If you aged between 18 and 30 and interested in sharing your passion for the wool industry you may consider being part of the Young Farming Champions (YFC) Program.
The YFC Program aims to develop confident, independent, reflective thinkers who can share their stories and voice their opinions about agriculture.
“What a fantastic opportunity to become more involved in the industry I love and to showcase it in classrooms, changing any preconceived ideas of what a farmer should look like and what is happening on a farm level,” Peta Bradley, a third generation sheep farmer from Armatree in New South Wales.
Peta Bradley 2015 AWI Young Farming Champion
Peta joined the YFC program in 2014 and along with colleagues Emma Turner from Ivanhoe, NSW and Pat Morgan from Colbinabbin, Victoria.
Once selected for the YFC program applicants participate in a series of workshops under the mentorship of some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts.
“I went from crying from the fear of public speaking to having the confidence to stand up and talk to a room of like-minded adults or a classroom of students,” Emma says. Conducted in Sydney the workshops also equip graduates with unique insights into all aspects of the agricultural supply chain, as well as consumer attitudes and trends.
Emma Turner 2015 AWI Young Farming Champion
One of the first tests of a YFC is to work with primary and secondary schools as part of the Archibull Prize (http://archibullprize.com.au/). In 2015 Pat helped students from Wagga and Lockhart to design their “Archie” answering questions about wool that started as basic ones and became more in-depth as the students developed a greater appreciation of the industry. “It was more than a fibreglass cow artwork,” Pat says. “It represented a theme, an industry and a paddock-to-plate process.”
Emma and Peta joined forces with Sydney’s Matraville Sports High School, where they were the first farmers some students had met, and were impressed with the resources provided by AWI in the form of classroom teaching materials and videos. “They are wonderful tools to use in presenting not only in schools but anywhere when discussing the fantastic fibre that is wool,” Peta says. The partnership of Peta, Emma and AWI saw Matraville crowned Grand Champion Archibull, winner of the 2015 competition.
Young Farming Champions with Hon Niall Blair MP Minister for Department of Primary Industries Land and Water the winn er of The 2015 Archibull Prize “Cowch”
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) continue to support their YFCs once the initial program is complete – engaging them with both industry and community audiences; and providing financial assistance to attend workshops, exhibitions and conferences. Peta, Emma and Pat have spoken to students about careers in agriculture as part of AgVision, attended the Sydney Royal Easter Show with AWI to discuss wool with interested members of the public, and mingled with industry leaders at LambEx.
The YFC program is just one feature in an increasingly busy educational offering of the research, development and marketing body. Together with initiatives such as the National Merino Challenge, Breeding Leadership, Learn About Wool kits, Wool4School and various student and post graduate scholarships, AWI is strongly committed to education and training of the next wool leaders.
The first step to becoming a Wool Young Farming Champion begins with an application form.
As Pat says: “If you’re anything like me and have a passion for agriculture, I would more than highly recommend the YFC program. YFCs are a team of like-minded young people and you will form a network that will last a life-time. The YFCs all love what they do, are proud of their role in agriculture and, best of all, they get the opportunity to share it.”
Read what YFC Tom Tourle has to say about his jounrey here
Expressions of interest open for the Wool Young Farming Champions program in March 2016. Please contact program manager Lynne Strong on firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 0407 740 446.
Read about the Young Farming Champions at our website