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Supporting the Next Generation of Rural and Regional Leaders

The Rudd Government has continued its campaign to encourage more young people to pursue careers in agriculture, with $1 million in funding to help develop youth leadership skills.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today announced the first round of grants under the Next Gen Farmers initiative.

Next Gen Farmers, part of Australia’s Farming Future, was established in March this year to support future industry leaders who can help their communities meet future challenges, including climate change.

Thirty projects will share in the funding, including a project to provide more training and mentoring for young women in agriculture and others in industries such as grains, dairy and horticulture.

Mr Burke said the median age of farmers is now over 50 years old and the proportion of farmers under 35 years is falling.

“Any industry depends on a new generation of leaders to secure long-term growth and agriculture is no different,” Mr Burke said.

“I have met young farmers across Australia and they are talented, hard working and innovative.

“I want to see more of them and that’s what this initiative is about.

“The Government is working to ensure more young people understand the career opportunities in agriculture and to support young men and women in leadership roles.

“As well as working on the land, other career opportunities including working as scientists, agricultural economists, accountants, advisers, rural journalists and environmental professionals.”

The grants support activities that aim to

  • build and share knowledge and experience
  • develop leadership and management skills
  • boost participation in primary industries
  • develop skills to contribute more effectively to government and industry decision making
  • build networks among rural, regional and remote Australians. 

Next Gen Farmers is one of a range of initiatives supported by the Rudd Government to promote young leaders in rural and regional Australia.

In April, the Government called for applications for grants of up to $50,000 under the 2009 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Also in April, the Rudd Government committed $175,000 in funding to support the new Primary Industries Education Foundation, in partnership with industry. It also provided $5,000 to support the Careers in Agriculture Expo at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.


Up to $20,000- ‘Inaugural Australian University Crop Competition 2009’ Grain Growers Association Ltd (NSW). This project will deliver a university crop growing competition which focuses on promoting and developing a greater connectivity between universities, their students and rural industries. 

Up to $33,000 - ‘Developing Skills for the Primary Industries’ Tocal Agricultural Centre (NSW). This project will deliver a four-day leadership and communication training course for participants drawn from rural areas in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Up to $39,370 – ‘Natural Resource Management—Climate Change and Production Forum’, Queensland Murray-Darling Committee Inc. This project will deliver a two-day program primarily focused on providing participants with information on the environmental, economic and social benefits of working collectively towards sustaining our natural resources. The program will develop plans for how best to achieve this goal.

Up to $53,955 – ‘Stepping up the Dairy Pathway’, Subtropical Dairy Program Ltd. This project will be delivered in two phases. Phase one is a series of workshops focusing on information gathering and action planning in relation to industry and a changing environment. Phase two will be an inter-network tour and conference which will facilitate sharing of experiences and networks.

New South Wales
Up to $4,700 – ‘Farming for the Future’, University of New England. This project will deliver a series of leadership and management workshops at the local stockyards. The workshops will be delivered by a student team sponsored by the University of New England. The workshops will be delivered by young people for local producers.

Up to $35,000– ‘NSW Young Irrigators’ Forum’, NSW Irrigators’ Council. This project involves a two-day forum where participants will discuss topics such as climate change, young people in agriculture, asset and yield management, infrastructure investment and succession planning.

Up to $50,000 – ‘Voices of the Future—Murray Darling Basin 2009’, Cotton Australia Ltd.
This project will deliver a two-day event for young industry representatives in the Murray-Darling Basin, particularly the cotton, grains, dairy, horticulture, rice and grape industries. Future and current industry leaders from across the irrigated industries will be brought together to seek solutions to future water access and use.

Up to $50,000 – ‘Primary Industries Camp Program at Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre’ Youth Career Services Inc. This project involves two four-day residential camps for highschool students within the Murray-Darling region. The camps will include interactive workshops, industry visits and industry guest speakers.

Up to $44,000 - NextGEN Workshops’, Dairy NSW. This project will deliver a two-day workshop and a NSW-wide industry conference. The workshops will be held in five dairy regions within NSW. The workshops will present participants with a range of existing industry opportunities and they will be expected to complete a project based on specific issues. Each group will then be required to present their findings at the conference.

Up to $49,958 – ‘Know Your Grain—An Advanced Training Program’, BRI Research. This project involves holding a four-day training program to empower young grains industry leaders by building their leadership and management skills and increasing their awareness of the impacts of climate change on the grains industry.

Up to $49,900 – ‘Confidence to Grow Program’, Dairy Youth Australia Inc. This project involves two components – the Tall Cockies Competition and the Archibull Prize – and will be managed by the Dairy Youth Australia group. The two competitions use creative arts to engage students in the challenges for primary industries brought by climate change.

Up to $40,000 – ‘Young Farmers Workshop and Forum’, NSW Farmers’ Association Young Farmers Committee. This project will deliver three activities - a leadership and communications workshop and a young farmers’ forum.

