Young Farming Champions Muster October 2020

Headline Act

The Leadership is Language series, which launched earlier in the year, is back for its second season with Young Farming Champions sitting down with distinguished guests to learn more about the role of language and communication in leadership. As well as being an exclusive insight into some brilliant minds, the Leadership is Language series showcases our YFC as inquisitive, polished and informed professionals.

The second series has (and will) feature acclaimed personalities such as Amelia Berner from OzHarvest (interviewed by Meg Rice), international leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier (interviewed by Lucy Collingridge), Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter (interviewed by Dione Howard) and the Murray-Darling Catchment Authority’s Monique White (also interviewed by Dione).

In The Field

In the north-west of NSW there is a buzz. Dust-blown and heat-baked for years there are now crops ready for picking and harvest machinery is on the road from all corners of Australia. Not missing out on the action is Keiley O’Brien and her partner Ross who run Noble’s Ag Contracting.

Check out these wonderful videos to see the Keiley and Co. making hay while the sun shines

and in the dark

Night-time bailing at Narromine

 “We think this is the earliest we have cut hay and we are bloody pumped for the season that lies ahead,” Keiley says from Narromine.

Of course, crops don’t grow without good soil and carbon so it was fantastic to see YFC Tegan Nock talking about why investing in soil makes good sense with evokeAg’s Samantha Noon this month. If Tegan’s name seems familiar it may be because she and her partner Frank created this award-winning documentary on soils and carbon.

With the soils right and the grass growing, livestock are also flourishing and adding some humour to our lives. Check out this farm funny from Jasmine Green and this sheep meme from Sam Wan – love ‘em.

So healthy soils, healthy plants and healthy animals all add up to sustainable agriculture and doing her bit to promote this is Erika Heffer who, in her role supporting the Murray Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, has created this fun video …. And we hear there are more to come. Top job Erika.

The Young Farming Champions are a tribe of motivated agriculturists and in October it was time to celebrate the rural women among them.

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“Although I might not be able to physically see it, I know I’m part of a tribe of strong women who are instrumental in the functioning of our rural communities. They are the glue that holds it all together. They go by all sorts of different titles that they use to identify themselves, and these can change maybe two, three, four or five times a day, a week or a lifetime! They are forever changing hats and always in motion. So here’s to them… may we know them, may we support them, and may we be them!”  Marlee Langfield said.

Marlee put together this wonderful collage in recognition of the International Day of Rural Women on October 15.

Out of the Field

Out of the field now and our YFC (both men and women) have been promoting Australian agriculture loudly and proudly across a range of media. Calum Watt has been part of the WA government’s PRIMED project, which is promoting careers in primary industries to school students and he also featured on a Generation Ag podcast talking about his passion for barley research.

And while we’re on the boys, Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah Greenshields from The Food Farm featured on the next Young Farmer Business Program and Future Famers Network Startup Stories. Tim & Hannah are young farmers in the Yarramalong Valley on the NSW Central Coast. They are passionate about growing and producing food in a regenerative way, growing beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs.

Jess Fearnley continues to advance her career in leaps and bounds and is now part of the RAID (researchers for agriculture for international development) network, where “six Australian volunteers and five Vietnamese researchers (EMCRs) will embark on a five-week online workshop to strengthen research, leadership and management skills in agricultural research and development.” We look forward to hearing more about Jess’s adventure.

Jo Newton has also been busy. She was interviewed for a Humans of Agriculture Podcast with (Zanda McDonald award finalist) Oli Le Lievre and also stood up to answer the difficult questions on MIR technology in the dairy industry in an “Ask the Researcher Virtual Forum”.

 

Other YFC sharing the good news stories and taking on leadership roles include Lucy Collingridge who appeared on a UNE podcast, Chloe Dutschke who has been accepted for a Leaders Emerge 2021 program with friend of PYiA Rebel Black, and Anika Molesworth who has taken on the role of Deputy Chair for Farmers for Climate Action.

Prime Cuts

One of the strengths of Picture You in Agriculture and the Young Farming Champions is the partnerships we form and nourish. In 2020 that has included Corteva Agriscience, and Corteva, in turn, is a founding partner of the recently launched GrowHer community. In their launch week GrowHer featured PYiA director Lynne Strong and profiled our Corteva emerging leaders.

