Lauren Otto is counting down the days until she can trade her textbooks for the showring.
The 18-year-old from Te Awamutu is renowned for transforming hard-working dairy cows into bovine beauties.
“A lot of preparation goes into getting a cow showring ready,” said Lauren, whose talents have received national accolades.
“Their coat has to be clipped, they have to be halter-trained, and milked and fed at the correct times. It’s quite full-on.”
Lauren will return to the showring next month for the South Island Championships at the Canterbury A&P Show.
It’ll be her first time in the ring since 2017, after the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak forced cattle classes to be axed from agricultural shows.
“I’ve really missed it and I’m 100 per cent looking forward to getting back out there and showing Holstein Friesians,” she said.
Lauren’s passion was ignited when her family moved to David and Wendy Harker’s 450-cow dairy farm at Pokuru.
“We shifted to the farm about seven years ago. In our first year there I helped Wendy show her cows at the Waikato Show,” she said.
“I was hooked, and I’ve loved it ever since.”
The former Te Awamutu College student is in her first year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) at Lincoln University.
She’s about to embark on her final exams for the year.
“My classes wrap up this week before my exams start at the end of this month,” she said.
Lauren was the 2019 recipient of the Holstein Friesian NZ (HFNZ) Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a young member of the association.
It’s designed to financially support students undertaking dairy-related tertiary study.
“The scholarship’s come in extremely handy. I used mine to purchase a laptop. You could also use it to buy textbooks, which are expensive,” she said.
Lauren’s been heavily involved with HFNZ, winning the Paramount Cup in 2017 for being the top-performing member at the National All Dairy Breeds Youth Camp.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2020 scholarship.
“My advice to people is to apply. If you’re passionate about Holstein Friesians and the dairy sector it’s a good way to help cover some of your course-related costs,” she said.