Next generation embraces conference

On Tuesday July 25, the next generation of agricultural advocates from the Wheatbelt gathered at the Kulin Freebairn Recreation Centre for the inaugural #GenAg2017 young farmers’ conference.

The conference was an initiative of the Kulin Community Resource Centre manager Kate Bishop who approached the Kulin Community Bank® with the idea earlier in the year and from there a partnership was formed.

“It was a concept I had been thinking about for a long time. Kulin had the facilities that could make it possible and working with the Kulin Community Bank® team was a natural fit.

“To see over 140 young men and women come together in the Wheatbelt who are passionate about agriculture was hugely rewarding,” said Miss Bishop.

Conference facilitator and organiser Tom Murphy said “From the Kulin Community Bank® perspective we are really pleased with the success of #GenAg2017, especially being the inaugural event. It was a great collaboration with our local CRC and proves you can hold a high quality conference outside the metro area.”

According to Mr Murphy and Miss Bishop the key to the success of the event was the number of high quality speakers whose willingness to travel to the small rural town of Kulin for the conference made all the difference.

Managing director and chief executive officer of Rural Bank, Alexandra Gartmann, set the bar high as the opening speaker, telling attendees of her experiences in agriculture and the challenges of modern farming.

“Many rural-based youth face additional challenges accessing educational opportunities, and training needed for the jobs of the future will still have the tyranny of distance and financial hurdles to overcome,” said Ms Gartmann.

“The growing scale of agriculture and the challenges young people face getting into agriculture, such as accessing finance with no equity or long track records in business, was clearly a topic of discussion for a lot of the attendees,”                                   

Other speakers from the day included Wheatbelt Business Networks executive officer Caroline Robinson who also talked about supporting local and the impact this has on rural communities. 

Sean Starling from Meat and Livestock Australia whose opening video presentation included snippets from the latest Tom Cruise movie and left many wondering where it was going. However, Mr Starling assured us that the technology featured in his presentation is real and currently being applied to various aspects of the red meat industry.

After morning tea Susan McCalman from Rural Bank gave a quick economic update before we moved along to the key session of the day – Drones in Agriculture. Agricultural researchers Ben White and Josh Giumelli from Kondinin Group gave a fantastic insight on where drone technology was heading and different applications that drones could possibly be adapted for in the future.

Two popular talks from the day were from Sheep Alliance of WA board member Bindi Murray who focused on the positives around rebuilding the flock and getting back into sheep, while Dale Woodruff from Byfields gave an honest and detailed process for succession planning that had everyone talking.

Jody Morton from the National Centre for Farmer Health shared some alarming statistics to remind everyone of the dangers in farming, then the conference divided into breakout sessions to learn more about Wealth Creation, Educational Opportunities at Muresk and Grain Marketing from Christopher Tyson of Bunge.

The conference rounded out with a great talk from Peter Newman from Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative on why Australia is leading the way with herbicide resistance techniques. Finally the WA Nationals Leader Mia Davies closed the conference with some important take home messages about staying resilient in regional WA before conference delegates enjoyed a sundowner compliments of the Kulin Community Bank®.

For more information please contact:
Tom Murphy - Kulin Community Bank® 0488 422 477 
or Kate Bishop Kulin CRC 9880 1021


Photo Caption: Left to right Tom Murphy of Kulin Community Bank® with Kate Bishop from Kulin Community Resource Centre. 

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