WOMAG is also associated with GrowHer and YFCs Emma Ayliffe and Dione Howard recently sat down for an e-coffee with the WOMAG women.

Another initiative celebrating Australian agriculture is Future Ready Farmers. Developed under the PYiA umbrella, Future Ready Farmers aims to showcase modern agriculture to school students. Already featured are Karin Stark, Angus Whyte and our very own YFCs Marlee Langfield and Dan Fox.

Working together with our partners the YFC community is well-placed to be the voice of agriculture’s future.

Lifetime Achievements

Cheers to Calum Watt who, after a nine-year stint, has completed university with the submission of his PhD this month. Calum has been dedicated to the research of barley (and breeding better barley for your beer!) and will continue the journey as he takes on a role as a crop breeder with Intergrain in November. Congratulations Doctor (almost) Calum. Read about Calum here 

Lifetime achievements also involve climbing personal mountains. It is well known that Jo Newton has climbed a cancer mountain recently and during October she took on a challenge with Peter Mac’s Unite to Fight Cancer, raising money by walking 60km in 10 days. Joining Jo in the challenge was YFC Dione Howard who was excited to reach her km and $ committment

Another YFC, Hayley Piggott, is also getting active to support cancer research, cycling over 150km (so far) around her station in the Carnarvon Ranges for kid’s cancer in the Great Cycle Challenge. Well done girls – your efforts are amazing.

#YouthinAg #CollectiveImpact #YouthVoicesYFC #ConnectCollaborate

Leadership is Language with best selling author and leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier

In this episode of Leadership is Language internationally-acclaimed leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier sits down with Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge to discuss drama triangles, sheep and the power of curiosity.

Key Messages

  • When you ask a question be genuinely interested in the answer
  • Beware of the dysfunctional Dreaded Drama Triangle
  • Narrow the problem down – you can’t boil the ocean

Pull Quote

“What happens with your expertise? It cloaks curiosity, ….. I know a whole bunch of stuff, but what if I didn’t, what if I was naïve to this, if I had to start again?”

 About Michael

Michael Bungay Stanier is an internationally recognised leadership coach with his book The Coaching Habit selling over 700,000 copies and receiving over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. In 2019, he was named the #1 thought leader in coaching, and was shortlisted for the coaching prize by Thinkers50, the “Oscars of management”.

Michael is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led. He left Australia nearly 30 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

His latest book is The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

Connect with Michael:           LinkedIn and Twitter 

About Lucy

Lucy Collingridge is a biosecurity officer with the North West Local Land Services, based in Narrabri. She is primarily focused on vertebrate pest animal management and is involved in the implementation of the North West Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan, emergency management responses and assisting groups with funding applications.

Lucy is a passionate Young Farming Champion and has an extensive resume volunteering with community groups and agricultural shows.

Want to know more?

Box of Crayons: https://boxofcrayons.com

MBS Works:  https://www.mbs.works/

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Young Leaders meet Calum Watt a crop breeder for the future

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Today’s guest blog comes from PhD candidate and crop breeder Calum Watt

“ I get a lot of excitement from being involved in an industry that is everyday looking for ways to produce more, from less, in the most sustainable way possible. No day is same. There is never a dull moment on my career path.”

Calum shares with us:

  • Careers in agriculture extend beyond the farm gate. “Farmers” can be scientists
  • Crop scientists can improve the productivity, profitability, resilience and sustainability of Australia’s crops
  • Communication is critical to connecting science to the paddock

This is Calum’s story

Warming to the idea that a career in agriculture could or would be for me was somewhat of a slow burn at first.

This is a bit unusual given as I grew up surrounded by agriculture in a rural dairy community in the south of Western Australia. Whilst I loved the lifestyle, I never really considered agriculture from a career perspective because everyone involved in agriculture are farmers, aren’t they?

