Igniting Resilience, hosted by BCG at the Lower Murray Inn at Swan Hill recently, lived up to its name. Young farmers and agribusiness professionals heard from guest speakers The Unbreakable Farmer Warren Davies, farmers Simone Murdoch (Swan Hill), Jarrod Kemp (Nullawil) and Will Simpson (Berriwillock) who shared how they navigate the challenges of life and farming. The event was funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund with support from the National Centre for Farmer Health, ANZ and Dodgshun Medlin.
Birchip young farmer and BCG member Alex Noonan was particularly taken with Warren’s presentation, believing his message was relevant and timely for young farmers who were yet to experience a drought: “The story Warren told of how the millennium drought crippled his farm and his mental health reverberated throughout the room. You could feel the pain it had caused him but also the strength it built within him to come out the other side with the help of the strategies and support networks he outlined. Such a relatable experience delivered with strategies anyone can implement gave me the confidence and knowledge to continue to build my support networks and resilience to face the next inevitable drought.”
Alex also enjoyed catching up with people he had met at the first BCG Young Farmer Networking event, Climate Courage, last year as well as making new connections: “These events provide a great opportunity to network. I’ll be encouraging more of my friends to come to these events as they are a lot of fun and bring people together that perhaps wouldn’t cross paths otherwise.”
Mikaya Zanker from the Murray Mallee LLEN also attended the event which was part-funded through the BCG managed North West Broadacre node of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub. A highlight for Mikayla was the farmer panel, in particular, female farmer Simone Murdoch.
“It was great to see a female represented on the farmer panel. I gained great insight not only into what challenges she faced working in what can sometimes feel like a male dominated industry but also how she is making great strides on her farm. It was empowering to hear Simone and her husband, Alistair, ensure they are placing focus on the health and wellbeing of their family and employees.
“All the guest speakers were fantastic. It was great to hear how each navigated life’s challenges which created connection and validation that while we may all have different experiences, ultimately, we are all in the same boat.”
Mikayla also found the networking opportunity beneficial both personally as well as professionally being involved in the Young People Farming the Future Initiative which aims to provide people in the region with career opportunities in agriculture as well as the industry. “I made a lot of connections while having a great Friday night out,” Mikayla enthused.
Event organiser and Vic Hub, North West Node Project Manager Grace Hosking was excited by the success of the event which aimed to build resilience in young ag professionals by building and strengthening connections and relationships. “The feeling on the night and the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive from both attendees and event supporters ANZ, Dodgshun Medlin and the National Centre for Farmer Health. Events like this create lasting benefits within communities so we are looking forward to planning the next one,” Grace said.
In addition to these larger events, BCG is also running localised young farmer events across the Wimmera, Mallee and North Central. If you would like to know more or become involved, visit www.bcg.org.au/events or email [email protected]
The Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is a state-wide collaboration of 10 organisations.
Led by the University of Melbourne and with headquarters at UM’s Dookie Campus, the Vic Hub is a Partnership between five farming organisations (Birchip Cropping Group, Food & Fibre Gippsland, Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, Riverine Plains and Southern Farming Systems), four universities (UM, Deakin, Federation and La Trobe), and the State Government (through Agriculture Victoria).
One of eight hubs established nationally under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund (FDF), the Vic Hub works to enhance the drought preparedness and resilience of Victoria’s agricultural industries, the environment and regional communities, encompassing broader agricultural innovation. Engaging with a range of industry and community stakeholders, the Vic Hub links research with community needs for sustainable outcomes.