John Freemantle at the University of Ballarat's Mini Brewery.

THE RECENT Young Grain growers Conference is a new initiative for Victorian Partners in Grain Project

All concerned pronounced it an excellent networking launch for the next generation of grain growers.

The event gave young people in the industry the opportunity to meet like minded people, develop networks, and be challenged by a variety of workshops covering communication skills, financial management and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Participants also enjoyed informational visits to Southern Farming Systems, International Malting Company and the Port of Geelong.

The 32 young farmers who met at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong saw the event as a confidence-boosting exercise and an opportunity to heighten their awareness of marketing and the end use of their grain.

Some comments from participants:

  • "It was great to meet like-minded young grain growers."
  • "The networking was terrific ."
  • "Communication skills are something I don't like to practise, but they are really important to assist the farm business."
  • ''I'm going to get the financials out at home and analyse the farm books."
  • " It was inspiring to meet with other young grain growers throughout Victoria and NSW and to know that there are people of my age who are as interested as I am in the industry."

Next event

The three-day conference created so much interest that another program will be held in Victoria in 2003, and this year in August a conference will be held at Narrabri in NSW.

Conference participant John Freemantle told Ground Cover he has since been involved in further professional development, visiting with local growers from the Carris brook and Eddington areas to discover the importance of Rosella wheat for Japanese noodle manufacture and malting barley for brewing. Mr Freemantle also took a closer look at the University of Ballarat's Mini Brewery before sampling some of the end product.