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A Will to succeed in dairy

It wasn’t until Will Ryan left home that he knew where he wanted to spend the rest of his life.

The LEGENDAIRY farmer from Dumbalk in South Gippsland has returned to the family farm after working overseas, educating himself and trying his luck as a desk jockey.

While he’s pleased to have has the opportunity to see the world beyond the farm gate, he’s more than happy to be back home and managing the family dairy business.

“I worked overseas in the agriculture sector in England and went to university after that, where I studied for a Bachelor of Agriculture majoring in Agribusiness,” he said.

“I worked for a while with the Australian Fodder Industry Association as an industry development officer.  The job I had previously involved a lot of computer and desk work.

“There was always a part of me that felt it wasn’t going to be a long term position for me and that I would want to come back to my roots of being a farmer and being hands-on.”

Having grown up on the family property, Will is under no illusions about the hard work and challenges faced by every dairy farmer.

But it’s these very challenges that make the job so stimulating for the 26-year-old, who manages 350 cows on a 370 hectare property.

“I really enjoy the problem solving component of dairy farming,” he said.

“We are thrown a different challenge all the time. For instance, this season we have to work out how to run a sustainable business with limited moisture in the soil.

“We need to think up some sort of strategy to make sure the business is as efficient and viable as possible.”

While the current dry conditions are making it a tough season for farmers across the district, the simple pleasures of life on the land make it all worthwhile for the likeable young man.   

Watching Will shifting his herd between paddocks shows an easy and trusting relationship that means time spent with his animals is more than a just a chore.

“I love being amongst the cows,” he said.

“They are obviously the lifeblood of the industry, so I treat them with as much respect as I would treat anyone else in the industry, if not more so.”

Like many people with a passion for what they do, Will is keen to spread the word about the benefits of farm life for young people.

He has been appointed to sit on the Victorian Government’s Young Farmers Ministerial Advisory Council which will advise Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford on how to keep young people in agriculture.

It’s a role that is both a privilege and a pleasure for Will.

“I’m really excited to be representing Gippsland and the dairy industry,” he said.

“I can bring my experience from the dairy industry and international agriculture, take those experiences I’ve had and provide input to the Minister on issues for young people in the sector.

“Hopefully I can shine a bit more light on some of the challenges and opportunities for young people in dairy and represent the industry which I’m really passionate about.”

Will believes the dairy industry has a strong economic future that can provide a rewarding career for young people.

More than that, however, he said life as a dairy farmer can’t be beaten in terms of job satisfaction.

“I would encourage anyone to do it because of the lifestyle that the dairy industry allows you to have,” he said.

“I’ve had jobs in the past where I’ve dreaded getting out of bed, and that is not this job. I really enjoy getting up every single morning. I enjoy every single moment of my day.” 

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