Dairy

Skills and savvy put to good use

By Country News

Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE student Susan Jacobs was looking to reinvent herself when she enrolled in the Certificate IV in Agribusiness.

With the dairy industry in crisis because of dry conditions, increased feed and water costs, Mrs Jacobs and her husband made the difficult decision to stop operations on their dairy farm.

‘‘In agriculture you have to constantly reinvent yourself, so my goal was to find a way to reinvent myself as well,’’ she said.

So, Mrs Jacobs enrolled at GOTAFE and started her studies in November last year.

‘‘I am really enjoying this course,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s absolutely fantastic. I’m gaining confidence, new skills, a greater understanding of what happens on other types of farms and the issues that they might face.’’

Mrs Jacobs’ new skills have proven beneficial in her new role as a community representative for Rural Aid.

As the only representative in Victoria, Mrs Jacobs has a large territory to cover.

‘‘I love that I get to shape and transform my position, so that it is constantly evolving,’’ she said.

‘‘We provide counselling services and programs, such as Buy a Bale where people can donate the cost of a hay bale and then that hay is donated to farmers in need.’’

Rural Aid’s signature program, Farm Rescues, sees volunteers come together to do mini makeovers on farms and community infrastructure in regional areas.

‘‘We recently did a rescue in Kyabram where our volunteers worked on four farms and nine community projects,’’ Mrs Jacobs said.

The Certificate IV in Agribusiness has been designed for women based in rural and remote Victoria and is supported by AgBiz Assist and Murray Dairy.

This course is funded by the Victorian Government’s Regional and Specialist Training Fund.

■For more information, phone GOTAFE on 1300 468 233 or visit www.gotafe.vic.edu.au