TWO of the Hereford industry’s most promising up-and-coming talents will travel interstate to learn more about the breed and stud stock operations after being named this year’s recipients of Herefords Australia National Youth Travel Scholarship.
South Australia’s Tori Kitschke and Thomas Spencer from Western Australia will each receive $2,500 to fund travel to further develop their knowledge, at a destination and for a duration of their choice. Established in 2019, the Scholarships are open to applicants over 18 years of age who compete in the Herefords National Youth Expo.
Herefords Australia Limited Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Sharp, said after a competitive application process she was delighted to announce Tori and Thomas as winners.
“Both Tori and Thomas have demonstrated incredible talent and are keen to learn as much as they can about the breed, which is extremely positive and valuable to our industry’s future,” Ms Sharp said.
“While the judges were particularly looking for applicants who were prepared to put themselves out of their comfort zones and explore new areas, they were also impressed by their willingness to support more youth in the industry, and Tori and Thomas have shown they are eager to share their learnings with their peers.
“Our young people are our future so one of the most important things we can do is encourage and nurture the talent of those who will help to lead our industry for years to come.”
Growing up on his family’s mixed commercial breeding operation approximately 43 km northeast of Perth, recent high school graduate, Thomas Spencer, started his own Hereford stud last year and is keen to establish a positive network with experienced breeders on a tour through New South Wales and Victoria.
“Living in Western Australia, opportunities to see the prominent Hereford genetics in action are rare so I am hoping to research various bloodlines and families to see which ones I would like to add to my program in the future,” Thomas said.
“I also want to learn the selection criteria and management methods of various studs so I can implement them into my stud.”
A major highlight of Thomas’s itinerary will be a visit to the Wodonga National Show and Sale in May 2022.
“Visiting the Wodonga Sale will be a great way for me to see my long-term Hereford goals in action and network with other breeders,” Thomas said.
“Importantly, I want to grow my relationship with the Hereford community in the eastern states so I can foster a strong youth relationship and promote Herefords to Western Australian youth at events such as the Youth Cattle Handlers Camp.”
While Thomas will pack his bags and head east, Veterinary Medicine student and small Hereford Stud owner, Tori Kitschke, will leave her family Hereford farm near Mt Gambier to travel to Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast for a two-week placement with influential cattle vet Dr Enoch Bergman.
Tori said she was hoping to gain a greater understanding of cattle medicine by working with a renowned practitioner with a large animal workload.
“When I complete my studies, I intend on using my degree in the agriculture space with a particular focus on cattle, so this is a fantastic scholarship opportunity for me,” Tori said.
“I believe there is no better way to learn than by travelling and meeting new people, seeing different farming land, and being taught by successful farmers and in my case, veterinarians too.
“I aim to persist with my small stud and apply the knowledge and connections that this scholarship will provide me so that I can continue to improve my herd.”
Giving back to, and sharing her knowledge with, other Herefords Australia Youth members is a key driver for Tori.
“I would like to be involved in more youth events and initiatives but importantly, I aspire to be the one able to pass on these lessons to the youth of the future,” she said.
Annie Pumpa, Herefords Australia National Youth President was delighted with the response to the scholarship “While we were disappointed that the 2021 Youth Expo was cancelled, we were determined to progress our scholarship program and other capacity building activities this year.
I’d like to thank everyone who submitted an application. I encourage you to re-apply in 2022 and to look out for announcements regarding other youth scholarships over the coming months.”