This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country (and globe!)
In the Field
Sheep breeders descend on Dubbo.
Central West NSW was home to all things sheep on the week of the 18th of March. Wool Young Farming Champion (YFC) and Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) Secretary, Peta Bradley was present along with a 300 plus strong crowd at the Sheep CRC Final Conference celebrating 19 years of industry collaboration, research and adoption. Following this Sheep Genetics, who Peta works for, had their Leading Breeder conference, 170 sheep breeders from 6 states plus New Zealand attended.The conference theme was “Breeding sheep for a Future Environment”. See the word cloud below from the conference under the #leadingbreeder19 tag taken from the avid sheep breeders on Twitter.
Jasmine Whitten our Eggs Young farming Champion has been busy attending the Local Landcare Coordinator State Gathering in Sydney. This was an event where all the coordinators from across NSW got together for a few days of networking, sharing and learning from each other. At the event Jasmine participated in strategic planning, governance, and group facilitation workshops. She learnt a few tips and tricks which will hopefully make their way into her school presentations in this year’s Archibull Prize.
On top of this Jasmine in her role as a Local Landcare Coordinator at Western Landcare worked with the Buckwaroon Landcare Group organised a schools event for year 4 students at Cobar Public School. This event was called Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms and taught students how farmers care for their soil through the use of QR codes, using a stream table and an experiment which focused on the importance of grasses in our farming systems. It was a huge success with students asking if they can do it every single week!
Check out this little girl explaining how it all works – another Jasmine in the making
YFC Calum Watt is kicking big goals in Western Australia as he researches better breeds of barley at Murdoch University in Perth. Calum is completing a PhD aiming to increase barley yields under future predicted temperature increases and has been nominated by his university to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in August. We look forward to the insights from the symposium – jump over to the blog to read more about Calum’s research!
The ‘field’ for many of our YFCs currently extends well beyond the paddocks of Australia – YFC Laura Phelps is currently in the United Kingdom leading the team responsible for EU-Exit for the Food Standards Agency. The Food Standards Agency makes sure that food is safe, what it says it is and that the rights of the consumer are protected. Laura has put together a guest blog for us on what she’s loving about working in the UK and the path that led her there – have a read and check out her visit to Hogwarts!
YFC and YVLT Chair Jo Newton guest hosted the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from Ireland which also happens to coincide with the day of the Irish – St Patricks Day! Originally Jo started her YFC experience has a Wool YFC and she got her sheep fix by heading to an Irish sheep farm for lambing. You can read more about Jo’s experiences on our Facebook Page.
Some of the Eastern States were lucky enough to get under some much needed rain over the last fortnight with some significant rainfall reports recorded. Reports of >120mm in Central West NSW were recorded and some rivers which have not flown in 2 and a half years now have water moving downstream.
As Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge commented it would have been pretty awesome to watch the Castlereagh River start flowing again in Coonamble! This footage right on 12pm as the waters hit town ☔️
Fingers crossed that this is a sign of things to come for the rest of 2019 and follow up rainfall is not too far off the horizon. See our Facebook Page to see where the rain fell!
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Out of the field
Now for an update on the launch of our Paddock Pen Pals program! Last muster we’d had the first couple of Google Hangout sessions beaming our YFCs straight into the classroom. The next wool YFCs taking the schoolroom to the paddock – or wool selling centre – were Sam Wan and Chloe Dutschke. Sam had an immediate connection with the students from Carlingford West Public School, being a city-kid herself. Chloe tuned in from the vast plains of Hay NSW which amazed the students in their classroom.
Our YFCs are again gearing up for Primary School Preview Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which will be held on 11th April. Students in Years 4-6 will experience the show behind the scenes and learn about Australian agriculture in a series of fun and interactive workshops. This year we are excited to be partnering with University of New England (UNE) and their Discovery Voyager team to bring five workshops to students on the day. YFC Jasmine Whitten will be talking all things eggs, YFCs Sam Wan and Haylee Murrell will be sharing the wonders of wool, YFC Casey Onus will workshop the secrets in soils and YFC Tim Eyes will bring the story of bees to students. We can’t wait to share with you some stories from the day in our next muster!
Earlier this month YFC and Youth Voices Vice Chair Emma Ayliffe recapped her recent trip to Israel over on our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page. Emma shared many insights into the 2019 ADAMA Young Agronomist Study Tour, including everything from farming systems in Israel to the nation’s rich cultural landscape.
Emma’s recap coincided with World Water Day on March 22nd, here’s what Emma had to say about water use in Israel:
“I was lucky enough while in Israel to spend a day looking a desert farming, it is amazing to see high value crops being successfully grown in a region that receives 30mm/year! Irrigation allows these small producers to capitalise on their land, even though the water they use is extremely salty. This means that irrigation decisions need to carefully assessed based on weather, soil salt levels and the growth stage of the crop. It is truly amazing to see what can achieved with a bit of determination.”
Catch up on more of Emma’s recap over at our Facebook page!
Congratulations to part of the YFC family, Greg Mills, who alongside his business partner in FutureGen Education Angela Colliver, was recognised for innovation in training programs in meat processing plants across NSW. Greg and Angela have developed programs to introduce school teachers to the industry, including plant tours and processing operations such as biosecurity risks, ethical handling of animals, use of robotics and packaging. Well done Angela and Greg!
Greg Mills and Angela Colliver of FutureGenEducation
This week the NSW & ACT Geography Teachers’ Association annual conference is to be held at Sydney’s ANZ stadium. Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is keynote speaker at the conference and will speak on youth in agriculture, climate and community. This year’s conference theme is “reflecting on the past, assessing the present and shaping the future” and we are proud that Anika has been chosen to share her powerful messages on this theme. Congratulations Anika!