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40 Under 40 winner of the day: Deanna Lush


A Palmer farmer and journalist uses her combined passion for agriculture and communication to empower rural and city clients.

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Deanna Lush is an award-winning journalist, editor and communicator specialising in primary production, natural resources and agripolitics.

She is also the director and co-founder of AgCommunicators – a multi-skilled agency providing communication consultancy services for clients.

These services encompass digital and social media management, professional writing and editing, creative communication campaigns and more.

Lush completed a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of South Australia in 2005 before launching into a Graduate Diploma of Business Administration a year later.

She has worked as a journalist and editor, specialising in agricultural coverage for the Stock JournalThe Land and Stock & Land among others.

Lush also has political experience, as media adviser to the state Minister for the River Murray and Water Security, Karlene Maywald, during the millennium drought.

In 2016, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research how communication and engagement methods can improve audience understanding in agriculture.

She has been a long-serving member of the Rural Media Association of South Australia, a group which provides a forum for raising important rural issues in metropolitan contexts.

This year she won the AgriFutures South Australian Rural Women’s Award and was appointed to the Foodbank SA Board.

Lush and her husband Steen Paech farm in South Australia, harvesting cereals, pulses and oilseeds. 

She also runs sheep and a handful of cattle over 4000 hectares at her Palmer property.

This month, she was named in InDaily’s 40 Under 40, which recognises the best and brightest young business people in South Australia.

What is the single most important lesson you have learnt in your business career so far?

It’s hard to choose just one when there are so many. If I was giving advice to someone starting their own business today it would be to recognise what you’re good at or what your strengths are, and then get plenty of people around you to plug the gaps. We had a consultant with us from the start who set up our policies and procedures around finance, accounting and contracting and that just gave us such a rock solid foundation for best practice business management. It left us to do the work that we were good at, and hence what we started the business for.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

I think our capacity to innovate; (with) our close networks there’s usually only a few degrees of separation in SA which makes for greater collaborations; our central location within Australia; the diversity of industries and business which call SA home. There are many many strengths which make me proud to do business in South Australia.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

For small business, prior to January 1, I would have said payroll tax but with a much-needed change in policy recently by the Marshall Liberal Government, that’s less of an issue now. Access to high capacity broadband would be the next big issue for many businesses I suspect.

Otherwise, I think the weak points are actually perception. SA is perceived to be some negative things that it is not. AgCommunicators is SA-based and we work with clients all over Australia. Through my Churchill Fellowship, I’ve developed networks with organisations all over the world. Conducting business from SA has not been an impediment to us at all.

Do you see your future in South Australia? 

Oh absolutely, I love working here. I love working with the people in the agriculture industry and love the services that we provide to them. I’m also married to a farmer and hence firmly planted in regional SA … for the long term! In particular, I love that AgCommunicators is based in Norwood and yet I live 80km east on a farm and, in a bit over an hour, I can be at the office. There are few capital cities in the world where that would be possible. It’s great to work in, great to live in.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

I don’t mind young leaders leaving, provided it is only short term and temporary. Gaining skills and experiences in different environments can be a positive and can make South Australia stronger in the long term with leaders who have depth of experience and increased capacity. It’s making sure that young leaders come back, while they’re still young – that’s the important part. I think this will naturally happen if SA is creating a rich environment with career and business opportunities and networks as well as a gaining a reputation as a state where it is great to work, live and raise a family. I think SA has this, it’s just getting the message out. Plus, I haven’t lived or worked anywhere outside SA and I love it here.

To see the full list of 40 winners, go here.

InDaily is profiling each of the winners – go here to read more.

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