Conference to address young farmer concerns

15 Feb, 2018 04:00 AM

EXCITING topics weaving innovative agricultural technology, farm investment opportunities and personal development journeys are on the agenda for the first Innovation Generation (IG) Local conference that will be held at Wickepin on Thursday, February 22.

The Facey Group has teamed up with peak national grain representative body, GrainGrowers, to bring local young farmers and agribusiness people together for a program of networking and discussion.

Not-for-profit body, Future Farmers Network, which is focused on building engagement and networking of young people in agriculture, is also supporting the event.

Speakers leading the conversation include Lewis Johnstone, a fourth-generation WA grain farmer who took over his family’s cropping and sheep farm at just 21 and will share his personal and professional farming journey.

He will talk about opportunities to step off-farm.

Mr Johnstone completed the GrainGrowers’ Australian Grain Farm Leadership Program in 2016.

Also speaking will be Blake O’Meagher, an agronomist from the Farmanco agronomy team who recently travelled to the United States to view the use of drones in agriculture and whose passion for new and emerging technology is infectious.

His talk will analyse current and prospective technology solutions and their integration in Australian agriculture.

Financial advisor, David McCarthy, Bedbrook McCarthy, will talk about investing for the farm business and how it’s important for everyone.

More than 50 eager young farmers and agribusiness people from as far away as Williams and York are expected to attend the event which will be held at Wickepin Community Centre.

“We have listened to our younger farmers and have ensured our program includes the top topics they said they wanted to hear about, through our recent survey,” said Facey Group executive officer Sarah Hyde.

“There will be plenty of opportunity to quiz the speakers.

“We have included time for networking, with a sundowner at the conclusion of the day.”

GrainGrowers’ chief executive officer Michael Southan said the conference had grown from the need to take the GrainGrowers’ national farming conference to regional areas and to young farmers who, through the pressures of work on the farm or distance and cost, cannot make it to the annual event.

“The first event in Moree (New South Wales) last year was so successful that GrainGrowers is now planning several more in other regional areas,” Dr Southan said.

“The idea of bringing the ‘best bits’ of the IG conference program to Wickepin has been well supported by Facey Group and we are pleased to be involved with them.”

p More information: innovationgeneration.



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