FARM work has always been a part of Summer Dehnert’s life.
The 23-year-old grew up on a sheep and cattle property at Ballan where she would help out when she could – as long as she was able to get a day off school.
Ms Dehnert moved to the Wimmera to study an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture at Longerenong College.
“I had came up to the Wimmera Field Days and they had a booth; my parents and I thought I should give Longy a go because it was a different experience to what I was used to,” she said.
“Dad always says that he can’t see me doing anything else but farming because there has never really been anything else that I’ve been interested in.
“There are so many different pathways for people to go into, but it’s got to be something you really want to do – if you don’t have a passion for it then you’re never going to put your effort into it.
“The job is also always changing – there’s always something different everyday.”
Ms Dehnert got a placement at Marshall Rodda’s Tarranyurk property in 2014 while she was studying.
Mr Rodda was so impressed with her work ethic that he later offered her a full-time job at the property. Ms Dehnert has now worked there for four years.
“Back home we just have little tractors, but up here it’s a huge business,” she said.
“I didn’t drive a lot of tractors back home, so when I got up here it was really like being thrown in the deep end.
“To start with, Marshall would tell me what he wanted done. But now I get to make suggestions and decisions. Working for someone else instead of for your family is a lot different – you get a different view of things.”
Ms Dehnert said her favourite aspect of life on the farm was working with livestock.
“I grew up around it, so it’s what I’m used to,” she said.
“Eventually I want to go home and take over the family farm. My dad, uncle and pa are all still at home on the farm, so there’s not really space for me at the moment. But hopefully in the next couple of years there will be.”
She said she would like to see more young women join the agriculture industry.
“When I was looking for my work placement, one place flat-out told me that they didn’t want a girl, then there were a couple of others that gave me excuses that I didn’t buy,” she said.
“I guess it’s often the older generation rather than the younger ones, but there is still very much that mindset that it’s not a girl’s job. There aren’t a lot of women who are doing this work – but I think it’s changing.”
While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.