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Cultivate & Connect supports Youth in Agriculture

Riverine Plains hosted the highly successful Cultivate & Connect during late July as part of the 2023 Riverine Plains Youth in Ag Program.

Young farmers, students and early-career industry professionals travelled from as far away as Griffith and Wagga Wagga to participate in this youth-focussed field tour and mentoring lunch. The focus was on building connections while also developing the technical and business knowledge of participants.

Riverine Plains Project Officer and Cultivate & Connect organiser, Rhiannan McPhee, was thrilled that the event was so well received.

“This is the first time Riverine Plains has hosted an event like this for young people in our region, and we are so pleased at the energy and enthusiasm that carried right through the day, as well as the depth of conversations that were had,” she said.

The Cultivate & Connect tour began with a visit to Yarrawonga farmers, Peter and Maryanne White and their agronomist, Matt Coffey from Elders, before moving to the Baker Seeds facility, near Rutherglen.

Key themes across the visits included the value of passion and challenge in sustaining a long-term career or business in agriculture, the value of open and honest conversations in business, as well as the importance of building early connections and networks across the industry.

“Some key messages from the day were the importance of peer and industry networks for those working in agriculture, to share ideas and solutions.

“Sometimes building networks requires conscious effort, but over time these peer and industry networks can develop into a valuable resource that can be tapped into, especially when finding solutions to difficult problems,” added Ms McPhee.

As well as helping to establish connections between young people, the Cultivate and Connect event also provided useful direction for resolving complex issues, such as succession, that many young people involved in agriculture need to navigate.

Following the tour, a lunch and mentoring workshop took place at Buller Wines, Rutherglen, with 15 experienced industry professionals sharing their career insights. Small-group mentoring sessions then explored topics in more detail, including data and decision making, trade and markets, sustainability and ESG, research and extension, business and succession, production, policy and agricultural engineering.

“We had an amazing combination of well-known and experienced agribusiness mentors who participated in these sessions and it was great to see the group tap in to this experience by asking questions and being fully involved in open and honest discussions about these topics,” added Ms McPhee.

The 2023 Riverine Plains Youth in Ag Program is supported by Program partners Corteva Agriscience and Elders Rural Services, Elders Shepparton, Elders Yarrawonga and Elders Albury. This Program is also supported by FRRR, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.



Michelle Pardy
Communications Manager Bachelor of Agricultural Science

10 August 2023



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