Being a mum and businesswoman, SA dairy farmer and DairySA Deputy Chair Rebecca Walmsley knows what it’s like to wear many hats.
With a passion for the land and animals, Bec grew up near Strathalbyn before landing in Mount Gambier after completing her agriculture degree. A dynamic career followed with a highly qualified Bec working for Elders in Dairy Nutrition before stepping out from Dairy Extension into share farming.
It was her husband Rob who first made the introduction to dairy farming. 11 years later they are an accomplished farming duo based in the Fleurieu foothills on Windy Vale Farm, Myponga. Two other very important team members complete the young family – daughter Tahlia and much-loved Bulldog Ruby.
Bec’s ability to juggle motherhood with business and her first-hand experience in various avenues of the industry set an encouraging example for women wanting to pursue a career in ag. “It’s a rewarding career whatever you make of it because it’s not just about milking cows; there’s a lot of jobs in the industry that cater for a wide range of people.”
With milking in mind, Bec and Rob’s time is largely occupied by their position as suppliers and share farmers of SA’s Fleurieu Milk Company. Australian school students have been lucky to 'step inside' their world, with Windy Vale featuring in a Virtual Reality Program designed by Dairy Australia.
The program which brings the farm to the classroom, supports Dairy Australia’s commitment to working with schools by engaging students with unique VR footage. Students who may have never been on-farm are able to learn about the manufacturing process, from milking to final consumer product – and it all aligns with Bec’s belief in connecting the farming community with wider Australia.
Not only is Bec a valued member of the DairySA Board, but she is farming, educating, raising a family, challenging gender stereotypes, and helping to pave the way for more women to enter the dairy industry.
Sunday 15 October is Rural Women's Day - a day to recognise the achievements of women in rural development and agriculture, in their roles as caregivers, producers, consumers, investors, community members and farmers. In Australia the contributions of women to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land, and natural resource management, and building climate resilience, are significant. This October we will continue to celebrate the incredible impact of Women in dairy.