NSW farm manager Claire Scott has been awarded the 2022 Rabobank Business Management Prize from a field of some of Australia's and New Zealand's leading farmers.
Ms Scott, who manages bull preparation for the Angus seedstock business, Rennylea, near Culcairn, NSW, was recognised with the award for the business plan she developed for her new farming enterprise, after completing the Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP), a specialist course designed to strengthen the operational and business skills of emerging farmers.
The 'start up' business plan - which Ms Scott developed as a management project after undertaking the FMP - saw her designing a plan for a new beef production business, after she and her partner, Sam Clarke, bought a 64 hectare block of land near the NSW/Victorian border, and established S.D Clarke & C.H Scott as a farming business.
"When we purchased the farm in July last year, we firstly completed a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, and then developed a clear and simple business plan," Ms Scott said.
"In terms of business management - we hold monthly meetings to debrief on the previous month and plan the next month's tasks. With both partners having 50/50 input into the running and management of the business."
Deniliquin hospital upgrade complete
Patients, staff and the community are set to benefit from a series of upgrade works at Deniliquin Hospital, as part of a $4.6 million joint investment by the NSW Government and the Australian Government.
NSW Regional Health Minister Ryan Park toured Deniliquin Hospital today and said the upgrades have created modern, fit for purpose clinical spaces for the community and staff at the hospital.
"The upgrades have provided an enhanced experience for patients, visitors and staff, and ensure the local community will continue to receive vital health care close to home," Mr Park said.
"Works completed as part of the $4.6 million project include an upgraded emergency department, an upgraded day surgery unit and operating theatre, a relocation of the oncology unit to a purpose-built space, an enhanced paediatric care area and a new Computed Tomography (CT) scanner."
"We are committed to ensuring every patient receives the highest level of care available and these upgrades demonstrate the NSW Government's ongoing commitment to providing high quality healthcare in rural and regional areas."
Mr Park also recognised the challenge of maintaining essential health services during the works.
"To complete a project of this scope with minimal disruption to services is a credit to the staff and contractors," Mr Park said.
Helen Dalton, the independent Member for Murray, praised the roll out of the CT scanner.
"This new technology is a game changer for rural and remote communities," Ms Dalton said.
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Kids to Farms is here to stay
NSW Farmers has committed to maintaining a successful educational resource now that government funding has dried up.
The popular "Kids To Farms" program, which has facilitated an agricultural experience for 106 schools and 6151 students, was set to shut down on June 30 with the cessation of Federal Government funding.
But NSW Farmers Projects Manager Georgia Campbell said it had been such a fantastic success that the state farming organisation would maintain the website that allowed schools to get in touch with farmers so agricultural experiences could continue.
"We've seen such a great response from the students who engaged with this program, and we really want to see this continue in any way we can," Ms Campbell said.
"While we won't be able to directly facilitate these experiences after June 30, we'll still help teachers find local farmers and hopefully we can one day reactivate the program to its full capacity."
"Given 59 per cent of students learn about food and fibre production from their teachers, it's important we support them in teaching students about the agricultural industry."
The program, initially funded by the Australian government, aimed to give children an understanding of where their food and clothing came from by bridging the divide between classrooms and farms.
It was a significant and ongoing concern given university studies continued to show four in five primary students and three in five secondary students believed commercial milking of dairy cows occurred by hand, a third of young people aged 12 to 19 didn't know yoghurt was an animal product, and just under two-thirds didn't know cotton was derived from a plant.
"We know a shocking number of people have no idea where their food comes from," Ms Campbell said.
"In an age where cost of living and global food insecurity are rising, it's critical we continue to reach and engage the next generation and show them farmers grow the food and fibre that feeds and clothes everyone."We're proud to continue these efforts, and this program is proof that students and teachers can learn a lot by engaging with industry."