Young Farming Champions Muster October 2019 1st Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the world… 

In the Field

What better way to start the week than with news just in from the rice fields of Myanmar, where YFC Sam Coggins is working as a Soil Research Officer at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) – a government agency in Australia’s aid program that commissions agricultural research to support farmers in developing countries and Australia.

 

Sam sent us this “Day in the Life” snapshot: 

We work with partners in Asia, Africa and the Pacific to collaboratively create practical solutions for shared farming challenges. The ultimate goal to support food security, sustainability and economic prosperity for us and our neighbours. For example, one project is analysing how rice growers in Myanmar and Australia could use fertilizer more productively and sustainably. Part of my job has been iterating a digital fertilizer advisory tool with farmers in Myanmar to learn how we can make it useful for them. 

Here is an average day of prototype iterations:

  • Have strangely tasty naan with beans in it (local Myanmar brekky dish), drive to the house of local research partners and plan consultations for the day.
  • Travel to villages and sit down with farmers to chat about farming and bounce the latest prototypes of digital fertilizer advisory tool off them. 
  • Return to our accommodation, chat through what we learned and redevelop the parts of the smartphone app that farmers didn’t like. 
  • I love my job because it has so much variety and I get to practically contribute to stuff I really believe in.
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Sam, left, celebrating after finishing intense week of prototype iteration
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This farmer has 3ha of farmland, two weather apps, a farming apps, an app to measure the size of his paddocks and two Buddhism apps. He told us we need to make the fertilizer app for him faster. 

 

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Back in Australia, resident Biosecurity Officer and wool Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge recently held the final meeting in a two year long feral pig monitoring project. The project, which is part of a PhD project for feral pig expert Darren Marshall of SQ Landscapes, involved the collaring of feral pigs to monitor their movement across the landscape, the testing of blood samples for zoonotic diseases and an index of abundance camera monitoring project. Another essential aspect of the project is the community perception and participation in feral pig control.
The project was initially featured on landline in 2018, and a follow up segment was aired last weekend. Watch the story here. 

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Lucy also held a meeting to support the landholders involved in the Cuttabri area who successfully obtained a grant to manage pests and weeds in their area. Feral cat and feral pig traps have been sourced locally, grain for free feeding and ammunition for the humane destruction of pest animals have been supplied to the group to support their in-kind work in controlling pest animals on their holdings. This program is also supported by Australian Wildlife Conservency who are actively working in the Pilliga National Park and State Conservation Adea fo reintroduce native species such as the Bilby.
Information about the grant can be found here.

Lucy said that it’s thanks to opportunities such as Young Farming Champions and The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition that she has developed her presentation and facilitation skills to deliver meetings and workshops in her extension role.

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Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien made time to get amongst it and snap some beautiful family photos in the crops. Keiley and her partner Ross run Nobel’s Contracting and are experiencing their most wide spread hay making season yet, with jobs from Tullamore, to Cowra to Balranald. 

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Wool YFC Bessie Thomas is getting ready for shearing across their western NSW properties this month. Their shearing team will shear about 10,000 merinos during the next few weeks, with the wool then heading down to Elders wool technician and auctioneer Samantha Wan to work her magic fetching the best price for the fibre. 

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Bessie’s daughter Airlie all tuckered out getting ready for shearing.

Wool YFC Melissa Henry from Quebon Coloured Sheep hosted the Re-Gen Grazing Group at their farm near Young, NSW. “We were out in the paddocks looking at pasture, root growth and soils. We received some really positive feedback and a few tips on how we can further improve our pastures through grazing management. Thank you Boorowa Community Landcare Group, Scott Hickman and all members of this very supportive group,” Melissa says. 

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Out of the Field 

The September School Holidays marked the arrival of the Royal Melbourne Show. Besides the showbags, carnival rides, horse events & livestock judging there’s another side of agricultural show’s that’s not always seen by the general public. Wool YFC Sam Wan & YVLT Chair Dr Jo Newton had the opportunity to experience some of this.

Dressed to impress, Sam and Jo attended the Official Opening of the Royal Melbourne Show with the Governor of Victoria the Hon. Linda Dessau AC. Sam attended as a finalist for this year’s Emerging Leader in Victorian Agriculture (ELVA) awards while Jo was there as a 2018 ELVA winner.  They were accompanied by Sam’s husband Tom (left) and Jo’s brother James (right). 

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In addition to recognising  young people who are passionate about careers in agriculture, events during the show also pay tribute to the army of people who bring the show to life. 

Jo says, “Attending the Art, Craft and Cookery High Tea opened my eyes to a whole other side of the show. At this year’s show more than 4000 entries were received across all the art, craft and cookery judging categories. This is many more entries than the 172 received at the first competition in 1911! The High Tea is an opportunity to not only acknowledge the Championship winners but also celebrate all the stewards – show volunteers – who take care of the logistics of such a big competition. It was fascinating learning more about what’s involved in this part of the show.”

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In further Melbourne Show news, YFC Jasmine Green was a judge in the Beef Cattle Interbreed competition and National Farmers Federation 2030 Leader and Lego Farmer Aimee Snowdon attended the Agribusiness Leaders Luncheon. 

Congrats to Jo Newton also for her second opinion piece for Farm Online, “What we can learn from the Visible Farmer Project.” Read the story here. 

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Climate YFC and founder of Climate Wise Agriculture Anika Molesworth is proud of her local council has become the latest to declare a Climate Emergency. Anika addressed Broken Hill Council and a room full of supporters last week as part of the public forum and the Landcare group that was driving this declaration. She says the council chambers broke into loud applause in support of the declaration. 

