The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
The Young Farming Champions program gives our young people the skills and confidence to tell their stories, many of which you will read about in this Muster. However one YFC kicking presentations well out of the ballpark is Anika Molesworth. On October 28 Anika spoke at her second TEDx event. Commenting on a previous TED talk by indigenous legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, Anika presented the argument that as climate change and environmental degradation worsen we need to radically re-think the ways humans interact with nature.
Anika gave examples of where rights have been given to the environment such as Lake Erie in the US, the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India and all the rivers in Bangladesh. “By granting legal rights to our environment, and rethinking the way we interact and respect our world, are we able to save what we cannot afford to lose?” Anika asked.
Congratulations Anika – you continue to be an inspiration for the YFC family.
In The Field
Into the field now and all of us who work with Mother Nature know she can be a hard and fickle business partner. Just as some of the best crops in central NSW where readying for harvest in October, Mother Nature sent hail in not one but two havoc-wreaking storms. Speaking in the Parkes Champion Post YFC agronomist Emma Ayliffe described the devastation: “What wasn’t affected at first was wiped out in the second event last weekend in most unusual circumstances.” said Emma. “For these people they have gone through a roller coaster of emotion since the event – from saying things like ‘Well, we’ve got more room in the silos for the rest of the crop’, to ‘F@#! it was going to be such a good harvest!’.” Emma’s own property was affected by the hail.
Meanwhile harvest continues under grey skies for our Cowra cropper Marlee Langfield – check out her amazing photo
Even though they both dance with Mother Nature Marlee and Emma are resilient future ready farmers, and this month we celebrated them, and others, in the launch of a new PYiA initiative – Future Ready Farmers. YFC Dan Fox also featured alongside friends of the YFC Karin Stark and Angus Whyte. This series will highlight to students undertaking Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize real-life examples of farmers in modern Australian agriculture.
Out of the Field
Out of the field our YFC are continuing their leadership journeys by embarking on a range of diverse programs. Tim Eyes has joined the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Trail program and Chloe Dutschke is working with YFC friend Rebel Black in her Emerging Women Leaders program. We look forward to them all sharing snippets of their new-found wisdom with us soon.
Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participants Jess Fearnley and Emily May participated in a session of Paddock Pen Pals as part of the 2020 Kreative Koalas program. As you can see from Emily’s Facebook post it was a highlight for her
Other YFCs are honing their presentation skills as they share their own stories – both career and life related. Emma Ayliffe sat down with PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick to discuss Emma’s new communication app Yacker, Anika chatted with Natalie Isaacs, founder of 1 Million Women, in an Instagram live event, Peta Bradley was the guest of a UNE podcast, while Kirsty McCormack (live from Canada where she works as technical sales manager for Quantum Genetix) spoke at the Advancing Women in Agriculture conference.
Young Farming Champion Sharna Holman is sharing her careers in agriculture pathways wise advice in this series of forums with PIEFA
Jo Newton discussed her cancer diagnosis with Women’s Agenda and Dione Howard once again interviewed Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter – this time on the importance of occupational safety.
Our YFCs find themselves in diverse arenas and may be the interviewee or the interviewer. How do they prepare, how do they control their nerves and what lessons have they learnt that we in turn can all learn from? Well, we asked them. Read their responses here.
“To work alongside 5,000 farmers – some of the most hard-working and inspiring people I’ve ever met – is a true privilege,” Anika says. “These farmers do not accept environmental degradation as inevitable. They do not accept worsening climate conditions and increasing fragility in their rural communities. They know we can do better. So they are stepping up, standing face to face with the big challenges, and saying ‘I’ll be part of the solution’.”
It’s “happy non-wedding” day to YFC Melissa Henry and fiancée Simon Maher. They printed their wedding invites in early March but as COVID19 struck and borders were closed the invitations were never sent. Here’s looking forward to a real wedding next November with an even bigger celebration (and bigger cake!).
