Young farmer Hayden Williamson hasn't waited for a scholarship to seek out farming experiences.By Laura Griffin
Waaia’s Hayden Williamson encourages other young dairy farmers to take every opportunity to develop their skills and understanding of the industry.
Hayden, who turns 20 this week, is one of 20 people awarded a Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Foundation Dairy Industry Scholarship this year.
He received $2500 to spend on agricultural study.
Hayden has wasted no time in making the most of the financial support — earlier this month he attended the National All Breeds Dairy youth camp at Melbourne Showgrounds.
‘‘It was a great opportunity to get more experience of showing cattle,’’ Hayden said.
This young dairy farmer enjoys showing cattle and said the competition to have the top cow was exciting.
He will help prepare and show cows at International Dairy Week.
‘‘International Dairy Week is a good experience. It is good to speak to other breeders and youth in the dairy industry,’’ Hayden said.
He is also passionate about animal husbandry and care, and has been looking after young animals at his parents Murray and Julie Williamson’s Humevale Park Stud since he was a small child.
‘‘We have a menagerie of animals and it has always been my job to feed the younger animals,’’ Hayden said.
Using the scholarship money, Hayden also plans to undertake an artificial insemination course in Sunbury and Tatura, as well as Certificate 4 in Agriculture through the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia at GOTAFE Shepparton.
‘‘The scholarship has definitely been helpful financially,’’ Hayden said.
‘‘I’m very grateful to the Gardiner Foundation. It is good to know people are looking out for young people and want to help them get into the dairy industry.’’
Some of Hayden’s friends will follow their families’ footsteps into agriculture, but he said there were challenges facing young farmers, including financial pressures and water shortages.
‘‘But I love being outside and working with animals,’’ Hayden said.
‘‘I like that you get to see the results of the work you put into a farm, (whether it be) with animals, infrastructure, pastures or crops.’’
Spending three months on American dairy farms last year opened Hayden’s eyes to different farming practices and helped him appreciate farming in Australia.
He said it was common for American dairy farmers, particularly in colder areas, to keep animals in barns — which meant feed had to be brought in and manure hauled out.
‘‘I was happy to come home. The way we milk here is easier than in the US,’’ Hayden said.
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