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Mr Speaker, this evening I rise to speak on the Rural Youth of Tasmania Young Farmer of the Year competition that we both attended.
It was concluded and the winner announced at a dinner at Quercus Park on Saturday night. For those people who are not aware of the Young Farmer of the Year competition, it is a fantastic competition that young people across Tasmania, whether a member of Rural Youth or not, can enter and participate in. I have attended this event for each of the years I have been in the Parliament.
One of the things I have loved is that it is an opportunity for young people in Tasmania and farmers on the land to demonstrate their skills and also learn skills. One of the things that I have learnt by attending this event is that it occurs in three stages. The first starts at Hagley farm school, where they have the runoffs, and anyone can enter as long as they fit the age criteria. Then they progress onto the state finals which, on this occasion, was on the day of the dinner, where the top 12 participants go through to the state finals and then the top-ranking young Tasmanians go through to the final stage on the evening, which includes public speaking. It was a fantastic demonstration of the quality of young Tasmanians coming through as future leaders in our rural communities, and also a quiz.
At the runoffs, it is a great opportunity to demonstrate skills, but on the finals on the day that was held at Quercus Park, they go through a whole range of modules, both practical and theoretical, and I love the extent of it. Each year it is quite different. In listening and talking to the young people at the dinner, you hear that some of them have never tried this activity before; for instance, it might be agriculture-related modules, and it might be skills.
This year they had sheep handling; questions about soil health; they had to figure out how to calibrate a sprayer; they also had to put out a fire. For some of these people, it was the first time that they had been in this process, but others were able to share with or mentor fellow competitors because it is something they do all day, every day. The young people who participated in the public speaking - who remembers those high school debating years? - pulled a topic out of a hat only a few minutes prior to delivering a two-minute speech on a whole range of topics.
The young people were amazing and confident. I am going to name some of them. Before I do that, I acknowledge that what I have loved and what I heard last year, and again this year, is that many of the competitors come back and repeat year on year because they develop their networks, learn from each other and from the process, and they can also put themselves in the competition for some extraordinary prizes.
The room is well sponsored; Rural Youth Tasmania has an exceptional reputation and so this year the naming rights sponsor was Woolworths, but there are all sorts of other agriculture related suppliers that provide tens of thousands of dollars to the top four participants of the evening. It is interesting to note that last year, the winner was Andrea O'Halloran. In second place last year was Caitlin Radford, third was Dylan Bellchambers, then fourth Stuart Cresswell, fifth Owen Woolley, and sixth Josh Mison.
It is interesting that by developing these skills they have the confidence to come back and back and back so this year the winner was Caitlin Radford. Caitlin has competed for a number of years and recognises the value of doing that. She gave an exceptional public speaking presentation and was also strong in the quiz, all of the modules and in the runoffs as well. I will go through the different modules that were considered and the winners of those in this year.
The first module was Literacy and Numeracy; the winner was Owen Woolley; the second module was Future Farming, won by Brodie Hill; the third, Biosecurity, won by Amber Bramich; the fourth, Sustainable Land Management, won by Brodie Hill; the fifth, Farm Machinery, won by Stuart Cresswell; the sixth, Irrigation, won by Caitlin Radford; the seventh, Agronomy, won by Brodie Hill; the eighth, Fire Safety, won by Caitlin Radford; the ninth, Finance, won by Caitlin Radford; and last, the Farmer Challenge, was won by Brady Robins. This shows the breadth of skills that are being developed in those young people who are coming through in the sector or have an interest in supporting the sector.
This year, Caitlin Radford was successful. I sat at the table with Caitlin on the night and heard that she has also been successful in securing a grant for international travel to go to an international forum for young farmers. She is going to travel through Norway, through parts of Europe and into Ireland over the future weeks ahead, having just invested with her partner into property just down the road from mum and dad. I love that it was a very supportive evening with extended family in attendance supporting these young people coming through.
This year, Caitlin Radford was first. Brodie Hill, you might remember that name, came second. Owen Woolley was in third place for the Tasmanian Young Farmer of the Year, who is the partner of Caitlin Radford, and they have just invested in property together - a bit of a dynamic duo there - and in fourth place this year was Dylan Bellchambers.
Mr Speaker, you also have been a supporter for many years, much more than I, of both Rural Youth and Agfest. It was an exceptional evening and it is a great organisation. It was great to see young people coming through to deliver a fantastic future for Tasmanian rural communities.
