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From workshop participants to deliverers

16 May 2024

Just two years ago Tanisha Shields and Jillian Kelly were sitting in the audience with other keen participants of the Livestock Advisor Essentials program.

Fast forward to 2024 and both are leading professionals in their respective fields and are on the delivery team, sharing their experience and expertise with the newest cohort of Livestock Advisor Essentials (LAE). LAE is a professional development program designed for early career professionals involved in the livestock industry or advisors wishing to build their skills and expand their industry knowledge and networks. We spoke to both Tanisha and Jillian about their experiences in the program and how it has shaped their careers.

Meet Jillian

For more than 12 years Jillian Kelly was the district vet with Local Land Services (LLS) New South Wales.

Jillian was abundantly aware her advice relating to livestock was just one part of the broader farm business puzzle but she also felt she was missing some pieces, which brought her to the Livestock Advisor Essentials program. The program not only filled knowledge gaps for Jillian, but also provided her with confidence to strike out on her own as a private consultant.

“As a district vet, producers tend to wait till the sheep are about to die before you’re called in,” she said. “I wanted to be more proactive”.

The philosophy underpinning Jillian’s consulting business — Animal Health & Nutrition Consulting — is one of proactive livestock production. “The program certainly helped expand my professional networks in a way I would never have been able to achieve operating in isolation across north-west NSW,” Jillian said.

“There were plenty of opportunities to foster both social and professional interactions with participants and the presenters.”

“And in addition to delivering their content, the presenters were open about how their businesses run and the income you need to generate to run a successful consulting business — that has been invaluable.”

Jillian will now be a workshop deliverer as part of the 2024 LAE southern program, sharing her expertise and knowledge of containment feeding and livestock reproduction, as well as how she built her own business.

If you’d like to ready some more about Jillian and her story, we caught up with her in the late last year. You can view the article here: Forward planning and livestock health key to getting through the dry

Meet Tanisha

Tanisha Shields is passionate about Australia’s pastoral industries and in her job as a livestock advisor with agricultural consulting firm Agrista, she is getting plenty of opportunities to apply her newly honed business analysis skills.

“I heard about the LAE program through MLA’s e-newsletters,” she said. “It looked like a great opportunity to cover off on some technical content while building a network — working remotely I was always looking for opportunities to develop my professional connections.”

For Tanisha, the Livestock Essentials program ticked two boxes; building her knowledge and skills, and creating new contacts. “The program bridged the gap between the heavy science and theory at university and putting the theories into practice. It gave us the tools implement that theory in a practical way with producers,” she said.

Tanisha has certainly grasped her newfound opportunities and taken action. She is now a deliverer for MLA’s Profitable Grazing Systems (PGS), Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) and EDGE network programs.

Tanisha was a feedbase deliverer for the northern program delivery in 2023 focusing on rangeland grazing systems, and she will return again as part of the deliverer team in 2024 for the southern program.

To find out more about the Livestock Advisor Essentials program, and to sign up for the current southern program visit