Drought not deterring young farmers from study in agriculture

Milton Smith.

Milton Smith.

Large swathes of the state suffering one of the worst droughts in living memory isn’t deterring former Kinross student Milton Smith from his dream of living and working on a farm of his own.  

Mr Smith, who is 18, is currently studying Agriculture at Tocal College in Patterson, which is near Maitland. 

The former Orange native said he grew up on a “five or six” acre farm, which despite only having two alpacas was surrounded by other farms, and working with family friends on their property spurred him into wanting a life on the land. 

“I can’t imagine being in an office… I’d always help family friends with their farms and loved it,” he said.

“From a young age I always loved the open spaces and working on the land and watching things grow, like grass and plants and cattle.”

There’s very little growing on the land at the moment, and Mr Smith said while the drought is showing him how harsh a farming lifestyle can be, he isn’t backing down.

“It has [worried me], but it won’t last forever, every day that passes is another day closer to rain,” he said. 

His study at Tocal College has been part of a 12-month course, and he said at this stage he plans to continue on in Patterson next year before heading to University in Tamworth or Wagga Wagga.

The first year has been funded by the Royal Agricultural Society Foundation, with Mr Smith awarded a scholarship for his study. 

He said he was “pretty happy” to get the news he’d been accepted, and said it was a fantastic program. 

“I reckon it’s making me study harder, too,” he said, encouraging students to give agriculture a crack. 

Applications for 2019 Rural Scholarships close August 31st. Head to www.rasnsw.com.au for more.