The 2015 Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Emerging Leaders in Victorian Agriculture awards were presented today at the Agribusiness Leaders Luncheon, held at the Royal Melbourne Show.
The two top awards were won by Brandon Sykes and Hayden Findlay, who both joined a list of promising young leaders who will help grow Victorian agriculture for decades to come.
The awards recognise people younger than 40 who have demonstrated leadership qualities in the food and fibre sector, and also contribute to their profession, industry and community. Recipients of the awards receive up to $5,000 to help them develop their career.
Brandon Sykes, a third generation beef farmer, is currently President of Herefords Australia Youth, founded the Victorian Hereford Youth Group and has presented cattle at the Royal Melbourne Show. Brandon was previously selected as one of six Herefords Australia Youth Ambassadors and later selected as Ambassador of the year.
Hayden Findlay is a pioneer in various alternative farming techniques and has turned a standard beef farm into a biodiverse environment with variety enterprises including a farm shop and cafe, PYO berries, grass-fed beef, free range pork, honey, free range eggs, seasonal vegetables and cut flowers. He was the Weekly Times Farm Magazine Outstanding Farmer of the Year in 2014
Previous winners of the award include Tom Whitty, media manager of the Victorian Farmers Federation, who in 2013 was recognised for creating the popular social media groups AgChatOz and Rural Mental Health. Last year’s winner was Leila Sweeney, for her innovative clothing designs, which are made entirely from Australian fibre.
The Andrews Labor Government is committed to supporting food and fibre workers of the future and have created the Young Farmer Scholarship Program, which provides up to $10,000 to young farmers with a passion for working in the Victorian agricultural sector.
The scholarships are provided to help with education and on-farm investment, with the first recipients of the scholarship set to be announced in late October 2015.
The Agribusiness Leaders Luncheon is a regular event at the Royal Melbourne Show and includes presentations and panel discussions by leading industry figures. The event features representatives from the finance, not-for-profit and agricultural consulting sectors, with covering issues from market access to growth opportunities.
The Royal Melbourne Show runs until Tuesday 29 September with organisers expecting around 500,000 visitors.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“I want to congratulate Brandon Sykes and Hayden Findlay for winning the 2015 RASV Emerging Leaders Awards.”
“A strong food and fibre sector is important to the Victorian economy. It’s vital that we support our farmers of the future, and these awards are part of doing that.”
“Farming is a great career and that’s why we will continue to work closely with the sector to support its growth.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020