Rural Achievements Award showcases the next generation of regional leaders | the earth

Young winners from across NSW have been recognized for their passion, dedication and innovation towards the future of regional and rural communities as the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales (RAS) has announced the finalists for the 2022 RM Williams Rural Achiever Award.

The statewide programme, which began in 1989, celebrates the significant societal achievements and contributions of Australian youth aged 20 to 29.

Jani Forrest, Principal Adviser to the programme, says the award provides an opportunity for professional growth while showcasing the incredible rural advocacy and achievement of young men and women from across NSW.

“The RM Williams Rural Achiever Award selects outstanding advocates for rural Australia, builds a legacy of leadership that continues to serve the nation, and celebrates young leaders who have contributed to the success of rural and regional Australia,” said Janie Forrest.

Dedicated their lives to advance rural NSW, and the finalists have excelled in all areas, from their careers to advocacy in rural health, accessibility, education, the agricultural supply community and the broader agricultural industry.

Jani Forrest said that “it has been a promise to see so many young men and women leading the way and setting the tone for innovation and excellence within their communities, inspiring other young people to follow in their footsteps and help build a strong and vibrant community of regional New South Wales.”

The future leaders honored in 2022 are:

Katie Armson-Graham, Padstow, NSW: Specifically her love of the land through volunteering and competing in local shows, Katie now uses her passion for farming to increase educational access and opportunities for regional students by facilitating and leading teaching networks and creating an innovative mobile classroom. Katie has a BA in Agriculture and is now completing her MA in Teaching.

Meg Austin, Broken Hill NSW: Meg’s work as her midwife has highlighted the contrast between urban and regional health facilities and the importance of quality healthcare for all. Meg is driven to conduct more studies and play an active role in women’s health.

Lucy Collingridge, Armidale NSW: Lucy is committed to improving biodiversity and exploring sustainable outcomes for producers. Having worked in various roles in the agricultural industry, Lucy has also earned a BA in Agriculture (General Production) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Animal Science.

Nicole Colling, Maclean NSW: Nicole has a keen interest in crop and livestock management. With a Bachelor of Business Administration, Nicole plans to work in agribusiness, helping with budgets and financial strategies that will invest in the future of rural communities.

Jessica Fernley, Bathurst NSW: Jessica is passionate about sustainable global agricultural practices, and the ways the industry can develop the next generation and protect their mental and financial health. Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree in Rural Science and is completing a Master’s degree in Global Development.

Anna Holcomb, Burren Junction NSW: With a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), Anna explores marketing and business opportunities to support women in agriculture. Anna is committed to sustainable and ethical farming practices and hopes to educate consumers about the products and stories of Australian farmers.

Miranda McGufficke, Cooma NSW: Miranda’s Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Business has shaped her ambitions with regard to sheep, genetics and breeding. Miranda hopes to start changing the industry by encouraging companies to adopt new systems and respond to developments in genetics and education.

Alistair Meek, Hobbys Yards NSW: High school teacher and fourth-generation farmer,

Ulster is inspiring to motivate others towards innovation and industry development, while encouraging modern agricultural practices that benefit rural communities. Alistair also holds a BA in Agribusiness Management.

Rural RM Williams RAS winners will receive a share of a $17,000 prize money, a free one-year RAS membership, a Rural Achiever uniform provided by RM Williams, and an 8-day behind-the-scenes experience at the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show in April – with everyone Paid expenses.

Terry Goodyear, Head of Marketing, Heartland, RM Williams said: “RM Williams is proud to support eight notable finalists for the 2022 Rural Achievers Award. RM Williams is excited to support young people who are the rural and regional leaders of the future.”

One of the eight Rural Winners will be announced as the 2022 RM Williams RAS Rural Achiever during the show and will continue to represent NSW in the National Rural Ambassador competition in 2023.

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