Or at least that is what I originally thought back in my wild youth. My lightbulb moment came one year into a botany degree that agriculture was where I was wanted to be and my role as an agricultural scientist, more precisely a crop breeder would see me join the 82% of careers in agriculture that support farmers to produce food

.At university I developed a keen interest in genetics and whilst I had always had a passion agriculture and plants I had no idea that there was a career that could marry them all together. This is when I discovered the important role of a crop breeder. An ability to recombine genes to improve the resilience, sustainability and productivity of crop production is something so satisfying; something so simple yet something so critically important to improving our local and global food security. The late Norman Borlaug, an inspiration of mine, stove off global food insecurity by manipulating only a handful of genes through breeding, effectively doubling global crop production in what is known as the Green Revolution.

Gene-editing, has the potential to address the concerns consumers care about most: nutritional health, climate change, food waste and the need for more natural production techniques.

Techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9, which cuts and ‘edits’ strands of DNA, may enable farmers to reduce their use of pesticides, while boosting the resilience of crops to fungi, extreme weather and enriching their nutrient content.

There set the stage for a further 8 years at university progressing me slowly, but surely towards a career as a crop breeder to play my role in supporting global food security and achieving  Global Goal 2 – Zero Hunger and Global Goal 12  Responsible Production and Global Goal 13 Climate Action    

Being a plant breeder allows me to combine my three main passions into one role where I can improve the productivity, profitability, climate resilience and sustainability of Australia’s crop production and help ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable, nutritious food as efficiently as possible. If we can manipulate one gene, improve disease resistance and reduce the need for fungicides this is a win for people and the planet.

I am so optimistic about the future of agriculture and my place within it . The recent awarding of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna  for the development of a method for genome editing  known as CRISPR-Cas9 is an exciting example of just one spanner in the toolbox which crop researchers and breeders can utilise to develop the climate resilient crops of the future.

My excitement at the level of science and technology I get to work with as a crop breeder inspires me to share my story and the research behind the work my fellow crop breeders do on podiums across the country.

I invite you to Join me in an industry that everyday is looking for ways to produce more, from less, in the most efficient, climate resilient way possible.

Calum has recently submitted his PhD and joined the crop breeding team at Intergrain

Listen to Calum share his story on the Generation Ag podcast here 

and read more in this recent Farm Weekly Young Guns article

Learn more about Calum’s work via his published journal articles

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2020.01273/full

https://www.publish.csiro.au/cp/CP20169

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-020-03579-z

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-018-3243-y

 

Leadership is Language with CEO of Austral Fisheries David Carter

In this episode of Leadership is Language global fisheries champion David Carter sits down with Dione Howard to talk about the lessons agriculture can learn from the fishing industry – and it’s perceived adversaries.

Key Messages

  • You can find common ground with perceived adversaries
  • In the next 30 years agriculture has got to step up – and that’s an exciting opportunity
  • Relentless curiosity will be one of the great gifts
  • Have courage to pursue goals, which might not necessarily be the norm for your industry.

 Pull Quote

“In the fiery furnace of that journey [transitioning fisheries], you learn the art of compromise, of respect for the other party, and a listening for their concerns; and then a capacity to recognize that it was all about progress and a shared vision.”

About David

David Carter has worked his entire career at Austral Fisheries and its predecessors. Graduating from Melbourne University in 1978 with a degree in Marine Science, David saw an opportunity to enter the fishing industry and began working as a deckhand on a prawn trawler off the coast of Darwin. This was the beginning of what has been a 40-year career in the fishing industry.

 

In 2016, David led Austral in taking the next step along its sustainability journey, with Austral Fisheries becoming the first seafood company in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification under the Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program.

 

David was inducted into the National Seafood Industry Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of his significant contribution to the Australian seafood industry, and in 2020 David received the Marine Stewardship Council’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Connect with David:   LinkedIn  and Twitter 

Connect with Austral Fisheries on the web on Twitter  On Instagram On  Facebook 

About Dione

Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader.  In 2020 she took the step in her leadership journey on the Executive of YVLT as Vice Chair.

Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.

Connect with Dione:   LinkedIn  and   Twitter 

Want to know more?

Read about the Sea Shepherd’s encounter with Thunder, a known illegal fishing vessel, on Dec. 17, 2014, in the Southern Ocean. The Thunder’s crew was using gill nets to catch Patagonian Toothfish in a protected marine area regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

 

 

Leadership is Language with Monique White sharing how farmers can share the water story with the wider community

In this episode of Leadership is Language  the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Monique White sits down with Young Farming Champion Dione Howard to discuss how best to share the water story.

