A TAFE NSW student scorching a trail for young women in agriculture has launched her own successful business and is now on a mission to inspire other young people to enter the industry.
Samantha Larter (22) has cattle farming in her DNA and has been helping out on the family's commercial beef cattle farm in Moss Vale from a young age.
Her passion for the industry even saw Miss Larter start her own farm contracting business, Beltana Farm Services, at just 18 years old.
According to Department of Agriculture ABARES figures, women account for less than a third of Australia's agricultural workforce and only 2 per cent of the industry's senior leaders.
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Miss Larter shared her experience to encourage other young women to consider a career in agriculture.
"It has been male-dominated in the past but so many more females are coming in now. I want to promote the industry as a great pathway to a career for young women. There's a camaraderie among farm people; it's not females versus males," she said.
Miss Larter has completed a Certificate III in Agriculture and a Certificate III in Business Administration through TAFE NSW, and is now tackling a Certificate IV in Agriculture at TAFE NSW Goulburn.
"I was determined to get some qualifications behind me and my experience at TAFE NSW has been great. It's all so practical and to learn things like applying chemicals and tractor operations has been invaluable," she added.
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Miss Larter last month was awarded the Veolia Mulwaree Trust Scholarship to assist with her studies.
She also volunteers at Moss Vale High School, helping students prepare for the Nowra Beef Spectacular.
She credits her mum and her uncle Brett Larter, a Highlands cattle farmer, as major influences on her career.
"My uncle taught me everything about cattle from when I was a young girl and mum has always said to me, if you give something a go, do it with your whole heart," Miss Larter said.
"I just love cattle and when you've been working around them for a while, you get this stockmanship and you know how the animal works."
TAFE NSW Goulburn Head Teacher of Agriculture Jill Atkinson said had no doubt Miss Larter would forge a long and successful career in agriculture.
"She's the type of young person we want in the industry - practical, passionate and self-motivated," Ms Atkinson said.
"She's worked so hard to understand the industry and it's great TAFE NSW has been able to give her the practical skills and real-world work experience to thrive."
If you're considering a career in agriculture, TAFE NSW offers a range of tailored courses. For more information, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.