PHOTO: Millie Burnett (far right) at her grandfather's cotton farm in Emerald, Central Queensland.

This week I have been at the Cotton Australia office in Sydney doing work experience, getting to observe everyone’s role and gain a better understanding about sustainability in cotton across the global market. I have really enjoyed experiencing the variety of important roles in the Cotton Australia office.

Life growing up on my family’s farm connected me to personal values that are still very prevalent in my life now as a 15-year-old girl who was brought up in central Queensland, on a property near Emerald. That’s about 10 hours drive north of Brisbane.

My name is Millie Burnett and I’m a proud daughter to 2nd generation cotton growers, Nigel and Beth Burnett. My brother and I were raised on a property called “Langley Downs” and “Colorada” which is where our cotton is grown. Our cotton farm is around 1,300 hectares, and we produce up to 10,000 bales of cotton every year. That’s enough to make 12 million t-shirts or 21 million pairs of socks!

We also raise cattle and grow chickpeas, mung beans and sorghum on the side. As kids, we quickly adapted to the fundamentals of farm life. Dad taking us on the cotton picker, chipping cotton weeds in the summer and playing hide and seek between the massive cotton bales, are such nostalgic memories that I love. One of my favourite parts of living on the farm is the freedom that comes with it, climbing in the bottle trees, swimming in the creek, riding the horses and jumping across cotton bales.

Our regional community is so great as everyone is connected and willing to lend a hand. Hard work and commitment in giving back to the local community were key parts of growing up in Emerald, and helped me to understand the value of respect.

In terms of my future, I don’t have a set plan yet, but I am willing to be exposed to different career paths as I get older… never know, I might even end up back on the farm!


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