Pig dream one step closer

Michelle Slater

A Mirboo North farm manager was one of 13 young farmers from across the state to be awarded a $10,000 Young Farmer Scholarship to cover agricultural training and study.

Michael Turner was the only Gippslander to walk away with the scholarship which was presented at a ceremony at parliament house by Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford.

The 26-year-old manages the potato-growing operation at I Love Farms, which also produces other vegetable varieties, mixed livestock and has a roadside farm gate shop for local produce.

Mr Turner said he would use his scholarship to fund some equipment and study an online agribusiness course to help him kick-start his dream of breeding a rare breed of pig.

“It’s important to get more young people into farming. I know the practical side of running a farm but I want to know more about the business side of it,” he said.

Mr Turner said he grew up on a Hazelwood South hobby farm before heading to Melbourne to study Conservation Biology, but returned to the Latrobe Valley for a career on the land.

“I love sustainable farming and practices and I like the pressure in peak season of getting the loads done and working outdoors with other people also interested in farming,” he said.

“Every day is completely different. You never switch off and you are always looking at ways to improve and change.”

The young farmer had been working in commercial potato production but was also looking at trialling some new crops and making the farm an organic business.

He said he was also looking for land to farm his own free range Berkshire pigs which he said were ideal for local conditions and were more resistant to sun damage.