Dairy farming in her genes
In a difficult time for the dairy industry, people like Alexandra Mulcahy show just how bright the future looks.
The Legendairy 20-year-old from the Goulburn Valley has been selected as one of nine Rural Finance scholarship winners for 2016.
Alexandra impressed the selection panel with a positive attitude that is combined with a sophisticated view of the industry and how it sits in the world market.
As an Undergraduate scholarship recipient, Alexandra will receive $6000 per year over three years to help fund her studies at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, where she is studying for a Bachelor of Business Agriculture.
She is a fourth generation dairy farmer and member of one of Victoria’s innovative dairy families, and certainly has the background to make a strong impression on the industry.
Her parents Peter and Mandy, along with two of Peter’s brothers, started their own milk processing factory at Kyabram, near their sprawling KyValley farm operation in 2000.
“It started with the aim to minimise fluctuations in milk price, which has been in the spotlight lately,” Alexandra said.
“In a good year your milk price might not be as high as it should be and in a bad year it’s lower than it should be, so Dad and his brother thought it would be better to build our own milk factory so we could control the milk price ourselves.”
With 2500 hectares spread over three KyValley farms (as well as another 2500 hectares for cropping in the Riverina), the Mulcahy’s can milk 2800 Friesian cows that produce high quality milk.
Taking milk from seven other local suppliers as well their own, the family’s Southern Processing milk plant is a success story on the international market as well as with Goulburn Valley dairy farmers.
“Sixty five per cent is exported to Malaysia, China and Singapore and the rest of the market is domestic,” Alexandra said.
“It gives suppliers a fair bit of flexibility and it offers a flat milk price all year. It does that because it was designed by farmers who understand how it should work to benefit farmers.”
The youngest of five daughters aged between 20 and 28, Alexandra will be happy to either join her sister Victoria, who currently manages the family operation, or find her own path in the world. Whichever way she chooses, she will be happy as long as her career keeps her in the dairy industry.
“I reckon the dairy industry has a long and bright future,” she said.
“It’s a fulfilling career that always has new challenges, with new technology and different ways of doing things. There’s so many ways to expand and improve.
“I’d encourage young people - or anyone else - to get into the dairy industry.”