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Agriculture’s current and future leaders come together in Canberra 01 Jul 2013

Over the next three days Canberra will be playing host to 31 of Australia’s most passionate advocates for agriculture, and all of them are still at university.

The students are all part of the Horizon Scholarship, which is an initiative of the Rural Industries R&D Corporation that aims to attract more school leavers to undertake university degrees in agriculture-related disciplines.

Being held between July 1-3, the Horizon Scholarship annual workshop will involve Scholars from the past four years. They will take part in a number of sessions that will help them improve their communication and social media skills, provide career planning advice and develop their leadership skills. The Scholars will also be taking part in Q&A sessions with several of Australia’s agricultural leaders, including Matt Linnegar, the CEO of the National Farmers Federation.

For the first time, the Horizon Scholarship workshop will include an AgChatOz live panel discussion which will be held during the formal workshop dinner on Tuesday, 2 July between 8-10pm. AgChatOz is a virtual online community that uses Twitter and Facebook to engage both rural and urban Australia in agricultural related issues.  The online discussion will focus on the branding of agriculture in Australia and the role that young people play in this.

Corresponding with the 2013 Horizon Scholarship workshop is the announcement by the Grains Research and Development Corporation of their commitment to increase the number of Scholars they will sponsor each year. This announcement will see GRDC sponsor four Scholars in 2014 and has seen three new Scholars added to the 2013 Horizon Scholarship cohort, taking this year’s intake to 16, which is double that of 2012.

The three new GRDC-sponsored Horizon Scholars are:

- Sam Bell, Millicent SA - Bachelor of Business specialising in Farm Management, Marcus Oldham College

- Sarah Robertson, Mellool NSW - Bachelor of Agricultural Science, University of Melbourne

- Amy Lucas, Sadlfy Tasmania - Bachelor of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania

Rural Industries R&D Corporation Managing Director, Craig Burns said the annual Horizon Scholarship workshop plays an important role in helping the Scholars build networks, share their experiences and further develop their skills.

“The workshop allows the students to share experiences with their peers and meet the agriculture industry’s leaders face-to-face, which is an opportunity many don’t often get. On top of this they are learning new skills which will help them develop into agriculture’s future leaders and to confidently promote the industry they are passionate about,” Mr Burns said.

The Horizon Scholarship offers a bursary of $5,000 per annum for the duration of a Scholar’s university degree and provides the students with work placements, mentors and a range of personal development opportunities. 

The Scholars are studying for a range of university degrees, including veterinary science, natural resource management, agricultural science and agribusiness across 11 different universities.

Sponsors of the Horizon Scholarship are Woolworths, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Australian Egg Corporation, Australian Pork Limited, Australian Wool Innovation, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Horticulture Australia Limited, Meat & Livestock Australia, McCaughey Memorial Institute, Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Ricegrowers Association of Australia, RIRDC, and the RIRDC Chicken Meat Program.

More information about the Horizon Scholarship and Scholar profiles can be found at www.rirdc.gov.au/horizon.