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.
Our very own Wendy Taylor and her husband Craig well and truly found themselves in the spotlight at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show winning the design award for Central District exhibit as well as being nominated as Show Champions for which they were recognised in the ‘Parade of Champions’ on Excellence in Agriculture day at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The District Exhibit Displays are an iconic element of the Sydney Royal Easter Show . They are indeed spectacular constructions of vegetables, fruit and other produce elements. They are a cooperative work by primary producers that proudly reflect the diversity and excellence of their regional produce. Each display consists of over 10,000 pieces of fresh produce from five agricultural districts throughout New South Wales and South East Queensland. Wendy and Craig have been the big ideas team and designers of the Central District Exhibit for 23 years
This year the display represented farming, farmers and their achievements. The aim of the display was to demonstrate the average farmer produced each day and balance that against the rising world population. The important message of 1 FARMER… needed to be conveyed using a method that would catch the viewer and hold them. Wendy and Craig used data projectors to display an animation that works in concert with the facts and figures of this progressive industry, providing discussion points and enlightening the public.
1 FARMER… is symbolic of the industry – male, female, old, young, individual or collective. There is nothing to dilute. The display itself was a profusion of fresh, vibrant Australian produce, representative of the achievements of the industry.
The 2011 display highlights the vast quantity of food it takes to feed Sydney in one single day ( statistics can be found here) The quantities are staggering and they only hint at the full story. It’s staggering enough to discover you need 90,000 cows to produce 1.3 million litres of milk that Sydney consumes every day, but then how much land do you need for those cows? How many people to run the farm? How much feed for the stock? These are only a handful of questions and they are only for one area of agriculture. The drive behind this display was to start a conversation. “The drive behind this display was to start a discussion. If we can get people talking, thinking and appreciating their reliance on the rural sector, then the display has done its job” said Wendy.
Wendy is also been a mentor for, and a judge of our Art4Agriculture highly successful high school educational program, the ‘Archibull Prize’ assisting teachers and students to understand how art and design can educate and inform the wider community and turn the light on about all the processes of production, marketing, consumption, sustainable use of resources and waste recycling associated with modern agriculture today. For the past 3 years the Central District exhibit has been the vehicle to launch our theme for the Archibull Prize beginning in 2010 with this spectacular design which one both the Design Award and the People’s Choice Award
Wendy also had the honour of designing the display for the Australian Year of the Farmer launch last November
Art4griculuture would like to introduce you to our new ambassador the dynamo that is Catherine Marriott the current RIRDC Rural Woman for Western Australia. (See footnote)
The Catherine Marriott story ………………….
So how is it that a girl who grew up on a sheep farm in Victoria ends up in the wilds of the Kimberley?
Some would say madness, some would say luck, others probably wouldn’t be interested. The answer is a burning desire to contribute to rural Australia and desire to make a difference to people’s lives. I have always been drawn to wide open spaces, I love the freedom that is associated with living in a rural or remote community. The characters up there are as funny as a fit and as dry in humour as a busted old ‘blunny boot’
As a kid I grew up on a farm called “Yarallah” 12kms due west of Benalla with my family which now involves four kiddliwinks, two girls the oldest and best followed by two boys who try to handle the pace set by said sisters and mum who we fondly refer to as the old duck, we all just love her to pieces, she is an inspiration for all humans and we are so proud she is our mum!!
Sunset on the home farm at Benalla
Our beloved dad passed on too early and left the fabulous five to carry on his legacy.
Our dad (John) with Catherine, Hannah, Charlie and Tom
We are a close knit little lot and I am so blessed with the way mum bought us up as having a love and respect for family is something that runs deep within me. I grew up with an understanding that the most fun you could have was fun you invented yourself.
Hannah, Cath and Catherine Marriott
Mum bought us all a computer game once, Commander Keen with a boy on a pogo stick, and we lost interest a full 5 minutes into the game and were out the back door like a flash. As a kid, I was constantly treading the road less travelled, bless our poor mother, she had four of us like that.
