Forbes local Sam Johnston named as a 2019 Rural Achiever

A young local social media campaigner has been named a Royal Agricultural Society of NSW 2019 Rural Achiever.

Sam Johnston and his friend, Jim Honner, started a social media campaign, ‘Thank A Farmer For Your Next Meal’, in 2014 to promote Australian agriculture and its farmers to the rest of the world.

Sam, the son of Gary and Rosie Johnston, attributes his selection as a Rural Achiever to his passion for trying to connect a regional and urban audience through social media.

”I think the Thank a Farmer campaign is doing what the Sydney Royal is trying to do – to bring Australian Agriculture to a city or urban audience,” Sam said.

The RAS Rural Achiever Award is a state-wide leadership program run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to recognise young people (aged 20 to 29) who are working hard to make a significant contribution to their local community and to rural Australia.

Sam said he found out about the program through Forbes’ 2018 Rural Achiever, vet Tess Bailey, and decided to apply.

He is keen to use this opportunity to help promote agricultural and rural communities.

“I believe social media can play a huge role in bridging this gap and if two young country blokes can build a following of 80,000 people then imagine what we could do with a bit more support!” he said.

“I think that there is a huge opportunity to, through informative marketing, connect with our city cousins and share our story.”

Sam will be heading to the Sydney Royal Easter Show as one of eight Rural Achievers.

In the mean time it’s business as usual for Sam.

He works in Rural Property Sales at Meares & Associates, as well as promoting his Thank a Farmer campaign.

As well as the social media side of the Thank a Farmer campaign, they also sell hats, shirts and stickers.

“It’s a good conversation starter and anything that promotes agriculture is good for the industry,” he said.

Proceeds help keep the campaign going or are donated to charities.