Anika Molesworth took the Young Farming Champions message global when she visited Antartica as part of Homeward Bound
Welcome to the first Young Farming Champions Muster for 2020. What a year it has been already; opening with drought, morphing into bushfires, blessed with rain and now we are living in a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. However, our cohorts of YFCs are not called champions for nothing and are rising to all challenges placed before them.
Let’s have a look at what Young Farming Champions have been up to under the umbrella of the coronavirus.
First up, the YFC alumni at Youth Voices Leadership Team have announced their new committee for 2020. We welcome Emma Ayliffe as Chair, Dione Howard as Vice Chair, Marlee Langfield and Jasmine Whitten as Social Media Coordinators, Jo Newton as Returning Officer, Samantha Wan as Innovation Hub Representative, Anika Molesworth as Partnerships Ambassador and Jessica Fearnley as the Cultivate Intern.
Speaking of Cultivate, expressions of interest are now open for the 2020 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Program.
And not even coronavirus is going to stop The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas with work underway to take the programs online with a new collaborative vision.
In The Field
Our YFC horticulturists Emily May, Tayla Field and Jess Fearnley are exploring new pathways on their career journeys. Emily commenced work with Ace Ohlsson at the end of March as a sales support officer based in McGrath’s Hill (north-west Sydney), and she is excited by the opportunity to share her knowledge with farmers in the region.
And Jess, who works as a development officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries, is using skills learnt in her first year of the Cultivate program to kick start her leadership journey.
And while we’re talking about careers this blog, written by our AWI colleague Sam Arnfield, is a great example of where agriculture can take you.
Out of the Field
In March YVLT Social Media Coordinator Marlee Langfield joined a group of industry trailblazers, influences and farmers who came together from across Australia to begin their journey on the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. The aim of this six month program is to upskill producers in engagement to raise awareness and build connections with different audiences about the experience of grain farming in Australia. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.
Marlee has also featured on the Invisible Farmer Project with her story titled: Proud to call myself a rural woman. We’re proud to call you a YFC, Marlee. Read her fabulous story here.
Photographer/Source: Catherine Forge, Museums Victoria
It was back to school for Jo Newton (third from left in photo) who returned to Tintern Grammar as part of the Junior School Girls International Women’s Day celebrations. The Year 6 students ran the assembly with each year level preparing interview questions about different alumni’s careers. The Preps prepared questions for Jo, which included asking her about why she enjoyed working with animals and what steps they could take if they wanted to work with animals. The Preps also performed a special song they had written about Jo.
YFC agronomist Casey Onus presented a talk on “promotion, price and unheard advice” to growers and emerging agronomists at the Grains Research and Development Corporation catch up in Goodiwindi on March 3. Good on you Casey for paying it forward.
YFCs Jasmine Whitten, Dione Howard, Matt Cumming, Meg Rice, Keiley O’Brien, Marlee Langfield, and Dan Fox attended the inaugural Young Farmer Business Program in Dubbo on February 7. Gatherings such as this play an integral role in our networking, socialising and personal wellbeing. Watch the videos here and here.
Anika Molesworth moderated an online panel webinar titled “Making a Global Difference” on March 19th – run by the Crawford Fund and the Future Farmers Network. The webinar was about agriculture in developing countries, its benefits of volunteering to our neighbours and Australian agriculture, and pathways to get involved. Anika was joined by fellow YFC Sam Coggins on the panel who gave great insight on his time working overseas in agricultural development and what he’s up to now with ACIAR.
Emily May has teamed up with Harvest Trails and Markets (aka Hawkesbury Harvest) and ABC702 radio who broadcast ‘what’s fresh on the Farm Gate Trail’ each Saturday morning.
“Through connections made with YFC I was put in contact with the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail who offered me the opportunity to be one of their voices for their segment on ABC radio. I have applied what I have learnt by reducing the amount of jargon I use in my speech and ensuring the message I portray is of positive nature. Making sure to not reinforce the negative has also been important in developing my messages.”
Emma Ayliffe, never one to sit still for long, began 2020 by setting up Tulli Young Farmers and hosting their first field day with guest speakers including our very own Dan Fox. Read more here.
Did we mention Emma doesn’t like to sit still? Well we are pleased to announce she has been recognised for all her dedication and hard work, being named a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards.
“The Young Leader Award is much bigger than me,” Emma says. “It’s a recognition for the business and the amazing people I work with. It is an amazing pat on the back for the YFC and YVLT for all we have achieved and a huge recognition for the wider ag industry that allows someone like me to have a go and push the boundaries”.
This, folks, is leadership at its finest and we will be keen to follow Emma’s leadership journey closely over the next few years.
Also kicking big goals is YVLT Vice Chair Dione Howard who was named a finalist in the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) 2020 RAS Rural Achiever Award. Unfortunately the Sydney Royal Easter Show is cancelled this year due to coronavirus but on the flip side Dione has another twelve months to polish her skills! The 2020 Rural Achiever cohort will be held over until 2021.
Not one but two Cotton YFCs have been awarded Nuffield Australia Scholarships!! Narromine’s Billy Browning, supported by the Australian Department of Agriculture and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, will investigate the value-adding of irrigation water and increased utilisation of low-flow water, while Richie Quigley, supported by the CRDC and Cotton Australia, will investigate cropping systems and methods to retain more crop residue in zero-tillage farming systems. Congratulations boys.
Congratulations to YFCs Hannah Hawker and Prue McCormack who have welcomed little bundles of joy into the world. Alfie George Hawker was born on 2.12.2019 to Hannah and Sam, while Isla McCormack was born to Prue and Shannon McCormack. Congratulations also to Keiley O’Brien and her partner Ross who tied the knot in late February. Rumour has it they got the got the best wedding gift anyone could ever ask for – a decent drop of rain!
But all great love stories have a few good plot twists. This was the sunset at which Anika and her fiancé Corey were to say their wedding vows. Their loved ones would raise their champagne to the sky, the orchestra would play and they would dance as the stars came out. However, this chapter took a different turn.
“Instead of symbolising a life of love between two people, this sunset is written into our story to signify the love we have for all family and friends in our hearts. The wedding will just have to wait for another perfect sunset when the threat of COVID 19 is just a thing of the past.”