Network connects agricultural professionals across Riverina

Elissa Strong, a Riverina Agronomist, will share her story about choosing a career in agriculture at Henty.

Future careers in agriculture will be under the spotlight as Bec Millikin and Elissa Strong take to centre stage during the official opening of the Henty Machinery Field Days.

The two young professionals serve on the executive of the Riverina Ag Network, which provides professional development events and activities for a broad cross section of the agricultural industry in southern NSW.

Miss Millikin said the group aimed to connect like-minded farmers, professionals and the business community, and to promote both the agricultural industry and the Riverina.

“Although our primary target group is 20 to 40 years, older people are welcome to attend as the formation of mentoring relationships is critical in agriculture,’’ she said.

Young Professionals in Agriculture was originally formed in 2009 and has grown to more than 300 members in the Wagga, Culcairn and Holbrook region.

Lunches featuring a guest speaker are held every two to three months to give members a networking and educational opportunity.

This year the topics have included social media and your personal brand, professional development and emotional intelligence, and wealth creation.

Miss Millikin and Elissa Strong will tell of their own personal stories of pursuing careers in agriculture, and outline what form careers will take in agriculture in the future during the field days official opening on September 19.

As network president, Miss Millikin grew up on a commercial sheep and cattle property on the Hay plains before studying commerce and Asian studies at ANU, Canberra.

After university, she travelled around Australia and worked in Darwin for three years.

Miss Millikin now manages human resources for Delta Agribusiness, travelling around NSW looking after recruitment, learning and development, leadership and succession, and workplace health and safety.

“I am passionate about people, building strategic partnerships and creating environments for growth,’’ she said.

“I am committed to a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration throughout the agricultural sector, through challenging people and the status quo.’’

Miss Millikin has recently been sponsored by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation to take part in the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Elissa Strong grew up on a large broadacre cropping farm in the Riverina.

She studied agriculture at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness/Bachelor of Science (agronomy).

Miss Strong is studying an MBA through Deakin University part-time and began her agronomy career at Forbes, in central NSW.

After five years, she was offered the opportunity to work for Delta Agribusiness in the Riverina.

Miss Strong has now been based at Lockhart and Wagga with Delta for more than five years, working in a dual role as an agronomist and grain marketer.

She is passionate about the sustainability of Australian agriculture and runs a successful plant nursery, Sunshine Iris Nursery, as a sideline.

Miss Strong has a keen interest in the viability of small rural communities and is involved in local committees including the Lockhart Picnic Race Club and is secretary of the Riverina Ag Network.