Picture this, a brisk winter morning in the Monaro region of southern NSW.
The frost crinkling under your footsteps, your breath dancing in the cool, foggy air.
All is quiet and still until a bright pink pom-pom beanie begins to appear in the foggy distance.
A little voice calls out; 'Dad, don't forget me again!'.
Hello, my name is Florance McGufficke and I grew up on a sheep and wool enterprise near Cooma.
I spent my early years in "daddy day care", following my dad around the shearing sheds and paddocks.
On more than one occasion I have been left in the paddock after playing with an iced-over trough or wandering along a random sheep track.
Luckily, I knew my dad would eventually discover his sidekick was missing.
I think this gave me resilience and independence from a young age.
I loved growing up at home where my family own and solely operate a commercial Merino sheep and seedstock business.
Our focus is to showcase the value of data analysis and genetic testing to produce the most profitable and productive animals based on the most economically viable traits; fleece weight and fibre diameter.
I have been involved in all aspects of the family business, beginning with being Dad's passenger to now taking on larger roles, including wool handling, animal husbandry duties to genetic selection and initiating promotion and marketing initiatives.
These foundations in agriculture have seen me continue along this path.
I completed a double degree of Bachelor of Agriculture and Business at the University of New England, Armidale.
Since university I have now found myself based in Dubbo, as the NSW livestock and stud stock sales support officer for Elders.
This year I received the honour of being named The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman for 2023.
I now have the opportunity to be an ambassador for young women, give back to my local town and regional towns, and to support and encourage the development of rural women and their communities.
My ambition is to build my foundations as a farmer's daughter, be an aspiring woman in agriculture, uplift volunteers in rural communities, encourage more people to be invested and supported in their communities and be a leader that creates more leaders.
Personally, I am very excited at what the future holds for me and to be part of this movement of young women in agriculture and rural communities.
My journey so far has taught me not all things work out as planned, but when faced with adversity, opportunity will present itself.
Another door will open.
This could be a conversation, a change of perspective, a chance to say 'yes', expand your comfort zone, or trying something new.
To allow these opportunities to appear you need to be open-minded, resilient and grateful, with a little touch of laughter.
As part of my role, I have been invited to be a guest columnist for The Land.
Through this column I hope to explore how my role as the 2023 Young Woman can help inspire and encourage more participation into rural and regional communities and into agriculture.
I will catch up with my fellow state finalists, share their adventures and create conversations surrounding agriculture and highlight the amazing opportunities in rural and regional communities.
I am very passionate about agriculture and building relationships and networks to promote the benefits and potential of my industry and of rural communities.
I hope you will join me and enjoy gaining an insight into the adventures shared throughout the next few months and i hope to see you out and about in the communities we call home.
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