Young Farmers Otago Southland territory manager Leanne Woodhead believes the rural and urban divide can be bridged through Young Farmers, TeenAg and Agrikids clubs.

“You don’t have to be off the farm to become a member. Our members are young professionals in their field, they are the next generation of young leaders and if we can provide a platform for them to increase their leadership, skills and knowledge, I feel this will in turn benefit the rural sector,” she said.

Leanne is in her third year in the role and oversees 14 Young Farmers clubs in the region and works with the TeenAg clubs. TeenAg clubs are secondary school Young Farmers clubs and Agrikids are primary school clubs.

“In the TeenAg clubs we promote the primary industries in a positive light focusing on leadership and career pathways,” Leanne says.

Since beginning her role membership has slowly been increasing in each division. She says there will always be space for these groups in the sector because they promote growth and leadership, which will always be relevant.

Tokomairiro Young Farmers Club and the Tokomairiro High School TeenAg club were this year’s flagship clubs for Otago Southland at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year, with Leanne’s husband Nigel representing the region in the grand final, which he won, and James Scanlan and Levin Coulter representatives in the TeenAg section.