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    BUILDING KNOWLEDGE: Stuart Mill sheep farmer Georgia Douglas is seeing major benefits from a scholarship program she applied for last year.

AgLife: Georgia Douglas’ scholarship boost

By Dylan De Jong  

Georgia Douglas is encouraging young farmers to pursue scholarship opportunities to advance their career in agriculture. 

The sheep farmer, from Stuart Mill south of St Arnaud, is among 13 recipients of a State Government Young Farmers Scholarship.

The program provides $7300 for a Certificate IV in Wool Classing at Longerenong College and an on-farm pregnancy-scanning program.

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The course is helping Ms Douglas, 24, improve the performance of flocks through better management of sheep and pregnant ewes. 

She said her choice also gave her an option to earn an off-farm income and perform on-farm roles that were typically outsourced.

“I hope to gain on-farm skills to continue benefitting at home,” she said.

“It will also give me skills I can use off farm as well with local farmers who need classers.”

Ms Douglas said the course would expand on skills she needed for a long-term career in agriculture. 

“I grew up on the farm – as long I can remember I’ve been involved in the farm,” she said.

“From when I was kinder age, I remember going out in the ute with dad and helping to feed sheep. 

“As soon as I finished year 12, I jumped into an ag-science degree at La Trobe University.

“The scholarship program is now giving me a more hands-on experience at Longerenong College.”

Ms Douglas said the program would aid her professional development and increase  industry opportunities. 

“There’s so much to benefit from within the ag sector,” she said.

“There’s such a wide diversity of people you get to work with and then within the sector there’s so many different directions you can go professionally.” 

Have a go

Ms Douglas encouraged young farmers to apply for the program in 2021. 

“I applied thinking I’ll do my best, but uncertain that I would be successful,” she said. 

“Even if you don’t think you’ll get it, chuck something in, you never know. 

“You get to meet such a diverse range of people through the program in the ag sector that you otherwise wouldn’t rub shoulders with.” 

In its seventh year, the program has awarded 76 scholarships to young farmers, supporting them with up to $10,000 to boost their skills and careers.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, who recognised the 2020 scholarship recipients at a ceremony in Melbourne last week, said young farmers played an important role in Victoria’s $15.9-billion agriculture sector. 

“Young farmers are the future of Victoria’s agriculture industry and we are continuing to support them to develop the world-leading skills this state has a global reputation for,” she said. 

People can visit for more information about 2021 Young Farmers Scholarships and to apply. 

Applications close on June 6.

The entire April 28, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser and AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!