THE Ballarat Agricultural & Pastoral Society’s (BAPS) Youth Committee’s annual Ballarat Rural Achiever Awards has been hailed as a major success and a great result for the future of agriculture in the region..
The event, in its ninth year, was well attended with record 18 applications received from a quality field of people passionate about agriculture. Judy Croagh from Western Plains Pork was the guest speaker for the event with an awe-inspiring speech, giving a wonderful insight into their operation.
Many questions and discussions ensured the making for an interesting and informative presentation.
The Judges had a challenging task and were impressed by the achievements, enthusiasm and dedication shown by the finalists. BAPS President and event organizer Kerri Gallagher said she certainly felt the future of agriculture is in safe hands with yet again more hidden talent in the region being uncovered in the 2017 awards.
“I am blown away by the amazing people who have entered this year; they are incredible and should all be very proud of their achievement,” she said.
The winners of the 2017 awards are:
“Peter Steven’s Ballarat & District Agriculture Apprentice of the Year”
19-year-old Dylan Manning from Ballarat who is relatively a newcomer to the agricultural industries undertaking an apprenticeship with the Thomas Family at Ascot.
“Natures Cargo Agribusiness Young Achiever of the Year”
Diana George, 25, agronomist from Dundonnell who grew up on her family’s cropping and grazing property in NSW and works for Elders. Having won numerous scholarships, championed the Art 4 Ag program and completed a Diploma of Commercial Agronomy, she eventually hopes to return home to the family farm to be the first female manager in four generations.
“Next Generation Farmer of the Year”
Chris Gallagher, 27, fourth generation farmer from Waubra. Chris plays a very active roll on the family mixed farm and has completed his apprenticeship and Diploma of Agriculture (winning the Vice Chancellors Award for Federation University). Chris is also short listed for the Vocational Student of the Year.
“Agricultural Student of the Year Secondary”
Emma Dickinson, 18, from Ballarat Grammar is passionate about cattle, and is heavily involved in cattle camps, show committees and the BGS Cattle Show Team. Emma intends on using this prize money to attend Charles Sturt University to study Veterinary Science at the end of Year 12 and to assist supporting herself during work placements.
“Agricultural Student of the Year Tertiary”
Sophie Murfitt, 22, from Nareeb. Sophie is currently completing a Bachelor of Agriculture/ Bachelor of Business via correspondence whilst working fulltime. Although she is not from a farming background Sophie has developed a love of farming from spending time at her partners’ family property in Tasmania. She currently sits on the Board of Tasmania Women in Agriculture, and plans to use the prize money towards attending a leadership course relating to women in agriculture.
“Davies and Rose Agricultural Producer of the Year”
Mount Prospect Produce run by Rod and Gabrielle Fraser. Rod is a fifth-generation farmer and in 2012 the couple started specializing in lines of gourmet potatoes, sold directly to retailers. Their potatoes are sent to markets in South Australia, New South Wales and Melbourne, as well as green grocers, cafes and restaurants across Victoria.
All entrants received a 12-month membership to the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society, with winners awarded $500 and the Runners-up received $250 to put towards furthering their future in the rural sector. The Ballarat Rural Achiever Awards are just one of the many events run by the BAPS Youth Committee with the aim of supporting and developing the next generation of people working in the rural sector.