Riverina Local Land Services and River of Life Scholarship winners announced

Riverina Local Land Services congratulates Sam O’Rafferty, Kate Webster and Katharine Charles who have been announced as scholarship recipients to participate in the esteemed Action4Agriculture (A4A) leadership program: Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders.


The Cultivate program equips participants with the skills to become highly visible public role models for agriculture. Training revolves around three pillars – leadership development, confident communicators and trusted voices – and is delivered by national and international experts through A4A’s Ecosystem of Expertise.

“The quality and talent within our three new Cultivate participants is extraordinary with each from different backgrounds and at different stages of their journey. We are looking forward to working with all three of them to further develop their skills and assist them to achieve their dreams.” Riverina LLS general manager Ray Willis said. “

Katharine, Kate and Sam work and study in the Riverina and have a passion for the area.

“I love the Riverina where agriculture is such an integral part of its identity. The people in the area have gone above and beyond to help me in my agricultural endeavours. The Riverina LLS Scholarship is life changing. It will allow me to have the confidence to share my voice and advocate for positive change in the industry and I am hoping that this program will allow me to grow into a young leader that the Riverina would be proud of,” Katharine said.


The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is supporting the Riverina LLS winners, in particular Sam, who has been awarded the River of Life scholarship to complete the program.

“We’re so pleased to support Sam to grow and share his knowledge of the values and challenges in the Murray–Darling Basin.

The Basin is home to 2.3 million Australians, internationally significant wetlands, over 40 First Nations, and 40% of Australia’s farms. Scholarships like this mean the importance of the Basin can be better understood by communities, and the management of future challenges better supported.” acting chief executive, Andrew Reynolds said.

Sam appreciates the support of both organisations and welcomes the chance to promote his region.

“Through the Cultivate program I hope to advocate for the Riverina as an attractive place to live and work and share the diversity of rewarding career opportunities in the agriculture sector. I would like to thank the Riverina LLS and the MDBA for the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic program and giving me the opportunity to partner with them to promote our agricultural region.” Sam said


Graduates of the Cultivate program become Young Farming Champions (YFC) who actively engage with school students to spread the good-news stories of agriculture.

“The agricultural industry is more extensive than people realise and through this scholarship I hope to make new connections and friendships and grow my networks to inspire the next generation to think outside the box and pursue careers they might not typically consider,” Kate said.

Young Farming Champions alumni also assist in the selection process for Cultivate participants and Ray Willis was impressed with their professionalism in the awarding of the Riverina LLS scholarships.

“The two key alumni YFC on the interview panel were amazing and demonstrate the value of the YFC program in developing young talent in confidence, eloquence and professionalism that is bespoke in a program like this. This is very rewarding for us as a program sponsor.” Ray Willis said

Read Sam’s journey here   

Read Kate’s journey here 

Read Katharine’s journey here 

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