connections with their local dairy community,’’ she said.
Originally established in 2004 with dairy farmers from the Strzelecki Lions Club and nine Gippsland schools, the project has now expanded to 244 schools across the country, with 13163 students completing the project in 2017.
Ms Roberts said the project received strong support from dairy farmers and advocates across Australia with 466 volunteers giving up 2330 hours of their time across 23 Australian dairying regions last year.
Locally, the project is funded by Murray Dairy and receives additional support across the state from companies MaxCare, Parmalat, UDV, Reid Stockfeeds, Dasco, Daviesway, Skellerup and Peach Teats.