The twelve 2016 Upskill and Invest Scholarship recipients work in the egg, dairy, cropping, sheep and beef sectors.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the second round of scholarships, which give each recipient $10,000 for training and on-farm improvements, would help attract and retain the next generation of farmers to work in agriculture.
“To take advantage of these opportunities, our farmers will need to develop increasingly sophisticated business skills, business and financial literacy, risk management and product development,” Ms Pulford said.
“Attracting the next generation of farmers to a life on the land is crucial to meet the growing demand for high quality, safe produce and improve access to key markets, such as Asia and the Middle East.”
Stewart Moroney, of Moroney’s Alpine Beef, Heyfield, said he would be undertaking studies in beef and sheep products specifications, to gain detailed knowledge to maximise yield and detect carcase defects.
He said he was in the process of developing a “paddock to plate” operation, with some of the money also going to upgrading his computer system, purchasing livestock scales and an electronic reader and animal management software.
“It will certainly help, allows us to do it straight away, rather than having to save the money then do it,” Mr Moroney said.
Warragul farm manager Kate Wilson said she would be studying a Diploma of Agriculture, with a particular focus on pasture.
She bought a Gippsland beef property a year ago.
“I have the business management skills to run my farm, but now I need to know how to grow grass really well, so doing the Diploma of Agriculture will allow me to get that other layer of skills, I need to be successful,” Ms Wilson said.
“Without that education, it would be some time before we were really effective about growing beef for the market. The quality of the meat we can produce will be completely dependent on the grass we can grow, so we need to make the most out of our farm. ”
Ms Pulford said the scholarship program was a key part of the government’s commitment to ensuring the future prosperity of Victoria’s agricultural industries.
Applications for next year’s round of grants open in mid-2017 to farmers aged 35 or under who have been working in farm businesses for at least three days a week for the past three months.