Studying for a double degree Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE, 19-year-old Hannah Carghill has achieved some of the opportunities she was hoping for when she recently became New England chair of the Young Farmers Branch.
As chair, she automatically became a member of the Young Farmers Council at its annual conference in Sydney. Her family owns a sheep and beef concern at Braidwood, near Goulburn.
"I've been in a few leadership roles over the last few years and this is something that I have been striving for and am keen to see where it goes," she said.
"I am looking forward to working with the great community we have.
"I am looking forward to being part of the changes, encouraging young farmers and people. It's so important and it's such a great industry to be in."
The Council comprises of Hannah Cargill (Armidale), Rachel Nicoll, Martin Murray, Tim Carroll (Cudal), Meg Rice (Canberra), Tom Matthews (Grenfell), Brendan Murray (Coleambally) and Nathan Hatty (Matong).
With the drought, Hannah said it was getting harder for young people to get into farming.
"I think as a whole, though, over the last few years I know young farmers have increased their numbers, and people are looking to be more keen," she said.
"More awareness is coming out and people are looking to be more understanding."
Hampton egg, horticulture and cattle producer Rachel Nicoll took on the role of Young Farmer chair, with Armatree-based agronomist Martin Murray as Deputy Chair.
Rachel highlighted her priorities for young farmers at the conference, which included increased engagement with the wider association and increased opportunities for training and development.
"Young farmers have to be learning as much outside of the industry as they are in it," she said.
"They need to be getting exposure and experience, doing internships and building relationships with people.
"The second part to that is getting an understanding of real world problems - skills to pick themselves back up when things don't work and setting them up for success."
Rachel is also eager to increase is the awareness of local food and fibre production among a growing consumer base.
"Millennials will have become the world's largest body of online consumers we've seen by 2020," she said.
"We will need a play a role in educating them and telling our stores about sustainable food and fibre production systems. These consumers want local food and they want to know more about when it comes from."
Martin said access to finance and land was a policy priority for the Council.
"We're looking to bring New South Wales in line with other states in offering stamp duty exemptions on the purchase of a first farm," he said.
"This was recommended in the Legislative Assembly's report on its Inquiry into Zonal Taxation last year."
Hannah hoped the council could work towards minimising the city country gap.
"I'm really enjoying Armidale - it's a lot like home, just a bit bigger. The weather is a lot like home," she said.