Tuesday, 10 December 2019 11:28

Genetics specialist off to US to play rugby

Written by  Staff Reporters
Gordon Fullerton is off to play rugby in the US. Gordon Fullerton is off to play rugby in the US.

One of the country’s most promising young cattle judges is heading to the US to play professional rugby.

Gordon Fullerton, 22, who grew up on his parents’ dairy farm near Te Awamutu, has been signed by Old Glory DC.

He’ll relocate to the US this month and will be based in the nation’s capital, near the White House.

“This is my first professional rugby gig. There are quite a few unknowns, but I’m really excited,” said Gordon.

“It’ll be great just to focus on rugby for a bit and test the boundaries, although it will be hard been away from the cows.”

Gordon has been playing premier-grade rugby in the Waikato for the Te Awamutu Sports Rugby Club.

Old Glory DC competes in a national competition and will clash against teams from Texas, California and New York in 2020.

Gordon’s other major passion is dairy cows. 

His parents own Woodcote Holsteins, one of the top producing Holstein Friesian herds in the country.

Gordon has spent the past two years working for LIC as a genetics specialist. 

“It’s a diverse role which I’ve really enjoyed,” he said.

“I’ve been able to travel all over the country and visit some impressive dairy farms.”

“Talking with passionate dairy farmers not just about their cows, but also their farming businesses, has been a bonus,” he said.

Gordon faces a long drive if he wants to milk a dairy cow in his new home.

“The closest dairy farms will be a couple of hours drive from Washington, or in the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania,” he said.

“I plan to visit a few dairy farms while I’m over there. It’ll be an interesting learning experience and good for the soul,” he said.

Gordon might be a rising talent on the rugby field, but he’s also gaining national recognition in the cattle show ring.

The Holstein Friesian NZ member recently received the coveted Pitcairn’s Trophy after winning a junior judging competition in Christchurch.

He also took out the World Wide Sires all breeds junior judging competition at Stratford A&P Show this month.

“I’ve been judging since I was a teenager. I enjoy going to shows and watching dairy cattle in the show ring,” he said.

“Judging is quite a skill. You have to be able to confidently articulate why you have placed one animal before another.”

“We’re looking for a functionally sound animal with a strong udder and sound feet and legs to help her live longer and be more production,” he said.

Talking into a microphone in front of exhibitors and a large crowd has delivered unexpected benefits.

“It’s helped me get better at public speaking.”

“It’s always useful if you’re in a situation where you’re outside of your comfort zone and you can talk your way out of it,” he laughed.

Gordon’s contract in the US runs until June 2020, which he hopes will be extended.

More like this

Tightened US rules an opportunity

OPINION: The updated US Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule for “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” milk or meat is very restrictive.

PETA ad turned down

Animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA’s) request to erect a billboard memorialising 21 cows killed in a tractor-trailer crash in North Carolina has been turned down.



Change of tune needed

OPINION: It has been some weeks since we have had to face the ideological rhetoric, in any quantity, that has pervaded our lives for much of the last three years – and I haven’t missed it one bit!

Farmers adapt well to new sales model

Fonterra’s rural service subsidiary, Farm Source says farmer shareholders are adapting well to its new trading model under COVID-19 restrictions. 

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Flying high

This old mutt would like to know how the sanctimonious Green Party and its MPs can continue to lecture everyone…

Put it down

Your canine crusader notes that the woke folk at Landcorp – sorry Pāmu – were recently crowing about recording a…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Rules driving farmers out

New farming rules around sustainability are driving elderly farmers out of the dairy industry, says agri-economist Phil Journeaux.