The 25 year-old grew up on a dairy farm in Kerang, which inspired an interest in agriculture.
“I completed a Certificate II in Agriculture at high school, and went on to study a Bachelor of Agriculture Science at La Trobe University in Bundoora, with Honours in ruminant nutrition,” Ms Hammond said.
“I’m now halfway through a Masters of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham, which has given me the business skills that I felt I was lacking after my science degree, but which I have a real interest in.”
The many years of studying are no burden to Ms Hammond, who loves “constantly learning and being challenged”.
“It comes down to actually having an interest in it, I’m not just doing it for the piece of paper, I’m doing it because I find it really interesting and relevant,” she said.
Ms Hammond has juggled her studies, and positions at the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), for many years, and was recently rewarded with a promotion to UDV acting manager.
“I started on the Young Agribusiness Professionals (YAPs) committee in my first year of uni, because I was interested in the policy space and wanted to find out more about what that meant, and was there for three years,” she said.
“I then started working casually for the VFF, doing some reception and casual work, and then got a job as a project and policy officer with the UDV in 2015, and my roles have evolved ever since.”
She said her new role is incredibly diverse, encompassing many aspects of the industry.
“I’m now managing a team of five, while managing day to day operations, including budgets, strategic planning, and oversight of policy development,” she said.
Ms Hammond is glad she didn’t take the advice of her high school careers counsellor, who told her there were no jobs in agriculture.
She said she looks forward to a long career in the dairy industry.
“I definitely see a long-term career in the dairy industry, but I’m also keen to spend a few years working in another commodity, seeing how it works,” she said.
“If you focus on the one industry, I think you can get stuck on particular issues, or focus on the negatives, but working across other industries means you can take a break and restart, while still constantly learning.”
She said while there are many challenges in the dairy industry, growing up on a dairy farm taught her to “get on with the job”, and look for the opportunities.
“I’ve been through the hardship on-farm, but in a way, I’ve caught the dairy bug, and it’s just ingrained in me that you push on when things get tough,” she said.