“I’m a risk taker”
These are the words of a real-life dairy-lover who is doing just what she
says- taking a risk.
Amanda Heilman, a senior at the University of Maryland and double- majoring in Animal
Science and Agricultural Science, is taking on an opportunity that will change
her life. She is going to be serving as
the calf manager during the 2010 calving season on a farm in Tasmania,
Tasmania? Yes, Tasmania. Homeland of Taz, from the
Looney Tunes. To travel there is one
thing, but to work there is an entirely different experience altogether. One that Amanda will get first-hand.
“I am really excited about this journey in my life,” Amanda says.
Amanda will be there for 6 months, along with two other soon-to-be college graduates, one
from the University of Guelph and the other from The Ohio State
University. They will be arriving later
and staying longer, but this doesn’t worry Amanda because she knows her duties
will help her in the long run.
“I will really be able to see how it is done correctly and will be able to bring back ideas to my state.”
Since Amanda will be serving as the sole calf manager on this 900 cow, 650 acre
grazing dairy, (wow!) she will assume
all responsibilities that revolve around calf care. She will be ensuring all newborns get
colostrum; training calves to drink; feeding daily; feeding and preparing the
bull calves for market; keeping all records; moving calves to pasture when they
are large enough; identifying and treating sick calves; maintaining bedding and
facilities; and evening and night checks of the springer herd to ensure proper
identification of the calves.
It sounds so easy right? Amanda… how are you going to have the determination to do all of that? Where does the drive come from?
"I never grew up on a dairy farm but ever since I got to college, I knew that I
wanted to devote my life to the dairy industry. I love everything about
Upon starting college, Amanda began working at the university's farm, part-time during school
and full-time on seasonal school breaks.
She also likes to help out her friends when they need it, with milking,
making hay, and even showing.
Upon her completion of college (which won't be until after her return from Tasmania),
Amanda hopes to educate dairy farmers on how they can better their own
practices and be more productive. She
also would like to start her own farm someday.
"I want to have a grazing dairy, where I can also have a 4-H leasing program to
teach 4-Hers about dairying and to let them lease animals for their
Amanda is very interested in the new grazing fad that has hit the dairy industry. She says that this is a great opportunity for
farmers in her area that have the land, because they live so close to the
"Our area lets us directly market to these consumers and being grass fed is a niche market that is quickly growing."
Amanda will be leaving the U.S. on June 18, for the wonderful land of Tasmania, and she couldn't be more excited.
"I’m young and don’t have anything holding me back so why not? I’m going to meet so
many new and interesting people and see so many new and amazing places. I can’t
wait to start out on my 6 month trip!"
Good luck Amanda! And keep us updated on the Tasmanian way of dairying!