Plans to connect with young people in ag

19 Jan, 2018 04:00 AM
WAFarmers media and communications officer Melanie Dunn (left), with WAFarmers executive officer, Grains and Transport, Maddison McNeil at the 2017 AgConnectWA cocktail river cruise.
WAFarmers media and communications officer Melanie Dunn (left), with WAFarmers executive officer, Grains and Transport, Maddison McNeil at the 2017 AgConnectWA cocktail river cruise.

AGCONNECTWA will host its first event for 2018 this Saturday, January 20, with its annual cocktail party, with the night to focus on networking and increasing social opportunities for young people in the agricultural industry.

Formerly a cocktail river cruise, the event will be on land this year following feedback from the AgConnectWA membership on how they would like the event to be run.

With the event nearly at capacity at the time of writing, AgConnectWA hopes to gain new members and spread the message that anyone is welcome to become part of the group.

AgConnectWA president Hayley Goad said the event gave young people involved in agriculture an opportunity to celebrate their industry and to make valuable personal and professional connections.

“The aim of AgConnectWA is to engage, connect, represent, educate, advocate, listen and support young people throughout the agricultural industry and communities in order to address challenges they face, and harness opportunities that are available to them,” Ms Goad said.

“Since its inception, AgConnectWA’s membership base has gone from strength to strength, receiving strong support from its members.

“We recognise that in addition to young farmers, there is a myriad of young people in rural, regional and metropolitan areas with a passion for agriculture and progressing rural communities.

“In 2018 AgConnectWA will work to engage with a new cohort of young people in agriculture in an effort to strengthen our existing membership base and facilitate new connections between like-minded individuals.”

The group wants to discover an entirely new community of people who can introduced new ideas.

Organisers believe Saturday’s event will be a fantastic way to kick-start an exciting and fruitful year.

AgConnectWA, launched in April 2013, hosts many events annually including the cocktail party, regional sundowners, an annual general meeting and conference, the AgTiki wine tour and many other networking and educational events.

In addition to events, Ms Goad said AgConnectWA hoped to focus on a number of key improvements throughout 2018 that would benefit all members.

“The future of AgConnect is a massive focus for the year, with an emphasis on strategic direction, re-engagement and re-connection with existing members, and the attraction and retention of new members,” she said.

“The development of a website is something we also hope to achieve as AgConnectWA looks for an additional platform through which to reach members and promote our supporters.

“There is also scope for the group to revisit events held in previous years which would align with AgConnectWA’s intention of developing an increased number of educational and professional development events.”

In 2016 the group held a mock parliament in the Legislative Assembly with representatives from the WA Young Greens, WA Young Labor, WA Young Liberals and The Young Nationals.

The event was open for both members and non-members of AgConnectWA and allowed the speakers to discuss real life issues in the industry with the guidance of government representatives.

‘Rural Roots to City Suits’ was another event held in 2016 when AgConnectWA teamed up with Perth Young Professionals to host the event that was aimed at bridging the gap between agriculture and businesses in the city.

“Given the success and relevance of these events and a recognised need to conduct an increased number of professional development and industry events, it would be great to revisit these types of events again in 2018,” Ms Goad said.

“All our events are important for establishing connections with like-minded individuals, generating thoughtful conversations, and having a laugh along the way.”

Ms Goad sits on the committee with seven other members; Henry Gratte (vice president), Callum Wesley, Georgia Reid, Georgia Trainor, Carris Waite, Brett South and Geoffrey Dwyer.

Maddison McNeil and Melanie Dunn, both from WAFarmers, also assist the committee to achieve their goals by acting as liaisons between AgConnectWA and WAFarmers.



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