Brooke Flett never intended a career in farming.

But now, settled on the family dairy farm at Scotts Gap in Southland, it was "working out all right".

"Most of the time, I love it," she laughed.

Miss Flett (26), who is chairwoman of Thornbury Young Farmers Club, was recently named Young Farmers national stock-judging champion.

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She grew up on the farm and boarded at Southland Girls' High School before studying at Victoria University for a bachelor of arts in education.

But it "never really clicked" and she did not pursue a career in that area.

Instead, she went overseas and worked at summer camps in the United States for several years and did some nannying in France.

She came home to the farm periodically from her overseas jaunts and has now been home for two full years.

"I thought I'd come back to the farm, I guess, eventually ... I never set out for a career in farming; it was never what I was going to do," she said.

Miss Flett manages her parents' dairy farm, milking 850 cows and winter milking 550. The farm is at present home to four generations of her family.

She joined her local Thornbury Young Farmers Club two years ago as an excuse to get off-farm. It was a chance to mix with like-minded people of a similar age.

Miss Flett's grandfather, Jim Flett, had a Holstein-Friesian stud and used to exhibit his cattle.

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Entering a stock-judging competition last year had led to a greater interest in breeding and genetics for Miss Flett.

It was "very early days", but she was also starting to revive her grandfather's Langskaill stud.

Her passion on the farm was the cows.

Stock judging had started that for her; taking pride and ownership of her stock and hopefully moving forward genetically.

Her grandfather was "most impressed" when she took her stock-judging trophy to show him following the recent competition in Southland.

The competition involved judging Friesian yearling heifers, ewe hoggets, fleeces and deer velvet.

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For judging, it was important to consider the function of the animal or the fleece and whether it was fit for purpose, she said.

The competitors went around each section in small groups and everyone shared their points of view. While it was a competition, it was quite relaxed and she enjoyed it, she said.

Judging was about being able to back up the reasons for decisions and having the confidence in what you were saying, she said.

Miss Flett was keen to qualify as a stock judge. She was already an associate judge for the Ayrshire breed.

She wanted to attend more breeder events and shows and to meet and learn from people successfully breeding good stock.

She would attend the Royal Adelaide Show in early September and looked forward to experiencing the show and networking.

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