Up to $23,260 – ‘Youth in the Beef Industry’, NSW Shorthorns. This project will deliver two weekend workshops designed to develop leadership and management skills for 100 participants.

Up to $55,000 – ‘Lachlan Catchment Leadership’ Lachlan Catchment Management Authority. This project will deliver a leadership training package involving three days of formal training, a three-day leadership and team-building canoe trip and a presentation event.

Up to $49,620 – ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders for Sustainability’
, Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network Inc. This project will deliver a training program and a leadership forum. It will also deliver an evaluation report about the project, produce a ‘community of practice’ manual and a promotional video for future use.

Up to $50,000 – ‘Young Farmers for the Wimmera’, Department of Planning and Community Development. This project will deliver a scenario-planning workshop about the future of farming in the Wimmera, produce a DVD focusing on the role of young people in primary industries, and hold a leadership program. This program will be held over five weeks to develop leadership skills and behaviour of participants to help them articulate the impact of climate change on agriculture to government and industry boards and committees. The applicant will also develop an e-mentoring website.

Up to $49,321 – ‘Community of Practice’, RMIT Hamilton. This project will deliver 12 workshops held over one year covering issues, knowledge and skills relevant to young people in rural and farming communities. The workshops will include problem-solving discussions and the publishing of up to six research papers.

Up to $55,000 – ‘North East Victoria NextGen Farmer’s Leadership Development Program’, Australian Alpine Valleys Agribusiness Forum Inc. This project will deliver ten workshops and events to skill young rural people to lead themselves and their communities through the opportunities and challenges facing agriculture, fisheries and forestry due to a changing climate.

Up to $41,525 – ‘The 2009 Grow Your Career Program’, ForestWorks Ltd. This project will deliver a series of conferences and workshops introducing young people to forestry, culminating in the participants making a presentation to their respective schools.

Up to $48,600 – ‘Lead In—Getting into Rural Leadership’, Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE. This project will deliver workshops for young people from the Gippsland and Goulburn Valley regions. The workshops will cover topics such as effective meeting procedure, introduction to public speaking, dealing with the media, managing conflict, networking, effective communication and dealing with government.

Up to $35,000 – ‘Next Gen Educational Roadshow’, Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program Inc. This project will deliver a three-day educational roadshow incorporating workshops, forums, guest speakers and field trips.

Up to $19,800 – ‘2009 Victorian Agribusiness Summit’, Agribusiness Gippsland Inc. This project will facilitate the attendance of 30 young agribusiness professionals at the Victorian Agribusiness Summit in August 2009 at Cowes, Victoria, including attendance at a networking event.

Up to $50,000 – ‘National Orchard Tours for Australian Fresh Fruit Company Young Members’, Australian Fresh Fruit Company Pty Ltd. This project will deliver multiple orchard tours to enable young members of the Australian Fresh Fruit Company to learn more about how other farms in their industry are run.

Australian Capital Territory
Up to $4,650 – ‘Building Resilience Against Climate Change’
, Conservation Council ACT Region Inc. This project will deliver a two-day rural youth sustainability workshop and 12-week follow up program giving participants the opportunity to develop and implement sustainability projects.

Up to $50,000 – ‘2009 National Congress’, National Farmers’ Federation (NFF). This project will provide 25 complementary placements for young farmers to attend the National Farmers Federation’s National Congress. Participants will also engage in a mentoring program and be allowed to attend and observe NFF Members’ Council meetings.

South Australia
Up to $45,485 – ‘Shaping the Future in a Changing Climate’
, Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) Ltd. This project will deliver a training workshop and mentoring event in Canberra for a number of selected young women in agriculture. It will also provide industry networking opportunities.

Up to $44,000 – ‘Moo-vers and Shakers—Developing a Strong and Resilient Network for South Australia’s Young Farmers’, DairySA Regional Development Program Inc. This project will deliver three key initiatives including a state-wide forum developing business and financial management skills, knowledge of climate change and global financial challenges, and the development of a South Australian young farmers network. A study tour visiting other dairying regions that have established successful young dairy farmers networks will also be part of the project.

Up to $55,000 – ‘South Australian Young Guns Project’, South Australian Lamb Development Team. This project will deliver six workshops and an industry forum for young people working in the South Australian sheep industry to develop professional skills.

Western Australia
Up to $20,660 – ‘Dowerin Young Rurals Study Tour’
, The Shire of Dowerin. This project will deliver a study tour to Orange, NSW, incorporating a visit to the Australian National Field Days, an introduction to tertiary education at Charles Sturt University and a tour of the Sydney Stock Exchange.

Up to $54,834 – ‘Tasmanian Rural Community Leadership Academy’
, Rural Alive and Well Inc. This program will deliver a two-day personal leadership skills and creating vision and goals session, a two-day turning leadership into actions session, an out-of-session mentoring program and a final session to ensure there are processes in place for the graduates to maintain networks.

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