My name is Danille Fox, I am 19 years old and this is my story ……..
I grew up on our family beef cattle property Bona Vista, 75km north of St George, where we run 500 breeders and 1000 composite steers.
My parents have been the biggest role models in my life and have inspired my strong interest and determination to work in the beef industry. Working for our family business Bona Vista Grazing Company has taught me many valuable practical farm and business skills as well as inspired my love for the rural lifestyle and agriculture.
Standing with my Mum in our forage sorghum crop which we made silage from to store and feed to our cattle in droughts.
Mustering the steers off the crop to weigh in the cattle yards with my Dad, brother and the loyal team (the working dogs)
I completed my primary schooling at Begonia State School where most the time I was the only one in my class and the total number of students was no more than 12. Attending such a small school taught me how to make friends with everyone despite our age differences which is a trait I’ve continued to use.
As I am the youngest of 6 in my family, and our property is near a few of my cousins, we were never bored as kids. Building stick cubbies, playing in the cottonseed, swimming and fishing in the dam and ‘cattle yard tiggy’ were just a few of the little adventures we shared.
Playing in the cotton seed with my sister and cousins. We feed cotton seed to our cattle during the droughts to our cattle.
I have also grown a love for cattle as since I was old enough to carry a milking a bucket I would wake up early in the morning to go down to the yards with Dad to milk the cows. Even today I still go down and milk the cows with my nieces and I’m sure they will agree that you can’t beat the taste of fresh farm milk.
I have always loved animals and have multiple home videos of my cousin and myself playing ‘Dr Harry’ on the farm where we would ‘make up cases, such as the dairy cow swallowing a golf ball, and the cat getting its claws stuck in the tree, that we were called out to ‘urgently’ treat.
Preparing for a muster at a neighbours. Working in the agricultural industry is a team effort and is extremely rewarding.
I began studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 2011 and decided I wanted to combine my passion for Australian agriculture and farming with my love for animals, in particular cattle and am currently in my second year studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, Gatton.
My dream is to return to a rural area to contribute my skills as a rural veterinarian while contributing to Australia’s beef industry.
Over the years I have taken every opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills in agriculture from working beside my Mum and Dad on the farm, to participating in programs such as TASTE (The Agricultural Skills and Tertiary Experience) at the Dalby Agricultural College and FEAST (Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology) which were valuable experiences to meet young people from rural areas with similar interests as myself. I have also taken part in various workshops and forums including the Young Beef Producers Forum held annually in Roma as well as being an active member in the Young Angus Youth Society, the Future Farmers Network and the Bovine Appreciation Group and Cattleman’s Club at our University.
In 2011 I became a recipient of the Horizon Scholarship supported by RIRDC. The scholarship enabled me to gain experience at the Katherine Research Station, Katherine and Berrimah Veterinary Laboratory, Darwin in the NT where I worked with veterinarians conducting station tick checks, taking blood tests from cattle and chooks, crocodile catching and much more.
Work experience in the Northern Territory was a great opportunity to learn and make valuable networks.
Learning to jugular bleed cattle.
In 2012 I participated in a Beef Cattle Study Tour to the USA and Canada with my parents and other beef cattle producers from Australia and New Zealand. The trip was extremely informative and included a visit to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) headquarters, a trip to the JBS ‘Kunar’ Feedlot and visits to multiple cattle ranches and studs throughout the states.
Two of the many highlights of our US Beef Study Tour was visiting Padlock Ranch and the NCBA.
Dad, me, my friend Emily and my Mum.
I personally have experienced some of the issues challenging our agricultural industry such as variable climates including extreme droughts and flooding, unstable markets and isolation. I also understand the impact that food security and the growing population (estimated to reach 35.5 million by year 2056) will have on Australia’s agriculture and the demand for increased and sustainable production to feed and clothe the increasing population.
I am standing on the swings at my primary school Begonia in the record floodwaters in 2012. The generosity of people assisting our community during and after the floods was outstanding.
I believe building relationships with consumers is important in ensuring the stability of Australia’s agriculture. Regarding beef, it is vital for the longevity of the industry, that consumers are comfortable with farm production systems and supply chains.
Communicating quality products, sustainable practices and latest technologies are integral to this relationship. User driven social media is a recent innovation allowing producers to tell their stories and build relationships with consumers. Social media is a 2-way education tool and helps connect farmers with consumers allowing producers to find out what their customers expectations and concerns.
Facebook sites like “Ask An Aussie Farmer” is a great example of stepping forward and connecting with consumers.
I see today’s agricultural industry as exciting and challenging and I feel privileged to be a part of an industry which is so vital to Australia’s future. I look forward to contributing to the industry through my veterinary profession and AGvocacy roles
You can watch Danille’s video here
Read Danille’s Target 100 profile here