Australia’s first team of young dairy men and women to compete at the European Young Breeders School in Battice, Belgium has returned home having scored a great team result.
The five strong team – Brady Hore (Leitchville, Vic), Julia Paulger (Kenilworth Qld), Ricky Nelson (Irrewillipe, Vic), Sam Hall (Australind, WA) and Zoe Hayes (Girgarre, VIC) competed against 163 youth from 15 countries in the five-day event which included workshops, judging and clipping competitions and conformation and showmanship classes.
Team Australia had a strong showing with all members placing in the top third of the results. Standout results included Zoe Hayes (7th overall), Ricky Nelson (11th overall) and Julia Paulger (14th overall). Each team was judged on their participation, teamwork and how they cared for their animals.
Team leader, Justin Johnston, says: “I’m really happy for the entire team. This really is a fantastic result in our first year of competing against top teams from around the world.
“There were also some great individual results Ricky won the leading class in his age group, Zoe was awarded third in clipping and second in leading, Julia fourth in leading.
“It was great to see our guys come together and really support each other. They worked hard for the team result, and the support and commitment they gave each other contributed to the individual results. They also made the most of every opportunity provided by the trip. We’ll definitely be back next year.”
The five individuals were chosen for the Australian team following a rigorous selection process earlier this year. Participation in the European Young Breeders School provides young dairy men and women from Australia with a practical hands-on learning experience on the international stage and provides valuable insight into cattle preparation and showmanship best practice from around the world.
The Australian team stayed on after the five-day event for an educational tour that included a visit to K.I. SAMEN, the Netherlands largest private AI station and Holland’s largest dairy farm with 2,500 cows on an 80 stand rotary. They also visited the new floating dairy farm trial site in Rotterdam, which opened earlier this year to demonstrate how food production can become less vulnerable to climate change.
The 2019 Australian European Young Breeders School team was supported by supported by Holstein Australia, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Jersey Australia, Genetics Australia, Dairy Australia, GippsDairy, Gippsland Dairy Youth, Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Fonterra, STgenetics Australia, Ridley AgriProducts, WFI Insurance, Dick Smith, Smyth Seeds, B. Braun Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Football League.
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Holstein Australia CEO, Graeme Gillan, says: “It has been great to be part of this initiative. The experience and knowledge gained by every team member will last them a lifetime, and I think that our young dairy men and women have signalled Australia’s arrival at the European Young Breeders School, which sees the best of the best from around the world compete, in the best way possible.
“The other great sign for the future has been the way that the Australian dairy sector has thrown their support behind this initiative,” continues Mr Gillian. “In particular I’d like to acknowledge the huge amount of time and hard work from Holstein Australia member, Justin Johnston, to make the Australian team and this trip a reality.”
Jersey Australia General Manager, Glen Barrett, says: “The EYBS was a great opportunity for our young breeders across the country to participate and compete on the international stage and it certainly comes as no surprise that the team achieved the results that they did. Our industry and people are world class. Jersey Australia certainly thanks Justin Johnston for his drive to make this opportunity a reality and the many sponsors who worked together to make this a reality. Our congratulations to Julia, Brady, Sam, Zoe and Ricky for representing our industry with distinction.
Paul Guerra, The Royal Agricultural Society Victoria (RASV) CEO, says: “The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria were proud to support the inaugural Australian youth delegation to the European Young Breeders School. We are thrilled to learn that the five participants enjoyed and valued the unique educational experience at the European Young Breeders School and trust that their participation will assist greatly in their development as emerging leaders in the dairy industry. We are committed to supporting youth development in in agriculture and in particular delighted with the successful outcomes from partnering with Holstein Australia and Jersey Australia to deliver this initiative.”