Posted on Apr 27, 2017
There are not many Rural Youth members who do not know the name Paul Bennett and for those who do know him, they know he’s a man who gets things done.
Paul joined the organisation in 1991 and alongside a group of mates in the Deloraine area formed the Western Tiers Club. Through hard work and determination the club swelled to 48 members with a bank balance of $30k in only 12 months. During his Rural Youth career he was also involved in the local football club, studying at college and building his farming enterprise. “If you can make time, you will. If you can make excuses, you will. It’s all about priorities.”
During his years as a member Paul was involved in a re-structure of the organisation. This time round Agfest became its own entity with a separate budget. Every decade or so Rural Youth’s role and purpose changes to mirror the changes in society. The organisation continued to evolve through the 2000s and still to this day. The changes we are currently making are just the next step in a continuous process. As well as being Western Tiers President, Paul went through the ranks to become State VP and State President. He also ran the Young Farmer Competition for a few years.
Like many members, for Paul the major benefit of being involved with Rural Youth is the people you meet and the friendships you make. Rural Youth also provided Paul with the confidence to run meetings and speak well. These are crucial skills for Paul as he represents dairy farmers at a national level. “You will stand out if you can string two words together. It doesn’t matter at what level.” He hasn’t been able to escape Rural Youth. For the last 3 ½ years Paul has sat on RAC as a representative and the chair, making sure we all toe the line. Paul has also been successful in his business life. He is the owner/manager of Ashgrove Cheese as well as the Chairman, keeping him very busy.
Paul’s advice for current members of Rural Youth also stands true for all aspects of life. “It’s not up to everyone else to do the work, it’s up to everyone to work together. It takes a team of people to step up and when you have something to achieve, you don’t worry about the cost and hours put in. You get out what you put in.”
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul as outgoing RAC chair for his dedication to Rural Youth and for the support he provides to members. His hard work on RAC has ensured that the organisation has stayed on track through the roller coaster that has been the last few years. Thank-you for always picking up the phone and being willing to provide advice when things aren’t 100%. You are a real asset to the organisation.