Cobden's Sam Monk was just 16 when he started his agriculture business which has now grown to employ about 130 people in peak season.
It's a success story that highlights the opportunities for young people wanting to enter the industry, something that will be showcased at the inaugural Agriculture Open Night at Grassmere on Wednesday which will feature more than 20 businesses.
Mr Monk started out using his parent's tractor to bale hay and silage at night but over the years he has built up his business to become Australia's biggest grass silage contractor.
He also recently featured on the Christmas special of the popular UK TV show Grassmen.
When Mr Monk left school he started a diesel mechanic apprenticeship at Swayn and McCabe in Warrnambool, but at the same time purchased a baler.
"At night time I baled hay and silage with my parents' tractor and did a few contracting jobs," he said.
It was during his third year of the apprenticeship at 18 he decided to go contracting full-time.
"I brought a few more machines to go behind that tractor and also bought my own tractor," Mr Monk said.
The decision paid off.
"At 18 I went out on my own ... as of today I employ 130 staff at peak of season. I'm 29 now," Mr Monk said.
He now has 70 tractors, eight trucks on the road and multiple earth moving machines and multiple forage harvesters.
In 2019 Mr Monk bought his first dairy farm and now has four, and he milks 1000 cows.
He grew up on his parents' small dairy farm where they milked 200 cows, and always knew he wanted to work in agriculture.
"I always had an interest in farming and agriculture and an opportunity just arose to keep going in farming," Mr Monk said.
His business, Monk and Son Ag Services, produces hay and silage, spreads slurry and manure, has earthmoving equipment to build dams and feed pads. It also operates a freight company with trucks carting hay and fertiliser.
"We go to South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales," Mr Monk said.
He said there were a lot of opportunities for young people in the ag industry.
"Employers are begging for people to get onboard in the agriculture sector. We could employ more local staff if the local staff were there to be got," Mr Monk said.
He said over the past year he had employed about 120 staff from the UK to work because he struggled to get staff locally.
Mr Monk said there was a massive demand from people in the UK wanting to come to Australia and work
"Some will only come and do three or four months, but we've got some that came nine years ago and they're still here," he said.
"In Australia there is not the demand for the young people wanting to get into ag.
"The industry is good. There's opportunities for any young person out there at the moment that's willing to listen and learn."
Mr Monk said an employee who worked for him for about six years had now bought his own tractor and was subcontracting to him.
"Now he has his own agriculture business. He's out on his own. There's opportunity for anyone that wants to do it," he said.
Mr Monk said technology was playing a bigger role in how his business operated with GPS mapping systems helping to create efficiencies by monitoring fuel usage. "I can see everything all from an app on my phone," he said.
The Agriculture Open Night will be held on Wednesday, March 1 between 4.30pm and 6.30pm at 393 Cooramook Road, Grassmere.
Hosted by The Midfield Group and the Neil Porter Legacy, organisers hope it will attract students and their parents from all across the south-west not just around Warrnambool.
Those wanting to attend are encouraged to register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, but people are welcome to turn up on the day.
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