Dairy farmer and vet Ebony Mull was sponsored by the Gardiner Foundation to attend the recent 2024 Young Dairy Network (YDN) Conference.

“Saying yes to attending one of these events may give you the chance to say yes to your next life-changing opportunity,” Ebony said.

Over 100 farmers and industry members came together for the two-day conference held in Wollongong, NSW. Ebony Mull, from Gundowring, North-East Victoria says it gives young people inspiration, positivity, education, new ideas and a sense of connection.

“The conference is an important part of building a network of friends who you normally wouldn’t meet if you’re working on your own farm,” Ebony said.

“There was something for a wide variety of skill levels at this conference – from discussions about farming to presentations about leadership and farm ownership. Getting involved helps to increase self-confidence, provides opportunities to ask questions, travel and gain an understanding of different career options.”

Ebony grew up on her family’s farm in the Kiewa Valley. After a career as a vet, she returned to the family farm in a share famer role. Her vet career has been useful in developing skills to deal with animal health, disease prevention, developing protocols, staff management, delegation and multitasking.

She is working on purchasing the herd and eventually ownership of the farm and enjoys the dairy industry because she can work alongside her family, be her own boss and raise her daughter within a farming lifestyle.

“What I really took from the conference was that farmers love what they do and where they live – it’s the essence of Australian farming.”

“There were a lot of inspirational stories throughout the event and what I learned was that it’s the best time in history to pursue new ideas.”

“But nothing changes if nothing changes, and so, it’s important to come together as an industry and young farmers to discuss challenges and opportunities.”

Ebony is a YDN committee member as well as Chair of Alpine Valleys Dairy Inc. She says it’s important to be part of engaging fellow young people in the region.

“I have got into the bad habit of saying yes to every opportunity that I’m able to be a part of, which has resulted in becoming part of young dairy and local programs. I feel like our area often misses out on Murray Dairy YDN events and am keen to see more events and interaction between group members.”

“I hope as Chair and through my other local commitments, I can be part of engaging young farmers in the region because it’s important to bring like-minded people together.”