Mardi O’Brien from Kyancutta in South Australia has been awarded the 2016 Semex Angus Youth Kansas State University Scholarship.
Sponsored by Semex Pty Ltd and Angus Australia, the Kansas State Scholarship provides a young beef cattle enthusiast with the chance to spend a semester studying at the prestigious Kansas State University in the United States of America each year.
It was the opportunity to explore a career path further that inspired Miss O’Brien to apply for the Semex Kansas State University Scholarship.
‘To be able to network with some of the best minds in the beef industry, was an opportunity too good to refuse’, said Miss O’Brien.
‘I have a love of travel and being able to combine this with some time at one of the best agricultural universities in the world will be amazing’, she said
Miss O’Brien has a lot of respect for the personnel in and around Kansas State University and credits them for a lot of inspiration she has to remain in the beef industry.
‘I can’t wait to gain knowledge from the likes of Dr John Riley and Bruce Young, they are great mentors, that have been there and done a lot within the industry,’ she said.
Miss O’Brien hails from Kyancutta, a small wheat belt town on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It was here that she grew up with a passion for the feedlot industry, following involvement in her family’s small feedlot operation where they feed predominately Angus cattle.
Studying Rural Science at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, Miss O’Brien spends her holidays working at the Rangers Valley Feedlot at Glen Innes NSW.
Miss O’Brien has a strong interest in intensive feeding and the handling and stress management of cattle in feedlot situations and also has an interest in nutrition and meat science, all topics she looks forward to exploring further at K-State.
Miss O’Brien is thrilled to have been named the 2016 Semex Kansas State University Scholarship winner and is grateful that awards such as this are available to the youth in agriculture.
‘It is a huge honour to be involved with Angus Australia and I am so appreciative to them and Semex Genetics for providing such an amazing opportunity to young beef breeders’, says Miss O’Brien.
Miss O’Brien hopes that by sharing her experiences from winning the Semex Kansas State University Scholarship with other young beef enthusiasts that it will encourage them to remain involved in the industry.
‘Agriculture is a huge passion of mine and I want to be able to encourage as many people to get involved in agriculture and the beef industry as possible’, says Miss O’Brien.
Angus Australia Youth Development and Education Officer Haylee Herriot said international tertiary educational experiences, such as that provided by the Semex Kansas State Scholarship, are a fantastic way to get an insight into international beef industry research and development, the applications of this technology and ways in which these ideas can be implemented back in Australia.
‘Studying at such a highly regarded international agricultural institution such as Kansas State is a fantastic opportunity for Australia’s young beef cattle enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the latest beef production technologies and their potential application to the wider Australian beef industry as a whole,’ said Ms Herriot
‘This scholarship represents an amazing opportunity for Miss O’Brien, with beef cattle a key focus of study and research at Kansas State University. With the university’s own seed stock and commercial herd, feedlot, feed mill, brilliant teaching facilities and staff, the university offers an exceptional learning environment’.
Picture: Mardi O’Brien, the 2016 Semex Kansas State University Scholarship winner