Kulin is a world away from New York State, but it’s home for Julie

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Kulin West farmer Julie Young.
Camera IconKulin West farmer Julie Young. Credit: Countryman

The cab of a green tractor west of Kulin is a world away from her home in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, in the north-eastern regions of the US.

But Julie Young is right at home behind the wheel of a John Deere 9300 where she has been putting in a 2300ha crop for the local family she has worked for since late 2013.

The US ex-pat — from Geneva in New York state — has called Kulin home for the past eight years.

She was 22 when she moved to the town best known for its giant waterslide in 2012 on a working holiday visa, after finishing a Bachelor of Biology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the US.

“I had done a study abroad program in Queensland a few years before and loved Australia. I wanted to come back,” Mrs Young said.

“I applied for another program (to go back to Australia) and got in, and just loved it. And I still do.”

After randomly being placed in Kulin, she secured a job on a farm south of the town and started her planned seven-month adventure.

“The usual story applied,” she laughed. “I fell in love with a farmer, got married, and am still here.

“My aunt picked it...she said I would go over and fall in love and never come home — and I was like ‘yeah right, like that would ever happen’. But it did.”

Camera IconCredit: Picture: Cally Dupe

It was a chance encounter at the town’s main event that cemented her decision to stay in town.

Ms Young was enjoying the 2012 Kulin Bush Races with friends when she met local farmer and her now-husband Braden Young.

A few months later, the pair bumped into each other at the Kulin Pub — and the rest is history.

Braden works with his parents Derek and Rhonda Young, and his sister Mikayla Young, at their family farm south of Kulin.

These days, Ms Young is the main spray operator at Brendan and Anne-Marie Sloggett’s farm and also jumps into the airseeder and header when it’s required.

“Otherwise, I am running around doing odd jobs,” she said.

“I’m happy to get in the header at harvest time, that is my favourite time of the year. I love to see the reward at the end of the year.”

The Sloggetts’ 2300ha property has this year been seeded to canola, lupins, peas, barley and wheat.

The main crop is wheat, but like so many others in WA the farmers have ramped up their canola plantings from 300ha to 500ha.

A new bar and liquid set-up is in action at the farm this year after the Sloggetts invested in a 40 foot, DBS bar from Ausplow after plenty of research.

They are trialling liquid nitrogen for the first time, adding FlexiN and Sacoa’s SE14 Moisture Retention Agent to help get the canola out of the ground and off to a better start.

I fell in love with a farmer, got married, and am still here.

Julie Young

“Looking at all of the research (into liquid nitrogen) is super promising,” Ms Young said.

“Changing to a liquid system paves the way for many potential applications besides FlexiN — from the addition of fungicides to trace elements to wetters.”

Setting up the bar delayed what was hoped to be an early start to seeding, but Ms Young and her employers are still happy with the start and how things are tracking.

“Overall we are feeling pretty happy about the season,” she said.

Coming to Kulin from a hay farm in the north-eastern regions of the US, Ms Young said the sprawling Wheatbelt had paddocks that would easily hold her whole family’s farm inside them.

Her family has a 1700 acre farm in the Finger Lakes region — an area best known agriculturally for its vineyards and dairy farms.

“These days my family mostly focus on hay, mainly lucerne and grass mixes,” Ms Young said.

“They also do wheat, corn and soybeans. It keeps them busy.

“I still normally get home every year and they do put me to work.”

With two brothers slowly taking over the family property, Ms Young knows her career is in Australia.

“I have always been interested in science, and it wasn’t until I was at uni and studying abroad that I found myself looking at places to go,” she said.

“I was always looking out the windows to see what they were growing, and what was going on in paddocks.

“Never did I think I’d end up in Australia, I just never thought that would happen.

“It did, and I am so happy it did.”

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