Rozzie O’Reilly has what it takes to be a livestock leader

15.04.21

Rozzie O’Reilly has had her sights set on the livestock industry since she was just a young girl living on a sheep and cattle property in Southern NSW. Little did she know she would go on to be awarded an AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship and the prestigious Zanda McDonald Award for her work in the industry.

“It all began on my family farm in the small town of Narrandera. I knew I wanted to work in the livestock industry, so at the pointy end of high school I enrolled in a Bachelor of Animal Science, majoring in Livestock at UNE,” Rozzie tells us.

Seeing the value in networking early on, Rozzie says you can’t put a price on making industry connections at the beginning of your career.

“Obviously there is a financial aspect to the Horizon Scholarship, but I think the biggest thing you gain from the program are the mentors and networks,” Rozzie explains.

Speaking to Rozzie, it is clear that it’s not luck that has landed her with a successful career and numerous achievements to boot. Instead, her proactivity and go-getter attitude has meant she has taken advantage of every opportunity to develop herself personally and professionally.

“I really capitalised on my work placement opportunities. I went and did 3 weeks with Lallemand Animal Nutrition and they had numerous clients involved in all aspects of the livestock industry, so I had the opportunity to do work experience with some of their clients too.”

Rozzie said while the Horizon Scholarship program may only be two years, the opportunities and connections span far longer than that.

“I actually still talk to some of the Lallemand guys, so you really do get exposed to some awesome people that are already in industry. I keep finding that I run into people that have been involved in the Horizon program too,” said Rozzie.

“I also gained some fantastic mentors through the program, some of which I can fall back on, even today. I can go to them to talk about anything from what is happening at work, to industry or even life advice,”

From Lewis Kahn at the University of New England who provided Rozzie with practical experience and advice, to Georgie Somerset who inspires her, to Margot Andrae from Australian Pork who helped provide Rozzie with incredible experiences in the Horizon program; each mentor has contributed something unique to the young leader Rozzie is today.

More recently being awarded the Zanda McDonald Award, Rozzie has another whole wave of opportunities already coming her way and is jumping right in.

“It has been amazing so far, it was a big shock to have actually won the award, not to mention extremely humbling!”

The annual Award recognises and supports talented and passionate young professionals in the ag sector from Australia and New Zealand and Rozzie is already reaping the rewards of what the program has to offer.

“From going through an intense, hour-long interview with seven people, to getting to meet heavy hitters in the industry at the awards dinner, it has already been an incredible networking opportunity. I’m really looking forward to the being mentored by members of the Platinum Primary Producers Group too,” Rozzie tells us.

Next stop for Rozzie is a Northern Tour, where Rozzie will visit numerous of those members, followed by a Southern Tour and COVID pending, a trip across to New Zealand.

“It’s incredible to be exposed to leaders in agribusiness across Australia and New Zealand and really being able to get in and learn their businesses, and see what drives profits,” explains Rozzie.

As the Breeding Manager at LAMBPRO, a day-in-the-life of Rozzie O’Reilly is never the same.

“LAMBPRO as a business is one of Australia’s largest prime lamb seedstock businesses and my main role for the last four years has been managing that database,

“In saying that, my work is extremely diverse. Today I’m in the yards giving pre-lambing drenching, crutching and vaccinations. Next week, who knows, we might be on the road providing client services to one of the 300 businesses we provide rams to.”

While winning awards, travelling across the country, and building relationships have all been highlights of her career so far, Rozzie says contributing to the agricultural industry she is so passionate about is what matters most.

“What I really want to do is give back to the industry which has given me so much already. If I can do that, I’d be happy,” explains Rozzie.

When it comes to words of advice for other young leaders in agriculture, Rozzie doesn’t have a longwinded speech, just simply the message to chase the career you want.

“Whatever path you’re interested in, pursue it, because there are so many incredible opportunities in agriculture for young people, or anyone for that matter. If you’ve got a passion, just follow that passion.”