Michelle Marais- Agricultural Economics and winner of the 2024 Womens Insight competition

Michelle Marais- Agricultural Economics and winner of the 2024 Womens Insight competition

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

After a month in Europe attending many agricultural discussions, I noticed something about the challenge of youth engagement in agriculture. The narrative is fascinating.

The youth tend to ask, “What is the industry doing for us?” How is the industry creating opportunities? What is the industry doing better so we can be happier? How is the industry working to develop us as young people?

Meanwhile, the industry continues to express its concern that “The youth don’t want to be in agriculture because it’s hard,” “Why don’t they have interest in what we do?” or “We have a hard time finding the right talent, character, and enthusiasm in the job market.”

Notice how both parties are curious about how to improve what the other is doing?

I’ve always tried a different approach in my own career. I have always asked, “What can I do for the industry? What problems can I solve? What skills can I offer? What ideas can I share?”

I needed different types of people to get to where I am today in the industry. I will continue to need more people as I grow and develop.

I urge industry professionals to focus more on becoming the person you once needed. Be the mentor you didn’t have. Give the advice you didn’t get. Listen in ways you were never heard.

I learned something remarkable about this phenomenon on a bus trip the day after the IFAMA conference with a total stranger. I wrote about it in this article.

May it honour those who set this example for me all the time. Those who have become what they needed when they were younger: Steven Payne,Ronald E. GUENDEL, Kristian Moeller, German Fernandez Rodriguez, Benjamin (Ben) Rivoire, Raj Vardhan, Tony Salas, and many others.

May it inspire us as the young generation to remember that we rise by lifting others and to focus on what we have to offer the industry more than limiting our thoughts to what the industry can offer us, as we are responsible for growing and improving the sector for the next generation.

Congratulations to Michelle Marais on winning the 2024 IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association) Rising Star Award. The Rising Star Award recognizes the exceptional contribution of a young professional to the food and agricultural sector. Michelle was in Almería, Spain to participate in the 2024 IFAMA conference and receive her award. Well done Michelle!


See all the winners  of our Prestige awards on the link above.

The 2025 Women's Voice in Agriculture  will be open from the 1st September 2024 - Let us here your Voice 

Newsletter Subscribe