Olivia Ryan Age 22, Ballarat, Victoria

Business McCain Foods Limited
Expertise Agronomist
Crop Focus  Potatoes
Favourite Beneficial Bug Ladybird and Hoverfly - they eat a LOT of bad bugs

How do you feel about being nominated for the YGOTY award?
I’m very surprised and delighted to be nominated.

Why do you think it is important to honour young growers?
The next generation of Australian growers needs to come through. There are a lot of older growers, and often the younger family members aren’t coming back to the farms. Awards like the Young Grower of the Year help recognise the contributions of young growers to keep the industry moving forward.

What are the major challenges to young growers?
One of the biggest current challenges for the industry is variety development. Sustainability, water use and succession planning are also extremely important.

How are you using IPM?
As an agronomist, we have field days with growers and discuss IPM strategies. We encourage growers not to spray every time they see a bug as Australia has a lot of good bugs. Growers need to be sure they are targeting the right bugs. Farmers often use broad spectrum insecticide which can cost less and be less effective than softer chemistry and or alternative methods.

Are you attending Hort Connections conference? Have you been before? What are you looking forward to?
Yes, I’m hoping to attend the Hort Connections conference. I haven’t attended before but it looks like a great event. A good chance to see what’s happening across the industry and meet new people. It looks interesting and I want to learn whatever I can.