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Eight young Victorians take the next step to becoming future rural leaders.

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AFFA03/286WT - 15 October 2003

Eight young Victorians take the next step to becoming future rural leaders

Eight Victorians are among 40 young people from rural and regional Australia who have been chosen to take part in the fourth Young Rural Leaders' Course in Canberra from 13-16 October 2003, Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

Mr Truss said the leadership courses, which are part of the Australian Government's Young People in Rural Industries Program, have so far boosted the skills and understanding of over 160 rural men and women aged between 18 and 35.

"Perhaps just as importantly, they have provided these people with the opportunity to build valuable contact networks and life-long friendships," he said. "The program also encourages young people to become more involved in industry leadership and decision-making, and helps ensure government is more aware of their views on a variety of agricultural issues.

"The Australian Government is committed to equipping young people with the skills to fulfil their leadership potential. We are committed to supporting young people who can demonstrate a vision and enthusiasm for the future of rural Australia.

"It's vital for the future of agriculture in Australia that young people are given the opportunity to fine-tune their managerial and networking skills, and ensure their views are

sought by their industries, by their communities and also by government. That's the aim of the Young Rural Leaders' Courses and, with the strong support of our rural industries and 160-plus graduates, it's beginning to make a real difference.

"The young women and men chosen to take part in the fourth course represent the future of Australian agriculture, and the rural and regional communities that depend on it.

"The course will help them to expand their professional networks and gain a better appreciation of the main policy issues affecting agriculture and regional Australia."

Mr Truss said there were many opportunities for young people to develop their skills, contact networks and knowledge base through the Young People in Rural Industries Program, including the Study Awards, the Corporate Governance Scholarships, as well as the Export Market Development Training Course.

"Applications are now open for the Young People's Improved Corporate Governance Scholarships and the Study Awards, and I urge as many people as possible to consider these exciting opportunities."

Further information is available from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry web site -

Details on the eight Victorian participants in the fourth Young Rural Leaders' Course are attached.

Victorian participants in the Fourth Young Rural Leaders' Course

Simon Tickner, 35 - Farmer, Horsham 0418 335 379

Since completing a Bachelor of Arts, and then Economics, at La Trobe University, Simon spent many years in the food service industry as manager of a catering business. In 1998, he took on the role of marketing and distribution manager for his family property. Simon used the business skills he developed in catering to increase the farm's profitability and sustainability. Simon is also Vice President of the Wimmera Machinery Field Days' Board of Management.

Rodney McCracken, 34 - Dairy Farmer, Katunga (03) 5864 6334 Rodney is the owner/manager of his family's irrigated dairy farm in the Goulburn Murray District. Since returning in 1991, Rodney has used his engineering background to expand the property's operations significantly. He is passionate about encouraging young people to participate more in industry, and plans to establish a branch of a new organisation - the Young Irrigators Network - in his local region.

Ross Gehrig, 26 - Winemaker, Oxley (03) 5727 3395 or 0409 547 834 Since completing a Bachelor of Science (Wine Science), Ross has co-managed his family's vineyard. He has been responsible for decreasing its water use while at the same time increasing the wine quality. Ross has spent three years overseas, in France and Israel, where he learnt the value of water conservation, and also the traditional methods of producing the gamay wine variety. He the course hopes will improve his understanding of government processes, as well as his communication skills.

Liz Mann, 31 - Tomato Industry Development Officer, Shepparton 0427 857 578 As the Industry Development Manager for the Australian Processing Tomato Research Council, Liz is passionate about the future prosperity of her industry. Some of her achievements include forming the Tomato Women's Group and coordinating an overseas study tour for the Women in Horticulture group. Liz wants to see growers around Australia work more closely together to ensure the industry remains internationally competitive.

Matthew Makin, 29 - Veterinarian, Timboon (03) 5598 3209 or 0427 322 282 Matthew is Victorian President of the Australian Veterinary Association, and a working vet in the local dairy industry. He believes the key to improving the long-term viability of the dairy industry is delivering efficiently produced, high-quality and safe produce. Matthew is

also involved in selecting and testing animals for the live export trade, and last year completed a voyage to Saudi Arabia as an on-board veterinarian. And to further his knowledge and involvement in the rural sector, he intends to begin a Masters in Agribusiness in 2004.

Luke Chandler, 28 -Wool Market Analyst, Caulfield (03) 9341 9188 or 0413 290 594 Luke is a senior market analyst with The Woolmark Company. He is also Secretary of the National Wool Production Forecasting Committee, and Chair of a number of State committees. Luke believes the biggest issues facing his industry are the declining international demand for wool, and the industry's inability to attract young people. By participating in the Course, Luke hopes to develop the skills needed to play a key role in the Australian wool industry.

Nicola Bussell, 34 -Ag & IT manager, Carboor (03) 5721 0237 or 0428 433 611 Nicola is owner/manager of a mixed farming enterprise, and an IT and agriculture program manager with an adult education provider. She is also active in local landcare and lamb producer groups. Nicola's vision for her industry is twofold; to encourage farmers to become more business-focussed, and to help them use available resources and tools to boost their profitability and sustainability.

Jillian Kuchel, 27 - Viticulturist, Howlong (02) 6026 5161 or 0419 190 910 Jillian is owner/manager of Vignoble Monitoring Services, which she set up in 2000 to provide viticultural advice to wine/grape growers. It now services the entire northwest of Victoria. Jillian's vision is for the industry to focus on promoting entire wine regions, helping to increase sales and ensure the profits are shared. She hopes the Course will provide her with the opportunity to meet and talk with a range of political and industry leaders.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433