THE first ever Australian team is set to compete at the European Young Breeders School, to be held in August at Battice, Belgium.
Jersey Australia, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and Holstein Australia yesterday announced that the team members, selected from a rigorous application and interview process, come from five dairying regions across three states and represent a number of dairy breeds.
The team members include; Brady Hore from Leitchville, Victoria, Julia Paulger from Kenilworth, Queensland, Ricky Nelson from Irrewillipe, Vic, Sam Hall from Australind, Western Australia and Zoe Hayes from Girgarre, Vic.
Justin Johnston of Glomar Holsteins will lead the team, with team reserve Alexzander Crawford from Daltons Bridge, Vic.
Mr Johnston said this is something he has wanted to get off the ground for a while, and with the backing of Jersey Australia, The Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of Victoria and Holstein Australia, as well as other industry partners, it has been made possible.
"This is the twentieth year the European Young Breeders School (EYBS) has taken place and it has become the international reference point for training and show preparation, with many countries entering teams year-on-year. It will be a great learning experience for our team members, and a real opportunity to showcase the talent of Australian dairy youth on the world stage," he said.
Taking place from August 26 to September 6, the EYBS is an annual five-day event run by the Association Wallonne de l'Elevage (AWE).
It involves hands-on workshops including bedding, showmanship and clipping, as well as classroom-based sessions such as marketing and herd promotion. After three days of workshops and practice, participants put their skills to the test in stock judging, showmanship and calf classes.
Victorian team member Brady Hore, Leitchville, said "it's a great opportunity to gain an insight into farming and showing of cows in Europe, something that I am really passionate about."
The Australian team is being supported by a number of Australian enterprises and industry bodies including Dick Smith, ST Genetics, Dairy Australia, Genetics Australia, Smyth Seeds and Gippsland Dairy Youth.
Jersey Australia general manager, Glen Barrett, said the team of five are outstanding young individuals selected from a group of twenty-five high calibre applicants, which was an amazing response.
"The selection and interview process were far from an easy task and it is a credit to the highly talented and capable young breeders across Australia that they made this process so challenging," Mr Barrett said.
"The European Young Breeders School is great opportunity for this group, and we look forward to following their progress through the competition."
Team member Ricky Nelson Irrewillipe, Vic, said "a trip of a life time is a common statement, but a trip to represent your breed society and your industry is a true trip of a life time. I'm honoured to have been selected and am eager to experience and learn with various youth from across the globe."
The RAS of Victoria CEO, Paul Guerra said the RAS of Victoria are proud to support the inaugural Australian youth delegation to the European Young Breeders School.
"This is a fantastic initiative that offers to provide a lasting impression on some of the dairy communities emerging leaders," Mr Guerra said.
"We are proud to support the development of youth and partner with Holstein Australia and Jersey Australia to deliver this opportunity. We wish all of the individuals well on their journey to Europe and look forward to hearing about their experience when they return."
Queensland representative Julia Paulger, Kenilworth, said "it's an incredible opportunity to be selected to represent Australia at the EYBS. It's a great platform to showcase the skills and knowledge we have developed and to show our international friends that Australian Youth have the ability to stand up on the world stage.
"It's also a wonderful opportunity to expand our knowledge and be exposed to other farming situations and technologies. It will be an eye-opening experience and one I hope to gain further knowledge or order to apply similar practices and technologies in own farming situation and within the Australian Dairy Industry.
"I am very proud to represent Australia and hope my fellows peers and I can do our country proud."
Similarly Sam Hall, Australind, WA, said "what an honour it is to be able to represent my country in the 2019 European Young Breeders School. It means the world to me to be able to take part and is such a prestigious opportunity. I plan to bring back new skills and insight into Europe's Dairy Industry which I can share with like-minded individuals back home."
Holstein Australia CEO, Graeme Gillan, said he gives full marks to Mr Johnston for getting this project up and running.
"The selection panel has put together what I think is a strong cross-breed team from a number of different dairy regions throughout Australia," Mr Gillan said.
"The experience will enable them to really hone their skills, already at a high level, and benchmark themselves against some of the best young dairy men and women from Europe, the UK and Canada."
Team member Zoe Hayes, Girgarre, Vic, said "I am extremely honoured to be selected to represent Australia at the European Young Breeders School. It will be an amazing opportunity to gain further knowledge of the dairy industry and showing cattle with like-minded people, something I'm very passionate about."
Following the EYBS, the Australian team will travel through Holland on an educational tour visiting several farms, Alta Genetics and Lely in what is regarded as one of the world's most productive dairy regions.