ORGANISER of Western Dairy's acclaimed annual Dairy Innovation Day and Spring Field Day, Jess Andony, will continue close connections with the local dairy industry when she joins Milne Feeds this week.
Raised on a Harvey dairy farm, Ms Andony, 27, will be understudy at Milne to veteran ruminant feeds manager Dean Maughan, who works with beef cattle and dairy farmers across WA, northern pastoralists and export pellet clients.
Mr Maughan, who is also from a local dairying family, joined Milne Foods in 2005 after working for the then Department of Agriculture dairy section and as milk supply manager for dairy product manufacturers Peters and Brownes.
He has been Milne's business development manager and both dairy and beef product manager.
Mr Maughan confirmed he expects to contemplate retirement at some time during the next 12 months and that Ms Andony would be trained up and transition as his successor.
Ms Andony has worked for Western Dairy since 2014, utilising her own experience as a volunteer at youth cattle camps and on the cattle show circuit by starting part time as Young Dairy Network co-ordinator where she helped establish the WA Young Dairy Farmer of the Year Awards.
In later years she was Western Dairy's extension officer and part of her role from about 2016 was helping organise the extremely popular Dairy Innovation Day in May, which showcases the latest in dairy equipment and research, as well as the dairy industry's Spring Field Day.
Opening the 2018 Dairy Innovation Day on Mick and Sophia Giumelli's Benger farm, retiring Dairy Australia managing director Ian Halliday, described it as the best industry information event in Australia and run for some of the country's best dairy farmers.
Before she joined Western Dairy, Ms Andony was its first honours scholarship recipient.
She holds a bachelor degree in animal science with dairy science honours from Murdoch University.
Western Dairy's scholarship helped her complete comparative research for her honours thesis assessing the accuracy and convenience of onfarm blood test kits to detect subclinical ketosis in early lactation dairy cows.
Western Dairy now awards two or three honours scholarships a year to students to undertake research relevant to the dairy industry.
Ms Andony's ketosis thesis saw her awarded as runner-up Best Presenter in the 2015 Emerging Scientist Award.
She was the WAFarmers and Rural Bank Agriculture Award winner in the 2017 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards WA.
The award was partly in recognition for her co-ordinating disaster relief for dairy farmers after the 2016 Waroona-Harvey bushfires.
She organised donated feed deliveries and supplies to fire-affected dairy farmers and set up a database to help co-ordinate the relief effort.
As Western Dairy's extension officer, Ms Andony distributed the latest technical information on feeds, pasture, animal health, milk quality, dairy safety, effluent management and a range of related topics, to dairy farmers and organised regular workshops and training.
"I'm 100 per cent grateful to Western Dairy for the opportunities they have provided to me - they gave me my first job after university and I am leaving on really good terms," Ms Andony said.
"I'm sure in my new role at Milne Feeds I'll be maintaining contact with the Western Dairy team, our dairy farmers, the Young Dairy Network and I'll be attending Dairy Innovation Day and the Spring Field Day."
The Western Dairy board has thanked Ms Andony for her contribution to the dairy industry and wished her every success for the future.