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Ashlee Hammond's success story

“Consumers want Australian made and they want the story behind where their food comes from; this has driven me to be passionate about consumer education and awareness – people are starting to value that our agricultural industry has a clean and green image.”

Ashlee Hammond is passionate about shining a light on agriculture.

“Consumers want Australian made and they want the story behind where their food comes from; this has driven me to be passionate about consumer education and awareness – people are starting to value that our agricultural industry has a clean and green image.”

Growing up in Northern Victoria, Ashlee milked on her parent’s dairy farm after school and worked as a farmhand on weekends. She participated in Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers project as a year nine student, and continued to elect subjects to help open agricultural tertiary pathways.

“During high school, I realised that you can study at a tertiary level and there are many pathways in Agriculture – it’s not just milking cows,” she said.

In years ten and eleven, she completed the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Certificate II in Agriculture, which saw her place first in the Murray Mallee VET Student Excellence Awards and awarded the 2009 Steve Foley Memorial Student of the Year.

Ashlee successfully applied to study Agricultural Science at La Trobe University, Bundoora. In 2014 she was awarded the University’s Honours Year Grant Scholarship, and completed an additional 12-month research project into ruminant nutrition.

“I conducted research with the overall aim of improving the nutrition of grazing dairy – specifically looking at the efficiency of utilisation of dietary protein in the rumen through the use of biomarkers in milk,” she said.

With her study now complete, Ashlee works full time as a United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) Project and Policy Officer, “This role allows me to not only develop policy to help the future of the dairy industry but it also includes project management, including events, which I really enjoy,” she said.

Ashlee was also chosen to be an active member of the Young Farmer Ministerial Advisory Council (YFMAC). The Victorian Minister for Agriculture established the Council to advise the Government about practical actions and opportunities to attract and retain young people in agriculture.

“I’ve always been supported by the industry so I’m really passionate about supporting youth and increasing the awareness of the opportunities that young people can have in agriculture. The YFMAC is a fantastic opportunity to communicate directly with the decision makers about what will help the future of youth in agriculture,” she said.

Keen to continue learning and growing in the industry, Ashlee is currently completing a Master of Agribusiness course that she is studying part time while working.

“Education and learning isn’t just important – it is a central element built into everything we do every single day. I think the opportunities we have available to learn in both a formal and informal sense in agriculture are amazing and I try to take advantage of them and promote them within my network at every available opportunity. It is important to highlight that education doesn’t need to be defined in the formal sense anymore – I learn something new every morning simply through an informal meeting with my manager and colleague!”

Ashlee looks forward to a long career working in the dairy industry, “Growing up on a dairy farm, I got bitten by the dairy bug without even knowing it. I love dairy and that’s where my passion lies,” she said.

“I am looking forward to a career that is focussed on the dairy industry and allows me to remain involved with both women and youth in agriculture groups, both of which I am extremely passionate about. Supporting young farmers and women is crucial to the future success of the industry and I hope I can play some role in ensuring the industry has a strong future. With a higher number of women studying Ag Science at university and the increasing number of women taking on roles in agriculture – it won’t be a ‘man’s world’ for much longer!”

Ashlee’s advice:

– If you want a hands-on job, wish to study at a tertiary level, or want a corporate job, there is a pathway in Agriculture that suits you. There are so many different opportunities and such a range of jobs – no matter what area that you want to get into, Agriculture has a role.

– The People in Agriculture is a fantastic opportunity to promote the different pathways you can have in the Agricultural industry, including different commodities and different roles throughout various stages of your career. Agriculture has such a broad spectrum of opportunities and a website that harnesses these and can demonstrate them to young people thinking about entering industry is a fantastic initiative.

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