Two years ago, young South Australian dairy farmer Ebony King would have buckled at the thought of speaking in front of 200 people.
Now, she’s ready for the challenge and will be part of a Next Gen Go-getters panel at the Herd 19 conference in Bendigo, Victoria on March 19 to 20.
Ebony’s rise through the industry was fast-tracked last year when she won the employee career development category of Dairy SA’s Next Gen challenge.
The success not only led to her inclusion on the panel, it gave her the confidence to take on the opportunity.
Ebony will be one of three young panel members who will provide a practical farming perspective and explain their career goals at the conference panel, which brings together the herd improvement industry’s major players.
Ebony, 20, grew up in suburbia near McLaren Vale but her stock agent grandfather Allan Peglar and herd improvement uncle David Peglar made sure she knew about and loved the dairy industry.
“I’ve always loved cows and had farms in the background,” she said.
After completing an agricultural course through TAFE, Ebony worked on a dairy farm near Clare Valley before moving home to the Fleurieu Peninsula nearly two years ago to work with Wes Hurrell at Yankalilla as assistant herd manager focusing on calf rearing and breeding.
“Watching the herd grow through genomics has been awesome,” Ebony said.
Wes has given Ebony the chance to develop industry connections through Dairy SA discussion groups, the Track Ag Consulting Group and the Next Gen challenge.
“Next Gen was a great opportunity to develop my networking and communication skills,” she said.
Part of the Next Gen challenge involved speaking before a board of four people.
“Talking on stage to a few hundred is going to be a bit different and a bit nerve-wracking.
Ebony wants to work in the herd improvement industry and hopes ultimately to be providing independent breed advice to farmers.
Ebony shows cattle at the Royal Adelaide Show and has worked with Dairy Australia’s Legendairy initiative to host people at the show’s dairy exhibit.
“I love the resilience and family strength of the dairy industry with everything going on with the milk price and environmental factors,” she said.
Ebony is looking forward to taking her message to the stage as she looks to a long-term future in the industry.
“The last two years farming with Wes and having those networking opportunities has really helped me to pursue my goals,” she said.
Supported by Dairy Australia, Herd 19 is a biennial event in Bendigo, bringing together keynote speakers at the cutting edge of herd improvement. With the 2019 theme being “Delivering change in herd improvement”, Herd 19 will hear from overseas specialists from genetics companies about the latest developments in genomics and robotics.
For more information, visit www.ivvy.com.au/event/Herd19