Me, Han and Tom at the back, Cha (wearing those deadly goggles) having a laugh at Charlie for his surprise birthday up on the old Quarry on “Yarallah”
We needed to constantly make sure petrol was still explosive, bullets are too if anyone is wondering, we used to make our own motorbikes, cubbies and mud slides into the dam were a regular in winter… That was back when it used to rain in winter (mum used to hose us off in the garden before we were allowed back inside to stand by the fire), ride push bikes or ponies everywhere, including into town to buy lollies, play cowboys and Indians on our ponies with real life water pistols,…(no bridles or saddles were allowed) in the stockyards and all the external gates were shut, the internal ones open. The girls were always kings at the end of that game.. I used to ride my horse 10kms to school every day up the back road, left him in the church yard and would ride him home again, there were 11 kids when I first started at Baddaginnie school, what a ripping little place that was.
Anna (Friend ), Hannah (sister) myself and Annabelle Coppin (Yarrie Station) on an ant hill between Marble Bar and Nullagine
Growing up, mum always encouraged us to do what we were passionate about and never judged us. She is a firm believer in the fact that we have to live our own lives and she can guide and provide support but will never try to own us which I will be forever grateful for. As a result, she has four kids that are all passionate contributors to the planet as we all love what we are doing and are happy.
I have lived and worked in England, Scotland, America, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines and travelled far further, everyone loves a good travel yarn…. Something about getting driving lessons from a tuk tuk driver in Delhi, India and then driving off in a bus full of my friends that we had hired for the night, (we later found out the bus was normally used for “naughty girls”!!) The driver looked quite funny chasing us up the road with all my friends laughing and cheering him on as we cheekily stayed just out of his reach! We made him run about 100 meters before letting him back in!
I have always been passionate about people from different cultures, I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by being with people who are different from us and thus my passion for travel both within Australia but also globally, oh the tales that I could tell you all about cultural differences and what is perceived as rude!
My main passion in life is empowering people to become better within themselves. However it isn’t all about other people… I have an ulterior motive.(Evil laugh) Another side to what drives me. When people are happy and confident within themselves, they are far more likely to contribute to the community and naturally enough this makes the community a far more enjoyable a place for ME to live in!
Sunset at the lake on our farm “Yarallah” where we often sit during the summer when it is hot!
I love to laugh, I love to meet new people, I love seeing people grow and believe in themselves, I love challenging myself, I love travel, photography, singing.. particularly in the car miles from anyone….I am excited about agriculture and what is involved in producing food, I am so passionate about creating relationships between the producer and the consumer. I love family and community and I absolutely love life. I will leave this planet a better place then when I arrived!
Happy days to you all, have at least one big belly laugh today!
Part of Catherine’s award is a bursary of $10,000 which she is using to run “Influential Women” forums with her partner Elizabeth Brennan to build capacity and confidence in rural women to empower them to engage and build consumer/producer relationships. Catherine is committed to encouraging rural women to celebrate the roles that they play in agriculture, communicate more effectively with the consumer and each other and collaborate between industries to speak and act with a united voice. She is hoping the forums will also act as a conduit into other leadership programs.
We are a bit overwhelmed at Art4agriculuture headquarters. We have a queue of amazing young agriculture superstars to profile. Its time to celebrate. Just who are we kidding; Oz is full of incredible young things taking up agrifood career pathways
Another shining example is Katie Broughton who is the third in our series of stories on Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champions for 2012.
Here is Katie’s story ……
I grew up on a mixed farming property at Young, in southern NSW. It seemed like the perfect childhood. I loved having the open spaces and the freedom to play outside. I loved milking the cows with dad, going around the paddocks with both of my parents, picking up firewood with my whole family and looking after poddy calves and lambs. I suppose that during this time, I inadvertently learned a lot about the farm and how the business runs. For me, however, it was a way of life.
Throughout school I loved biology, much to the amusement of my friends. So when I finished my HSC, I knew that I wanted to go to University and study science, but had never really considered a career in Agriculture. I was overwhelmed by so many different options, and considered such diverse courses as Nutrition and Dietetics, Medical Science and Land and Water Science, but eventually decided on a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Sydney. I realised that although agricultural science may seem specific, in actual fact it is incredibly diverse, with options to study soil science, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, economics, and the list goes on!
It may seem unusual that someone would choose to study an agricultural degree at the University of Sydney (right in the middle of the city), and I have often been asked why, especially when there were other options which were closer to home. For me, it was an opportunity to live in the city, and I wanted to know what it was like. I am really glad that I made this decision. However, there were so many people and it drove me crazy that it would take an hour to drive a distance that would only take 15 minutes to drive at home.
