The Akubra’s are being stitched and eight rural-minded individuals from across New South Wales are preparing to step-up as the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) 2019 Rural Achievers.

Now in its 30th year, the RAS Rural Achiever program has been recognising young people aged between 20 and 29 for three decades and highlights the importance of youth driven change within rural New South Wales.

The state-wide leadership program aims to foster advocacy in driven individuals, providing unique networking opportunities and the chance to represent NSW at the National Rural Ambassador Competition.

Stuart Davies, RAS Youth Affairs Chair says the RAS Rural Achievers program plays an important role in encouraging youth leadership in rural areas,

“In 2019 we will be celebrating the programs 30th year, that is three decades of honouring the unique roles youth play in a community’s future,” Mr Davies said

“Our Rural Achievers are passionate individuals who aspire to give back to their communities in a variety of ways; that may be through creating support networks, fostering new innovations within a field or simply utilising their skills to build a better community,” Mr Davies said.

The 2019 Rural Achievers are:

Rayali Banerjee, Epping
Rayali has shown leadership qualities from a young age, demonstrating an unwavering drive to work in the Agricultural Industry and taking on many challenges to achieve this goal. Working as a specialised Agribusiness Solutions (SAS) graduate Analyst, Rayali has already brought change to agriculture in her home country of India and now aims to be an agricultural leader in Australia. Rayali would like to provide opportunities for youth to take on leadership roles and forge their own future in agriculture.

Denbigh Burrows, Wagga Wagga
Denbigh Burrows has a passion for agriculture and rural mental health, utilising his degree in medicine to work alongside local charity groups to make a difference. Denbigh has organised school and community mental health events in Wagga Wagga and wishes to continue to build connections with local health organisations to facilitate community events that educate and support rural communities. Denbigh is currently working as a junior medical officer in Wagga Wagga.

Samuel Bush, Cootamundra
Samuel Bush grew up on the land and understands the role an RAS Rural Achiever plays as an ambassador for their local community. Completing a double degree in Agriculture and Law, Samuel admires the perseverance of those who manage to produce outstanding products despite the adversity they face. By focusing on administrative law, Samuel wishes to see how he can best assist farmers and help them thrive in the future.

James Cleaver, Nyngan
James Cleaver comes from a family run agricultural enterprise and aims to utilise his leadership skills and agricultural upbringing to build successful farm business practices and support the future of agriculture. James works as a Rural Support Worker for the Department of Primary Industries. Using his economic and law background, James is aiming to create a sustainable future for Australian agriculture.

Samuel Johnson, Forbes
Growing up on the land, Samuel Johnson noticed the huge gap between producers and consumers from an early age. Through his education in marketing and sales, Samuel made a difference by creating the ‘Thank a Farmer for Your Next Meal’ social campaign, highlighting the positive work farmers and primary producers do and bridging the gap between producer and consumer. Samuel wishes to continue to bridge this gap and be a voice for youth working in agriculture.

Katrina Nash, Toogong
Katrina Nash comes from a mixed enterprise property near Cudal. Finishing her final year of a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Communications (Journalism) degree, Katrina wishes to be the voice of rural communities through her passion in journalism and background in agriculture. Katrina was the 2018 JB Fairfax Media Rural Journalism Award recipient.

Lachlan Patterson, Cowra
Lachlan Patterson has a strong background supporting his local agricultural show and local community. Through his Bachelor of Economics and Law degree, Lachlan wishes to develop a business model which provides agribusiness/legal services throughout regional communities, providing key services to rural communities and lessening the reliance on major cities.

Rebecca Thistlethewaite, Narrabri
Rebecca Thistlethewaite is a Post Doctorate Research Associate with the University of Sydney. With Honours in Agriculture, Rebecca is passionate about focusing on sustainability and improving the yield of crops that will struggle under the effects of climate change for Australian growers in the future. Rebecca also aims to build education for regional youth, helping young people break down financial barriers and improve access to mental health services for rural communities.

RAS Rural Achievers will receive a share in $17,000 prize money, complimentary 1 year RAS Membership, official Rural Achiever uniform & Akubra and the chance to be selected to represent NSW at the National Rural Ambassador Competition.

The NSW Representative for the 2020 National Ambassador Competition will be selected from the 8 finalists at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April next year following an 8 day all expenses paid behind the scenes experience.

This article originally appeared:—ras/press-releases/2018/ags-future-leaders—ras-rural-achievers-announced/