Even though going into dairy wasn’t a conscious choice for Blake Randall-Annear, he’s exactly where he wants to be.
“I love agriculture and I want to stay in the industry. Dairy is definitely the way to go,” he said. “It’s such a broad industry and there are so many options.”
Blake recently started working for Elmar Holsteins as 2IC. The 500-cow, family-run farm is located in Horfield, Victoria, about 1.5 hours north of Bendigo. He is one of the many young Australians choosing a career in dairy.
His journey in the industry started in late 2016 as a farm hand, when he did weekend milkings while he was at school. He initially wanted to become a teacher, but after a twelve-month traineeship decided it wasn’t the right fit for him and moved back to working on a farm.
“Working in dairy was something I fell into. Growing up I never saw myself dairy farming. I loved cars and machinery and wanted to be a mechanic. Initially, I started working with my brother and here I am nine years later, still milking cows,” Blake said.
He’s now been working in the industry for nine years and has made it his career for the last seven.
Blake completed a Certificate II and IV in Agriculture and recently finished his Diploma in Agriculture as well. “Once you’re in the industry and you’re working, it’s very much just general knowledge. But once I was in the 2IC position I had to make decisions on cows and paddock. Studying meant I understood why we did things.”
There are many aspects of dairy he loves, but the fact that no day is the same is one of his favourite things. “I love the variability of the industry. One day you could be milking the cows in the dairy, the next you put crops in the ground. The growth of dairy is limitless. There’s never really been a roadblock to say this is as far as you’re going to go,” Blake said.
The only thing he hasn’t quite got used to is getting up early. “As much as I love being up early and seeing the sun rise, the early mornings are the biggest struggle.”
The early start is a small price to pay in comparison to all that dairy has to offer. “I’m in the sun all day, out on a motorbike doing what I love. It’s hard to find a negative when you love what you’re doing,” he said.
Blake recently went on the Don Campbell Memorial study tour offered annually by GippsDairy, and loved the opportunities that came with it. He’s hoping to further his study of the industry and has set his sights on the next New Zealand Study tour offered by Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
The advice he’d give to people thinking about starting a career in the dairy industry is simple. “Take your education seriously and take charge of it when entering the industry,” Blake said. “Find a farm that’s going to support you with your study and development.”
Networking and building up a strong group of like-minded people is also important to build a solid career. “Create a good network,” he said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now without a decent network.”