Hi there! My name is Jessica Fearnley, I am 26 years old and was lucky enough to be awarded the 2022 RM Williams Rural Achiever. I have always been passionate about our rural communities and agricultural and horticultural industries.

I grew up in Bathurst, where my family had cattle and horses, which provided a space for me and my three younger brothers to run a muck.

I have been given an awesome opportunity with Molly Wright, winner of The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman 2022, to give you a peek into our lives and what working in agriculture looks like for our generation. I am keen to also offer insight into the Rural Achiever program and what our seven other rural achievers have been getting up to since Sydney Royal.

But first, a little insight into who I am. I am a horticulture development officer working for NSW DPI, supporting the cherry and apple industries. In my role, I work to deliver research addressing some of the challenges Australian producers face. My areas of work are extremely diverse, including crop production, market access, trade facilitation, digital agriculture and climate change mitigation and adaptation. I am passionate about equipping our growers with the tools and knowledge to help manage climate extremes and variabilities so we can continue to produce quality products for our domestic and international consumers.

My career goal is to eventually become an international agricultural scientist, working with small holder farmers in vulnerable communities to continue to produce safe, sustainable food. To help me achieve this, I am about halfway through my Masters of Global Development at James Cook University to equip me with the skills I need to operate in these environments.

Agriculture has been a big part of my life, starting with my high school studies in agriculture, then onto a Bachelor of Rural Science with Honours at the University of New England, Armidale. I have been amazed at the different opportunities there are in the agriculture sector. You can really make a difference, and I am excited to use this opportunity to showcase this to other young people, especially in rural areas.

Since our time at Sydney Royal it has been full steam ahead, with travel around local shows and the opportunity to exchange with the South Australian Rural Ambassadors for the Royal Adelaide Show.

I hope over the next few months, I can show you a little bit about life as a Rural Achiever, meeting passionate people who care about their local communities and update you on some of the industries I work with.