New generation in spotlight at forum

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Cally DupeThe West Australian
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Amy Schulz, AgConnectWA general committee member Brett South and Kiara Mickel.
Camera IconAmy Schulz, AgConnectWA general committee member Brett South and Kiara Mickel. Credit: Melanie Dunn

Agricultural young guns gathered in Perth recently to hear from industry speakers at a one-day forum co-ordinated by AgConnectWA.

The 2017 Summit was opened by WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and featured speakers from a range of backgrounds.

In giving the opening address, Ms MacTiernan urged young farmers to embrace technology but not to forget “the fundamentals” about “how the land works”.

The minister said she was “very impressed with the number of young people that have taken over the family operation”.

“Mum and dad might still be there, keeping a finger on the pulse, but many of our farms are being run by young people,” Ms MacTiernan said.

Beyondblue ambassador Mitch Jeffreys, a farmer’s son from Burracoppin, captivated the audience with his tale about overcoming anxiety and depression.

Mr Jeffreys spoke about his experience studying in Perth and his return to the family farm, where he eventually opened up about his struggle to his mother. Now in his mid-20s, Mr Jeffreys said he felt more confident about life and urged others struggling to seek help from friends and family.

Other speakers included Careers in Grain communications officer Grant Taylor, Department of Education senior curriculum officer Alysia Kepert and Harmony Agriculture and Food Company chief executive Steve Meerwald, among others.

The new AgConnectWA committee for 2017-18 was unveiled, with Hayley Goad appointed president and Henry Grattle vice-president.

The new committee includes Carris Waite, Callum Wesley, Georgia Reid, Brett South, Geoffrey Dwyer and Georgia Trainor.

The 2017 Summit was held on July 15 at Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

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