Meet Josh Gilbert who believes the beginning has the seeds of everything else to come

Today’s guest blog post comes from Josh Gilbert who is combining a degree in law with a role on the NSW Young Farmers Council to advocate for young farmers. Josh is a great believer in the ethos of Eric Thomas.

‘You are the executive director and screenwriter of your life…. Never underestimate the importance of the beginning. The beginning has the seeds of everything else to come.”

This is Josh’s story ………

Hi, my name is Josh Gilbert. I’ve just completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Newcastle and now in my final year of my Law degree. I currently have a Finance Cadetship at the ABC, but my dream is to provide high quality legal advice to those living in the country, while building a large scale agricultural corporation.

My blog today shares with you my agricultural journey thus far and gives insights into my hopes for the future.

My love of agriculture started on my Great Grandparent’s farms in the Mid North Coast of NSW. My family have always been farming, with my Dad’s side producing beef cattle and my Mum’s all being dairy farmers.

Josh Gilbert Tractor

Me with my dad on my grandfather’s tractor

I grew up in the wheat and sheep belt of the Northern Canberra Tablelands- in a small town called Boorowa. The town boasts a rich pastoral and Irish heritage, primarily emphasised by the Running of the Sheep every year. It is in this community that I learnt of the importance of local farms and the impact that farming families had on a small community.

My family moved back up to the coast in 2000 and a few years later purchased a part of my Grandfather’s dairy farm and started a Braford cattle stud which we called Riverside Park Brafords.

Josh Gilbert

My first Brahman cattle purchase

We are now third and fourth generation Braford breeders, originally chosen by my Great Grandfather due to their natural resistance to ticks and their tolerance to droughts.


One of our newest calves- Riverside Park Marvelous

Whilst I originally chose a career in law since we established our cattle stud and working on the farm, my enthusiasm for the agriculture industry has been re-ignited. This passion has prompted me to join the NSW Farmers- Young Farmers Council and seen me attend the 2013 Woolworths Agriculture Business Scholarship in Sydney.

Josh Gilbert WABS

Touring the meat aisle at the 2013 Woolworths Agriculture Business Scholarship program

Inspired by cattle pioneers James Tyson and Sir Sidney Kidman and my interest in business and commerce, I have big aspirations to create one of Australia’s largest, privatively owned, mixed enterprise, farming companies. I have since started working towards this dream, attending cattle courses, writing farm profitability formulas and conducting further research into the field.

However, my interest in agriculture stems beyond my personal endeavours- with further concerns around farmer mental health issues, the need for assistance to encourage young farmers and the vital role of education for viable farming futures. I believe Government policy and funding is strongly needed in these areas, with agricultural industry support and guidance to help implement suitable measures.

Australian agriculture, especially the beef industry, is supported by strong historic foundations. I believe the long term viability of beef cattle production now relies on farmers getting a fair return for their efforts, community support, adaptation and adoption of environmentally sound farming methods, while ensuring animal care standards are delivered at the highest level.

“You got an opportunity to make a dream become a reality – and when you do, you just got to take advantage of it.” – Eric Thomas

I believe the future of the agriculture sector rests in our hands and it is up to us to ensure we build capacity to continually improve the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of Australian agriculture.

There are many difficulties facing farmer’s everyday, namely; ageing and fewer farmers, difficulties in the retention of younger generations, mental health issues, problems ensuring profitability, concerns obtaining finance and reduced consumer knowledge of where their food comes from combined with increased consumer expectations about how their food is produced. While there are many challenges facing the agriculture sector at large, I believe there are many opportunities.

To take advantage of these opportunities, it is pivotal that the agriculture sector has a unified voice and a cohesive, united brand that we are all proud of. That farmers share their enthusiasm and passion for what they do and why they do it with not only the rest of Australia, but also the World.  It is equally important that farmers have the opportunity to improve their business skills and have access to mental health services, while also drawing upon the ability to develop quality relationships along the food chain with our urban communities.

Young people have the opportunity to gain a broad education that allows us to work off farm to increase our knowledge of successful business practices and gain an appreciation for urban life. This also provides us with a chance to discover the ways urban and rural can work together to ensure the agriculture sector prospers.

Our government will also have a strong role to play. Together, farmers and government must develop policies that will assist young people to access the capital that’s required to get into farming and provide additional financial education to ensure realistic business accounting. Currently, the costs of farmland and infrastructure are a huge barrier to many younger farmers, with government intervention the most applicable way to help change this situation.

