Murray Dairy this week farewells Sarah Thompson, Extension Officer in Workforce Development and the Coordinator of the region’s Young Dairy Network. After almost four years, Sarah is headed to Melbourne where she will be based in Dairy Australia’s head office, taking up a new role as Program Development Coordinator in the Workforce Development area.
Sarah is a familiar face from Cohuna to Cobram to Corryong. She has connected with hundreds of farmers and industry professionals across the region through her work with Murray Dairy, running field days, workshops and courses to support farmers to improve on-farm safety, staff management, business governance, and career progression, transition and succession planning.
She says it is the people in the dairy industry that have made an impact on her.
‘I have loved the past three and a half years with Murray Dairy and it really is the incredible people in this region that have made it such a great experience. I am really looking forward to taking on this new role with Dairy Australia which will allow me to further my work in the “people” space through the development of national programs and then working with all the dairying regions across Australia to deliver them.’
Sarah has been committed to supporting young people in the industry to develop their skills on and off the farm through her work with the Young Dairy Network, Dairy Discussion Groups and on the Young Farmer Ministerial Advisory Council, working with the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development.
‘Sarah has been an exceptionally passionate coordinator behind the Murray Dairy YDN [Young Dairy Network]. Many of us on the Steering Committee have had the pleasure of working with Sarah over the past few years, her passion for the industry, supporting and creating opportunities for young people, and ability to see the positives in broadly challenging situations is nothing short of inspirational” said Mark Palmer, Chair of the YDN Steering Committee and Agronomist at Stephen Pasture Seeds.
Sarah will hand on the baton to her colleagues at Murray Dairy.
Melva Tyson, who has been a part of the Murray Dairy team for almost three years, will be taking on the Extension Officer role in Workforce Development. Having grown up on a farm and worked in agriculture and industry training previously, Melva says she is ‘looking forward to being out on farm and working directly with farmers because it feels like coming home’.
Lisa Menhennet, currently an Extension Officer, will deliver the Farm Safety program, bringing experience from working in similar programs at Tatura Milk.
Harriet Bawden will become the new Young Dairy Network Coordinator, after finishing up her work on the Accelerating Change project. ‘It’s a good opportunity to connect with younger farmers in the region and make sure that Murray Dairy is addressing the needs of this particular group, which can be different from the broader industry’ she said.