June 1, 2022 - 6:14pm
Video - YouTube
Mr Speaker, this evening I rise on adjournment to shout out to AGFEST, the incredible organisation of young people across Tasmania, part of rural youth who do so many things throughout the year in Tasmania to support young people in regional Tasmania and also to support our incredible agriculture sector.
For months now, they have been working so hard around the clock to put together an unusual AGFEST, off the back of a lack of AGFEST in August this year. I want to shout out to the Chair, to the Committee, to the volunteers. They do an extraordinary job. They are clearly future leaders of Tasmania, 15- to 30-year-olds who can put together the premier field day for Tasmania, a massive Tasmanian success story. They are just phenomenal.
As is often the case, it has been a little wet over the last couple of days so they have made some last-minute encouragements for people to make sure that you go in early and be really aware of the instructions on how to get in and where to park, and how to keep people safe. They had a lot of trouble getting the event because of the initial COVID-19 restrictions and so, are asking for people to pay respect to the site, respect to the COVID-19 conditions, respect for all of the implementation around support for foot-and-mouth as well. So, a big shout out to AGFEST and Rural Youth, you guys are incredible. You do a remarkable job.
Unfortunately, no one in this place can be there over the next couple of days because of the proroguing of Parliament. Now we are lumped with this week, but no doubt many of us will be there on Friday to support you and to be with you. We wish you all very well.
Mr Speaker, I also rise unexpectedly tonight on adjournment to back-in our incredible Tasmanian salmon industry, an industry that stands behind and supports much of regional Tasmania. Many young clever people have been attracted to Australia, and particularly to Tasmania, because of the great industry that has been developed here in short time, and is not only leading in our Tasmanian farming and agriculture, but nationally as well. We know that the people who commit their lives to this career are family people. Although it has only had a short history, there are many parents and children working in communities right across Tasmania and they deserve our support and they deserve people to stand up in this place and let them know we have their backs. We know salmon is a great product.
I was just in the Parliamentary dining room a while ago and had salmon and vegetables for dinner. It is a great product in terms of feeding the world. We have an incredible reputation internationally for the great products we produce here, the great work we do, the science that we are leading, and the technology that we lead. It is not just about people putting themselves at risk and going out into a really risky environment, which is appalling when they are potentially at threat in moments like this morning, not only the people out on the jobs. I have had a great opportunity to meet divers, workers, people making nets, workers for the onshore facilities around the hatcheries, and also super-clever scientists and tech people who are doing remote feeding and all sorts of amazing things. There is no question why we have attracted the attention of the world in a really positive way.
So, I want to stand up and back them tonight. Thousands of Tasmanians themselves rely on this great work. They are leading and well-supported, backed by reliable, credible science. Much of that science is done right here in Tasmania year on year, with surveys done across Tasmania. An increasing number of people recognise the importance and the contribution the Tasmanian salmon industry makes in this community. We are proud of our industry that continues to deliver.
Finally, I just want to acknowledge a local event in Launceston, Northern Tasmania, that is taking both national and international acclaim - a fairly new event called AgriCULTURED. AgriCULTURED occurred in Launceston again over the last couple of weeks, and was the first event last year. It was extraordinary, bringing together people and having and starting great conversations in our community, whether it be around agriculture, food, tourism.
It was partnered not only with Fermen Tasmania, but also with Launceston being announced recently as a UNESCO City of Astronomy. They also, in the lead-up to the event, launched their new brand and really focused on the importance of all of the things we know and love about Tasmanian produce, producers, creators, chefs and communities at an excellence level, but also the incredible connections of all levels that are made in communities when we gather around food. I was pleased to attend the producer's dinner at Grain of the Silos. It was lovely to have local producers putting their products on a plate and great local storytellers. Rostella Roost made the poultry that we ate, and then some duck farmers told a great story about their ducks as well.
It was a really great night. To finish up on one of my favourite things in the world: anyone who knows me well knows I love fire, and I love food cooked on fire, and one of my favourite places in Northern Tasmania is Timbre. On the Saturday evening, Timbre hosted Fire and Ferment, a dinner that celebrated all the incredible local produce - very tightly local - to the Tamar Valley, cooked it across the fire and served it up beautifully. At the end of this event was an opportunity to raise much-needed funds for RAW - Rural Alive and Well, a great organisation doing a lot in our community to support people, whether it be our farmers or our fishers, many of whom are struggling right now and do need more ongoing support. So, a great night celebrating all that is good in Launceston, Tamar Valley and Northern Tasmania. I would just like to recognise all their efforts this evening.
August 23, 2022 - 8:22pm
Video - YouTube