YFC Dwayne Schubert did manage to pull off a minor miracle with the support of the legal amount of family and friends and trusty zoom for extended family across the ditch married his long term partner Libby Cooper on the farm in Tassie
In this episode of Leadership is Language ALISON PENFOLD and CATHERINE MARRIOTT explore Anticipatory leadership – what is it and how can we use it to take responsibility and protect agriculture and what do Dad and Dave have to do with it all?
Catherine Marriott sits down with Alison Penfold to find out.
Leadership takes curiosity, bravery and courage
Be proactive rather than reactive
Call out your own risks and change the narrative
Influence isn’t just going to be what you say, but it’s how you behave. That’s part of telling the story.
“…. over time, what I’ve come to see and [what] I think is really critical, particularly in agriculture, is anticipatory leadership. It’s really about being able to use strategic foresight to identify issues and opportunities, risks and opportunities and get ahead of the curve…….we need to get on the front foot and collectively work together to get ahead, so that we’re in control of managing the risk.”
Alison Penfold is a director of Future Eye. She has a forensic understanding of, and first-hand experience in, community engagement, risk and issues management, policy development, advocacy and political and bureaucratic processes. Her 20 years’ experience includes: Chief of Staff to a Federal Cabinet Minister, policy and political adviser to a range of State and Federal Ministers, CEO of a national agriculture sector industry body, Government Relations Manager for a major retailer and a range of senior policy, campaign and strategic advisory roles. Alison is a change agent promoting the need for business and industry to call out, act on and get ahead of social license risks.
Over the last 15 years, Catherine has worked in management, strategic and leadership roles in the agricultural, research and regional development sectors in Australia and internationally. During this time, she has become a proven business leader, communicator and entrepreneur, focused mostly on leadership development, advocacy and delivering innovative solutions for the industries in which she works. Catherine has always worked in rural and regional Australia and is inspired by the potential of our regions. She is passionate about the people side of agriculture, learning from and sharing with others. Mentoring is a role she plays with enthusiasm as she learns just as much from her mentees as she shares. She uses her Rural Science degree to understand the technical aspects of agriculture, while her experience in business helps her connect with people and maximise opportunities for others. Catherine has worked as a consultant, an entrepreneur, developed a start-up member-based organisation for the northern beef industry and plays a role on a number of private and public boards both in Australia and internationally. She is UNE’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was the 2012 WA Rural Women of the Year.
The House of Wellness program on Channel 7 recently featured some extra special guests – students from St Catherine’s College at Singleton and their Archies and Kreative Koalas!
The House of Wellness explores “the world of health and wellbeing, addressing your health concerns in an entertaining and informative format. From raising your kids, to staying fit, ageing gracefully, and keeping beautiful inside and out, as well as the A to Z of every vitamin under the sun, The House of Wellness is designed with one thing in mind – to help you ‘Live Well’.”
In his introduction to the November 2 episode, Luke Darcy linked wellness to the environment.
“2020 has made us re-think pretty much everything about the way we live from what we consume, our relationships with each other and the environment and the impact we have on the planet,”
Luke’s astute reflection is a mantra long held by the Archies and Kreative Koalas.
After a brief chat about The Archibald Prize Luke, and co-host Jo Stanley, segued expertly to The Archibull Prize and featured Lynne Strong talking about her vision for climate positive agriculture before segueing again to Lynne’s driving passion – Picture You in Agriculture.
Then it was into the classroom to showcase the Archies and Kreative Koalas in action, including asking the students how these programs have changed their perception of agriculture and the environment.
“I didn’t grow up on a farm but this has definitely made it a lot more fun,” said Archies participant Phoebe .
“Its pretty exciting” declared Jessica
“For the forehead we are planning to put an earth with a lot of trees and bushes around the outside. So that’s saying that our planet grows a lot of plants and those plants are vital,” said Jacob.
