Waratahs Rugby Union blindside flanker Will Miller marked World Milk Day this year by becoming a full cream ambassador for advocacy group Dairy Connect.
World Milk Day is celebrated in most countries around the world on June 1.
The 25-year-old rising star is from a hard working seventh-generation farming family which has lived and farmed at Berry on the NSW South Coast since 1915.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan welcomed the appointment saying Miller was a living embodiment of the everyday health benefits of dairy products.
“Will’s a great example of the value of commitment and character and we have no doubt his belief in dairy will be a standout of his time as Dairy Connect ambassador,” Mr Morgan said.
Miller says dairying is well and truly in his veins and will be his go-to career after his professional Rugby days are over. His passion and commitment to the family dairy farm and to the industry generally is an inspiration.
“I often can’t wait to get home and help and stay in touch any way I can,” he said.
“It is something I have always loved and always wanted to do, I can’t wait to get home to be a part of it.”
Such is his commitment, over a period of two years, while working on the farm at Berry, Miller motored back and forth to Sydney to fulfil his Rugby commitments.
“I’ve always done a lot of work at home,” Miller said.
”In the last few years before moving to Sydney for the Waratahs, I worked with my dad and sister full time so it was a good experience.”
He said his time on the farm has given him a strong work ethic and also makes you realise how hard a day’s work can be.
Dairy has also played a critical role in Miller’s lifelong fitness regime.
“Dairy contains nutrients you can’t get from other natural sources and it has helped me get where I am now in terms of fitness,” he said.
“I’ve always drank a lot of milk, I’ve actually had a couple of broken bones and made a point of drinking a couple glasses of milk every day to help them heal a bit faster.”
Miller said when he was invited to become an ambassador for Dairy Connect, he saw it as an opportunity to give back and help inform others of what dairy farmers do ‘day in and day out’ within their dairy community.
“I’ve always wanted to give back to the industry that’s played such an important role in our family history,” he said.
The Miller’s family of six includes mum and dad John and Jennifer, older sister Caroline and youngsters George and Madelaine.
They own properties either side of Berry and milk around 200 cows twice a day in a 20-year-old dairy built by grandpa, dad and an uncle.
They run mainly Holsteins with a few Jersey and crossbreds.
“My brother and I like the the Holsteins better and my sister likes the Jerseys, so we have a bit of everything,” Miller said.
“But the Jerseys are good for butter fats and protein while the Holsteins give you a bit more volume, so they a both good cattle.”
He said he has always been a big family person, and sees the farm as something that they have been lucky enough to grow up with.
As a child, Miller recalls playing his part in the daily routine of farm life, helping get the cows in and feeding out.
Along with dairy farming, Rugby is also a family tradition.
“Dad used to play when I was a kid,” Miller said.
“When I was about five, I was signed up to make up numbers in a new under nines team.
“I went on to play for the Scots College firsts and from there I went on to play first grade for the Northern Suburbs.”
Miller has this year extended his time with the Waratahs until the end of the 2019 season.
Mr Morgan said Miller is an example of the future generation of dairy farmer.
“He, and others like him, will ensure that communities throughout Australia will continue to buy nutritious milk from their local supermarket and corner shop daily,” Mr Morgan said.
Miller said he is remaining positive about the dairy industry.
“If you’re not positive, then there is no future for dairy, and that goes for any farming,” Miller said.
“If you don’t stay positive, while knowing that there is going to be hard and good days, and stick together as an industry, you will come out on top.”