A Career in Dairy
An overview of the resources and programs Dairy Australia offers and supports for those seeking a career in the dairy industry.
Attracting, retaining and managing staff and contractors is a critical issue within the dairy industry. Western Dairy has a number of projects supporting this important area of work.
Western Dairy offers two industry-accredited certificates in partnership with South Regional TAFE. These courses can be delivered both in and outside of a new or existing farm traineeship.
Western Dairy has its own in-house dairy trainer to ensure the quality and relevance of the training it facilitates.
The benefits of taking part in this training include:
Western Dairy's dairy trainer regularly liaises with the employer and student to ensure practical outcomes are met. Contact Western Dairy to find out how to access this valuable service.
Dairy Australia supports farmers in building and developing knowledge, skills and capabilities of their people on-farm and the future workforce of the industry.
Farmers require people who work on farms to have higher skill levels and expertise than ever before due to technological advancements and the need to monitor farm inputs, animal care, milk quality, managing environmental credentials, and other aspects of dairy.
Dairy Australia provides resources and course content to registered training providers to educate and develop skills and capabilities for people entering and those within the industry.
Read about the careers available in the dairy industry.
Dairy Australia runs workshops and events through its regional teams to assist farmers in up-skilling both themselves and farm workers on both technical and non-technical aspects of farming.
Workshops and events are delivered across the country by more than 35 extension officers working in the regional teams and by technically skilled consultants.
For more information on the courses available
Dairy Australia provides a number of expert led workshops to explore these options:
The dairy industry offers scholarships to attract people to the industry and to provide those working in the industry with opportunities for ongoing development.
Dairy Australia's Dairy Science Travel Grant grows capability across the Australian dairy industry by helping early-career dairy researchers and service providers and PhD students to build networks and knowledge in their chosen field.
Participants have the opportunity to attend the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting.
Read more about how Dairy Science Travel Grants have helped people in the case studies below.
A Dairy Science Travel Grant gave 28-year-old Tasmanian researcher Adam Langworthy the chance to boost his dairy research through new global insights.
The junior research fellow has started his career at the Dairy, Grains and Grazing Centre of the University of Tasmania’s Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
He works across a range of dairy research projects, including virtual fencing, nitrogen use and irrigation.
After working on a dairy farm during his agricultural science degree, Adam previously took part in Dairy Australia’s Dairy Manufacturing Scholarship program to learn more about post-farm gate, meeting with processors, retailers and consumers across Australia.
Through his Dairy Science Travel Grant this year, Adam attended the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting to learn more about research and innovation in the fields related to his research, bringing his knowledge back home to Australia.
“It was a real eye opener – I’d never gone outside of Australia before,” Adam said.
“I was able to build networks for future research collaboration and was exposed to dairy systems in the US.”
The highlight for Adam was seeing the latest breakthroughs in silage production and forage systems and learning about alternative dairy production systems.
He also sought to build his skills by attending workshops on modelling nutrition in dairy cattle and statistical analysis for mixed models.
“These workshops meant I could apply new knowledge directly to my research,” Adam said.
Adam was struck by the emphasis the conference had on developing young people and believes it was a lesson in how to attract and retain talented young people to dairy here in Australia.
“They had mentoring sessions for young people and allowed them to meet up with potential employers – it’s a great way to support a network of young people and keep them in the industry,” he said.
Adam would not hesitate to recommend the program to others, citing the global networks he created and the training opportunities he had.
“There are a lot of opportunities for learning through the Dairy Science Travel Grants and you get the chance to make contacts in a range of countries.”
Northern Victorian ruminant nutritionist Ellen Fitzgibbon’s Dairy Science Travel Grant allowed her to develop new knowledge and skills by meeting world leading researchers.
The 28-year-old lives on-farm in Nagambie and grew up with a passion for agriculture, eventually leading to her current role managing research and development for CopRice Nutrition.
