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Growing the Future 2022

On August 11th, Australia’s biggest Ag Careers night was held at Adelaide Oval in the Ian McLachlan Room. Organised voluntarily by the Adelaide University Agriculture Students Association, the AgTech themed “Growing the Future 2022” attracted its largest crowd ever, of almost 280 attendees. They consisted of approximately 20 High School Students, several young farmers, 170 university students and 80 industry representatives.

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The night started off with two “Ag Collab” workshops that ran twice, so everyone could partake in each. The first workshop was the “ThincLab Ag Collab”, where attendees were divided into small groups and had 50 minutes to address how vacant blocks of land sitting idle in the Riverland can be used to increase biodiversity or boost the horticultural production of the region. The youth attendees then brainstormed solutions to this problem and learned how to present a 1-minute pitch of their proposal to their peers. The best pitches were presented at dinner, with the winners receiving two tickets to evokeAG in Adelaide next year.

The second workshop was “Speed Dating with Sponsors” where each attending sponsor business had a stall on the perimeter of the room. These businesses represented areas of agronomy, livestock, business/finance, soils, nutrition, consulting, AgTech and many more. Youth attendees were directed to approach one of these 30 sponsor stalls in small groups for just under 2 minutes to discuss career prospects. After 2 minutes, a bell was rung, and the youths moved onto the next sponsor stall and so on. This continues for 50 minutes to allow all youths to speak to every sponsor representative.

After this, youth attendees were seated on one of 32 sponsor tables, each corresponding to a business of their industry preference to dine with for the evening. The main dinner proceedings started with ABC’s Leigh Radford introducing himself as the MC for the night. AUASA President James Easter then gave his address and thanked his committee for organising the event. He then spoke about the opportunities in ag and encouraged everyone on the night to ‘put themselves out there’, as they never know where a conversation will lead.

The Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Hon. Clare Scriven gave an address and asked students in the room to stand if they were not from an agricultural background before starting their studies, which was an outstandingly positive number. She said – “We need to harness the different pathways people are coming from, so we can replicate them.” Following this, in true entrepreneurial style, each sponsor gave a 1-minute elevator pitch of why an attendee should work for them as part of their sponsorship of the night. Industry sponsorship allows AUASA to heavily subsidise tickets for youth in agriculture, so the event is more accessible.

The night also consisted of a panel with 5 industry leaders, discussing the hottest topics in the Ag industry, focusing on AgTech solutions, such as climate change, FMD, tech adoption and farm safety. Callan Daley was the final speaker, where he focussed on the perceptions of Agriculture. He implored everyone to never refer to it as “Just ag” and to be confident and proud of the industry you’re a part of.

Photographer - William Chau CREATIVE

Nick Sneath, 2nd-year student and ThincLab Challenge Winner

"The ThincLab Challenge made me think about how to take a different approach to how we can better allocate land and resources, and I really enjoyed testing out my entrepreneurial and presentation skills" 

Sam Kelly,

3rd-year student

"The Speed Date networking style was great as I was unsure about which part of ag I wanted to go into, but I was able to talk to different businesses that included livestock, agronomy, research, policy, consulting, tech and finance to help make my mind up"

Sophie Nuske, 2nd-year student

"The discounted tickets for youths and friendliness of the business representatives made it a fantastic atmosphere for networking and discussing future career prospects"

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