I lived at one of the colleges on campus, and this was one of the best decisions that I have made. It was wonderful to make so many new friends who were studying a variety of degrees and from all walks of life! Since many of these friends have also moved around the country, I take the opportunity to visit them when I am passing by in my travels.
In the summer holidays between 2007/08, I had the opportunity to work on an entomology (insect) project at the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) in Narrabri, NSW. I looked at the behaviour of mirids (a pest in cotton) and their response to their predators. The following summer holidays between 2008/09, I came up to ACRI at Narrabri again, this time to work on my 4thyear honours project looking at root growth in cotton.
I have just started my PhD looking at the effect of climate change on cotton production, and I am again living in Narrabri.
In March 2012 Katie was awarded a DAFF Science and Innovation Award for her PhD research.
I have already had some amazing opportunities since starting this project. Last year, I went to the World Cotton Conference in India. This was a wonderful adventure… I saw Indian cotton varieties and production systems, I met international scientists and had the opportunity to do some sight-seeing in India. Later this year, I will travel to Texas in the United States to spend some time working with scientists on new technology that I will bring back to use in Australia.
Both of these trips have been made possible by financial support from the cotton industry. I feel that the cotton industry listens to what the consumers want, and to what farmers need and it invests resources into developing opportunities. Over the years, research has enabled the cotton industry to reduce pesticide use and to improve water use efficiency, both of which were major concerns within the wider community. The research that I am involved in is looking at the impact of climate change on Australian cotton production, and I am excited that the work that I am involved in might ultimately be used to help formulate management decisions, in cotton and other crop production, in years to come.
Having lived in a couple of different rural communities and in the city, I have no difficulty in deciding where my future lies. My understanding of the challenges that rural communities face in times of floods, droughts and changing economic, ethical and social climates has inspired me to become involved in agricultural research. From a personal point of view, I love being involved in the local community whether it is a weekend picnic with friends at Mt Kaputar, helping with the Science in Schools programme at local primary schools or taking a turn supervising the jumping castle at the local food festival.
Art4agriculture with the support of Cotton Australia is taking Katie and Tamsin Quirk to Broome to participate in Catherine Marriott and Lizzie Brennan’s initiative Women Influential. Our second workshop will see Billy Browning take up the Young Farming Champion’s Challenge.
Its time to stop kidding ourselves young exciting people do want careers in agriculture and our future is in safe hands as long as we stand together committed to finding the resources to invest in them
Cranebrook High School Student Amber O’Neill has won the Cream of the Crop Competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.
Tarryn Whitfield from Landcare Australia presents Amber with the Woolworths Award of Excellence for Best Video
The Cream of the Crop Competition is an Art4Agriculture initiative which invites students in NSW schools to create a PowerPoint or a video promoting the importance of agriculture to their peers to encourage a better understanding of agriculture as well as promote agricultural careers and rural life.
Amber prepared four entries for the competition this year but it was her video about agricultural careers “Are you the One?” that took out the overall prize.
Amber O’Neill Winner of 2011 Cream of the Crop Competition
Amber highlighted a chef, a scientist, a mechanic and a designer as careers linked to agriculture and interviewed eight of her teachers at Cranebrook High School to discover which subject is most strongly linked to agriculture’s sustainability.
“What the judges loved about Amber’s winning video, was her understanding of the diverse careers in Australian agriculture,” says Art4Agriculrue National Program Director Lynne Strong. “As an industry, we are keen to point out that not all jobs in agriculture involve mud and flies!”
Her four-minute video features 30 agricultural careers that derive from school subjects such as mathematics, geography, food science and industrial design. “Importantly too, Amber’s video pays tribute to the unsung heroes of Australian agriculture, the teachers who instil knowledge and passion in their students who become our sector’s next generation of leaders and innovators,” says Lynne.
When asked what inspired her to enter multiple entries, Amber, who is in Year 10 at Cranebrook High School “I love it, there are so many interesting topics.” This was Amber’s first attempt at making a video and while it took a while to master the program, she was excited by the result. Read Amber’s guest blog here
Fellow winner, Neil Jain of Hurlstone Agricultural High School agrees that you learn something new every time you enter. “Not just about the subject, but the technology,” says Neil whose video “Genetic Modification – Is it Safe?” won the Best Middle School category.
