Melissa Connors admits she was in over her head when she moved from Melbourne to Kyneton nearly a decade ago.
Her family moved to a four-hectare property and bought six Angus steers – but by winter, feed had run out and the cattle had charged through the fences.
Ms Connors launched a community project called This Farm Needs a Farmer in 2015 to link retired farmers with tree changers and anyone else new to the agriculture sector to share knowledge and to network and connect.
She was last week named Victoria AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner for her idea and won a grant to expand her project by organising more face-to-face events.
“We didn’t know what we had taken on,” Ms Connors said of their move to Kyneton.
She said her idea was sparked after an encounter with her neighbour Noel Jenner, a retired farmer.
“The older generation will never butt in and tell you what you are doing wrong,” Ms Connors said.
“Noel walked past our property for three years and didn’t say a thing.
“A lot of knowledge about managing farms and agri-businesses is buried in our cemeteries and I knew we could be better harnessing this knowledge and encouraging this generation to share their tips.”
An upcoming chook workshop will teach novice farmers how to properly set up coops and keep their chickens healthy. Future sessions will provide advice on fencing and livestock.
Ms Connors will represent Victoria at the national awards night in October.