Key Messages

  • Do your research before engaging, and then listen to your audience
  • Identify common ground and explain why there may be differences
  • Connect with hearts and minds, not just facts

 Pull Quote

“We have to try and identify our common ground, but also explain why there’s difference, and, particularly for the Murray-Darling Basin authority, that’s often about the greater good of the whole basin, and at times that means some areas of the community will have negative impacts. We need to acknowledge that.”

 

About Monique

Monique White is an agricultural scientist and consultant who has specialised in the implementation of change and environmental management and sustainability programs on farm, within industry and in the community. Monique works with people who want to make a profitable income from the land while also leaving it in a better condition for future generations. Monique is currently an assistant director in the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s engagement team based in Murray Bridge in South Australia.

Prior to MBDA Monique worked with the South Australian dairy industry as a NRM (natural resource management) technical specialist and was the project manager for Dairy Australia’s Smarter Irrigation for Profit program.

Connect with Monique:          LinkedIn and  Twitter 

About Dione

Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader.  In 2020 she took the step in her leadership journey on the Executive of YVLT as Vice Chair.

Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.

Connect with Dione:   LinkedIn   and  Twitter 

Want to know more?

Read more about how the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is working towards healthy waterways here: 

 

 

 

Our Kreative Koalas are FEASTing

 

A beautiful synergy is created when two like-minded organisations come together for the greater good. In this tumultuous year of 2020 it is heartening to see OzHarvest’s FEAST program running alongside Kreative Koalas in many primary schools.

FEAST (standing for Food Education And Sustainability Training) is the flagship program from OzHarvest to teach primary school students about sustainability, food waste and nutrition using hands-on cooking and inquiry-based learning.

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Nina Charbon is the education communications coordinator for OzHarvest.

“FEAST started as a pilot program in 2018 and in 2019 went national and since its inception 220 schools have participated. Most of our schools are funded to do the program, which is an adaptable and flexible – for example it usually takes between 7 and 10 weeks but this can be customised for each school. FEAST is curriculum aligned and ticks a lot of boxes for teachers and schools don’t need a kitchen – we can set them up with a kitchen kit and an electric frypan and they can cook in the hall or anywhere convenient. Why wouldn’t you do the program?” she says.

Two schools who are participating in Kreative Koalas have done FEAST in previous years – Gardeners Road and Exeter Public – but this is no ordinary year and, in testament to the program’s flexibility, adaptations have been made.

“Our school [Gardener’s Road] participated in the OzHarvest FEAST program during Term 1 this year. We found FEAST to be very flexible, especially during remote learning (towards the end of Term 1 and the beginning of Term 2). We were able to adapt elements of the FEAST program and still implement learning experiences through online learning platforms, when students were learning from home.

We were hoping to complete the cooking element of the program during Term 3 however, with the department and health guidelines that were in place, we thought it would be best to wait.  Now that disruptions and restrictions have eased and more activities have been allowed to go ahead, both students and teachers are looking forward to cooking up a feast (pardon the pun haha).” Suzie Barr – Gardener’s Rd Public School  teacher .

Young Farming Champion Meg Rice recently interviewed FEAST creator Amelia Berner to learn more about the program and to understand why schools such as Gardeners Road are repeat participants.

“It’s about educating kids about healthy eating, food waste awareness and sustainability. In Australia over 7.3 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year and one third of this food waste comes from the home. Lessons given to students in the classroom will make big differences in the home and community.”

This ethos is mirrored in Kreative Koalas and it comes as no surprise another five schools are participating in both programs this year: Annangrove Public School, Medowie Christian School, Primbee Public School, St Brigid’s Primary School and St Mary’s North Public School. Here is what the teachers are saying:

“Kreative Koalas and FEAST are complementary programs and we will engage with them side by side to learn more about growing and preparing food in a sustainable way. Foods that we grow in our kindergarten garden (a community project we have begun in our Kreative Koalas program) will be used as much as possible when cooking and preparing meals as part of our FEAST program. We have also put in compost bins as part of our KK project so any food scraps in our FEAST program will go into our compost bins, and back into our gardens in order to grow (organically) more vegetables. Our goal is to create and continue this sustainable cycle.” Martha Atkins – Medowie Christian School