Neil Jain Winner of Middle School Section Cream of the Crop 2011
Neil’s entry explored the science of genetic modification as well as some of the issues surrounding the arguments for and against the science. “It’s an important topic for feeding the world”, said Neil. “Genetic modification may not always be 100% safe, but if it is a solution to the global food crisis, it should be a field to look into.”
Also of Hurlstone Agricultural High School is Jordan Kerr who won the best Senior School entry for his video “Feeding Sydney” which explores how much food Sydney needs and the sustainability of the city’s food supply.
Jordan Kerr Winner 2011 Senior Section Cream of the Crop Competition
Jordan filmed vox pops with commuters in Sydney asking how many tonnes of food they thought Sydney consumes every day then captures their reactions when they learn the figure is 5,500 tonnes; 1,000 times more than one guess.
Jordan’s video also features interviews with the Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, Leader of the National Party Andrew Stoner and the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.
“This year the Cream of the Crop Competition finalists covered topics as diverse as keeping chickens, sustainable agriculture, the global food crisis and the sheep and cotton industries, which again, demonstrates the diversity of our sector,” says Lynne. “All finalist presentations are now on the Web for sharing with the world and with around 100,000 web hits since 2009, they are certainly making an impression,” says Lynne.
The event featured Stephanie Coombes, creator of Careers in Australian Agriculture website & proud Agvocate for Australia Agriculture as MC. See Steph’s blog on her day here
Isobel Moore winner of the Dubbo Speech Spectacular was guest speaker
Hear guest presenter Catherine Marriott RIRDC Rural Women’s Award WA talk about the Cream of the Crop on Show Radio and watch the finalists receive their awards here
Cream of the Crop 2011 finalists receive their awards
A special thank you to the Cream of the Crop competition’s sponsors
The Food Farm at the 2012 Sydney Royal Easter Show has a great new look this year and Food Farm coordinator Jenny Hughes and her team are discovering some bizarre food facts myth-conceptions as they talk to the children they are meeting and working with. One being it appears cows may lay eggs
Before we get into that Art4agriculture is particularly proud that a large number of the 2012 Archibull Prize cows are taking centre stage in the Food Farm. Check them out is this very brief video I whizzed up with some Wiggles music ( thx Wiggles)
Now back to problem of food and where it does and doesn’t come from.
The Food Farm is “the key education pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which tells the story of where food comes from and the importance of farmers to everyday life. Created for pre and primary school children, their families and showgoers in general, there is something for everyone to learn in the Food Farm. Children can grab a spade and dig in the garden to discover what vegetables grow underground or put on a blindfold and guess the variety of apple you are eating. You may go to the Grain Shed to mill your own grain and deliver it to the Bakery before putting on your apron and rolling-out some pastry for a pie. Inside the Egg Dome, children will learn about egg production and some of the amazing ways to cook with eggs or take a stroll through the virtual chicken farm to discover where our chicken meat comes from. Junior Farm Hands will love listening to the animal carers talk about how to care for farm animals in Livestock in the Round and allows children and their families to ask their own questions or pat large animals that are a feature of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.”
As I mentioned the Archies take pride of place at the Food Farm entrances as does a very big orange tractor that kids can sit it in and heaven forbid blow the horn which they do quite a bit as you can imagine.The signage is magnificent
and there are lots of great education tools to help the community learn more about where there food comes from including the Egg Dome
You will note this board does not ask the question. What animal lays eggs? It is interesting the board does ask if roosters lay eggs. I remember having a discussion at a party where not one adult (who wasn’t a farmer) had heard of the word hen. Every adult at the party thought an adult chicken was called a chicken and hence all chickens laid eggs. Now I have chickens I know that isn’t true, but not everyone is as lucky as me to have the hands on experiences and this is leading to some bizarre knowledge gaps in the community
These displays are pretty impressive stuff aren’t they?
Lots of info on safety and storage
and eggs and culture and there is more. The last thing I thought when I looked at these impressive displays was that Jenny and her team would discover that kids are very confused about where eggs actually come from
Jenny said it appeared the kids go this impression that eggs and dairy products came from the same animals from learning about the Food Pyramid and eggs and dairy are on the same line. Mmh am I missing something here?
