As a first generation Oyster farmer, Todd Graham's experience with the industry isn't necessarily in his blood but his involvement continues to grow exponentially.
2021 marks his fifth year on the NSW Farmers Oyster Committee and at the annual general meeting in November he took on the role as Chair.
With that role came extra responsibilities, holding a position as Director of Oysters Australia and on the committee of NSW Shellfish.
"I went down to a conference a few years ago and that's when I first joined up with NSW Farmers," Mr Graham told the Argus.
"From there I was asked to be on the committee and there wasn't a lot of representation on the Mid North Coast so I ended up doing it."
For the Stuarts Point/Fishermans Reach farmer, the role involves plenty of liaising with all Oyster growers throughout the state and talking to different politicians to push the points needed to help the industry stay healthy and grow.
The committee consists of three farmers South of Sydney and five to the North all the way up to the Qld border.
I'm just looking to help the industry, striving to make it better and learning as I go.Todd Graham
With farmers all over the state travel involves trips to Sydney, the South Coast and organising the bi-annual conference.
Mr Graham said it continues to be a learning experience but one he's relishing.
"I enjoy being on the committee, I've learnt a lot and made some really good contacts," he explained.
"Just going into the Chair's position it's going to be a learning process, there's a lot more involved but everyone is extremely supportive.
"One of the Northern Rivers liaison officers is an ex oyster farmer so that certainly helps.
"With the Oysters Australia role I'm very much learning and only had one meeting and my first meeting for Shellfish is coming up soon."
With such a heavy involvement, Mr Graham is determined to ensure any issues can continue to be resolved and the communication channels with authorities stay open and transparent.
"My main aim is trying to help make sure any problems are addressed - there's issues with water quality, crown lands and right to farm but we'll work hard on those," he said.
"I'm just looking to help the industry, striving to make it better and learning as I go.
"Last year a lot of lobbying we did saw us get funding after the bushfires, floods and COVID to help assist our farmers."
"We will always look to communicate with politicians what's going on, where the problems are and getting to know them."
With all these roles on different organisations along with running Todd Graham Oysters, Mr Graham still finds time to work part-time with the Select Oyster Company.
"The SOCo run the breeding program in conjunction with the DPI down at Port Stephens that works with the hatchery workers down there and also look after the broodstock at Camden Haven and Wallis Lake and ship them off to different hatcheries in WA, sometimes Victoria but mainly NSW," he explained.
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