Read more about Medowie’s KK journey here

“As soon as we saw the OzHarvest’s FEAST program we knew it would be a great supplementary activity to coincide with our Kreative Koala project. Throughout the Kreative Koalas program the students have been sharing their knowledge with their families and I’m sure that this will also happen when we commence our FEAST program next term. Our goal is that we create in our little school what we would like to see happen on a worldwide scale.” Johanna Urio – Annangrove Public School

“For our school, these two programs go hand in hand. With the Kreative Koalas we began looking at SDG 15: Life on the Land. We have looked at land management, food production and sustainability. Our Year 4 students have taken this further with the investigations into habitat loss of our threatened species. We will combine aspects of both programs to educate our students on the benefits to not only themselves, but the wider community as well as native animals. We encourage the students to think globally and see how these small steps they make can have a greater impact. Ultimately, we hope we will be using the vegetables we have grown to make food items for sale in our school canteen.” Kirsten Jones – St Brigid’s Primary School

Kreative Koalas and FEAST complement each other, provide ongoing support for teachers and are bringing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to the fore.

“Both programs understand the importance of encouraging community engagement and provide opportunity for our students to have a voice and take action on important issues,” Amelia says.

Register for Kreative Koalas in 2021 here Register for FEAST here

Meet Emily May an agronomist in training advocating for urban agriculture

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Our guest post today comes from agronomist in training and peri -urban agriculturalist Emily May

Emily shares with us

  • Peri-urban environments are the agricultural frontier
  • Young farmers can help others adjust to changes and new technology
  • Engaging the consumer is a critical part of modern agriculture

I grew up in a non-farming family in the Hawkesbury district on the outskirts of Western Sydney, an area which has historically thrived as Sydney’s Food Bowl . In more recent years however, the extensive farmland dedicated to the production of fruit, vegetables, turf, flowers and a few smaller livestock holdings has progressively transitioned into urban develop. As the value of land continues to rise, along with the expenses of running a farming business many farmers have found it more profitable to sell to developers. This rapid change in the peri-urban agricultural scene  is something that has challenged me particularly as a young person who credits the community of peri urban agriculture for kickstarting my career.

My first introduction to a career in ag came from a weekend job I had during high school on my neighbour’s citrus orchard where I picked, packed and helped with the daily operations of the farm. This weekend job soon turned into an ongoing career working for numerous local growers in the Hawkesbury region including wineries, market gardens, hydroponic propagation and cut flower enterprises.

Whilst I enjoyed agriculture at school I didn’t initially see a long term future in the industry. It wasn’t until I left the industry when I finished school that I realised working in agriculture was something I was good at, I really enjoyed and wanted to be part of on my life journey.

This desire to be part of something bigger was also driven by witnessing the ever-changing dynamic of the agricultural scene in and around the Hawkesbury. I saw opportunities for farmer to embrace new technology and farming approaches and this inspired me to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE. Supporting farmers and growers adjust and uptake best  management practices, reducing reliance on chemicals, increasing their resilience and confidence to navigate the complex world around them, including participating in informed and influential conversations about land uses has become a key driver in my involvement in agriculture.

Today I now take a proactive role in being a voice for the industry and bringing the community on the journey with me to advocate for peri-urban agriculture. I volunteer with the Hawkesbury Harvest and their support has opened a door for me to have a regular spot on ABC Sydney radio sharing the good news stories and opportunities for people can get involved with their local producers in and around Sydney

I am grateful to the Hawkesbury Harvest for mentoring me and opening doors to use the voices of youth through the media to influence policy

I firmly believe our city plans can add value and better protect agriculture from urban sprawl. I believe planners can  make decisions based on evidence to balance competing land uses, taking into account the full suite of values and benefits we gain from Sydney farmers, not just the economic gains we stand to achieve by converting the land to houses.

Farmers in the basin deserve a fair price for what they produce, land security and support from other residents.

Sydneysiders also need access to affordable housing, jobs and infrastructure.

