“I’ve been very lucky all the way along to have really good employers,” says Gippsland dairy farmer, Katherine Byrne. “As an outsider, they have all been very good at teaching me and encouraging me to gain knowledge.”

Growing up as a ‘townie’ in Gippsland, Katherine was always entranced by the stories her father told about growing up on a dairy farm.

When she got to VCE, she decided to do a Cert 2 in Agriculture alongside her VCE studies and started her first work placement at Caldermeade Farm in West Gippsland; a tourism destination as well as a working dairy farm. This led to her first full time job after leaving school.

“There is literally something for everyone in dairy farming,” Katherine said. “Whether it’s animals, machinery or numbers (accounting), it’s actually difficult to decide because there are so many options.”

Encouraged by her employers, Katherine completed a Cert 3 and 4 at the (former) National Centre for Dairy Education with a Diploma of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham wedged in between.

A naturally quiet person, Katherine has found joining the Gippsland Young Dairy Network has given her great social connections and improved her skills in speaking and running meetings – she is Chair of the West Gippsland Extension Network.

Now into her 12th year in dairy farming, Katherine is considering further change and advancement from her current Senior Farm Hand role to possibly taking on a teaching course to “give something back” before looking around for an assistant manager or manager role.