Third-generation farmer wants new ideas

28 Apr, 2016 01:00 AM
Luke Ieraci, 21, Brunswick Junction, will find out tonight if he is an inaugural winner of the Brownes Young Dairy Farmer of the Year award.
Luke Ieraci, 21, Brunswick Junction, will find out tonight if he is an inaugural winner of the Brownes Young Dairy Farmer of the Year award.

YOUNG Dairy Farmer of the Year finalist Luke Ieraci, Brunswick Junction, believes attracting young people to farming will help sustain his industry.

He would like to see better promotion of the industry, particularly in schools and on social media and networking platforms, to alert young people to career opportunities in dairying and build capacity.

A third-generation dairy farmer, Mr Ieraci, 21, will find out tonight whether he is one of two inaugural award winners to each receive a $2500 cash prize.

He is one of three finalists in the dairy farm owner or share-farmer category of the Brownes Dairy Young Dairy Farmer of the Year awards.

There are also three finalists in the dairy farm employee category.

The winners will be announced at the WAFarmers dairy industry dinner at Bunbury, following Western Dairy and Dairy Australia's Dairy Innovation Day hosted on farm by Darren and Sharon Merritt, Capel.

Mr Ieraci and the other finalists had to convince a judging panel with written and spoken presentations on what they saw as barriers to growth in the WA dairy industry.

"Western Australia has the smallest dairy industry in Australia with only 160 ageing dairy farmers producing milk, which equates to only four per cent of Australia's total milk production," Mr Ieraci said.

"I would like to see more programs rolled out in school curriculums to sow the seeds in young people's minds that there can be careers in dairy."

He acknowledged the dairy industry needed to sell itself by sharing positive stories across social media, networking groups and at events.

The aim was to demonstrate to people the "professional and personal satisfaction" to be gained from a farming lifestyle.

AgConnectWA president Kallum Blake said Mr Ieraci demonstrated enormous passion for his profession and would be a worthy winner.

"Luke and his family have been involved with WAFarmers for many years and Luke has recently become a very active member of AgConnectWA, so we have had the pleasure of seeing him really come into his own as an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for the dairy industry," Mr Blake said.



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