A young sheep, wool and grain producer from the central west of NSW has been awarded the inaugural Future Farmers Network (FFN) Rabobank Farm Managers Program Scholarship.
"I love ag," Alex Davies, Box Ridge, Coonabarabran said.
"When your passion is on the land it makes it really easy to get out of bed and go and do whatever needs doing, and there is such a diverse range of jobs, spraying and spreading to shearing and drenching."
Mr Davies was judged winner from 27 applicants and will attend the Rabobank Farm Managers Program, a one-week residential course held outside Christchurch, NZ.
His participation in the course is funded through Rabobank's Southern Queensland and Northern NSW Client Council and the scholarship is available to the FFN member who displayed a clear ambition and desire to help the sustainability of their industry.
Mr Davies commitment to agriculture and his work across the wider industry and the community was clear to the selection panel.
For the past seven years, he has been working alongside his parents at Box Ridge where they graze 4200 Merino sheep and farm 600 hectares of dual purpose crops on 1600ha family farm.
Mr Davies said succession planning, farm debt and drought are the biggest issues confronting primary producers, and he hopes to gain invaluable skills by attending the Farm Managers Program and which he will use on the farm and for wider advocacy and extension work.
"I didn't go to uni and have always kicked myself that I don't have a piece of paper to my name ... I have spoken to a lot of people who have done this and it sounds unreal ... so it was a no-brainer to apply," he said.
"Learning about succession planning is going to be a big one, just because of the situation my family are in at home, and also managing people and employees, and preparation for a managers role."
Planning ahead, Mr Davies hopes to manage a harmonious and successful team on-farm, supported by plenty of rain.
"I look forward to the seasons returning to a normal rainfall if there is such a thing these days, and working alongside a team that at the end of the day you can be proud of what you've achieved and what you've produced," he said.
I didn't go to uni and have always kicked myself that I don't have a piece of paper to my name ... I have spoken to a lot of people who have done this and it sounds unreal ... so it was a no-brainer to apply
Rabobank Knowledge and Network Experiences manager Matilda Stump said Rabobank was 'thrilled and overwhelmed' with the calibre of the applicants.
"Reading through the applications everyone on the panel felt very inspired and excited about the future of the industry and the leaders coming through," she said.
"Alex Davies' application stood out for many reasons as someone who clear ambitions, would benefit enormously from business management training and who would really make the most of the networking opportunities and mentoring the program offers."
Chair of the Rabobank Southern QLD and Northern NSW Client Council Sally Rigney said the calibre of candidates meant selecting the winner was a big challenge.
"Reading the FMP applications and seeing the depth of talent in the next generation of Australian agricultural producers inspired us with hope for the future," she said.
"It was a very tight contest among our final four but Alex Davies from Coonabarabran won through due to his clear vision, can-do attitude and obvious thirst for knowledge.
"For Alex you could see the opportunity to attend the FMP would be life changing. Alex is someone who wants so much more for his family partnership and probably wouldn't have access to this type of learning and knowledge without the financial support of our Rabobank Client Council scholarship."
The Rabobank Client Council Southern Queensland and Northern NSW is excited at the prospect of turning this into an annual initiative in partnership with Future Farmers Network.