My recent travels across NSW have taken me from the picturesque landscapes of Ganmain, Young and Canowindra to historically charming Condobolin and Harden, to the vibrant streets of Bathurst and Parkes and welcoming communities of Molong, Wellington and Gilgandra.
The open road unveils breathtaking landscapes, a few potholes which need dodging, and the changing times of the season.
Each town is a chapter in the story of agriculture and community, leaving an indelible mark on my perspective as Young Woman.
To be involved in agriculture is exciting.
It is dynamic, innovative, opportunistic, a journey that can be transformative and challenging, yet rewarding, much like my role as the Young Woman.
My worlds overlap, from travelling to stud sales with Elders during the week to weekends spent being welcomed into the heart of many local communities - their local show.
Agriculture plays a vital role in the economy, environment, society, and the communities of rural and regional NSW. It really is the backbone of our country.
Opportunity is everywhere in agriculture. In August, 550 school students, 58 schools, 340 wethers, industry leaders, teachers, a few loads of hay and passionate agriculturalists found themselves at Dubbo Showground for the National Schools Merino Wether Challenge.
This challenge, held annually, is coordinated by NSW Stud Breeders and the AWI, and offers a unique opportunity for schools to immerse themselves in the commercial world of Merino sheep and wool production.
Schools are allocated six wethers, kindly donated by Egelabra Merino Stud at Warren, with the idea that students have six months to prepare the sheep to compete in a series of hands-on activities and assessments while growing their knowledge in sheep management and wool handling skills and exposing them to opportunities in agriculture.
I had the privilege of being involved and had the opportunity to speak to the students about my journey so far in agriculture.
It was wonderful to see how engaged and committed the students were to their animals, and there was a special feeling in the air of excitement, anxiousness, and curiosity.
This competition brings schools together, exposes students to the idea of becoming involved in agricultural, and helps students from urban and rural areas develop a better understanding of paddock to plate production with experiences like this.
Congratulations to the organisers, schools, students, and all those involved in bringing this event to fruition and I encourage more people to take part in events like this.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.