I did a little Google research and apparently this is quite a common misconception amongst adults as well. Apparently some supermarkets aren’t helping by selling them with dairy items because they tend to group foods together by both storage and usage. In this case, both eggs and dairy must be stored under similar conditions, and are most often used with one another in recipes, so it’s apparently logical to locate them in the same part of the store for customers to find.
Another source says” eggs are often confused as both a form of dairy and of meat, but in reality, they are neither. Because eggs are an animal by-product, just like milk, many people categorize eggs as dairy. However, dairy is very specifically designated as the by-product of the mammary glands of mammals like cows or goats. Essentially dairy is any milk or milk-made product, such as butter or ice-cream. However, eggs are not meat either. Eggs are the foetal form of a mature animal, and are considered their own entity in and of themselves, than meat. Eggs are eggs and meat is meat.” But eggs are not a food group are they? They are protein, the food group with meat in it.
All I can say is its time to get back to the basics and give our kids some real hands on experiences and well done to the RAS team behind the new look Food Farm for giving next gen the opportunity to have fun and engaging true to life experiences. The research shows shows there is an 85% uptake rate when both theory and practice are combined compared with just the theory alone at 5%. ((Joyce and Showers 1995) 1. Wow!
But lets not stop there – Come on government lets get agriculture embedded in the curriculum from K to 12. Lets make sure we have engaged, knowledgeable and science literate students making wise decisions for the planet going forward because there is going to be a lot more more people to house,feed and clothe with less land, water and energy and its a tough ask to expect the dairy cows to produce not just milk but eggs too
BTW – Finding the Food Farm at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
By the way if you came to this page for information on who lays eggs.
The term chicken is used to refer to the bird itself. The female chicken is called a “hen” and the male chicken is called a “rooster” . Therefore hens lay eggs which if fertilized by a rooster will hatch to become chicks.
1. Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1995). Student achievement through staff development:
Fundamentals of school renewal (2nd ed.). White Plains, New York: Longman.
This is the second in our series on Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champions for 2012. As it turns out Billy Browning is very special indeed. Not just because he is our first male young farming champion but because everyone I have spoken to tells me he has a view of the world that we all readily admit we embraced. That is life is what you make. Grab it with both hands and make it happen. One of those people was John Bennett from Landmark who said “Simple words from me can not describe just how remarkable this young man is. I have no doubt that in years to come our industry and indeed, society will benefit from the experiences that Billy receives now.” Like Cotton Australia we are thrilled that we can play a small role in defining the future by investing in agriculture’s rising stars like Billy
Did you know that our family farm will produce cotton this year that will make over 860,000 pairs of jeans. Even better than that cotton is only part of a portfolio of food and fibres our family farm produces to feed and clothe Australians and many other people around the globe
My name is Billy Browning and I am pretty excited about that.
In fact I am pretty excited and proud of Australian agriculture in general.
Let me tell you why
Did you know rural, regional and remote Australia occupies 99 per cent of Australia’s landmass and supports 7.7 million people and is the source of close to 70% of our country’s export earnings?
It may also interest you to know the agribusiness sector employs close to 1 million people and has a combined value of over $200 billion per year. Our farmers are custodians of over 60 per cent of our landmass and the world’s third largest fishing zone.
We grow and produce over 93 per cent of our domestic food supply and export 80 per cent of total gross value. Not only that but our scientific research base is world class and our disease free, high quality produce underpins increasing overseas demand as our four billion Asian neighbours seek greater quantities of animal protein.
When you look at it like that you can see agriculture and its related support sectors are of great importance to our national economy and wellbeing. It is once you realise this that you can see the opportunities for young agricultural enthusiasts and the networks that are available.
I am excited my future lies with agriculture and this is my story…
I was born and grew up in the small town of Narromine located in the central west of NSW. It is here that my passion for agriculture first started. I live on a 3rdgeneration property located on the Macquarie River called ‘Narramine station.’ It has been my home all my life and hopefully will stay that way.
Harvesting wheat, Narramine Station, Narromine, December 1903
A convoy of five stripper harvesters and 10 strippers make short work of 5500 acres of wheat grown on the property. On the right can be seen a genuine one-horse-power tread winnower beside grain bags awaiting transport. The railhead at Narromine shipped as many as 103 waggon loads of grain in a day during the harvest.
