Alexandra Hicks Unveiled as NSW Young Farmer Business Project Coordinator

This article first appeared on The Land.

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They have reached thousands of young farmers across the state already, have six million in the bank, and are guaranteed an initial four years to pave the way for the next generation of farm owners.

Now, with a new coordinator in place, the future looks even brighter for the young aggies under the wing of the state’s Young Farmer Business Project.

Dubbo-based media professional and free-range pig farmer, Alexandra Hicks, has been named the program’s full-time coordinator. A business owner with deep roots in regional NSW, the 36-year-old said she’s keen to match up young farmers with what they need to know.

“I think these guys have the passion, they are hungry,” Hicks said. “The (bank-ready) workshops that have been run have shown that this is something that is so needed. Everyone that gets put on gets filled up.

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“(Young farmers) know what they want to do, they just do not know how to begin the journey. Even the basics: What is finance? What does the bank want? Once you get that, what does a business look like? What does an accountant do? Do we even need an accountant?”

She also said – when starting out in business herself – she could have benefitted from something like the program she’s now in charge of.

The early days of establishing and running Extraordinary Pork with her husband were tough.

“We were out of our league and we learned some hard lessons,” she said. “By the time we put our hand up for help, we were so close to closing.”

Courage – and importantly – insight and assistance from other industry players, turned things around.

“That was only because of our research, we went to see other people, we took photos, we asked to see other people’s numbers and figures. We wanted to understand how to do better.

“Something like (the Young Farmer Business Project) would have been a huge benefit to us.”

Hicks said the first advisory committee meeting will be held in October, comprising of representatives from NSW Farmers, NSW Farmers Young Farmers Council, the Young Farmers Network, Australian Show Councils NSW Next Gen.

Three other positions open to the public will be announced soon.

Hicks’ appointment caps a huge winter for youth agriculture issues in NSW.

In July, NSW Farmers invested further faith in their under 35s by agreeing to give two young farmer representatives a vote on the organisation’s executive council. New young farmer pastoral branches were named for East and West Riverina, Central District, North Coast, New England Tablelands, and Sydney.