The segment concluded with a plug for careers in agriculture.
“We have some of the best ag science and agronomy courses in the world right here and by 2030 it is estimated there will be around 48,000 new jobs in the rural sector, which is fantastic. It’s a great field to steer our kids towards,” Luke said.
“And it is girls who are leading the charge
They make up more than 56% of students studying agriculture and related courses.” Jo continued.
PYiA is committed to engaging students, young agriculturalists and future consumers in conversations about their vision for the future of food and farming and their role in it. Thanks to The House of Wellness that vision has reached yet another audience.
Watch the Archies and Kreative Koalas on The House of Wellness
Mega shout out to the students and teachers at St Catherine’s and the team at the House of Wellness who all did a superstar job of showing how exciting agriculture can be
In this episode of Leadership is Language Dione Howard continues her conversation with Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter as he reflects on a tragedy that reformed safety procedures for his company and provided valuable lessons for both the fishing and agricultural industries.
It is possible to create a legacy from an impossible moment
Near-miss incidents are gifts that can prevent a tragedy
Incidents become part of your story – it is up to you how to shape that story
“Our advice was to lawyer up and go and find the best legal defence you can and defend it to the hilt but that didn’t sit too well with me. We could have gone to court, pleaded guilty, paid the fine and moved on, and Ryan’s legacy would be his name on a dust-collecting file in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, or we could look to make right from wrong.”
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.
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.
National Ag Day, on November 20, is usually a frantic time for the team at PYiA as we gear up for the Archies award ceremony but with COVID postponing our celebrations we have found another way to showcase Australian agriculture – we are celebrating and thanking Next Gen through a series of online webinars!
The first webinar will be hosted by Josh Farr. In 2017, Josh founded his first company, Campus Consultancy, which has gone on to become a market leader in the training space for students. His team has taken more than 14,000 student leaders through their workshops on leadership, entrepreneurship & emotional intelligence.
In Friday’s webinar Josh will run two workshops for school students ( in NSW and QLD) and our YFC to hone their 21st century employability and resume writing skills, with emphasis on the four Cs: communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. This workshop will put the cream of the crop in our schools and agriculture’s future – on the path to being work ready and ensuring they stand out from the crowd.
The second workshop will be hosted by international facilitation guru Les Robinson who will sit down with teachers and YFC to design a sustainability action project through the lens of agriculture. This “Train the Trainer” workshop will provide teachers with techniques and a well laid step by step facilitation model that will help them empower their students to design and deliver their own sustainability action projects in their schools and in the community.
This collaboration between teachers, students and our YFC will give young people community action skills and ownership of the solutions with the capacity to inspire their communities to practice good social and environmental habits. Participants will be provided with tips and tricks on how to keep students engaged and enthusiastic about the project.
In addition to our students, teachers and YFC the webinars will also be an opportunity to celebrate and thank another cohort of future agricultural leaders – our Corteva scholarship finalists. The winners of the scholarship will join our Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program, which will enable them to take their stories to another generation of consumers.
National Ag Day, teachers and students and emerging leaders in agriculture – the perfect collaboration for a bright agricultural future.
GrowHer is an online platform designed to inspire, inform and include women in agriculture in the Asia Pacific region.
Growing the Next Stories – This global webseries brings together, in five episodes, testimonials from women from seven countries, including Brazil, the United States, France, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and Indonesia. In each chapter they tell about their relationship to rural production, the difficulties and challenges they face.
It is the brainchild of four agripreneurs and ecosystem players, whose respective organisations have formed the GrowHer steering committee. These influential women are Erin Sweeney from Grow Asia, Elizabeth Hernandez, from Corteva Agriscience Asia Pacific, Jade Dyson, from WOMAG, and Cherrie D. Atilano, CEO of AGREA in the Philippines.
