Flynn farmer’s scholarship win

Flynn farmer Hannah Campbell received the Agriculture Victoria 2023 Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarship. Photo: Contributed

Zaida Glibanovic

HANNAH Campbell recently received the Agriculture Victoria 2023 Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarship.

Ms Campbell’s goal is to start a new business offering top-notch breeding services in the beef sector across Latrobe Valley and East Gippsland.

Using her scholarship, the determined young farmer is taking her first steps towards reaching that goal by undertaking a cattle pregnancy diagnosis reproduction course. This will equip her with the knowledge she needs to provide exceptional services.

Ms Campbell will also get her hands on a cattle ultrasound machine and other relevant equipment she needs to enable precision and deliver high-quality service.

Finishing her Bachelor of Agriculture at Wagga Wagga’s Charles Stuart University in 2016, agriculture has always been a passion of Ms Campbell’s.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Deniliquin in the Southern Riverina, I went to our local Finley High School, which had a fantastic agriculture program,” she said.

“I didn’t think I ever wanted to be a dairy farmer, but once I got in the ag program at school, they’ve got stud sheep and stud cattle, and they also enter cattle in the Melbourne Show, and so I guess that really opened my eyes to some of the possibilities in agriculture.

“I went to uni in Wagga and studied Ag Science, graduated in 2016, and I’ve had various jobs since then, all in ag.”

Ms Campbell has work experience in most industries, including beef, sheep, dairy, grain, viticulture and animal genetics. The young farmer gained a position as overseer at Glenfalloch Station, Licola, where she spent the next two years before moving to Gippsland.

“I actually didn’t really hear of Gippsland before. I got a job out of uni at Glenfalloch Station in Licola and met my now partner, who is from Traralgon and moved down here. We’ve bought our little block down in Flynn.”

Moving to Victoria’s bread basket in Gippsland, Ms Campbell gained the position of assistant livestock manager for fine wool, fat lamb, and EU Angus cattle operation in Traralgon. Now, Ms Campbell has been working in stockfeed sales for nearly two years as a key accounts manager in Gippsland and has moved back into a hands-on farming role in Toongabbie.

Now working for the Paulet farming family at Millring Pastoral until she had her first child, Ms Campbell can’t stay off the farm for long, still helping out part-time.

Ms Campbell said it was an honour to have been awarded the Agriculture Victoria 2023 Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarship.

“It’s an absolute privilege; there’s been such a high calibre of people coming through and winning the scholarship, so I was very grateful to have been accepted,” she said.

“It’s a lot of money that AG Vic is putting up – very generous, and it’s going to open many doors for so many people.”

Ms Campbell loves to learn and is still looking to undertake a cattle pregnancy diagnosis reproduction course.

“The place where I was going to do (the course) is no longer offering the course. There’s such a gap in training bodies offering those sorts of courses,” she said.

“They’ve been a bit slow on the uptake, but hopefully, once the demand increases, they’ll be a bit easier to find.”

“I’ll have to go up to Queensland to get a properly accredited course under my belt.”

The young farmer has found so many opportunities in the agriculture industry.

“I’ve been so lucky, I’ve worked for great bosses, and I was so lucky in my high school program – mentoring and networking was such a big part of it – it was really highlighted when we were taken to shows,” Ms Campbell said.

The young mum has had to manage time in the paddock with a young child to care for.

“The juggle is real, and that’s been highlighted ever since I had my son. I guess we are sorted and restricted in the fact you’re working for other people. It’s hard to take your children to work,” she said.

“Agriculture is quite an involved job, and your day-to-day job is quite varied, and there is a little amount of risk in some of the jobs we do that are kid friendly.

“It’s been a bit of an eye-opener for me – I basically thought I could pop out babies and continue working like I was but then the reality set in.”

According to research by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, women represent an increasing proportion of the agricultural workforce.

With the nature of the family farm, women make significant yet often unrecognised paid and unpaid contributions to agricultural businesses and communities.

“I think it’s much more accommodating for women in ag now. We’ve got so many support networks throughout the region and throughout Australia,” Ms Campbell said.

Ms Campbell said the organisation Australian Women in Agriculture are “doing some good things for women in ag”.

Though the young farmer was very fortunate to find employment, her career hasn’t gone without its challenges.

“I have been turned away from jobs because I was a girl, which was really disappointing,” she said.

“I remember one email I got from a guy in South Australia. I applied for a sheep station job while I was still at uni. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I put the feelers out,”

“He said, ‘yep, you’re résumé ticks all the boxes, but we don’t hire females’, so that was really disappointing, especially in this day and age where no one really bats an eye with a woman on a farm.”

For Ms Campbell, women on the farm has always been ingrained in her life, since day one.

“I grew up around people who were really accepting around women in ag, like my mum is a farmer,” she said.

“I’m the outgoing president of the Flynn Farm Discussion group. Growing up in New South Wales, we didn’t have organisations like this.

“Maybe I was too young to be involved in them, but in Gippsland, they are so enthusiastic about learning.”

With a keen aspiration to upskill and continually learn, Ms Campbell said the Gippsland region is the place to be.

“Gippsland has got it going on for learning,” she said.

“The Flynn Farm Discussion was great to be a part of. We met once a month, and I find it super inspiring to learn and see other people learning.”

Ms Campbell encourages young farmers who are driven to improve their skills to apply for the Agriculture Victoria Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarship.

For more information on the Upskill and Invest Young Farmers Scholarships, visit http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/young-farmers-scholarships