Support the Guardian

Available for everyone, funded by readers

Dairy industry's brightest bound for Belgium

Dairy industry's brightest bound for Belgium

Vet South retail manager and stud owner Kate Cummings is one of five young people about to embark on the trip of a lifetime representing New Zealand in Belgium for the 2023 European Young Breeders School (EYBS) this August.

“I’m really looking forward to this as a learning experience,” Cummings says.

“We are entering another country and learning about their industry and the place they hold in the world dairy market.

“With the knowledge and passion I have for the industry, I’m looking forward to furthering my skills showing cattle, whether that be analytically judging them or prepping them for shows.”

The EYBS is the international reference point for training and show preparation, with almost 200 competitors from around the world expected to take part.

The event includes workshops, skills demonstrations, talks, and showmanship training and will enable participants to develop their leadership skills.

Cummings, who began her cattle stud when she was just nine years old, says she looks at the trip as a way to improve her skill set and pass on what she has learned to other people in the industry when she returns home.

“So many people put a lot of time into helping me develop my skillset, and I want to give back to the next generation the same way those people gave to me.”

Cummings, who is from Wyndham in Southland, is the only South Island member attending the trip.

She will be joined by Zoe Botha from Bay of Plenty, Annie Gill and Brad Seagar from Waikato, and Holly Powell from Manawatu.

The team will be the first from New Zealand to attend the event.

“It’s fantastic to go with like-minded people that have the same ambition and want to get the most out of it, both individually and as a team.

“We are really proud to be the first New Zealand team to go over.

“It’s pretty humbling,” Cummings said.

Organised by Holstein Friesian New Zealand,  applications for the trip were open to all young people involved in showing all cattle breeds and was initially planned for 2019 before being postponed due to Covid restrictions.

“The team are people in the industry who have excelled in the industry and cattle showing,” Holstein Friesian New Zealand communications manager Anne Boswell said.

“It’s a good cross-section of people who will be the ones to watch going forward.”

Boswell said the team would be billeted with Belgian dairy farmers during the ten-day trip and have several days of competition.

“The trip will have a massive positive impact on our industry, the way they show and how the young people going will be leaders in the industry in the future.”

by Claire Inkson