Prior to joining CAEP, Declan Patten used to visit the United States a couple of times a year for work. During one of his business trips, he stopped at Butlerview Farms to tour one of the largest genetics farms in the world.
“I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Australia. I grew up on a farm and love agriculture. When I toured Butlerview Farms, I thought it was great and it fit with my background well.”
After touring the farm, Declan got the opportunity to train at the farm and gain hands on experience working in the genetics industry. “When the opportunity arose, I wanted to take advantage of it! We don’t have this type of stuff in Australia. North America is the best place in the world to be for genetics. If you want to be the best, then you have to learn from the best!”
When he began his training, Declan began in the cattle barn, working with the animals. As his experience and knowledge progressed, he moved into the business aspect. After spending a year as a trainee, Declan he returned home to Australia for a few weeks. He was able to return to his CAEP host in more of a managerial role.
“As I gained more experience, my role progressed and now I am the genetics manager. So I am responsible for all the breeding decisions and genetic management. My international ties have been great too because such a large part of the business is exporting and advertising.” During his training, Declan has had the opportunity to travel around the United States and parts of Canada.
“I have been very fortunate,” said Declan. “My host has auctions around the USA and Canada and I am able to travel with him. I got to go to the Kentucky Derby in Lexington for a cattle auction. Every year there is an auction at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. It is great to be able to see different places and do things there.”
Coming from Australia, there are a few cultural differences that Declan noticed.
“The biggest difference is food. I am living in a rural area so access to the fresh food that I am used to is different. Winters are also different. Where I come from, we don’t get snow. But at the same time, we don’t have opportunities like these in Australia to work for a huge genetics agriculture company. So there are some differences but it has been worth it.”
After his business placement, Declan hopes to take his knowledge and skills and continue in the genetics field of agriculture. “You have to be passionate about what you are doing and love it. My experience has opened my eyes to the future and I have gained a lot of industry knowledge during my time in the USA.”
“I am grateful that CAEP came and gave me the opportunity to come to the USA. The process has been outstanding. They have supported me the whole time and have been a resource if I need anything. I now have an overwhelming amount of knowledge that I’ll never forget and memories to take back to Australia.”