A 21-year-old third-generation dairy farmer from Brunswick Junction is the youngest finalist for the inaugural Brownes Dairy Young Dairy Farmer of the Year awards, which will be announced Thursday 28 April 2016.
Luke Ieraci, who nominated for the dairy farm owner or share farmer category, believes the biggest challenge facing the dairy industry is the attraction and retention of young people in the industry.
Mr Ieraci said his goal was to help raise the number of farms and people involved in them, thus increasing milk production across the state.
“Western Australia has the smallest dairy industry in Australia with only 160 ageing dairy farmers producing milk, which equates to only four per cent of Australia’s total milk production,” he said.
“I would like to see more programs rolled out in school curriculums to sow the seeds in young people’s minds that there can be careers in dairy.”
Mr Ieraci also acknowledged that the dairy industry must sell itself better, and encouraged the sharing of positive and proactive stories across social media platforms, networking groups and at events.
“There is a population out there every day that are stuck in traffic jams and sitting behind desks dreaming about a better life in the country – we must try and attract them to the country by promoting the developments and ongoing successes of the dairy industry, and how it can provide them with ongoing professional and personal satisfaction,” he said.
AgConnectWA President Kallum Blake said Mr Ieraci demonstrated enormous passion for his profession, and would be a worthy winner of the Brownes Dairy Young Dairy Farmer of the Year award.
“Luke and his family have been involved with WAFarmers for many years and Luke has become a very active member of AgConnectWA, so we have had the pleasure of seeing him really come into his own as an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for the dairy industry,” Mr Blake said.