Equally we need access to nutritious and affordable food, reversing the high rate of obesity and diabetes, and “food deserts” without access to groceries particularly prevalent in Western Sydney.

Through increased awareness and accessibility, food shoppers can also support local food producers, increasing the resilience of Sydney’s food system and simultaneously reducing the environmental footprint of food.

I am proud to be part of a passionate team adapting to a changing world. I am  excited to be part of the movement to ensure that agriculture is valued and prioritised as an important land use and economic activity within our communities, that is ensuring buying local food is a choice that consumers can make in future.

I also work in rural sales with Ace Ohlsson, which allows me to meet  a wide range of customers who come through our retail shop along with providing agronomic and management advice to producers in the region who I work alongside.

I am very committed to learning how to effectively amplify the voices of youth, advocate for the industry I love and inspire the next generation to follow in my footsteps

 

Leadership is Language with your host Meg Rice interviewing OzHarvest FEAST Education Manager Amelia Berner

Kicking off the second series of our Leadership is Language conversations is Amelia Berner from OzHarvest who sits down with Young Farming Champion Meg Rice to discuss the importance of valuing food – because wasting food wastes everything.

Key Messages

  • In Australia over 7.3 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year. One third of this food waste comes from the home.
  • Lessons given to students in the classroom will make big differences in the home and community.
  • Changemakers find joy in finding and following their purpose

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Pull Quote

“It’s important to teach kids how the food gets to their plate and all the resources used to produce that food from water to land to the farmers love and care …… We need to change the way we look at food.”

 About Amelia

Amelia Berner is the Food Education and Sustainability Training (FEAST) Program National Manager at OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. Amelia’s passion for nutrition and environmental education stems from a decade of experience as a Food Technology teacher and working as a practicing nutritionist. This wealth of experience has enabled her to develop the FEAST education program, which combines nutrition, food waste, and sustainability in a curriculum-ready package for Australian schools. Amelia believes education and access to healthy food choices bring a connection to our community, affects our short and long term physical health and contributes to a sustainable future.

Connect with Amelia:    LinkedIn 

Follow OzHarvest: Twitter and Instagram and Facebook 

About Meg

Meg Rice is a Graduate Policy Officer at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Canberra. She is also a passionate Young Farming Champion and credits the program with giving her the skills to have insightful conversations with current and future leaders within the agricultural industry. Meg further employs these skills as the Innovation Hub Representative for the PYiA Youth Voices Leadership Team.

Connect with Meg:     LinkedIn    and     Twitter

About OzHarvest

OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it directly to more than 1300 charities supporting people in need across the country.

Want to know more about FEAST?

Read all about FEAST and register your school here

Follow the OzHarvest Education on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Meet Alice Burwell who shares a passion to make a difference and fight for gender equity

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Our guest post today comes from vet in training Alice Burwell. Alice shares a passion to make a difference and fight for gender equity that has been a consistent theme in our 2020 stories

“Wow, you want to be a vet. You must really love animals”.

Yes, this is partly true. But this is only part of my story. I would always make it very clear that I wanted to be a preventive healthcare vet for large farm animals and help livestock farmers set up their businesses in a way that keeps animals healthy and prevent health problems in herds whenever anyone asked, even as a seven-year-old.

Yet as I grew up I found myself having to justify my potential value to the industry because I am a young female?

I  was determined to show female vets are just as enthusiastic about working outdoors with large animals as male vets.

Why should this matter?

If people work hard to gain knowledge they can contribute to industry, they deserve to be treated with respect for their knowledge and contributions regardless of their background, degree or gender.

What do the girls in the pink vests in this image have in common?

Passion is the common denominator, not gender here.  Yes, we are all female. Yes, we are all aspiring rural veterinarians. And the reason we were selected as the student delegates for the Australian Cattle Vets conference in 2020 is because of our burning passion for the livestock industry.

Veterinary science used to be a male dominated sector and I am proud to be part of the generation that is changing this.

Where did this burning passion for the livestock industries stem from? For me, it was the days I would spend growing up helping my father and grandfather in the lambing sheds or feeding calves like these ones

I have always been so determined to make my mark on the livestock industries as a professional and have always had an interest in the wider agricultural sector. The management from paddock to plate and from calf to cow is what excites me. I am becoming a veterinarian so that I can help improve the health, welfare and productivity of our livestock industries through producer education and adoption of new research, at herd levels.