Find more information about the Melvin Vaniman collection of photographic panoramas in the State Library of New South Wales’ catalogue: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemdetailpaged.aspx?itemid=413018
The property is 2276 hectares and was purchased in 1975 by my parents. 62% of the farm has access to irrigation water (in the good times) and we have both irrigated and dry land broad-acre cropping. We grow wheat, canola, cotton and corn just to name the major ones depending on the seasonal conditions and availability of water. This year water is in plentiful supply and we have 400 hectares of irrigated cotton.
To harvest this crop we will be employing 18 people for cotton picking which include 4 picker drivers, 6 module makers, 2 boll buggy drivers, 2 truck drivers and 4 ground crew.
The machinery on farm today looks a whole lot different to 1903!!!!!
The previous ten years of drought has led to many on farm innovations and we have realigned our farm business strategy to adapt to limited amounts of water and ensure long-term sustainability with increased hectares of dryland production. (Art4ag says BTW great story on this in The Land from 2010 can be found here)
Me as a young farmer
My parents tell me that my third word was ‘tractor,’ behind ‘mum and dad’ that is. As a kid I would always be going to work with dad and often known for falling asleep on the floor of the header during harvest. By the age of 5, I was driving manual vehicles around the farm and by the age of 13, I was part of the workforce, driving tractors as a contractor on neighbouring properties.
I also tried my hand fairly successfully at junior competitions at local shows gaining 1st places in sheep wool and cotton judging
My passion for agriculture increased when my parents sent me away to boarding school in year 7. At Knox Grammar School I studied agriculture in year 11 and 12 and this is where I became fascinated by the science and technology that underpins agriculture.
The future – How can we be the change that needs to be.
Firstly currently agriculture is facing a workforce shortage due in part to the ageing of its workforce. Within seven years, close to 57 per cent of our existing workforce will be over 55 and half of our agricultural scientists are already nearing retirement. I believe we can attract talented young people to agriculture by showing the innovation and productivity gains that drive the farming sector in this country using young people from within the industry to spread the message that farming is the business to be in for all the right reasons
Secondly it is fundamentally important that we get young people on farms to make the direct connection between the food and fibre and the farm. On-farm experience is where the greatest knowledge is gained, even if it is only a few hours, anybody that is even considering a career in agriculture should try and gain as much experience as possible in my eyes. The truth is; it is not hard at all to gain experience, there are so many industries out there that are willing to take you around for a day or that are running workshops. For those thinking of being agronomists, call up your local agronomist and just simply ask whether you can go for a run with him to a local farm and just gain an insight, for those wanting to focus more on the economics of agricultural, make a simple phone call to your local bank and ask whether they have an agricultural branch and whether it is possible to come in and just ask some simple questions, their answer will be yes. That is the greatest factor about the industry is that everyone is willing to give everyone a chance.
Obviously my love for agriculture has grown via the farm, I work full-time on the farm when I am home. I am involved in all operations, irrigation, harvest, picking, spraying, earth-moving, sowing and general farm maintenance. This has led me to realise the important relationship between farm inputs and outputs and why smart business thinking is they key to sustainable farming. This realisation has lead me to studying agricultural economics at the University of Sydney.
Support Networks Abound
I am fortunate enough to have gained a Sydney University Rural Sustainability scholarship and be an Horizon scholar. I mention these scholarships to show people that it is possible to get into university and follow your dreams even if you don’t get the marks or have the funds, there are so many scholarships on offer for people wanting to be involved in agriculture and wishing to enter the industry, you just have to go searching!
So this is my story to date and i hope it has show you like me you can have a bright future in the agriculture sector. I encourage those with an interest or even a niggling to go and ask questions as many questions as you would like There are plenty of people wanting to help.
Although I haven’t decided on what part of the industry I want to end up in, I know that I am trying to make the most of the opportunities out there and taking on everything along the way.
Just remember it’s a learning curve – and mistakes will be made along the way but my experience tells me there are plenty of people and support networks in agriculture and the rewards are worth it .
