Agility Agriculture founder Josie Clarke (pictured with father Glen) and Katie Barnett are working together to raise funds for the causes they care about
Many of our Young Farming Champions develop their love of agriculture through the show rings and continue the association throughout their careers. YFC Katie Barnett, who works as a farm manager on “Taylors Run” at Kentucky in NSW, is one such young person and earlier this year she was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.
2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year Competition Winners L to R Senior: Katie Barnett, Junior: Lilly Rosten, Teen: India Dowling
The Young Woman of the Year competition is held at agricultural shows across NSW and aims to find a young female ambassador to represent rural areas and the show movement. The program is designed to develop regional young women, their local show societies and their communities. During the competition participants are given the opportunity to be interviewed, public speak, present and network. Local winners, like Katie, will compete in a zone final and if successful go on to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where they vie to be named The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman of the Year.
“Whilst in this role I really wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would like to hold fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a project started by local Kempsey woman and 2022 NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke,” Katie says.
Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities working within agriculture; raising awareness and dispelling the myth that agriculture is only a career for the able-bodied.
“I started Agility Agriculture in 2021 as a bit of a passion project. When I was 5 my Dad had a truck accident and is now is a wheelchair and I am therefore aware of things like accessibility issues for him. I wanted to share stories of people with disabilities in agriculture to challenge traditional views, raise awareness, create opportunity and provide a supportive community,” Josie says.
Katie, too, sees disability first-hand:
“Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”
A portion of the money raised by Katie will assist Agility Agriculture establish a not-for-profit charity, which will include a job site, scholarships to university, leadership courses and funding for families. Katie has kicked off her fundraising with a Bake Sale at the Kempsey Saleyards, which raised over $700. A raffle and a 100s club are currently running and a trivia night is to be held in late October.
“Katie’s funds will directly help me with a scholarship to send two people to an agricultural conference in Adelaide next year,” Josie says.
Thanks to Katie for bringing Agility Agriculture to our attention and thank you to Josie for making positive changes to show people with a disability can find meaningful careers in agriculture.