“The future of agriculture is something that runs through my veins,” Ellen said.
“I’m passionate about the success of young Australian farmers with a particular focus on sustainability, both economic and environmental.”
On a day-to-day basis, Ellen oversees new product and additive trials, develops best practice models that are practical and achievable on-farm and coordinates education programs for the CopRice field nutrition team and farming communities.
One of Ellen’s current projects sees her working with farmers to assess and manipulate the quality of colostrum being produced by spring calving herds and assessing successful rates of transfer to calves.
“Reproduction is a specific focus of mine. With so many pieces to the puzzle, we’re following a generation from conception through to the milking platform,” Ellen said.
Ellen applied for a Dairy Science Travel Grant to continue to build her skills after previously undertaking Dairy Australia’s training programs such as ReproRight, InCalf, Feeding Pastures for Profit and Advanced Nutrition in Action.
“I have been fortunate enough to complete a number of Dairy Australia programs in the past and I was thrilled to receive one of the Dairy Science Travel Grants,” she said.
A busy few days at the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting saw Ellen meet with global leaders in her field, taking in new insights which she plans to apply directly to her work in Australia.
Some of the topics she gained new insights on included pregnancy failure, metabolic health and nutrition, fetal programming, fodder conservation and taking data to make decisions.
“To attend a conference with over 3,000 like-minded people, passionate about the same industry, presented an incredible opportunity to broaden my networks," Ellen said.
"I will rely on the relationships built for the entirety of my career."
For 34-year-old ruminant nutritionist Jess Bloomfield, the 2019 Dairy Science Travel Grants program was a chance to build her skills and further her career in Australian agriculture.
The young mum, now based in Moriac, Victoria, first developed her passion for animals living and working on a beef farm throughout her teenage years – a passion that saw her study a Bachelor of Science in Animal Production at Charles Sturt University.
After working directly with dairy farmers as a ruminant nutrition consultant, Jess took on her current role as executive officer of the Australian Association of Ruminant Nutrition.
“The Dairy Science Travel Grants program is a fantastic opportunity for young people who want to forge a career in dairy,” Jess said.
“You can see what’s at the forefront of agricultural science and bring that back to your work in Australia – and it gives you a network of international experts to call on for advice.”
The program gave Jess the opportunity to meet global experts at the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she boosted her already formidable knowledge of ruminant nutrition.
“I loved being in a room full of people who are passionate about the same things as me,” she said.
“Everyone is there to learn about dairy nutrition and it was really great to be among people who are leaders in their field.”
The highlight for Jess was learning about environmental and nutritional conditions of cows in late gestation, and the latest research on how this and the first few weeks of life impact the lifelong immunity, milk production and fertility of those calves.
“This research is very relevant for Australia – we need to ensure diets and heat stress management are sufficient to support the cows’ next lactation and future calves,” Jess said.
After the ADSA annual meeting, Jess travelled to Michigan State University to catch up with the Associate Professor Dr Adam Loch on his latest research projects.
“Adam is well versed in milk fat depression, which is very relevant to us in winter and spring – it was great to chat to him one-on-one about what we can do,” Jess said.
She also successfully convinced Wisconsin State University Associate Professor Dr Heather White to travel to Australia and share her cutting-edge insights on nutrient partitioning, metabolism and fresh cow management.
“This was one of my goals – to meet with credible experts to bring to Australia, so our local nutritionists can take new insights on-farm to their own clients and customers.”
Nuffield awards primary producers annual scholarships to support overseas travel and study.
For more information, visit Nuffield Australia.
Churchill Fellowships are open to anyone who would like to explore successful practices in other countries after examining available options in Australia.
For more information, visit Churchill Fellowships.
Dairy Australia works with TAFEs and other registered training providers to develop courses for those interested in furthering a career in dairy or to build skills for people working on farms.
Courses include education regarding on-farm skills like milking processes and mastitis prevention, to pasture management and farm business management.