Young Farmers Advisory Council
The Young Farmers Advisory Council from left to right: Sarah McLean, Dustin Kemp, Sarah Thompson (Chair), Jess Pilgrim, Pete Burgess and Jennifer Zappia. Not pictured: Thomas McGrath and Alastair Tame.
The Young Farmers Advisory Council provides a strong voice for young people in Agriculture. The council also serves to develop the sector leaders of tomorrow.
The council is a group of dynamic and motivated young people from various agricultural industries and regions, who advise government on issues affecting young people in agriculture and on program delivery.
Council members also act as young ambassadors to attract new entrants to the state's vibrant agriculture sector.
New council members were appointed in August 2018 following an Expression of Interest process. The new council met for the first time on Wednesday 29th August 2018.
The council consists of eight members, including four new skills-based members and new representatives from both Victorian Young Farmers and Young Agribusiness Professionals.
The council assists government to better understand the needs of young people in agriculture and helps to develop solutions and shape support for young people on the land.
Previously, the council consulted broadly with young farmers, industries, communities and networks, and considered research to develop key recommendations for government to support young people in agriculture.
Moving forward, the council will focus on implementation of its Recommendations Report.
The Recommendations Report was presented to the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, on 5 September 2017.
The Report focuses on two priority areas for young people in agriculture:
- building farm business management capacity and financial literacy skills for the next generation of farmers;
- exploring the opportunities for young people in agriculture to network, connect, and engage with educational activities and events, and in a social capacity.
The Report is based on two-years of research and consultation with young farmers, industries, communities and networks. The Victorian Government will now consider the recommendations from the Report.
Members of the Young Farmers Advisory Council
Program Development Coordinator, Dairy Australia, Bona Vista.
Sarah is a Program Development Coordinator for Dairy Australia, where she provides national coordination of the people and feed base programs.
Previously Sarah held extension roles with Murray Dairy in Workforce Development and as the Young Dairy Network Coordinator.
Sarah works closely with farmers on their employment and farm safety practices, and works with young farmers to progress their careers in dairy.
She is passionate about people and the development of a profitable and sustainable future for Australian agriculture. Sarah grew up in Shepparton but recently began share farming a 300-cow dairy farm at Bona Vista in Gippsland with her partner.
Farm Manager, beef cattle business, and Senior Psychologist, South West Mental Health Service, Purnim.
Sarah manages a beef cattle operation and works part time as a psychologist. Sarah and her husband purchased their own farm in 2014 and she is interested in pathways to business ownership for young farmers.
Sarah is passionate about farmer health and through her role as a psychologist, works to address mental health issues in rural communities.
Sarah completed a Doctorate of Clinical Neuropsychology at Latrobe University in 2011 and previously worked in research.
Shearer and Farm Manager, Mixed Meat & Wool/Cropping business, Minyip and Melbourne.
Tom is a shearer who operates throughout Western Victoria and is temporarily based in Melbourne. He assists to manage his family’s mixed meat, wool and cropping operation at Minyip and purchased his own farm in 2014.
Tom volunteers extensively in his home community and has worked closely with wool industry groups since 2008.
He is president of the Murtoa Agricultural and Pastoral Show Society and was awarded the Yarriambiack Shire Youth Citizen of the Year in 2017.
Farm Manager, Dairy business, Rochester.
Dustin manages a dairy farm through a share farming agreement. Dustin began his career in agriculture through undertaking a dairy farm apprenticeship, before moving to a co-managing role with a local dairy farm business.
Dustin is president of the Campaspe Young Dairy Network which supports young people in the dairy industry.
Dustin is passionate about seeing more young people in decision making roles in agriculture.
Farm Manager, Table Grape Vineyard, and Export Manager, Table Grape Export Business, Mildura.
Jennifer works on her family's Table Grape Vineyard at Mildura and operates her own table grape export business.
Jennifer completed the Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Sydney. During her studies, she worked with Perfection Fresh Australia where she gained practical experience of the horticulture supply chain.
Jennifer is a founding member of Horticulture Innovation Australia’s Alumni’s Steering Committee. Jennifer is committed to fostering mentoring and collaboration amongst young farmers, to increase the productivity and profitability of Victorian agriculture.
Consultant at AT Aerial Services, Hardware Manager at Farm Monitoring Solutions, and Coordinator at Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network, Strathbogie.
Alastair founded his own business assisting farmers to integrate drones into their farm businesses. He works with a farm telemetry company, and travels across Australia installing and managing farm monitoring systems.
He also works part time as the coordinator of a conservation group in the Strathbogie Ranges.
Alastair grew up on a fine wool sheep farm at Strathbogie and completed a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Previously he held various roles in consumer electronics and power transmission.
Young Agribusiness Professionals Representative
Manager, Mergers and Acquisitions, Grant Thornton Australia, and Young Agribusiness Professionals Committee Member, Drysdale.
Pete specialises in the Food, Beverage and Agribusiness and provides advice on acquisitions, divestments, raising private equity and strategic reviews.
Pete grew up on mixed fine wool and meat farm in south west Victoria and loves to travel home and help when he can. Pete also completed a six-month secondment to Grant Thornton Dallas, USA, where he learnt about the oil and gas industries.
Pete is passionate about the future of agriculture, particularly the role the next generation of farmers and agribusiness professionals in ensuring growth and innovation in agriculture.
Victorian Young Farmers Representative
Office and Farm Assistant, cropping and sheep business, West Wimmera Health Service, and President, Nhill Young Farmers, Nhill.
Jess recently returned home to Nhill to pursue her passion in agriculture and business. She works part-time on her family’s sheep and cropping farm and part-time at the hospital.
Jess re-established the Nhill Young Farmers group, that provides an opportunity for young people to connect, learn and develop. The group aims to retain young people in agriculture and in their local communities.
Jess volunteers extensively in her community and was awarded the 2017 Nhill Agricultural and Pastoral Society Rural Ambassador.
For more information about the Council please contact:
Young Farmer Coordinator
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Phone: (03) 5215 6041