One of the breed’s young guns emerged at the 2022 Herefords Australia Youth Expo, taking home not only a swag of awards but also the admiration of judges, spectators and his fellow youth.
William Van Gend, 18, looked after the team of 21 ballot cattle for the Llandillo Poll Hereford stud, matching each animal with a young handler, and mentoring the younger children along the way.
With his own youthful cheer squad on hand, William paraded the champion bull, Llandillo Soldier S42, a March 2021 drop son of Grathlyn Pacemaker, was named champion senior parader and judge, and grand champion herdsman.
For his efforts, William took home a clipping chute made and donated by Kierin Martin, Kianma Poll Herefords, Forbes, NSW.
Daryl Holder, The Cattle Shop, presented William with the Jason Sutherland Award for his outstanding all-round ability.
Mr Holder paid tribute to Llandillo manager Lee White for taking William under his wing.
William is not from a rural background and developed an interest in cattle at school.
He now works full-time at Llandillo as a farmhand and looks after the show team.
“When I started working for Lee I was 13 and didn’t know much – he has brought me through and taught me everything,” he said.
“It is a big privilege to win the (Jason Sutherland) award and I’m proud they chose me.
“Lee introduced me to Herefords and I’ve been with them ever since. As a young kid I wasn’t so confident around cattle and their temperament was a big confidence builder for me.
“I like the commercial focus of Hereford beef as we have to produce beef at the end of the day.
“I have been trying to instill in these young kids what Lee has told me for the last six to seven years, that is to breed good cattle, then they can come and work for me.”
William completed his HSC last year, gaining a Band 6 in Primary Industries and Agriculture, and the 2021 VET Student of the Year for the central west region.
He has founded his own stud, Broken Arrow, with a foundation heifer, Broken Bow Vanessa R134, purchased as an embryo from Llandillo in 2019.
“She is due to calve in the spring and hopefully I will have a cow and calf at Sydney Royal next year, which I’m pretty excited about.
“I just want to breed cows that are successful in the paddock as they are in the show ring and produce good beef cattle.”
The Herefords Australia Youth committee paid tribute to the tremendous effort contributed by Llandillo Poll Herefords preparing and donating 21 ballot cattle for the event.
Llandillo manager Lee White, The Lagoon, said the stud had taken a team of 28 to the expo at Parkes in 2019.
“This is the way I got my start as I grew up in Penrith and my uncle had a small polled stud, so it is my way of giving back to community,” Mr White said.