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RASV Emerging Leaders take place on Ministerial Advisory Group

An expert team of young industry participants have been assembled for the Andrews Government Young Farmers Ministerial Advisory Council.  Announced this week the panel includes two previous winners of the RASV Emerging Leaders in Victorian Agriculture awards, in a testament to the value of the awards.

Ashlee Hammond (2013 ELVA recipient) and Leila Sweeney (2014 ELVA recipient), will join nine other agribusiness professionals from around the state to advise the Minister for Agriculture, The Hon Jaala Pulford, on the critical factors confronting young people in agriculture and on opportunities for attracting youth to the food and fibre sector.

The Young Farmer Ministerial Advisory Council members are:

  • Caitlin Scholfield, ChairBusiness Manager, Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Geelong
  • Andrew Bulmer, Deputy Chair – Managing Director of a horticulture business, Calulu
  • Skye Vermaas – Victorian Young Farmers group representative, Newlyn
  • Will Ryan – Young Agribusiness Professionals group representative, Dumbalk
  • Prue Milgate – Farm Manager, sheepmeat/wool and mixed grains business, Salisbury West
  • Thomas McGrath – Farmer mixed meat and wool/ cropping business, Murtoa
  • James Terry – Director for an integrated grower, packer and exporter asparagus business, Koo Wee Rup
  • Sarah Thompson – Engagement and Workforce Development Officer, Murray Dairy, Kialla
  • Leila Sweeney-McDougall – Farmer and Secondary School Teacher, Tatyoon
  • Maida Anderson – Communications Officer, Baw Baw Shire, Warragul
  • Ashlee Hammond – Policy & Project Officer, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria,  Melbourne

With the identified future increases in global demand for food, the Advisory Council will address the need to recruit and retain the best young people in agriculture, to ensure high quality and safe production and improved access to new markets.

“RASV congratulates the 11 outstanding individuals who have been selected to be part of the Ministerial Advisory Council, many of whom have been part of our programmes and awards including Ashlee and Leila, previous ELVA winners,” said Mark O’Sullivan, CEO, RASV.

“We welcome this initiative from the State Government, as it takes an important step in identifying, nurturing and rewarding future leaders of our industry.”

The initiative incorporates an online forum, allowing all young people within agriculture to discuss opportunities and issues the industry is facing. The forum can be viewed at


Nominations for the Emerging Leaders in Victorian Agriculture awards will open in mid-2016.  All details of the awards can be found here.