Further policy is also needed to help encourage young people to become involved in agriculture and help the sector realise its potential. Additionally, we also need to continue to develop higher-level skills and training for the sector, while promoting agriculture as a positive, diverse and rewarding career path.

Greater skills and knowledge in areas such as finance, marketing and legal, is the key to helping farmers think actively and ask questions to ensure our personal businesses and the wider industry grows. I believe our entire future livelihoods rest primarily on the engagement, recruitment and retention of these people.

We have a real chance to make these dreams a reality. We have the opportunity to make the agricultural profession as reputable and important to others as it once was. It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be great.

I look forward to taking an active role and working with farmers and our communities to realise this.

Well said Josh and I am sure you will agree with me that Josh is a young man prepared to do the hard yards to achieve his big dreams.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams, just know that all roads that lead to success have to pass through Hardwork Boulevard at some point. Eric Thomas                                             

You can read Josh’s Target 100 profile here 

Opportunity comes nock,nock, nocking for Tegan in Ag

Today we would like to introduce you to Tegan Nock our latest addition to the Young Farming Champions program. Tegan is a beef farmer and is sponsored by NSW Farmers.

Tegan heads up the NSW Farmers Young Farmers’ Council and we recently shared her inspirational speech at the NSW Farmers conference with you here. Tegan is just one of a  group of young people who are galvanising Youth In Ag and debunking the myth that young people don’t want to farm    

tegan nock

This is Tegan’s story ………..



Can you guess what all of these people have in common? Yup, you got it. They’re all farmers. Farmers who are working towards improving their farming methods in the name of sustainability.

Be it an Indian farmer in the Punjab using alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation techniques to decrease the amount of water they have to pump out of the water table, an Indonesian farmer in Malang aiming to use less pesticides to avoid plant resistance and chemical run-off, or a Vietnamese farmer in the Mekong delta region using permaculture to minimise waste, you will be hard-pressed to find a farmer who is not working to improve the way they farm.


There are a host of different reasons farmers across the world are doing this; for the good of the environment, for the health of their plants and animals, for economic advantage, for the good of their community or to make practices easier for the next generation of farmers on their land, but if you ask any one of them the reason why they are putting in all this effort to review the way they farm, it is because sustainability is the lifeblood of any good farming business.


My family and I are farmers in the central west of NSW. We farm 7000 acres, where we grow mostly wheat and barley, occasionally canola, and run a commercial herd of angus cattle.


I was born with farming in my blood. My Grandmother bought her first cow when she was 15 and my father has been a full-time farmer since he was 14. In keeping with this tradition, I established a cattle business at the age of 17, while still in high school.

Tegan (2)

On my farm, we are constantly questioning how we can do things better. We have a strong focus on conservation farming, using zero tillage cropping for over a decade. My father’s philosophy on farming is that there are many factors contributing to the success of a farming business, but the most important is that the land be left in a better condition than when you found it. Thanks to this philosophy, we have changed our farming practices to ensure the longevity of our land.

Currently on our farm:

  • We use Control Traffic Farming, meaning we only drive over set tracks on our paddocks to stop compaction
  • We cell graze, which is where paddocks are divided up into smaller paddocks to manage grazing better
  • We power all our infrastructure (houses, sheds, workshops, electric fences) using solar energy
  • We select cattle for their feed conversion efficiency, which is their ability to convert the what they eat into steak potential as efficiently as they can
  • We keep areas of the farm free of stock or crops to encourage native flora and fauna populations

After I finished high school, I went to uni to study an Ag Science degree to learn how to keep improving the way we run our farm.


Doing an Ag degree at uni opened so many doors for me. There are a huge number of programs available to Ag students that let you get an insight into how the whole industry works.

In no time I found myself standing in a giant cool room learning about meat cuts and quality, or in a canola paddock learning about crop pests and diseases. I even ended up in rice paddies in Punjab, the major rice growing region in India, discussing water conservation with the local farmers!


I quickly became involved in NSW Young Farmers, a group within the NSW Farmers Association which acts to advocate for the interest of young people in the Agricultural industry, both on a political platform, and in the wider community. NSW Young Farmers also holds events across the state, to allow members to learn about on-farm production, new technology or how political lobbying works.


I believe that it is so important for agriculture to have a voice when it comes to political decisions, especially from the young people involved in the industry. It is our opportunity to shape the future of our businesses, landscapes and communities in rural and regional Australia.


