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Roxanne Schoof's success story

Twenty-year-old, Roxanne Schoof, was raised on a dairy farm in Redmond, Western Australia. She attended the College of Agriculture, Denmark for year 11 and 12.

During the school holidays she would work on the farm, milking and feeding the calves. 

After graduating, she spent a summer working as a grain sampler at CBH Group, in Borden.

Roxanne moved to Perth to study Animal Science at Murdoch University, but still goes home during the summer break to work full time. The first summer her main task was routine milking procedures. The following year she was given the role of calf rearing, which she especially enjoyed.

“Growing up on the family farm, I developed a love for the production of food and fibre from a young age,” she said.

“In my Animal Science degree, I have found that there are so many good people working in the industry. I love working alongside people who share the same passion for ag.”

In 2015, Roxanne successfully applied for the Horizon Scholarship, a $5000 per year bursary for the duration of her degree with the funds going towards her tertiary education. Roxanne’s scholarship was sponsored by the Australia Government’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). Scholars were also supported to undertake work experience as part of the program.

“The Horizon Scholarship was more than monetary assistance. While it was extremely helpful as a uni student, the personal development, annual workshops and work placement opportunities is what made the program unique,” Roxanne said.

“I used the opportunity to spend two weeks travelling through the grain regions of WA attending grower meetings where farmers discussed how the decisions made by GRDC impact their systems. This was an eye-opening experience that helped me gain a lot of knowledge about the grain industry and the real issues farmers face.”

In 2016, Roxanne was selected to participate in Dairy Australia’s 12-month, Emerging Dairy Leaders Program (EDLP). The program involved residential blocks in Adelaide, Gippsland, and Tasmania.

“The course required collaboration in groups to analyse aspects of dairy businesses including contracts, safety, sustainability and strategic analysis. The biggest highlight of EDLP was touring Tasmania’s dairy region; it was a great opportunity to speak to dairy farmers. The relationships built with dairy farmers across the nation are invaluable.”

EDLP participants also completed modules, which over the duration of the program, formed the Diploma of Agribusiness Management. Roxanne believes the diploma complements her Animal Science degree, which she is in the final year of completing.

Roxanne is excited about her future in agriculture. She was recently married, which has changed her professional goals in the industry. Along with her husband, Roxanne is considering one day running their own production system.

“At the moment, the beef industry has shown great potential and is appealing. We are both open minded to opportunities within the agricultural industry as we believe is has a lot to offer. In the meantime, I am focusing on completing my degree and looking for a job further along the food chain that allows me to work closer to the city. I am very open minded and very excited about the opportunities that are out there.”

“Through balancing study, part time work and home life I have learnt that a work-life balance is very important for personal wellbeing. In the future, I would love to help others to ‘work smarter, not harder.’ Family is one of my greatest values, which is one reason why the rural lifestyle of living on a farm so appealing as it allows you to work together.”

- I love hearing stories from people who study ag or enter the industry who do not have an ag background. There are so many aspects of agriculture, and if you are willing to give it ago, there is absolutely no disadvantage if you don’t have an ag background.

- Gaining some practical experience is helpful to get a foot in the door.

- There are so many opportunities available in ag if you’re open to them. Get involved as much as you can and be opened minded to areas slightly different to your particular interest - what you learn might surprise and inspire you.

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