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“The role of local government in responding to #ClimateChange is critical. It’s not just about reducing our emissions but helping our residents respond and build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Impacts are being experienced by our local community, environment and infrastructure,” Anika says.” 

“Building pressure on higher levels of government to fund and legislate for emergency action to restore a safe climate is the most critical task a council can undertake”

Late last month Anika one of 24 farmers from Farmers for Climate Action who met at NSW Parliament House to launch the “Change is in the Air” report, “telling politicians to follow our lead and act on climate change so we can farm forever.”

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Anika appeared in Women’s Day last month, writing about the national climate marches, and the Barrier Daily Times last week speaking on council declaration. Keep up the great work Anika! 

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University of New England YFC Becca George traveled to Dalby, Qld, for the 2019 SMARTBEEF Conference was held from October 2nd – 4th. “Some highlights of SMARTBEEF include the demonstration of the ‘bunk bot’ an autonomous bunk reading robot, and a Q&A and demonstration from celebrity chef Jess Pryles, also known as ‘hardcore carnivore,’” Becca says. 

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“Jess cooked tri tip beef using her line of meat seasoning and a smoker. There were many great speakers, demos and of coarse yummy grain fed beef! Thank you to Angus Australia for sponsoring me to attend SMARTBEEF 2019.” 

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Beef YFC Jasmine Green featured in a “Where are they now?” throwback on Angus Australia as part of their Angus Bulletins’ centenary editions. Read more about Jas’s story here: Angus Youth: Where are they now? – Jasmine Green 

Grains YFC Marlee Langfield was mentioned in parliament by Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP following last month’s Pizza and Pitch series of consultations with youth across the Cootamundra electorate. 

In the video below Steph Cooke MP says, “Among the many inspirational attendees in Cowra was Marlee Langfield who would like to see a better connection between current Agricultural Show Societies and the next generation. We spoke about the stigma young people experience in joining committees and groups and discussed ways to move forward towards bettter integration and acceptance.” 

 

Marlee also appeared in The Land Newspaper this week, celebrating 100 years of the Morongla Show. Marlee is an enthusiastic volunteer on her local show committee. 

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Beef YFC Bronwyn Roberts has been announced as a speaker at the Young Beef Producers Forum, running in Roma, Qld, 14-15 November. 

YFC Sally Downie appeared in The Land article Young People Talk Drought, on the UNICEF youth drought summit. Read more here. 

YFC and meat scientist Steph Fowler featured in the Cowra Guardian article “Advances in agriculture and a rich history on show at DPI Open Day.” Read more here. 

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Prime Cuts 

YFC past and present are continuing to impress on the national stage! Congratulations to the following young movers and shakers for these incredible accolades: 

University of New England (UNE) YFC Ruby Canning and National Farmers Federation 2030 Leader Matt Champness have both been awarded a BBM Youth Support Agriculture scholarships. 

Ruby Canning (6)Ruby will be travelling to Canada and hopes to gain industry contacts and insight into the feedlot industry, including topics such as carcass quality, cattle health, and value chain relationships

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Matt is heading to Israel and the Netherlands to gain exposure to circular economies and water use efficiency. 

Ruby Canning has also recently landed the role of media and publicity coordinator for the UNE Farming Futures executive committee. You’ll rock it Ruby!

YFC Sally Downie has been named a finalist for Agricultural Student of the Year in the Farmer of the Year awards, and Picture You in Agriculture founder Lynne Strong and Sally’s YFC mentor Meg Rice have been officially invited to attend this year’s awards ceremony. Good Luck Sally!

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In the world of cotton, two past YFC Billy Browning and Richie Quigley have been announced Nuffield Australia scholarship recipients. Huge congrats!

 

Billy Browning has also been named a finalist in the ADAMA Young Cotton Achiever of the Year Awards. Good luck Billy.

Perth based grains YFC Calum Watt travelled to Brisbane as a finalist in the 3 Minute Thesis competition, although he didn’t progress to the final we’re incredibly proud of his efforts. This week he’s back in WA learning all things TV and radio communication as part of the Fresh Science program. This wraps up with informal “layman’s presentations” on big scientific topics on Wednesday night. Good luck Calum! 

 

Lifetime Highlights 

Jump onto Facebook and follow Red Meat YFC Kirsty McCormack’s page Cow Nerd Girl, sharing her insights into rodeo and international agriculture from Australia to Canada. “Writing has always been a secret love, along with the camera this is permanently attached to my arm,” Kirsty writes. “With an opinion always formed I decided I would share some of these moments (good and bad) with the rest of the world.” If you’ve ever wondered what life is like in the world of Canadian beef ranches and rodeo, follow along here. 

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This beautiful photo below of YFC Bessie Thomas’s daughter Airlie was re-grammed by ABC Kids sustainability warrior Dirt Girl #dirtgirlworldofficial 

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Archie Action 

The 10th Annual Judging Tour of the Archibull Prize is kicking off and we’ve received some fabulous sneak peaks! If you don’t follow us on Facebook, now’s the time to pop over to Picture You in Agriculture and enjoy our most favourite time of year: #ArchieAction time! 

 

More detailed photos and video of all this year’s amazing entries will be going up on the Art4AgricultureChat blog so WATCH THIS SPACE as we head towards the biggest event of our year, the Archibull Prize Finals!

#YouthinAg #ArchieAction #FriendsofPYiA  #YouthVoices19 #StrongerTogether

Special shoutout to our supporting partners none of this happens without you_2019 Proudly supported by

 

 

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