Mikayla sets sights on career in agriculture

LOOKING AHEAD: Mikayla Passmore has been studying and showing cattle in hopes of pursuing a career in agriculture.
LOOKING AHEAD: Mikayla Passmore has been studying and showing cattle in hopes of pursuing a career in agriculture. Toni Somes

WHEN young cattlewoman Mikayla Passmore grows up (which truth be known isn't far away), she is determined to get a boot in the door of the Queensland agricultural industry.

The 17-year-old, who lives on her family's cattle property in the Clifton-Felton region, will spend this year finishing high school and juggling work at a local produce store.

Her role at the latter has helped her gain a certificate three in business and this year she hopes to add a certificate three in agriculture to her curriculum-vitae.

She is keeping her fingers crossed the certificate courses, coupled with her hands-on experience on a beef and grain property and several seasons preparing and showing cattle, will put her in a good position career-wise.

"I wouldn't mind being a livestock agent or something like that," she said.

"What I want to do is work in the rural industry; it's really all I have ever wanted to do."

She isn't worried by the fact the sector is male-dominated and making it as a girl sometimes means making sure you are twice as good as your competitors.

We caught up with the articulate teen at Clifton Show, where she was putting the final touches to the largest team of stud cattle she and her brother Ben have taken on the circuit.

This year there are eight head in the Benjarra Limousin team and they started their Southern Downs road show with a "most successful exhibitor" title at Allora Show.

"We usually do okay at the shows around here and it's a good way to socialise and meet people involved in industry," Mikayla said.

"I think making contacts are important, especially when you want to make it your career.

"Being involved in showing and parading cattle is a good experience and you can learn a lot from people who have been doing it for years."

While success on the local show circuit has been welcome by the Passmore siblings, one of the highlights of their travelling was glory at the 2013 Landmark Beef Championships in Tamworth.

"We took two steers and a heifer and the heifer finished in the top 10 out of more than 50 head," Mikayla said.

"The steers won the heavyweight one and two classes and there were 70 head in that, so it was really good."

She said preparing a beast for the show circuit was a task that required patience and perseverance.

"Mum calls it pampering, but that's only what happens after you've done all the breaking in," she laughed.

"Each animal is different and some are definitely easier to work with in and out of the show ring," Mikayla said.

"I do think you get to know the animal's temperament and you work out the best way to get them to do what you need them to do. But you definitely need patience."

Hitting the show circuit with a team of cattle is something she would recommend for any teenager aiming for a career in the beef industry.

"It's a really good way to develop your stock handling skills and meet people already involved in agriculture."

Topics:  queen of the paddock rural women