Art4agriculture has a brand new partnership with the cotton industry and we are very excited about it
Cotton Australia is investing in their next generation of farmers and inspiring people who support farmers and we have identified a number of cotton industry rising stars who will be sharing their stories with you via Art4agricultureChat over the coming months
Our first cab off the rank is Tamsin Quirk …….
If anyone had said to me seven years ago that I’d be a student at the University of New England completing a Bachelor of Agriculture I don’t think I would have believed them.
Coming from a non-farming background with both my parents in the health industry, I felt like I didn’t have the skills nor the knowledge to go into an agriculture related career.
Not only have I have learnt new things and developed new skills, I have formed lasting friendships and networks that are truly invaluable.
As A Kid
I grew up in Moree in NSW and it is cotton country. Its is also quite famous for its Hot Mineral Baths which were were discovered accidentally when searching for irrigation water in 1895. 300,000 visitors of all ages visit annually and many believe in the healing powers of the Artesian mineral waters.
The streets are filled with Toyota land cruisers and an array of other utes and 4WD’s – I love coming home from the city, or uni, to see three or four muddy big Toyotas parked down the main street. Another thing I absolutely love is the dress code, every second person is wearing a pair of boots and jeans with their sleeves rolled up, and then you’ll get the occasional Agri-Business guy walk past in his polished R.M Williams boots and moleskins. There is always and will always be a rural feel to the place which is what I love, and I think “how could you want to be anywhere else?” It’s so easy-going and has such a sense of community. Everyone says hello in the street and everyone knows who you are.
I’d lived in town until I was 12 and had never really been involved in agriculture, but once we moved out onto a bit of land, things changed.
My first introduction to the cotton industry was in primary school and I remember looking out the window and seeing the huge pieces of machinery being escorted past the school during harvests and cotton season, and being inquisitive as to what they did and how they worked. Check out the latest innovations in Cotton Picking here
Can you imagine how city people look when they see these monsters driving down the main street of Moree
Where it all began…
For one of my year 9 and 10 elective subjects at school I chose Agriculture. This was when my passion sparked. I had never reallyknown where I wanted to go in life until then. My agriculture teacher specialised in agronomy and this opened up an exciting world I had never really been exposed to. She was so enthusiastic about Ag. Walking through a paddock to check the veggie garden, the whole class would be pulled up to get a 5-minute rundown on a weed she’d just walked past and it was amazing to see someone so passionate, confident and knowledgeable; and it wasn’t just one weed, it’d be two or three on the way down and at least another one on the way back. I suddenly wanted to know about all the ins and outs of crop production and with cotton being so widely grown in the area, it was hard not to become involved. I soon was topping my Agricultural class in year 10 which resulted in me receiving the Dallas Parsons Memorial Award, which is given to students who have worked hard and been identified as having a bright future in Agriculture.
Years 11 and 12 saw me add Primary Industries to my studies and then I really saw my future opening up, I was topping the classes again and I couldn’t wait for every Ag and Primary Industries lesson. Although both the classes weren’t very big (with only 5 girls sitting the HSC Agriculture exam and me and one other boy sitting the Primary Industries one) I had so much fun and learnt so much about the important industries that feed, clothe and house us from doing the subjects. I got to the point where I wanted to do nothing else as a career, and Agriculture was my soul focus.
Hard work, passion and commitment delivers cotton to my door
Coming towards the end of year 12 I set my eye on winning the Auscott Scholarship.Every year the local Auscott cotton ginning company awards this scholarship to a local Moree year 12 student who has worked hard and has persistence and enthusiasm for the career that they want to take. The scholarship is worth $11,500 for every year of study for 3 or 4 years. After a long process of waiting in anticipation I was shortlisted and then had a phone call to say that I had been chosen to be the recipient. The scholarship will be a massive aid for helping to pay for my accommodation and textbooks as well as giving me a contact network as I go forward to a career in the cotton industry.
Auscott “Midkin” farm manager Sean Boland with the recipient of the award Tamsin Quirk, and her parents Shayne and David Quirk – Photo courtesy of Moree Champion read the full story here.
As my knowledge for agriculture grows, so does my passion and I realise and appreciate how lucky I was to have grown up in a community underpinned by the cotton industry. Our local cotton farms are family run businesses and cotton is the economic and social lifeblood of our community
I realised that not everybody had highways that looked like some-one had just busted a thousand pillows open all over the side of the road, and trucks all loaded up with wheat and cotton weren’t a regular thing in the main streets of other towns.
