Meet the 13 young people awarded farming scholarships

Meet the 13 young people awarded farming scholarships


Thirteen young farmers from across Victoria have received Upskill and Invest Young Farmer Scholarships.


Thirteen young farmers from across Victoria have received Upskill and Invest Young Farmer Scholarships.

The scholarships are worth up to $10,000 per farmer, with $5000 to upskill through training and study in areas like farm management, financial literacy, product development or innovative farming techniques.

Once they complete their studies, the recipients are eligible for an additional funding boost of up to $5000 to invest in on-farm or professional development, putting their new skills into practice and boosting their businesses.

To date, the scholarship has benefited the careers of 63 young farmers.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes presented the scholarship recipients with their awards at a ceremony last month.

"We're proud to be backing the next generation of farmers [to] develop the skills they will need to thrive in a changing industry and keep Victoria's agriculture sector growing," Ms Symes said.

"Young farmers are crucial to the ongoing success of our $14.9 billion agriculture industry and the innovative work these farmers are doing will help us meet the growing demand for Victoria's high quality, safe produce from right around the world."

Applications for the 2020 Young Farmers Scholarships will open in mid 2020, with farmers aged 35 or under encouraged to apply.

See below bios of each of this year's recipients, including descriptions on what they plan to do with the money, in regards to both upskill and invest aspects.

Sophia Christoe, Mount Alexander

Sophia Christoe grew up on a mixed cropping and sheep farm in the Goulburn Valley, and is now employed on a farmhouse goat cheese business.

Ms Christoe wants to focus on small-scale dairy and cheesemaking with an emphasis on animal welfare and high-end products.

She will complete one-on-one training with an international industry consultant.

She will also complete a Diploma of Creative Enterprise that will expand her skills in enterprise management and build on her capabilities as an emerging leader in the Australian farmhouse cheesemaking sector.

Hannah Dowsett, Wellington

Hannah Dowsett has worked on her mixed livestock family farm for the past nine years, taking on a management role three years ago.

Ms Dowsett has employed staff to assist her in running the business and restructured the farm agronomically to better suit its future directions.

She will complete a Diploma of Agriculture at Tocal Agricultural College to develop knowledge and skills in property planning and resource management, production and financial management, and work health and safety.

She will continue her studies with an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management at Tocal Agricultural College, advancing her skills in financial management, risk management and people management.

Bridget Doyle, Benalla

Bridget Doyle grew up on a potato, mixed cropping and beef cattle farm in the Southern Riverina.

She now manages a grazing property with her husband and wants to further her knowledge to better plan the farm business, adopting sustainable farming practices and improving the cattle breeding program.

She will complete a Certificate IV in Agriculture through GOTAFE, providing her the skills to be a qualified farm team leader with specialist skills in the agriculture industry.

She will use the invest funds to purchase cattle weighing and monitoring equipment to better manage animal nutrition.

Clay Gowers, Mildura

Clay Gowers began working full-time on the family farm in 2011 and has an interest in the use of technologies to improve farming efficiency.

Mr Gowers wants to use aerial surveying to ease the burden of the farming operation, in the hope to better understand crop health and to make more timely and appropriate decisions.

He will complete three short courses in unmanned aerial systems through Australian Unmanned Aerial Systems Training and Total Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

These courses will cover an introduction to drones, processing imaging data for cropping management, and aerial imaging for data acquisition in agriculture.

He will invest in a 'Parrot Disco PRO AG' drone to facilitate the learning from his upskilling and to use in his cropping operation.

Edward Guthridge, Corangamite

Edward Guthridge entered into a share farm arrangement in 2014 after two years' experience as a dairy farm hand.

Mr Guthridge purchased additional farm land recently and aspires to purchase the share farm in its entirety.

He will complete a course titled Advanced Nutrition in Action through Dairy Australia.

The course will focus on optimising herd productivity, animal health and welfare, and implementing nutrition strategies.

He will invest in cattle weighing and monitoring system to better manage animal nutrition and to monitor heifers more effectively.

Jackson Keane, Macedon Ranges

Jackson Keane recently purchased a new property to set-up a chemical-free garlic operation that will also produce prime lamb.

Investment to remediate land management issues has been made by Mr Keane and he plans to continue this with further education and upskilling for a sustainable and long-term enterprise.

He will complete the Lifetime Ewe Management Course by Rural Industry Skills Training, which focuses on improving producer understanding of the influence ewe nutrition has on the performance of the ewe and her progeny.

