FLYING around Australia and New Zealand in a private jet, and being mentored by some of the greatest leaders in the agriculture industry might sound like a bit of a pipe dream, but it will be a dream come true for one young Kiwi or Aussie again next year.
The search is on to find talented and passionate young individuals working in the ag sector to apply for the prestigious 2020 Zanda McDonald Award, and while nominations close in a week, it is still not too late to file an entry.
Now in its sixth year, the award provides the winner with an impressive personal development package that includes an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip, $2000 cash, and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group.
Some travel takes place in a privately chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, enabling the winner to reach diverse and remote farming operations.
Chairman of the Zanda McDonald Award, Richard Rains, said the award is widely seen as a career and life-changing experience, that can really help take them to the next level.
“We’ve been lucky to discover some inspiring young people since the award began, with quite diverse backgrounds. But the one thing they all have in common is a real passion for the industry, and a hunger to make a difference,” he said.
“I’m really excited to see who will be uncovered this year. The prize is quite something, but even if you don’t win, there are still some wonderful opportunities if you make it into the top three, so I’d encourage anyone considering it to throw their hat in the ring,” Mr Rains said.
Previous winners have included beef sheep and dairy farmers, a beef extension officer and a business manager of a sheep milk company. Earlier this year, for the first time, two people were crowned with the title – Queenslander Shannon Landmark, 28, and Luke Evans, also 28, from the Northern Territory.
Shannon is a trained vet and the coordinator of the Northern Genomics Project at the University of Queensland, where she focusses on improving genetic selection and reproductive technology. Luke, 28, is the station manager at Rockhampton Downs, a 450,000ha beef property near Tennant Creek.
For Luke, the result came as a huge surprise.
“I’m just a bush kid, and I wasn’t that comfortable putting myself out there, but my boss encouraged me to put an application in. And I can honestly say it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve already met some really great people, everyone has been so welcoming. I can’t wait to spend some time with them on my mentoring trip later this year, to find out how they’ve succeeded in business, and how I can further develop my skills.”
Applications are open to individuals aged 18-35 years, who live and work in the agriculture sector in Australia or New Zealand. Entries close next Friday, 30 August.
Further details and an online application form can be found on the PPP Group website – www.pppgroup.org