Young farmers leading the way

Young farmer, Dr Sarah McLean sits between her two dogs in a paddock

The Young Farmers Advisory Council is a diverse and highly skilled cohort of young farmers providing advice to the government and the Minister for Agriculture on a wide range of issues impacting young people working in agriculture.

A new nine-member Council was welcomed in August, made up of young leaders from across Victoria and representing a range of agricultural industries.

Dr Sarah McLean is leading the Council for the coming three-year term. Sarah is a beef farmer at Purnim in South West Victoria. Sarah purchased her farm in 2014 and has experienced the challenges of building a farming business from scratch. Sarah also has a Doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology and is a member of the advisory group for the National Centre for Farmer Health. Her ambition is to  “Represent young people in agriculture and give a voice to our concerns and needs”.

Other Council members include: Mallee grain grower and farm manager Clay Gowers; East Gippsland meat and wool producer Nicholas Blandford; Central Victorian organic dairy goat milker and cheese-maker Sophia Christoe; Wimmera pork, wool and lamb producer James Hawkins; Gippsland dairy farmer Jessica Knight; Northern Victorian orchard manager Mitchell McNab; Sunraysia table grape grower Jennifer Zappia; and Sale-based agribusiness professional Joseph Boyle.

The Council’s first priority has been to voice the challenges and opportunities for young farmers and the agriculture sector arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and share their experiences and ideas for industry resilience into the future.

You can hear from Sarah, on the recently launched ‘AgVic Talk’ podcast channel, available on your preferred podcast platform and at

For further information on the Young Farmers Advisory Council visit

Pictured above: Dr Sarah McLean, Chair of the Young Farmers Advisory Council on her farm in Victoria’s South West

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