FARM­ING CHAM­PION

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Lo­cal Rice­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia Land­care co­or­di­na­tor Erika Hef­fer is the re­gion’s in­au­gu­ral Young Farm­ing Cham­pion.

The 26 year-old will rep­re­sent the lo­cal rice re­gion at a se­ries of work­shops in Syd­ney later in the year, as part of a new col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Art4A­gri­cul­ture and the RGA.

The Young Farm­ing Cham­pi­ons pro­gram iden­ti­fies youth am­bas­sadors and fu­ture lead­ers and pro­vides them with the train­ing and skills to thrive in the mod­ern world of agri­cul­tural ad­vo­cacy.

As part of the pro­gram Mrs Hef­fer will at­tend work­shops in Syd­ney un­der the men­tor­ship of some of Aus­tralia’s finest com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mar­ket­ing and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment ex­perts.

‘‘I ex­pect to meet like-minded young peo­ple who love agri­cul­ture and to learn along­side them about am­bas­sador­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­nec­tion,’’ Mrs Hef­fer said.

‘‘I am look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing work­shops and un­der­tak­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment to pre­pare me to con­fi­dently share my rice story and be a young face of agri­cul­ture in my com­mu­nity.’’

Mrs Hef­fer added she sees the rice in­dus­try as an in­no­va­tive and evolv­ing one and is keen to share the good news story.

‘‘Our Aus­tralian rice grow­ers use 50 per cent less wa­ter to grow one kilo­gram of rice than the world av­er­age.

‘‘The in­dus­try is con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing our rice va­ri­eties to en­sure we grow more crop per drop.

‘‘In Aus­tralia, rice pro­duc­tion can be switched on or off depend­ing on the wa­ter avail­abil­ity, which makes it per­fectly suited to our vari­able cli­mate.’’

Art4A­gri­cul­ture has long been recog­nised for de­liv­er­ing com­mu­nity events such as The Archibull Prize and its train­ing of young peo­ple with the Young Farm­ing Cham­pi­ons pro­gram.

It works with a range of sup­port­ers and has added RGA to that list to spread the rice in­dus­try’s story across a greater au­di­ence.

RGA ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Graeme Kruger said it was ex­cited to be sup­port­ing the Young Farm­ing Cham­pi­ons pro­gram with Erika Hef­fer rep­re­sent­ing the rice in­dus­try.

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