GrowHer’s online launch featured all four women who spoke about their desire to empower women in agriculture. “The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) estimates that if women had the same access to ag inputs, to mechanization, water, finance, land ownership, all of those things that men in agriculture have, they would produce 20-30% more food, and that’s enough to be able to take 150 million out of poverty,” Elizabeth said.
Three other women agripreneurs were also invited to speak at the launch. They were Phyu Hninn Nyein, head of operations for Proximity Designs in Myanmar, Yvonne Foong, founder of Chektec from Singapore, and our very own Lynne Strong.
See Lynne’s GrowHer profile here, read about PYiA’s Corteva emerging leaders here and find out more about females kicking big goals in agriculture on the GrowHer website.
In conjunction with the launch Lynne and three Young Farming Champions – Dione Howard, Emma Ayliffe and Anika Molesworth – sat down for a chat with Elizabeth Hernandez at a WOMAG virtual coffee morning. WOMAG is an organization currently based out of Singapore that connects and develops women across the entire agri-ecosystem with the goal of creating a future pool of leaders.
At PYiA we believe in the enormous power of these partnerships .
“We are thrilled they have identified the Young Farming Champions as a model they’d like to roll out in Asia and we are proud to join this coalition of strong voices. We know that alone we are smart but together we are brilliant, and we look forward to this concept of working together, and amplifying each other’s voices, becoming common practice around the world,” Lynne said.
Teacher Suzie Barr explains why Gardeners Road students chose this SDG:
“We spent a lot of time researching sustainability issues in order to select the global sustainability goal we wanted to focus on throughout our Kreative Koalas journey. Students identified and discussed sustainable development goals that are relevant to our local area, in order to bring about awareness within the school and wider community. Sustainable Development Goal 7: Clean and Affordable Energy was one of them. We had a number of students begin to ask questions about the lights that are used at school and whether or not any of the school’s energy was powered by renewable sources, such as solar. As a group, the students recognised that this was topic they wanted to learn more about and that’s when the journey began.”
This journey would lead them to agriculture – and to the production of their jeans and boxer shorts!
Kreative Koalas director Lynne Strong connected Suzie with cotton farmer and renewable energy innovator Karin Stark and before long Karin was zooming into the classroom. Karin and her partner Jon grow irrigated cotton near Narromine in central-west NSW and in 2018 installed a 500kW solar, diesel hybrid irrigation pump, the largest in the country at the time.
“I really enjoyed speaking with Suzie’s class, about what we do – grow wheat, cotton, barley etc – and how we converted one of our diesel pumps over to solar/diesel to make the most of our free sunshine! It’s saving our business $180,000 a year in diesel costs and reduces 500 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year. Suzie had prepared the kids and they asked wonderful questions about where our cotton ends up, how much we grow (enough for 7 million boxer shorts) and about the benefits of using solar energy,” Karin says.
Gardeners Road students now have a greater appreciation of the role of renewable energy, farmers and agriculture in a sustainable future.
“Karin’s passion for climate action and renewable energy within agriculture has truly inspired us here at Gardeners Road! Her presentation was very educational and the images and information she shared throughout supported our students with developing their understanding of agriculture and the innovative ways it can be transformed (through the use of renewable energy) to mitigate climate change,” Suzie says.
For Karin, the opportunity to take her story to the open minds of the next generation was a powerful one.
“We want to inspire children to look to agriculture for fulfilling future careers and we can only do this by demonstrating the roles available in agriculture and the exciting innovations that are happening all the time to make farming more sustainable,” she says.
By starting their affordable and clean energy journey by asking if their school lights were solar powered, the inquiring students of Gardeners Road now have a deeper understanding of agriculture and a connection to their own world in the clothes they wear every day. This is the power of Kreative Koalas.
We encourage them to be life-long learners and provide them with ongoing opportunities to be critical and creative thinkers and informed and active citizens of the communities the work, live and play in.
They see everyday as a new opportunity to enhance those skills.
