Record number apply for cotton industry leadership program

Participants have been revealed for the 2024 Australia Future Cotton Leaders Program (AFCLP) after a record number of talented individuals applied for the prestigious opportunity.

Organisers were presented with a challenge when 46 people applied, resulting in the extension of the participant number from 15 to 16 (see list below) due to the quality of applicants.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said he is excited about the potential of the 2024 participants to advance the already outstanding reputation of Australian cotton.

“Each year we have been challenged in our selection process because the standard of applicants is incredibly high, and this year was no exception. Half of the 16 participants are growers and after the completion of the program they will be able to directly apply what they have learned to their respective farms and share that knowledge with their local farming communities.”

Held every two years the AFCLP is run and coordinated by Cotton Australia with additional funding from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC). The program designed for emerging leaders has produced 116 graduates since the concept was devised back in 2006.

This year’s applicants came from across the cotton supply chain including growers, consultants, merchants, and research and extension personnel. CRDC Acting Executive Director Allan Williams said the program recognises the importance of the entire supply chain.

“CRDC has supported the AFCLP since inception, as we recognise that our people are cotton’s most important resource. This program plays a crucial role in shaping cotton’s future – helping to establish the leaders of tomorrow,” Allan said.

Leadership is one of the key priorities in both the Cotton Australia and CRDC five-year Strategic Plans, demonstrating its importance to the industry. CA and CRDC jointly support the AFCLP, the Australian Rural Leadership Program and Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships.

“Pleasingly, the AFCLP is demonstrating its appeal to the best and brightest in the industry with the average age of the 2024 contingent sitting at 28,” Mr Kay said.

In 2024, the program will feature face-to-face forums, interactive online discussions, one-on-one coaching and integration with industry activities. Participants will also undertake an individual project related to their area of interest, developing their leadership skills in a real-life scenario.

Mr Kay said previous AFCLP participants have moved into senior positions within Australian cotton, with many former graduates on boards including Cotton Australia, CRDC and CSD, as well as Cotton Grower Associations and other industry committees and projects.

The 2024 program will conclude with a graduation ceremony and leadership dinner at the 2024 Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast in August. To find out more about the conference visit:

Rhys HerbertWarra, QLDCotton grower
Angus MarshallKatherine, NTCotton extension
Jacob BoobyNarrabri, NSWMerchant
George McCalmanGunnedah, NSWCotton grower
Sam CarberryNarrabri, NSWCotton grower
Jack O’NeillNarrabri, NSWCotton grower
Grace GriffithsGoondiwindi, QLDCotton grower/consultant
Alison McCarthyToowoomba, QLDCotton researcher
Georgie FlickGoondiwindi, QLDCotton consulting
Sarah ViversWeemelah, NSWCotton grower
Brendan MurraySt George, QLDMerchant
Kate LumberMoree, NSWCotton consulting
Angus WhittakerDarlington Pt, NSWCotton grower
Hayden PettyLeeton, NSWCotton consulting
Greg PearceGoondiwindi, QLDCotton extension
Prue ByrnesRowena, NSWCotton grower

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