Growing hopes on rice

By Country News

Finley’s Tom Doyle has only recently moved back from Melbourne to work on his family farm.

Since his return he has worked his way onto the main issues around the agriculture industry including irrigation, drought and water allocation.

He has also joined 13 other participants for the Introduction to the Rice Industry course.

Hosted by Rice Extension in Deniliquin over four days, tier one of the course is part of the Rice Growers’ Association Rice Industry Leadership Program.

Mr Doyle was joined by fellow Southern Riverina participants including Annabel Arnold (Berrigan), Stephen Ball (Mayrung), Alison Gregory (SunRice employee, originally from Jerilderie), Alexander Schultz (Tocumwal) and Sam Sleigh (Jerilderie).

Activities included learning about governance, corporate structure, advocacy, networking and communication.

Keeping with a regional theme, guest facilitators included Conargo’s Perin Davey and Finley’s Jane Harris.

Mr Doyle said the course provided a good variety of speakers and panels.

‘‘There was a good range of leaders to apply the theory, then we could ask them some questions which I found beneficial.

‘‘I worked at the NAB bank in Melbourne for five years before coming home on the farm so I’ve done similar things, but this has been better.

‘‘Jane (Harris) has been able to explain the theory and how to apply it.

‘‘I haven’t been back long so I’m trying to get myself out there to these community events, particularly the irrigation front on the back of a zero water allocation year.

‘‘It’s good to see different perspectives on that issue and learn a bit more because it would be good to go down the advocacy path.’’

Rice Growers’ Association leadership co-ordinator Ainsley Massina said the successful program was aided by the passion of the participants.

‘‘They’re a great group of young, enthusiastic leaders who are keen to learn. It’s fantastic to see the passion and the desire to learn.

‘‘We have an impressive group of participants from right across the region with diversity in gender and skill set.

‘‘It’s an interactive program, participants are pushed out of their comfort zone at times,’’ Ms Massina said.

Four participants will be selected from stage one of the program to attend a two-day workshop in Canberra, to meet leaders in organisations such as Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the National Farmers’ Federation, the National Irrigators’ Council and Australian Government.

They will further develop networking and advocating skills learned in the Introduction to the Rice Industry course.