Wide participation, application critical

There are many outstanding young people in Otago and Southland who are on the way to becoming rural leaders of the future. This week, Southern Rural Life talks to Luke McCraw, of Raes Junction.

Personal details: Luke McCraw (30), stock manager, married to Cath.

Hobbies and interests: Farming, hunting, Young Farmers, playing sport.

Size and type of farm and number of stock units, if you have one: Work on a 2000ha, 7500 stock unit sheep and beef property.

What groups have you belonged to in the past and currently, and did/do you hold any positions within those groups? I have been Otago/Southland regional manager for the Young Farmers contest since 2010. I am also involved with Waitane and Moa Flat clubs as chairman. I convened the Otago/Southland Regional Young Farmer final in 2009. I have also been a Southern Field Days committee member since 2006.

What sort of skills did you learn from them? I learned leadership, communication, networking, and enjoyed meeting great people in the New Zealand agricultural industry.

What are some of your proudest or most satisfying achievements? 2008 Junior Stock Judging New Zealand Champion at the Christchurch Show. Representing New Zealand at the Hobart Royal Show, for stock judging in 2009. Placed first in the Otago/Southland Young Farmers Stock Judging competition for 2009 and 2010. 2004 Freemasons Southern District Rural Achiever finalist.

Have you ever been involved in a project that required some type of problem or crisis to be solved and how did you or your team do it?  Being involved with organising the national Young Farmer grand final means there are always challenges. It's great to think outside the square, remain positive and just work through each challenge as it arises.

Do you see yourself as a potential rural leader? Not really, but I just want to encourage other people in the agricultural industry.

In your opinion, what issue is affecting the rural sector's young people the most? The challenge of farm ownership.

How would you address that issue? Keep positive and work hard. You drive your own success.

How would you encourage more young people to be involved in leadership and governance roles? Get involved with Young Farmers and community organisations. Have a go at the Young Farmers contest, as it's a lot of fun and you learn a lot, combined with the opportunity to meet great people.

Would you consider moving into local or central government politics? I'm not a big fan of politics, to be fair.