Young Farming Champions with Grand Champion Archie 2017 and Wendy Taylor our art judge
On behalf of the Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) team it gives me great pleasure to share the PYiA annual report with our loyal supporters.
Ten years ago, we started with a vision to empower young people in the agriculture to share their stories and, in doing so, engage with the community to raise awareness and increase appreciation of the Australian agriculture sector.
Ten years down the track we are delighted and humbled to know this is now a reality. With our cornerstone programs, Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize, we are exceeding our initial goals and taking our expectations to new levels.
The 2017 Annual Report highlights these successes.
Young Farming Champions highlights include:
- The creation of an events activation team, which sees YFC taking their stories to diverse audiences. A recent highlight is our partnership with industry and the RAS of NSW to provide primary school students with interactive workshops and a secondary school careers workshop at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
- Establishing themselves beyond agriculture – speaking at events such as TED talks and being selected as finalists in national Young Achiever Awards
- Leadership roles within the agricultural industry – including positions with Farmers for Climate Action, Future Farmers Network, RAS Youth Group, ASC Next Gen and NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council
- Creation of a media presence as youth with high credentials and strong reputations as witnessed in recent ABC Rural YFC interview Series on Country Hour.
- Establishment of a Youth Voices Leadership Team to mentor and support the Young Farming Champions and provide an agricultural youth leadership voice to community, media and industry.
The Archibull Prize highlights include:
- Schools now see the connection of agriculture to many aspects of their community, extending beyond food and fibre
- Post participating in the program all students had positive attitudes towards farmers’ environmental stewardship and water resource management. 73% of teachers reported having changed the way they now think about agriculture. In particular, understanding agricultural systems from farm to final product and the challenges facing farmers. There has been an increased respect for farmers, those supporting farmers, and appreciation of the high level of competence it takes to deliver food and fibre to the community. Much of this is due to two factors: contact with Young Farming Champions and other farming / agricultural professionals; and learning about sustainability challenges affecting Agriculture through topics such as Climate Change, Biosecurity, Food Security and Waste, Renewable Energy, Healthy Communities.
- Teachers observed a significant increase in student interest in careers in Agriculture. At the end of the program students were able to mention more than three different careers in Agriculture with a focus on STEM e.g. agronomist, engineer, scientist, geneticist. Students also identified STEM related career pathways in agriculture they would like to follow. See page 19 of The Archibull Prize report here. This is in complete contrast to The Archibull Prize student entry survey where students were only able to list farming related activities and unable to list a career in agriculture. Teachers attributed this change largely to meeting a Young Farming Champion (YFC). Students developed an appreciation of the physical aspects of farming; as well as admiration for the professionalism, knowledge, work skills and ethic and personal passion of each YFC. They gained insights into farm practices and potential career pathways through hearing the YFC’s story.
We look forward to sharing our 2018 journey with you.