Does it get more beautiful than images like this?
The most important thing growing up in Moree has shown me is how important it is to have young people in the industry with a fiery passion and a desire to educate those who aren’t fully aware of the valuable role our farmers play in feeding and clothing not only Australians but many other people around the world.
The cotton industry is very lucky indeed to have Tamsin don’t you think?
Art4agriculture has arrived at the Sydney Royal Easter Show twelves hours before show time and wow is there movement at the station
Here are some highlights from my quick visit to check on the Archies to see if they were well fed and watered
Firstly I passed through the beef cattle pavilion with my eyes wide open for the Camden Haven High team. I ran into Annie who proudly showed off their heifer and steer and I look forward to meeting the rest of the team tomorrow. Good luck guys
Then I made my way through the rest of the beef cattle sheds. I read somewhere there are over 900 recognised breeds of cattle in the world. Well there are plenty of them at the show I can assure you.
Including these cuties
And my favourites the Belted Galloways
and some Red Poll Herefords and some Charolais and Lowlines
Hi my name is Paige and I attend Camden Haven High School. I love my school and I want to tell you what makes it special. Agriculture that’s what!!!!.
Agriculture is compulsory for years seven and eight. I think this is a great idea as it gives students who do not live rurally or who do not have the opportunity to live with animals and have agricultural knowledge the chance to experience and enjoy what agriculture has to offer young people of today.
Our agricultural department focuses on a ‘paddock to plate’ experience giving the students in years nine and ten the option of electing two courses unique to Camden Haven High School; Vet studies and Agrifoods. From year nine to twelve, agriculture is also available for students to elect for study . In years eleven and twelve we have the opportunity to do both primary industries and senior agriculture, along with a new horticulture course.
The agricultural department not only has strong links with local farmers but also supports local businesses by buying their produce. The Camden Haven High School Agricultural Department has also formed a sub branch of the Camden Haven Show Society and we are are actively involved in preparing, organising, giving ideas and helping out with local events.
Agriculture has become so popular at our school the number of students who attend the agricultural plot before school, at recess and at lunch times has tripled in as many years. We have a very diverse range of animals that we care for including chickens, sheep, ducks, rabbits, turkeys, budgies, guinea-fowl, pigs, donkeys, cattle (including three breeding heifers), a water buffalo, guinea-pigs and two national park certified brumbies.
What is particularly special about the ‘ag plot’ is it is also a safe place for students who do not fit in with the rest of the school or are having a rough time or just enjoy the peace and quiet as there is always a great student/teacher support network to found in the agriculture department
I am personally involved with the school cattle team. Being the leader/captain has helped with my personal development and taught me many life and team work skills.
It has improved my ability to speak publicly, organisational skills, give directions confidently and have learned that it is important to make the wisest decisions even if they are not the most popular.
Currently there are forty students actively involved in preparing and showing the school cattle for the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I must admit directing such a large team gives me a positive sense of satisfaction and confidence.
The animals we are showing come from our agricultural teacher Mr Hickson, he grows Limousin and Limousin cross steers and heifers. They are also donated to our school by our long-time supporter Robert Rule.
We selected these animals as they both have the muscle development and fat coverage for their weight classes; they are also wide through the top line from the shoulders through to the rump. They are the pick of the animals from this year’s show team as they display the best attributes.
Students in the Sydney Show team this year are mainly year 10 students who have been constantly involved in showing cattle from year 7 onwards and they make up the bulk of the senior students in the team and basically run it.
We have been preparing our animals since October 2011, when they were first brought in to be broken in. This involves daily walking, brushing, leading and feeding our animals.
They are also tied up daily to get used to long periods of being in one place; we also wash and blow-dry our animals to prepare them for cleaning at the show.
This is our first royal and it will be a new experience and all the students are so excited and highly appreciative of having this great opportunity.
and to top it all off one of their students is a finalist in Cream of the Crop Competition with the winners presented with their prizes on April 14th at the Show in the RM Williams Stables
How timely these photos came through late last night of Olympic Park preparations for the Royal Easter Show from an excited George Davey AM General Manager, Agriculture at Sydney Royal