My evokeAG. experience – Sam Johnston, 2020 Future Young Leader

By Sam Johnston

Forbes local and Future Young Leader Sam Johnston gives a wrap-up of his experience of the 2020 evokeAG. event, that took place in February. Sam, Co-founder of Thank a Farmer For Your Next Meal, has one aim – to showcase where Australian food and fibre comes from, who makes it and how it’s made. His social media movement promotes Australia’s agricultural industry and its primary producers to the country’s metropolitan-based population and endeavours to raise awareness.

“evokeAG. was certainly an action-packed event with plenty to see and do for all the delegates. It was incredible and was the first time, in a long time, that I have truly been pushed well beyond my comfort zone, and for me this was a very valuable thing.

Without knowing, it is easy to just coast along in life and stick to what you know and feel comfortable with, but let me tell you, speaking in front of a crowd of upwards of 1,200 people is certainly not something I felt overly comfortable with. Luckily on the day, I was able to stifle the nerves and focus, and as a result I thoroughly enjoyed every second of being on the Plenary stage, telling my story. It was a great opportunity for me to explain how the Thank A Farmer For Your Next Meal brand and social media movement was born, as well as highlight how important closing the producer-consumer gap is for the future of our industry.

The Future Young Leaders program was unreal in the way that it challenged us, not only as individuals, but also as a cohort to think outside the box and leverage off one another to achieve superior outcomes. It’s safe to say that with the calibre of young, passionate ag-thusiasts coming through the ranks, the future of Australian agriculture is in good hands.

evokeAG. is certainly great at bringing together a range of people from different backgrounds that all share a common passion (obviously being agriculture) and getting them to think collaboratively in order to come up with solutions to complex challenges faced by the sector. As the saying goes “a champion team will always beat a team of champions”.

My highlights were:

  1. Meeting both the 2019 and my fellow 2020 Future Young Leaders – they are some impressive individuals
  2. Listening to Hungry Jack’s CEO Jack Cowin speak about changing consumer preferences
  3. The ongoing connections, advice, and guidance I have had, with and from, a bucketload of people who I met over the two days in Melbourne.

Finally, I would like to strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to become an evokeAG. Future Young Leader in the future to apply. It’s a great program that will not only develop your skills professionally, but also on a personal level. I must say a big thank you and shout out to AgriFutures Australia and the evokeAG. team and the Future Young Leader program sponsor the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations for putting on such a fantastic show, it truly was a ripper few days.”

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