A Uralla high school teacher is one of 30 people selected from across Australia as agriculture’s brightest minds.
Melissa Wright is one of the eight from NSW who has won an agricultural business scholarship from supermarket giant Woolworths.
Ms Wright is in Sydney this week as part of the 12-day program, meeting key industry and business leaders.
Woolworths head of fresh food Pat McEntee said the scholars selected for the program represented the diversity of careers in agriculture and included young farmers, agronomists, a meat buyer, a financial controller and a beef extension officer.
Ms Wright said she was committed to educating the next generation about sustainable farm practices and the importance of the Australian agricultural sector – but as well as teaching she gets her hands dirty down on the farm too.
She has a hands-on role in her own farming enterprise which she runs with her husband near Uralla.
She said hoped to take back key information about farming sustainability and the marketing and supply chains in the primary industries sector to boost both her students and her own enterprise. Ms Wright grew up on the land and helped her parents with their farming enterprise from a young age.
She is also involved in her local catchment management authority and with her students shows cattle at local events as well as the Royal Easter Show.
Ms Wright said she would use the scholarship to help develop her own enterprise and its marketing strategies with retailers but she also hoped to gain a clearer understanding of how to co-ordinate supply chain logistics more effectively as they expand into new activities.
Mr McEntee said the program addressed some of the key issues facing the agricultural sector.
“With the average age of the Australian farmer increasing and the sector facing a skills shortage, it is important that as an industry, we work together to attract and retain young people in agriculture,” he said.
“The program provides an opportunity for participants to interact with the whole supply chain to fully understand the paddock to plate concept and equips participants with the knowledge they need to address key issues surrounding food, agriculture, health and the environment