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2006 Young People’s Rural Development Award winners.

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DAFF05/114PM - 22 December 2005

2006 Young People’s Rural Development Award winners

Eight young people will receive up to $10,000 to pursue their goal of a more innovative and productive rural and regional Australia.

The Australian Government and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Peter McGauran, today announced the recipients of the 2006 Young People’s Rural Development Awards.

“The awards are a great way for young Australians to develop their personal and professional skills, as well as undertake a project that will benefit our rural industries and communities,” Mr McGauran said.

This year’s winners are:

• Ashley Flegler, 28, from Atherton, Queensland • Aaron Edmonds, 31, from Calingiri, Western Australia • Nigel Metz, 28, from Esperance, Western Australia • Kym Thiel, 32, from Berri, South Australia • Carlyn Mellors, 21, from Clare, South Australia • Justin Steadman, 34, from Carnarvon, Western Australia • Matthew John Jeffs, 31, from Lenswood, South Australia • Peter Muir, 34, from Myrniong, Victoria

Each will receive up to $10,000 for an overseas project or $5,000 for an Australian-based project, and will produce a report detailing their findings, in order to share their experiences with others in their industries and communities.

“With industry taking advantage of the new ideas and opportunities resulting from the projects, and the award winners boosting their leadership and research skills, all participants benefit from the projects,” Mr McGauran said.

The Young People’s Rural Development Awards are part of the Australian Government’s Industry Partnerships Programme, includes other capacity building initiatives for young people such as: • Young Rural Leaders’ Course • Corporate Governance Scholarships • Export Market Development Training Course • Entrepreneurial Management initiative.

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Information on the eight winners, their projects and contact details, is attached.

Young People’s Rural Development Award winners 2006

Aaron Edmonds, 31, mixed farmer, agriculture, Calingiri, WA (08) 9628 7062. Project: Commercialisation of Australia’s Sandalwood Nut

Aaron will examine the feasibility of commercialising the sandalwood nut in WA. One of the benefits would be more trees grown in a region with salinity problems. He will also determine whether macadamia nut processing and harvesting technology could be adapted to the sandalwood nut.

Aaron believes the sandalwood nut oil could be used as an energy source. He will travel to the Bundaberg district in Queensland to visit the Australian Macadamia Society, a macadamia producer/marketer and a processing facility. Aaron will distribute his report to local industry members and regional stakeholders.

Ashley Flegler 28, organic banana farmer, horticulture, Atherton, Queensland (07) 4093 3534. Project: North American Field Study — Organic Produce

Ashley has identified areas of California and Wisconsin in the US as being at the forefront of organic produce. He will visit the areas to study the latest biological farming practices with a view to implementing them in Australia.

Ashley will also assess the latest developments in certified, organic packing and processing.

He will also visit an organic supermarket chain to study the marketing of pre-packed salads and the different pre-packing methods. He will distribute his findings through the Growcom Special Interest Group and at local producer meetings.

Nigel Metz 28, Project Coordinator, South East Premium Wheat Growers Association, agriculture, Esperance, Western Australia, (08) 9071 3080. Project: High Moisture Grain Handling Fact Finding Tour

Grain producers in the south coast region of WA have to deal with cool, damp conditions which can delay harvesting. Nigel will study methods of harvesting crops earlier and at faster rates.

He will visit Toowoomba in Queensland and Cowra in NSW to study techniques currently used in Australia to handle high-moisture grain. He will then travel to Canada to assess its approach to producing grain in a cooler climate and with a higher moisture level.

Nigel will also visit the UK to meet with the manufacturer of the world’s largest grain dryers. And he will compile a booklet on managing high-moisture grain in south west WA which will be available for distribution to growers across the State.

Kym Thiel, 32, Riverland Citrus Industry Development Officer, horticulture, Berri, South Australia (08) 8541 2182. Project: Australian Citrus Industry — Best Management Practices

Kym will participate in the 2006 Australian Citrus Growers Post Conference tour to South Africa. He will visit leading South African researchers and industry members, as well as properties employing the latest technologies.

The tour will cover best management practices including: crop and fruit quality, disease management, integrated pest management, and cultivar and rootstock development. Kym will produce a report on his findings and present his conclusions to industry groups, the National Citrus Magazine and local media.

Carlyn Mellors, 21, agricultural consultant, rural services, Clare SA (08) 8842 1103. Project: Scoping the Potential for Strawboard Panel Production in Australia

Carlyn will examine the market potential for strawboard; the availability of the raw material and improve her understanding of strawboard production.

She will undertake interviews and surveys to determine end user needs and determine if there is an Australian market. She will also visit manufacturers and R&D institutions in Canada to study the manufacturing processes, market development and commercialisation strategies.

On her return to South Australia, Carlyn will put in place quality requirements for strawboard and hold focus group meetings with potential suppliers to determine an acceptable pricing stucture. She will pass on her findings through the Rural Directions newsletters, discussion groups and In Business.

Justin Steadman, 34, goat, sheep and cattle producer, irrigated pastures, agriculture, Carnarvon, Western Australia (08) 9942 5888. Project: Identifying World’s Best Practice irrigated pasture on saline water

Justin will study the techniques and technologies required to successfully grow crops irrigated with artesian water. He will also look at the potential market demand for such crops. And he will examine technologies that may help grow crops on the Carnarvon artesian aquifer.

Justin will study all the available literature, current best practices, meet with commercial growers in Australia and develop a network of contacts. He will also travel to Israel and Spain to study their intensive irrigation methods, including general management, advanced fertigation strategies and new technologies, such as desalination.

At the conclusion of his project, he will set up trials of what he has learned, and present the findings to local sector groups and the national media.

Matthew John Jeffs, 31, orchard manager, agriculture, Lenswood, SA (08) 8389 8554. Project: To investigate new market opportunities for fresh cherries in India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates

Matthew will visit India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates to investigate the export opportunities for Australian cherries. He will meet with Austrade representatives in each country to discuss the import protocols and then meet with local distributors and retailers.

Matthew plans to have an Australian cherry exhibit at the Gulfood 2006 trade exhibition in Dubai. He will publish his project findings in the Tree Fruit and the Good Fruit and Vegetables Journal, and present them to the Cherry Growers of Australia’s annual national conference.

Peter Muir, 34, Prime Lambs, agriculture, Myrniong, Victoria (03) 5368 7256. Project: Victorian Prime Lambs for Darwin

Peter will assess the potential of supplying Darwin butchers with Victorian prime lamb. He will visit Darwin to gauge local interest in stocking quality, prime lamb, discuss the pricing aspects and survey customers to identify market requirements.

Back in Victoria, he will discuss price points and packing options with local abattoirs and look at cost effective ways of transporting prime lamb to the Top End. Peter will share his findings at the Ballarat Society Sheep Committee’s annual meeting. He will also make them available to the rural media.

Further media inquiries: Minister McGaurans' office: Russ Neal 02 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303

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