Experience. Attending the 2018 Australian Dairy Conference in Melbourne recently has given local Telena Walsh the impetus to help her father Chris fulfil his dream of farm ownership.
The 21-year-old attended the conference thanks to a bursary from Australia’s Legendairy Women’s Network (ALWN) – an opportunity she was alerted to through DairyTas.
At the conference, Telena soaked up the atmosphere, networking opportunities and information, gaining knowledge to take back to her own workplace – a newly converted dairy farm, Montagu Dairies, which is owned by her parents and their equity partner Anthony ‘Hans’ Lissington and managed by Chris.
At the conference, she was particularly inspired by Lino Saputo’s life story and a highlight was the full day tour to Gippsland’s dairy region, where she visited farms that, like Montagu Dairies, are starting to use whey products to feed their cows.
“There were lots of things to take back to the farm,” Telena said.
“We all work together and share ideas so it was great to hear from so many good speakers and to look at how farms in Gippsland do things. It was really good to socialise with dairy farmers from all around Australia and around the world. I’m already in two local discussion groups run by DairyTas, but I’d love to go to the conference again.”
Now back working on the former beef property, which was converted to a dairy farm less than a year ago, Telena says being a new employee in a new enterprise is constantly challenging.
“It’s exciting; every day is different,” she said. “You’re clearing bush, putting in new fences and changing everything all the time.”
Previously, her parents Chris and Gillian had leased a farm, but had always wanted their own place. The current equity partnership is making that a reality and Telena couldn’t be happier to be playing her part.
“I know farming and enjoy the lifestyle and when I left school there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. My father has been doing it since he was 16 so it’s probably in my blood. Having a farm was always his dream and I want to help him achieve that.”
Australia’s Legendairy Women’s Network was established to connect and support Australian dairy women. It is an active online community and can be joined at www.facebook.com/groups/legendairywomensnetwork.