One way we did this during COVID was to develop the Leadership is Language webinar series where Young Farming Champions have the opportunity to host a webinar and interview some of the world’s foremost thought leaders on communicating how we can show leadership by the language and communication styles we use.
Our guests challenge us to change the way we talk as leaders by learning the language of creativity, collaboration and commitment. They illustrate the powerful intersection of communication and leadership and offer simple steps to transform your thinking, your influence and the lives in your span of care and how we can reinvent our leadership style to meet the evolving demands of the new marketplace.
With such a star-studded list of guests how did our YFC prepare for their interviews and how did they find the experience? What have they learnt that will help them (and others) in the future?
Lucy Collingridge was thrown in the deep end as the opening act for Leadership is Language when she spoke with Nicole McDonald, and she followed this up with the internationally acclaimed Michael Bungay Stanier in Series 2.
“I have done a bit of microphone commentary/interview work at shows and our Cootamundra Hereford Heifer Show but this rewarding experience threw me well out of my comfort zone.
Before my interview I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast about FFT’s (effing first times). She speaks about naming the new thing, normalising it and embracing the suck – that it will be hard, I will feel nervous and intimidated but it won’t last forever. I needed to deal with the nerves to get to the good part.
In my first interview with Nicole I was able to catch up with her prior to our interview however I didn’t have this with Michael. I honestly didn’t know who he was so I did my research and learnt who he is and what he has accomplished. Speaking to such an amazing human with so much knowledge was daunting but Michael is such an engaging and open person.
I thoroughly enjoyed our chat, especially as he has no background in agriculture so he was a set of fresh eyes to the issues we face in the industry. I can’t wait to listen back to our chat another 10 times to keep getting things from it!”
Anika Molesworth, already an accomplished speaker, presenter and interviewer, sat down for a chat with Francesca Earl and found you can learn something from every experience.
“It was fantastic to have a chat with the inspiring Franny Earp, who has such depth of knowledge on communicating in different socio-cultural settings. It was hard not to get lost in her adventurous stories from working in South Africa to Laos. I was excited to learn from her and hear how she overcame challenges in communication that comes with doing international agricultural work. My questions came from a personal curiosity and that helped the conversation to flow seamlessly… it was difficult to end it because I was enjoying our chat so much!”
Emma Ayliffe was both interviewer (when she spoke with succession planner Sally Murfett) and interviewee (when she spoke about her new app Yacker).
“The Leadership is Language series has been exciting, fun, inspiring and challenging, but also a great opportunity to gain confidence and practices skills in interviewing, questioning and recording.
It was quite daunting to be at the helm of creating a conversation with Sally that was going to be interesting and relevant for a topic that can be controversial and difficult to breach (succession planning) but tapping into her expertise was phenomenal.
Preparation for the interview took the form of reading and researching Sally and her role in agriculture and talking to my partner and his family about their burning succession questions. From there Sally and I had a quick zoom to meeting to discuss what we were going to go through and I watched a few interviews on YouTube to see what I liked in an interviewer.
The bigger concerns I had were ensuring we captured the key points and ideas …. and hoping that the internet held up! I felt the nerves when we started but being a recording we reminded ourselves we had the ability to cut and change where needed.
The best part for me was talking to an amazing person about a topic that was extremely relevant to me.”
Here is a wrap of Leadership is Language – Series 1.
Our very first Leadership is Language conversation opened with YFC Lucy Collingridge talking with social science researcher Dr Nicole McDonald. Nicole spoke about how she found agriculture through psychology and how communication is a key tool to uniting this diverse industry.
“…..communication is how we connect and understand each other. Words are absolutely important, but then it’s also your tone of voice, it’s your volume, it’s your self-expression; it’s what you’re wearing. All of these things send messages about who you are, what you’re trying to convey. Communication is much bigger than just text or words…”
For the second conversation we engaged friends of the YFC Kirsty White and Rebel Black. Human agronomist Rebel spoke about what leadership means to her and why she thinks, at the end of the day, life is a game to be played.
