As a young uni student, someone once told Rozzie O’Reilly not to miss any opportunity that comes her way. Get rejected? Pick yourself up and throw your hat back in the ring. Fortunately, she took it on board and in 2021 Rozzie was crowned the Australian winner of the Zanda McDonald Award.
The annual award is highly regarded in the agribusiness industry and recognises and mentors talented young professionals in the Australian and New Zealand ag sector.
Rozzie, 28, from Holbrook NSW, first applied three years ago and while she didn’t win, it didn’t deter her. She’d met Emma Black, the inaugural winner, during her studies. Emma had spoken of the incredible experiences she’d gained from the award and Rozzie knew she had to give it another crack.
Those opportunities are all now ahead of Rozzie. She’ll be mentored by members of the PPP Group and in May a trip to northern Queensland and the Northern Territory will see her visit corporate companies in Brisbane, the McDonald’s family home, Iffley Station in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Tipperary Station in the NT.
Rozzie said she’s excited about the upcoming adventure and the mentoring opportunities she’ll be provided with. The award also opened up a whole new skill set for her, providing training in how to navigate media and publicity.
“That was great because I think it’s something the ag industry sometimes struggles with, which we saw during the live export issue when no-one really knew what to do, so even though it was a bit daunting when they put us in front of a camera, recorded our responses and then we all watched it back as a group, it’s really good knowledge to have,” Rozzie says.
When she’s not off accepting prestigious awards or jetting across the country, Rozzie is kept busy in her role as the breeding manager at Lambpro. She studied animal science at UNE and found a passion for nutrition and genetics, going on to complete an Honours research project in sheep genetics.
She now manages the database for performance-based recording. This year Lambpro will join around 7000 performance-recorded seedstock ewes. It’s a diverse role that also sees her coordinating staff, organising farm contractors, shearers, preg scanners, ram videographers and pretty much anything and everything involved in the seedstock business.
Rozzie’s coming up to her fifth year in the job and said with a real passion for the industry and a supportive workplace, she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
“I really love providing services to our clients. I get a real kick out of it and if I can help someone make a better decision which helps their business, I really enjoy that. I love being on the farm as well,” she says.
“Working for Tom has been great too because he’s been a mentor who’s always pushing us and trying to get the best out of us.”
There’ll be no shortage of valuable experiences ahead for Rozzie and she’s keen to embrace them with open arms.
“There’s so many opportunities in ag and it’s pretty exciting,” she says.
“I haven’t even been in it for that long but there’s so many amazing opportunities for young people. They’re there - don’t let them pass.”