Today veterinarians provide holistic farm services and have broad skills in farm consultancy and management as well as providing technical skills and advice on animal health and welfare.

As a vet I aspire to provide the farmers I work with exceptional value from improvements in animal health and management behind the farm gate as well as support them to optimise the value they get from their farming production systems.

The challenge of showing farmers my  worth is a both a daunting and  exhilarating task. I have studied veterinary science and participated in many extra-curricular activities so that I can play my part in making the agricultural industry sustainable for generations to come. There is nothing more exciting for me than helping producers turn calves into productive, healthy cows that are the building blocks for a producer’s successful business. Regardless of the species, it is the full circle of producing profitable, healthy beef/dairy cattle and sheep in a sustainable and welfare conscious manner that excites me.

As an industry we have many opportunities to showcase our industry is gender inclusive and ensure veterinarians are valued for the diverse skills and knowledge they bring to the farm team.

“As a rural vet you feel connected with the people you work with on farm and you are also an essential part of rural communities. Its a career where you have a strong sense of purpose and you get up everyday knowing you are making a difference”

Meet Elizabeth Argue who at the age of ten was busy opening doors to a career in agriculture

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Our guest post today comes from Elizabeth Argue who at the age of ten was busy opening doors to a career in agriculture

It all started with a passion to be a 10 year old jillaroo and a letter

Elizabeth shares with us:

  • It’s never too early to chase an agricultural dream
  • People, and nurturing the potential of people, is the heart of agriculture
  • Strong rural women can play a pivotal role in agriculture
  • modern agriculture calls for a range of individuals with an ever increasing range of skills from all walks of life.

………….

When you think of a ten year old girl from a cattle property on the Mid North Coast of NSW. You probably picture a girl riding her horse having fun with the neighbours kids building cubby houses at the river. Although I did build my fair share of cubby houses, my ten year old self was pouring over the pages of The Land newspaper, looking over all the job vacancies on cattle stations. I had decided then that school could wait and making a living working the land on a station, most probably like McLeod’s daughters was for me…

Well I was passionate!

I soon found an ad that jumped out at me for the Acton Super Beef company. So I wrote a letter to the company explaining my passion and eagerly awaited a reply. To my and I think my parents surprise a few weeks later I received a reply from Ms Acton herself, kindly thanking me for my letter but explaining that life on a property can be tough, even for someone older than ten. She emphasised the importance of education and suggested I wait a few more years before heading out.

Fast forward to my graduation from high school, I wrote back to Ms Acton and a few months later found myself as a station hand in Central Queensland. Looking back I thank my ten year old self for opening the door that my eighteen year old self could walk through.

Ms Acton was one of the first strong rural women who played a pivotal role in my journey within agriculture. Broadening my horizons considerably and highlighting the significant contribution strong women make to the industry. I have since realised the immense potential that can arise from fostering relationships and opening doors for others, in particular younger generations. This has led me to appreciate that although there are some incredible innovations, technological advancements and pathways developing within the multifaceted agricultural industry – it is the people and fostering the potential of people that is at the heart of the industry.

The people I met while working on the station ranged from hard working station hands, governesses, animal nutritionists to analysists. The list is endless and that was just centred around one property. Since transitioning to study Agriculture and Business at the University of New England, joining various agricultural committees, traveling abroad and working overseas, my perception of agriculture has changed significantly.

From my naïve view as a ten year old romanticising spending days on a horse mustering cattle I have come to realise the agricultural sphere is so much more than this and growing every day. Although there will always be a call for those stockmen and women mustering cattle, modern agriculture also calls for a range of individuals with an ever increasing diverse range of skills from all walks of life.

It is my passion for people that is driving my vision for the future. I want a career where I can open young peoples eyes to the diversity of rewarding careers in the industry I love. I want to ignite a spark  in particular women from all backgrounds to discover their inherent calling in agriculture. There is a plethora of opportunities developing and I would love to be the one to open doors for others to these opportunities, just like Ms Acton and a letter opened for me.

#CareersinAgriculture #genderequity #inclusivity #WomeninAg