THE Australian Cane Farmers Association has confirmed that inspirational athlete and businessman John Eales and iconic funny man Sam Kekovich will speak at its Next Gen Step UP! 2013 conference.
The conference is being delivered as part of the ACFA's Next Gen program which encourages young farmers to take the reins in their industry.
The program also facilitates intergenerational knowledge transfer with more established farmers.
The way we've set up the conference will mean that farmers can chat with the speakers and also get some useful advice from industry leaders.
Chairman of the Next Gen Program Don Murday is calling for farmers, young and old, to join him at Sea World Resort at the Gold Coast to Step UP! 2013 and speak with some of the cane industry's leading brands and services.
"I'm really excited at the line-up already as we've just secured Sam Kekovich and John Eales as the two main speakers," Mr Murday said.
"John Eales is one of Australia's all-time rugby greats. He took part in two successful World Cup campaigns, captained the Wallabies in memorable victories including the 1999 World Cup, led Australia through four successive Bledisloe Cup wins and two successful seasons of Tri-Nations fixtures. He also led the Wallabies to the first-ever defeat of the British and Irish Lions.
"In 2004 John attended the Athens Olympics as an athlete liaison officer for the Australian team. He repeated the role at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"John Eales is a man whose outstanding qualities extend much further than his exceptional skill on the football field. He is an inspirational leader and businessman through both his actions and his relentless determination."
Eales will be addressing the conference at 11am on Tuesday, March 26, then joining the conference attendees for an informal lunch.
Funnyman and AFL legend Sam Kekovic will lead the event's gala dinner the next evening.
"A naturally gifted entertainer, Sam brings a wonderfully satirical, irreverent and hard-hitting brand of humour to any occasion," Mr Murday said.
"His lively presentations draw on all his experiences and the characters he has encountered over the last 30-plus years of his involvement in football, and life."
The ACFA is also lining up industry professionals and experts from around the world to speak.
"The way we've set up the conference will mean that farmers can chat with the speakers and also get some useful advice from industry leaders," Mr Murday said.
"We'll have four break-out rooms which will seat 20-30 people at any given time running sessions simultaneously throughout the day.
"These rooms will have advisors from leading accountancy, financial, legal and insurance brands.
"Farmers can ask these guys questions and get answers from industry experts on the spot."
The ACFA is inviting applications from young cane farmers in each key sugar region to become the local Next Gen representative.
In addition, the organisation is calling for local businesses to sponsor a farmer to get them to the event.
"It's been a tough year for some of our farmers, but we want to make sure they come along to this event and use it as an opportunity to get reinvigorated about their industry," Mr Murday said.
For more details about the conference, sponsorship opportunities and registration details visit nextgenfarmer.com or call Jane Hammond on 0400 993 090.
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