The mission statement of the Macalister Demonstration Farm supports the view that farmer development is the key to a successful dairy industry. Yet, we are keenly aware that opportunities for development are scarce and that farmers find it difficult to find the resources to lift their heads out of their work. The MDF Travel & Learning Scholarship aims to assist in the development of dairy farming experience both at an individual level, where a passion for the industry can be demonstrated, and at a community level, where information and key findings can be dispersed.

The MDF has established this annual scholarship up to the value of $10,000 for the recipient to undertake a study tour that will benefit the dairying community in the Macalister Irrigation Area.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Promote lifelong learning in dairying;
  • Improve information flow into the MID, with an emphasis on a farmer perspective;
  • Broaden industry networks to provide a conduit for new ideas to continue to flow into the district; and
  • Support the personal and professional development of participants in the dairy industry to encourage them to take on leadership roles in the wider industry.

The scholarship is open to anyone of any age working in the dairy industry in the MID and the study tour is expected to be for a minimum of two weeks. Preference will be given to applications received from farmers within the Macalister Irrigation Area but will not be limited to farmers if the proposed study will benefit the farmers of the Macalister Irrigation Area.

Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, alternative systems of dairy farm management (fertilizer management, irrigation practice, animal nutrition, breeding and genetics), sustainable farm practices (waste management, water use efficiency, energy use efficiency, nutrient use, carbon emissions reduction, integration of farming with the natural environment) and new technologies and innovations.

The successful applicant will be assigned a mentor with experience in their nominated field of study to assist with developing study tour objectives and itinerary as well as assisting with network links. It is expected that, upon return, the scholarship recipient will prepare a report for wider distribution and participate in at least two events organised by the MDF to disperse their findings.  MDF staff will assist with the preparation and planning of the study tour as well as provide follow up support for the preparation of verbal presentations and the written study tour report.

Once awarded the scholarship, the successful applicant will dedicate time to:

  • participate in planning sessions with MDF staff and their assigned mentor before the study;
  • carry out the study tour;
  • preparing and making a presentation at two MDF events, including the MDF AGM if appropriate;
  • making presentations to West Vic Dairy and/or Murray Dairy if requested (travel expenses will be included in the scholarship);
  • preparing a written report of the study tour findings; and
  • providing feedback to the scholarship committee on their return to improve the experience for future participants.

The MDF Travel & Learning Scholarship provides funds to cover the direct expenses associated with the study tour including travel/flight expenses, accommodation, meals, and incidentals up to the grant limit. The successful applicant may be required to fund some expenses while on tour for later reimbursement. If the proposed tour costs more than the grant limit then the extra costs will be the responsibility of the successful applicant.

Proud Sponsors:

GippsDairy / John White / Fonterra / SRW / Maffra Vet Centre

2013 Travel and Learning Scholarship – Jon Ryan