New committee to drive forward AgConnect

New committee to drive forward AgConnect

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AgConnect WA has a newly-elected committee, including president Lawson Harper (left), Northam, general members Josh Fuchsbichler, Bruce Rock, Josh Clune, York and Makaela Knapp, Katanning, and vice president Michaela Hendry, Esperance.

AgConnect WA has a newly-elected committee, including president Lawson Harper (left), Northam, general members Josh Fuchsbichler, Bruce Rock, Josh Clune, York and Makaela Knapp, Katanning, and vice president Michaela Hendry, Esperance.

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"The vision for the future of the industry is really good, the industry is in safe hands..."

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A NEW committee has been announced for AgConnect WA - an organisation which unites young people who share a common passion for agriculture.

The group held its annual forum and annual general meeting in Perth last Friday, when Lawson Harper, Northam, was elected as the new president.

Mr Harper, who is a sixth-generation farmer and grew up on his family's property at Dandaragan, said he hoped to make the committee more well-known to people who were not involved in the industry but would be interested in knowing more.

"I am really passionate about getting new people into agriculture who are from different backgrounds," Mr Harper said.

"The influx of new farmers is declining.

"They might not be a generational farmer, but new people bring an entirely new perspective - they don't look at the industry the same way as someone who has grown up in it.

"I think AgConnect WA has really good potential to bring in new people and through AgConnect WA they can find an area of the industry that interests them, such as beef or sheep production, dairy, grains, horticulture etc.

"It doesn't matter where you are from - the city or country - you can still get involved in ag."

Mr Harper said the new committee offered great diversity, with committee members from different backgrounds, professions and locations.

Accompanying Mr Harper on the committee is Michaela Hendry as vice president and committee members Jimmy Bistrup, Josh Clune, Makaela Knapp, Winston Dunn, Josh Fuchsbichler, Tahlia McSwain and Jamie Spence.

Prior to the AgConnect WA AGM, outgoing president Tiffany Davey MC'd the forum, where about 40 attendees, including farmers, executives, managers and students, heard inspiring, motivating and educational presentations from young agricultural professionals.

Ms Davey started the forum with an inspiring speech, saying that it was nice to hold an event in person after the disruption of last year.

"The vision for the future of the industry is really good, the industry is in safe hands and it is exciting to see so many young people in attendance," Ms Davey said.

Generation Ag founders and co-hosts Kayla Evans and Lavinia Wehr hosted their first live podcast, interviewing WAFarmers policy, advocacy and engagement executive manager Jessica Wallace.

The forum then went into a Livestock Collective panel which included Livestock Collective event co-ordinator Milly Nolan, high profile stockman Hugh Dawson who spoke via Skype from Beetaloo station, in the Northern Territory, WAFarmers' Ms Wallace, Department of Education principal consultant and PRIMED co-ordinator Alysia Kepert, Ms Davey who worked as a live export stockwoman and veterinarian Renee Willis.

There were various skills taught on the day, with AgDots consultant Elizabeth Brennan, running a valuable networking session.

Value Creators director Maree Gooch, who also sponsored the event shared the importance of governance and becoming 'committee ready'.

The audience was also given the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, Halleen Australasian Livestock Traders Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) manager Patrick Coole and CBH Group chief external relations officer Brianna Peake.

A researcher panel looked at the agricultural industry as a whole and what projects will diversify and develop the industry.

The event concluded with three previous AgConnect WA committee members, including Lucy Morris, Kallum Blake and Megan McNeill, sharing where they are now.

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