The future of a strong and vibrant New South Wales relies on the leadership and passion of the next generation.
On Friday the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) recognised those leading the charge, announcing the finalists of its 2020 RAS Rural Achiever Award.
The state-based leadership program congratulates future young leaders aged between 20 to 29 years who are making a significant contribution to their local community.
RAS youth affairs chairperson Stuart Davies says the award promotes advocacy in rural-minded youth and provides a platform for growth.
"The RAS Rural Achievers program has been running for more than 30 years, and in that time it has gained a legacy of championing young leaders; individuals who are making a difference and driving positive change for rural and regional Australia," Mr Davies said.
"Through the program we hope to foster this passion and help finalists grow, providing invaluable networking and personal development opportunities."
RAS 2020 future leaders are:
- Allister Clarke, Finley: Currently completing his bachelor of science in agriculture, Allister is exploring new technologies that may play a role in primary industries in the future with his PhD studies.
- Josie Clarke, Bellimbopinni: Coming from a multi-generational family of farmers, Josie is driven by the desire to see agricultural Australia receive the assistance and support it needs. Josie is studying a bachelor of science, majoring in plant science and biology.
- Mitchell Dwyer, Cowra: Working as an agronomist, Michael has benefited from some outstanding agricultural mentors throughout his bachelor of agricultural science and work experience. Michael strives to pay this forward and become an effective leader himself.
- Sally Gavin, Cumnock: Sally has followed an amazing career path, from her bachelor of animal science to working in agricultural sales and now livestock nutrition. Sally wants to inspire the next generation and continue to support others within the agricultural industry.
- Kory Graham, Sutton Forrest: Kory is an assistant farm manager and a keen competitor, taking advantage of everything that comes his way, to learn and broaden his knowledge. Raised in the city, Kory has thrown himself into the regional way of life.
- Dione Howard, Milbrulong: A veterinarian from Wagga Wagga, Dione works with local primary producers, helping them manage the health and wellbeing of their livestock, while immersing herself in agriculture leadership, educational and ambassador programs.
- Ryan McParland, Jamberoo: Finding a passion for local agricultural shows, Ryan played a founding role in his local show society's 'youth in ag' group and is working to build a community group for the South Coast and Tablelands, all while studying his bachelor of engineering.
- Siobhan Smith, Armidale: Studying a bachelor of agriculture/business and inspired by the era of agricultural innovation she is witnessing, Siobhan believes this is the most exciting time to be a young woman in agriculture and hopes to inspire other women to get involved.
RAS Rural Achievers will receive a share in $17,000 prize money, complimentary one-year RAS membership, official Rural Achiever uniform and embroidered Akubra and the chance to be selected to represent NSW at the National Rural Ambassador Competition.
The 2020 overall Rural Achiever will be announced at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April next year following an eight-day, all expenses paid behind-the-scenes experience.