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. 

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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.