He will also complete a Statement of Attainment in Sustainable Agriculture through Australian Correspondence School Distance Education.

He will invest in a 6-in-1 dual box seeder to assist with a pasture regeneration program and soil preparation for the garlic crop.

Jessica Knight, Wellington

Jessica Knight and her husband have owned their dairy farm for four years.

Ms Knight wants to expand her knowledge of dairy farming practices to take on a larger role in the decision making of the business, and to use her leadership skills as an industry representative and leader.

She will complete the unit Strategic Management for Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College, providing her with an introduction to strategic management as well as human resource management.

She will invest in further study at Marcus Oldham College, completing a unit in leadership.

This study will enhance her understanding of leadership styles and the role of effective leaders and managers.

Nicola Letts, Alpine

Nicola Letts has recently purchased a chestnut farm in the Victorian high country with her partner.

They are working hard to improve the farm and to increase the yield of the chestnut trees, so the business can expand to add pigs.

The pigs will be fed on the chestnuts to create a high quality iberico-style ham product.

Ms Letts will complete an Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Farm Management) through Australian Correspondence School Distance Education.

This course will provide broad training in crop and livestock production and include subjects on nut production, animal health, animal husbandry, pasture management, and weed control.

She will invest in a practical farm plan through experienced local consultants, advising on how best to manage the land with sustainable principles while producing a premium pork and chestnut product.

Andrew Murphy, Campaspe

Andrew Murphy has worked on the family farm for 10 years, opting in to a share farming agreement with his parents seven years ago.

In that time, Mr Murphy has increased milking herd size by more than 40 per cent and purchased an additional property.

He wants to further his leadership and business management skills to continue to grow the businesses.

He will complete a Certificate IV in Leadership and a Certificate IV in Human Resources through GOTAFE Shepparton.

These courses will provide him with practical leadership skills to manage an effective team, and skills to better manage people.

He will use the invest funds to subsidise the building of a staff room/office space for his employees.

Joseph Sutherland, Southern Grampians

Joseph Sutherland manages the family farm with his parents, supplementing the farm income by working part-time on his pregnancy scanning businesses.

Ms Sutherland wants to expand the farm business to be able to earn a full-time income to support his family by using regenerative farming practices.

He will complete Resource Consulting Services' seven-day intensive course Farming and Grazing for Profit, to build a profitable farming and grazing business.

He will also complete a short course with Knight Lindsay Rees Marketing School to learn livestock sell/buy strategies to maximise business profits.

He will invest in a subscription to business management software that will enable him to get real-time on-farm grazing analysis and projections.

Joseph Watts, Buloke

Joseph Watts works full-time on the family farm with his father, two uncles and cousin.

Over the coming five years, Mr Watts will take on the management of the cropping business and wants to enhance his knowledge in agronomy, and to adopt emerging precision agriculture technologies.

He will complete a Diploma of Agronomy at Longerenong College.

This course will provide him with the technical and applied skills and knowledge required to enhance the production and performance of his agricultural enterprise.

He will invest in upgrading the guidance system on the seeding tractor that will improve the accuracy of sowing to increase his farm's profitability.

Dallas Willersdorf, Mildura

Dallas Willersdorf has worked on-farm with his father since he was 16 years-old.

Recent seasonal conditions have encouraged Mr Willersdorf to upskill and diversify, and he wants to become a skilled shearer and wool handler.

He sees this as a significant career opportunity as shearing experience and skills are lacking among young farmers.

He will complete a Certificate II in Shearing and a Certificate II in Wool Handling at TAFE South Australia.

These courses will provide Mr Willersdorf with entry-level skills in shearing and wool handling.

He will use the invest funds to purchase shearing equipment such as a shearing plant, combs and cutters.

Rebekah Winter, Colac-Otway

Rebekah Winter has been working on dairy farms for seven years.

Ms Winter wants to purchase a dairy farm with her husband and is enthusiastic to expand her knowledge and skills, while sharing her passion for farming with other young female farmers.

She will complete several short courses through Australian Correspondence School Distance Education including a Certificate in Agronomy, Statement of Attainment Animal feed and Nutrition, and a Statement of Attainment Pasture Management.

She will invest in further training and participate in a program in artificial insemination and pregnancy diagnosis to improve her skills.

The story Meet the 13 young people awarded farming scholarships first appeared on Stock & Land.


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