There’s no doubting that Amelia (Milly) Nolan has certainly found her calling. Right across Australia she’s a key person behind helping upskill everyday people in agriculture to help build a brighter future for them and the industry more broadly.
Her love for the land, livestock and rural Australia is as strong and steadfast as the wool fibres she was raised among.
The daughter of a farmer shearer, Milly grew up on a sheep and wool property just on the Victorian side of the border with South Australia and was akin to life in the woolshed from her very earliest days.
With first memories of farmer’s wives smuggling in warm home baking as pacifiers to later graduating in size and strength required for throwing fleeces.
After spending time traveling, engaging in seasonal work and gaining an ag science degree, an opportunity with the Livestock Collective arose and Milly started down a path that ultimately shaped her direction, goals and enduring passion for the industry.
“I was chatting with the Livestock Collective’s founder, Holly Ludeman, about the disconnect existing in agriculture and I commented that everyone would know someone involved in ag, not realising then how skewed that belief was,” Milly said.
“Holly said just 64 per cent of people know zero, one or two people involved in agriculture and a massive chunk of the population have no connection to our primary industries.
“It’s nobody’s fault, but if I’m the only person they know then it’s my responsibility to be having conversations and answering any queries they may have- this is still what drives me today.”
Enter her current title as program manager at the Livestock Collective, namely her role behind the national livestock leaders program and Milly couldn’t be more at home.
The livestock leaders program aims to give agricultural workers from all industries and points of the supply chain skills in communication, media and social media, presenting a united approach aimed at building community trust around ag.
After an initial workshop facilitated with the Young Live Exporters Network (YLEN), the program quickly gained momentum and now has 300 alumni across Australia.
“We want people to become experts in their part of the supply chain and we aim to give these people the confidence and skills to share their story,” Milly said.
“There are no restrictions as such, you just need to be passionate about your industry and forward thinking in your approach to communication.
“We have agronomists, landcare management representatives, farmers, graziers- a huge variety of professionals- and as a facilitator I’m pretty proud of how diverse our group has grown to be.
“That’s really the key. What we’ve learned through research is that the general population doesn’t distinguish between our various sectors, so for example they see no difference between live export and horticulture- they place us all under one umbrella.
“The livestock leaders program addresses that by bringing industries together that may not otherwise interact, to work on presenting a united, cohesive front.”
Milly’s passion is contagious- as it should be.
“If we can build really effective lines of communication we won’t only have a highly productive agricultural industry in Australia, we will have a trusted one, forging a really compelling future for ag in our country.