While the idea of an 18-year-old going overseas sounds like the start of your ordinary gap year tale, for Rhett O’Connor it will be anything but.
Rhett, who grew up in Narromine and studied in Dubbo and Orange, will undertake the trip of a lifetime next year after he was awarded the Limousin Youth International Travel Award.
The award allows an involved Limousin Youth Association member to develop themselves and further the LYA program.
He will travel and study the overseas beef industry and endeavours to strengthen relationships with overseas Limousin Societies and encourage greater interest in Australian and New Zealand Limousin breeding programs.
The scholarship will see Rhett tour Canada and America, visit studs in those countries and network with international breeders.
Rhett, who is a second year apprentice plumber in Dubbo, purchased his first stud Limousin Cow and Calf from the Tobias Limousin Stud Dispersal Sale in 2008.
From there he registered his own stud ‘ROC Limousin Stud’, and became involved with the Limousin Society.
“Since 2012 I have met some admirable cattle breeders who have helped teach and guide me, giving me the knowledge and skills I have today,” he said.
“As my passion with the Limousin breed grew stronger, I became eager to be a part of the Limousin Youth Committee of Australia.
“This committee helps organise events for other enthusiastic youth breeders to develop their knowledge and skills.”
John and Sue Sheehy of Limoges Limousins, Lake Bathurst, provided funding for the scholarship to further develop the Limousin breed through the youth members.
Rhett plans to go overseas in June/July 2018.
“I plan to wrap my trip in with the Limousin International Congress as it is held in America in 2018. This will allow me to not only network with breeders from Canada and America but breeders across the world,” he said.
“One thing I have learnt is that you can never have to many contacts.”
Rhett said he hopes by attending the Limousin Youth Show in Denver he can discuss with their committee the events they run and ways they fund for their events and implant some of these ideas into the Australian Limousin Youth Committee the following year.
“While networking with fellow breeders I hope to strengthen the connection between both societies and create more interest from international societies to the Australian society,” he said.
The future is looking bright for Rhett and while he is certainly very busy with his Limousin work he plans to finish his plumbing apprenticeship and complete his plumbing Licence.
“I will continue to do my agriculture on the side while doing my plumbing. In the future, I would like to study business management and agricultural courses to expand my knowledge for both interests,” he said.