I now act as the chair of the NSW Young Farmers Council, and get to spend time traveling around the state meeting other young people in Ag, talking to politicians, adding to policy documents, planning events and promoting careers in Agriculture. And this just what I do in my spare time!


I love the flexibility that agriculture offers me, and the diversity of what I do from week to week and day to day. On the farm I am able to take on so many roles from the management and planning of enterprises, to the marketing of produce, to planting of crops and doing stock work.

I get to combine my love of the land with science, technology and business, and have so much fun in the process!

By the way Tegan also is quite a talented country music singer and has performed at various university events whilst studying Ag Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. You can to her sing on this video

Young Guns out in force at the NSW Farmers conference

It was great to see our very own Cotton Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley up on the stage at the NSW Farmers conference receiving his EL O’Brien memorial scholarship from Premier Barry O’Farrell

Barry OFarrell Richie Quigley Fiona Simson 

Premier Barry O’Farrell, Richie Quigley and Fiona Simson President of NSW Farmers 

Chair of the scholarship selection panel Sarah Thompson said the scholarships were one of the many benefits available to NSW Farmers families and she was pleased to award this year’s scholarships to a group of dedicated students who would play a strong role in agriculture and rural communities across NSW in the future. She said rural communities were currently demanding a variety of skills and this year’s scholarship recipients were studying a broad range of subjects from medicine to animal science, law and agriculture.

“It is important that NSW Farmers acknowledge the achievement of students across a broad range of subjects and the different ways in which these students are able to contribute to rural communities through their chosen field. Young skilled professionals are important for rural communities and the industries such as agriculture which support them.” Ms Thompson said

Also starring at the NSW Farmers’ conference was Beef Young Farming Champion (sponsored by NSW Farmers ) the pocket rocket that is Tegan Nock. As chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council Tegan wowed the audience with her speech delivery. 

 Tegan Nock 4660

Love those Green Apples hanging on the wall behind Tegan Nock

Here are a few excerpts from Tegan’s address to the 300 plus crown

This year has seen big changes for the Young Farmer membership base of the association, as the Young Farmers Council moves to target more specifically the needs of our members.

Late last year, our council set out to answer the questions of what our Young members want from a membership & how they can be best engaged with the greater Association.

Responses overwhelmingly focused on working to secure a support scaffold for those entering farming for the first time and the formation of a strong rural network offering access to practical information and opportunities to meet in both a professional and social capacity.

By addressing these needs, the Young Farmers Council hopes to attract and retain more youth in agriculture, support those entering farming in NSW, help to maintain sustainable rural communities and act as a succession plan for the association.

The Association has identified a need for our members to personally act as advocates for our industry.

As Australian agriculture increasingly comes under scrutiny from various groups in relation to environmental and welfare issues, we are finding that the ability to talk directly to consumers is continuing to grow with the popularity of social media as an information source.

Farmers are using social media to tell their own stories, and share the reasons behind our practices and industry decisions. This is beginning to provide some balance in the arguments which are more frequently calling for governmental policy that serves to impose further red tape on our businesses. This year it has been fantastic to see the number of people involved in Agriculture in NSW on various media platforms sharing positive farming stories.

NSW Young Farmers will continue to offer information and workshops on the use of social media as an advocacy tool, and welcome the Association’s support of the Art4Agriculture program, established by Mrs Lynne Strong, which offers young people from across Australia both training, and platforms to share positive stories about our industry, whilst encouraging others to consider a career in Agriculture.

The new Council in collaboration with the Armidale District Council hosted a Production Tour of the New England region in April, which highlighted innovative efficiencies in grazing, livestock and wool production. This initiative drew members and non-members from across the State, and provided an insight into the latest research from The University of New England, and some of the most productive farming businesses within the region.

The event was credit to Council members Joanna Newton and David Gale, and the Armidale District Council.

In the wake of the Armidale tour, the Council received a large number of requests for an event based in the south of the state. The Council, in collaboration with the Cootamundra District Council is currently in planning stages for an event that will focus on the business side of farming, anticipating topics such as Business structure & start-up, farm leasing & share farming options, and small business finance, taxation & law.

The Young farmers are also working on forming strategic collaborations with other groups within the state to increase our membership base and offer greater access to service & events. The Young Farmers have worked with the Royal Agricultural Society Youth Group over the year, and are set to continue this partnership into the future.

We believe that together our Young Farmers can achieve our vision of ensuring the longevity of a dynamic, sustainable, prosperous and respected food & fibre sector.