Congratulations to Dione Howard and Jessica Fearnley who have excelled in the Rural Ambassador competition at the recent Sydney Royal Easter Show. These two women exemplify all that we value and strive for in the Young Farming Champions program; they are passionate, articulate, collaborative advocates for agriculture and are showing how we can create a better world together.
Culminating in the national Rural Ambassador Award from Agricultural Shows Australia, the quest for the title begins with state nomination. In NSW the accolade is known as the
R.M. Williams RAS Rural Achiever Award; a “leadership program run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to recognise future young leaders (20-29 years of age) who are working hard to make a significant contribution to their community and to rural Australia.”
For Dione the Rural Achiever Awards was a long-held dream and in 2021 this dream was realised when she was announced as the state winner. Reality then exceeded her dreams when she was declared the 2022 National Rural Ambassador at this year’s Sydney Royal.
“Building a better world starts with backing yourself,” Dione, who had previously applied for the NSW Rural Ambassador Award, says. “In my role as National Rural Ambassador I hope to encourage people of all ages to step up and volunteer in their local community, for organisations they care about or to apply for that award they’ve been looking at (perhaps again if they’ve missed out in the past!).”
Dione also firmly believes being a Young Farming Champion was invaluable in the Rural Ambassador experience.
“There’s no doubt that YFC training has been pivotal to my success, from being equipped to answer tough questions, to holding my own in front of the camera. It’s also given me the confidence to know where I am on my leadership journey to apply for awards such as this.”
View highlights of Dione’s Rural Ambassador journey here
Following in Dione’s footsteps as they continue their own commitment to agriculture were YFC Jessica Fearnley and Lucy Collingridge who were both selected for the 2022 NSW Rural Achiever Award, with Jess being named the winner.
A highlight for Jess was the Rural Achiever debate –
“I enjoyed being able to think critically and create an argument and it also opened my eyes to other people’s ideas and opinions”
– and throughout the program she was commended on her presentation skills.
“YFC training has given me skills in presenting and taught me to be confident in my own messaging,” she says.
As with Dione, Jess will use the Rural Achiever to inspire others to create a better world.
“Being awarded Rural Achiever has now opened up a range of opportunities for me to network with people outside of my usual circle. Through this program I will go interstate and meet people from all over the country interested in agriculture. The knowledge I will learn from this I can then pass onto to other young people.”
The accolades for our YFC continued at the Sydney Royal Easter Show when Samantha Wan, pictured here with RAS Councilor Joe Byrnes and Jacob Heard, was recognised by her peers, the Youth Group of RAS, for her dedication and support of the wool industry. It was a surprise award for Sam who has been a committed contributor to YFC since she joined in 2017.
Creating a better world together comes when we can share our successes, celebrate our peers and not rest on laurels afforded by awards but consciously work towards using those awards in a meaningful and productive way.
Watch Dione on Landline here
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