“…..I think leadership, great leadership requires a high level of personal responsibility, and that’s a very challenging thing to do. It’s much easier for us to blame the outside world for the things that are going on in our lives or in the lives of the people that we care about. True leadership, I believe is a hundred percent self-responsibility, which then enables you to navigate through life in a more easeful way,….”
Third up was Youth Voices Leadership Team chair Emma Ayliffe speaking with Sally Murfett about the power of positive communication in succession planning.
“…. nothing happens without relationship and communication. If you can’t get this part right, nothing else is going to happen along the way. So invest in this process. Invest in yourself so that you can sit at the table and have these conversations that are going to get great outcomes for yourself and great outcomes for the family.”
Then it was time for YFC Hannah Hawker to sit down with Graham Smith, the Australian Rural Leadership Program Mentor, who discussed the importance of throwing out stereotypes and misconceptions.
“….leadership really is a series of processes. It’s not a product or an output or an outcome .. .and if you dig down into that, more often than not, communication will come up as the most important process in leadership.”
YFC Anika Molesworth chatted with Francesca Earp about her research work in Laos and why actively listening to your people it the most important tool to understanding them.
“…..have proper conversations with farmers about why they’re doing things and what’s influencing those decisions … tailor ag extensions to why farmers are making those decisions.”
Internationally acclaimed leadership coach Dave Stachowiak was the guest of YFC Dione Howard for the sixth instalment of the series. Together they spoke about how to build ally relationships between consumers and farmers.
“…..we can come back at look at ourselves and say, “Okay, now that we’ve figured out what’s important, or at least some indicators of what may be important, where do we have some common alignment?” That’s a great starting point then for that relationship.”
Rounding off Series 1 of Leadership is Language was PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick getting the lowdown on the new conversation app Yacker, developed by YFC Emma Ayliffe.
“It’s particularly important to be empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”
Series 1 has been a remarkable success and we look forward to the next series with a diverse range of guests involved with coaching, communication, stakeholder engagement, collective impact and action, worker health and safety, fishing, water, food recycling and much more.
We are excited to have our Youth Voices Leadership team chair Emma Ayliffe, co-founder of Summit Agriculture sits down with our wonderful journalist Mandy McKeesick to chat about the new conversation starting app Yacker, and why it is important to understand your audience.
Leadership is about understanding your client or customer
Being empathetic to the other person’s views
Never underestimating who is watching or listening to you
Avoiding speaking in frustration or anger
“It’s particularly important to be sympathetic and empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”
Emma Ayliffe is an award-winning agronomist and successful businesswoman. She is co-founder of agricultural consultancy Summit Ag, co-owner of a 1700-acre cropping property and an in-demand public speaker. In 2018 she was runner-up in the Adama Young Agronomist of the Year awards and has taken the stage at PIEFA Conference, the Australia Cotton Conference and the Australian Summer Grains Conference
Emma believes in the importance of agricultural sustainability and the role that young people play in the industry. She has been a Young Farming Champion since 2015, is the current chair for the Youth Voices Leadership Team and established Tulli Young Farmers to better support young people in her region.
Mandy is an Australian writer and photographer who shares stories for, and about, the bush. She has worked with the Picture You in Agriculture team for five years, sharing stories of Young Farming Champions far and wide, and regularly contributes to R.M Williams Outback magazine.
Summit Ag delivers interdependent agronomic and farming systems advice for irrigated cropping with a strong focus on cotton agronomy and research. It covers all areas in the Southern Valleys working with established and dryland growers with the aim of increasing productivity, profitability and overcoming challenges and soil constraints. www.summitag.com.au
Yacker was initially developed to assist Summit Ag clients connect and share information, and has now expanded to service the entire agricultural industry.
Want to know more?
Visit the Yacker website (www.yacker.com.au) and download the app for free on any iPhone or android device.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.