When Gerringong woman Bec Weir finished school she knew wherever life took her she wanted to work with animals.
She went on to pursue a career in the dairy industry, and never looked back.
Now she’s been recognised in the BlueScope WIN 2024 Rural Ambassador program thanks to her passion for all things agriculture.
“I wanted to be a vet or work on a farm, but as a vet you have to deal with the heartbreak of someone’s connection to their pet,” the newly crowned ambassador said.
“On a dairy farm you get back what you put in.
“It’s definitely a lifestyle and I love working with the cows; they’ve all got their own personalities; they’re like big dogs.
“Now I’m instilling that love in my own kids.”
At home Bec’s children help out with the ducks and chooks, while she juggles work at Bailey’s Dairy Farm, Spotlight and Woolworths.
When her children began daycare, Bec realised not all kids got the same opportunities to connect to agriculture, so she began to develop a series of workshops for young children.
“My son will sit on the lounge for hours holding chickens,” she laughed.
“He knows to lock them in at night to protect them from the foxes, and he learns about the circle of life – that things don’t always go the way we want them to.
“The plan is to take chicks in so the kids can touch, feel and ask questions, then lend out our incubator so they can see the whole process of the chicks hatching.
“It’s bringing them that hands-on, sensory learning.”
A BlueScope WIN spokesperson said Bec’s outgoing personality and passion for inclusive agricultural promotion made her an ideal ambassador.
She wasn’t the only winner, however.
Liam Pearson won the Ag Shows NSW Next Generation encouragement award for his work as part of the Albion Park Show.
Liam blends his mechanical engineering background with a deep passion for agriculture, born from his upbringing on a small farm.
“His diverse interests, from dairy cattle to outdoor activities, reflect his multifaceted skill set,” the BlueScope WIN spokesperson said.
“As part of the Albion Park Show, Liam is dedicated to creating community connections and advocating for mental health support within the agricultural realm.”
Kate Bourke was recognised as an advocate for agriculture. Like Liam, her expertise spans agriculture and mechanics, with a career that’s taken her from work as a fencing contractor to working on a cropping station.
Kate currently works at a dairy farm in Jamberoo and is an active participant in pony club and horse sporting events, as well as the showgirl competition.
“As a rural ambassador, Kate’s focus is on promoting agriculture as a viable career and volunteer opportunity, especially to schools, symbolising the empowerment of women in the sector,” the BlueScope WIN spokesperson said.
Dental assistant Sarah Evans was recognised as a passionate aspirant for rural ambassadorship.
Sarah has qualifications in performance horses and agriculture, and has been involved in agricultural shows since she was eight.
She also volunteers at the local nursing home and the RFS.