It was great to see our very own Cotton Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley up on the stage at the NSW Farmers conference receiving his EL O’Brien memorial scholarship from Premier Barry O’Farrell
Premier Barry O’Farrell, Richie Quigley and Fiona Simson President of NSW Farmers
Chair of the scholarship selection panel Sarah Thompson said the scholarships were one of the many benefits available to NSW Farmers families and she was pleased to award this year’s scholarships to a group of dedicated students who would play a strong role in agriculture and rural communities across NSW in the future. She said rural communities were currently demanding a variety of skills and this year’s scholarship recipients were studying a broad range of subjects from medicine to animal science, law and agriculture.
“It is important that NSW Farmers acknowledge the achievement of students across a broad range of subjects and the different ways in which these students are able to contribute to rural communities through their chosen field. Young skilled professionals are important for rural communities and the industries such as agriculture which support them.” Ms Thompson said
Also starring at the NSW Farmers’ conference was Beef Young Farming Champion (sponsored by NSW Farmers ) the pocket rocket that is Tegan Nock. As chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council Tegan wowed the audience with her speech delivery.
Love those Green Apples hanging on the wall behind Tegan Nock
Here are a few excerpts from Tegan’s address to the 300 plus crown
This year has seen big changes for the Young Farmer membership base of the association, as the Young Farmers Council moves to target more specifically the needs of our members.
Late last year, our council set out to answer the questions of what our Young members want from a membership & how they can be best engaged with the greater Association.
Responses overwhelmingly focused on working to secure a support scaffold for those entering farming for the first time and the formation of a strong rural network offering access to practical information and opportunities to meet in both a professional and social capacity.
By addressing these needs, the Young Farmers Council hopes to attract and retain more youth in agriculture, support those entering farming in NSW, help to maintain sustainable rural communities and act as a succession plan for the association.
The Association has identified a need for our members to personally act as advocates for our industry.
As Australian agriculture increasingly comes under scrutiny from various groups in relation to environmental and welfare issues, we are finding that the ability to talk directly to consumers is continuing to grow with the popularity of social media as an information source.
Farmers are using social media to tell their own stories, and share the reasons behind our practices and industry decisions. This is beginning to provide some balance in the arguments which are more frequently calling for governmental policy that serves to impose further red tape on our businesses. This year it has been fantastic to see the number of people involved in Agriculture in NSW on various media platforms sharing positive farming stories.
NSW Young Farmers will continue to offer information and workshops on the use of social media as an advocacy tool, and welcome the Association’s support of the Art4Agriculture program, established by Mrs Lynne Strong, which offers young people from across Australia both training, and platforms to share positive stories about our industry, whilst encouraging others to consider a career in Agriculture.
The new Council in collaboration with the Armidale District Council hosted a Production Tour of the New England region in April, which highlighted innovative efficiencies in grazing, livestock and wool production. This initiative drew members and non-members from across the State, and provided an insight into the latest research from The University of New England, and some of the most productive farming businesses within the region.
The event was credit to Council members Joanna Newton and David Gale, and the Armidale District Council.
In the wake of the Armidale tour, the Council received a large number of requests for an event based in the south of the state. The Council, in collaboration with the Cootamundra District Council is currently in planning stages for an event that will focus on the business side of farming, anticipating topics such as Business structure & start-up, farm leasing & share farming options, and small business finance, taxation & law.
The Young farmers are also working on forming strategic collaborations with other groups within the state to increase our membership base and offer greater access to service & events. The Young Farmers have worked with the Royal Agricultural Society Youth Group over the year, and are set to continue this partnership into the future.
We believe that together our Young Farmers can achieve our vision of ensuring the longevity of a dynamic, sustainable, prosperous and respected food & fibre sector.