Covid continues to affect how we live and work and our thoughts this month are especially with our Victorian Young Farming Champions once again in lockdown. Yet even under these conditions they continue to shine.
Covid has challenged us to re-think the delivery of The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas and in this we took a proactive approach by developing a new model earlier in the year; and how to incorporate our YFC, whose travel restrictions change on a daily basis, was also an area in which we had to adapt.
Picture You in Agriculture is an organisation driven by agile and determined youth and we have been able to use virtual classroom options to expose young people to the diversity of careers in agriculture using our Paddock Pen Pals model. Carlingford West Public School in western Sydney recently participated in a Paddock Pen Pals session where six YFC – Lucy Collingridge, Chloe Dutschke, Danila Marini, Katherine Bain, Samantha Wan and Dione Howard – were thrilled to torpedo the stereotypical expectations of what a farmer looked like. It was a brilliant opportunity to show young people who they can be.
And remember we said Victoria was in lockdown? Well the organisers of PPP thought it might be a good idea to give Melbourne-based wool-broker Sam Wan a rest from school participation. Sam got wind of this and was straight on the phone wanting passionately to be involved.
“I grew up only half an hour from Carlingford West – these students were me – and I had no idea about wool at their age.
I was excited to talk to the next generation of wool consumers about the benefits of wool and wool’s importance in Australia and of the career opportunities available.” Seems you can’t keep a good YFC down!” Sam says
In The Field
In the field our cropping YFCs are revelling in a good season and are in awe of the difference twelve months and a bit of rain can make!
Down at Lake Cargelligo, as she scans her now lush paddocks, agronomist Emma Ayliffe believes she has the best job in the world coming into spring. Emma has also been out-standing in her field (pun intended), talking to ABC Radio about Yacker. She had a yarn with Kia Handley about Covid and how Yacker is getting people talking again.
The canola crops around Cowra in Central West NSW are coming along a treat. Frequent in-crop rainfall and slightly warmer temperatures are bringing in brilliant yellow flowers across Marlee Langfield’s paddocks. “We have been blessed with substantial rain throughout the season, which is saturating our soils and causing our machinery to bog, so we called in the local ag pilot for our recent fungicide spray to get the job done,” Marlee said.
In other Cowra-based news YFC and meat scientist Dr Stephanie Fowler has taken on more responsibility in her role with NSW DPI’s Centre for Sheep and Red Meat Innovation. With the retirement of her “great supervisor, mentor and boss” Dr David Hopkins, Steph will continue his work in collaboration with colleague Dr Benjamin Holman.
Shoutout to Cowra Guardian for the photo
Calum Watt continues with his research to breed better barley for our beer and recently published his latest findings. Read all about “Harnessing Transcription Factors as Potential Tools to Enhance Grain Size Under Stressful Abiotic Conditions in Cereal Crops” here. We love your work Calum!
Out of the Field
Out of the field and into the wider world and it has been podcast central for our YFCs this month as they share their stories across multiple platforms.
The successful YFC conversation series Leadership is Language has continued with YFC filling both the interviewer and interviewee roles.
Hannah Hawker opened the current round of proceedings when she sat down with ARLF’s Graham Smith on July 23, Dr Anika Molesworth spoke with Francesca Earp and got insights into international agriculture on July 30, Dione Howard interviewed Coaching for Leaders podcast creator Dave Stachowiak on August 6 and Mandy McKeesick (writer and keeper of the YFC stories) stepped up to talk to Emma Ayliffe about her new app Yacker on August 13.
Following on from the launch of the Farms Advice podcasts, which last month featured Martin Murray and Emma Ayliffe, woolly YFC Emma Turner joined the party during August to speak about her life as an independent wool broker with the Australian Wool Network. Check out the full conversation here.
Dr Jo Newton also joined the podcast party when she was interviewed by Mark Ferguson from neXtgen Agri. Mark generally focusses on the sheep and beef industries in Australia and New Zealand but spoke with Jo to get her take on the dairy industry and its contrasts to his usual world. Listen to the Head Shepherd podcast “From the City to the Cows” here.
Never one to be left behind Martin Murray has joined the podcast party by creating his very own! Agronomist Martin takes a weekly look at agriculture and farming in Australia and around the world, covering a range of topics including soil health, ag tech, farm innovation, weed management, herbicide usage, livestock management, profitability and sustainability. Join Martin’s party here.
Genetics and feedlot overseer Chloe Dutschke shared her thoughts on farm safety and mental health during a conversation with Alex Thomas and #Plantaseedforsafety. Through this project Alex is empowering women to take a lead role in farm safety: “that’s why I created the #PlantASeedForSafety Project. It’s about celebrating rural women and amplifying industry-driven, practical solutions that inspire rural men to save a life, by listening to their wife. Silence and safety paperwork doesn’t save lives, but rural women who are prepared to #PlantASeedForSafety – do.” Congratulations Chloe for sharing your stories.
In other news several friends of the YFC – Matt Champness, Nicole McDonald, Franny Earp and Aimee Snowden – have been involved in putting together the AgriEducate 2020 Essay Competition. Tertiary students can contribute to overcoming issues in food production and agriculture here in Australia and globally by entering the essay competition in one of four categories: Science (e.g. agriculture, medicine, life sciences, nutrition),Engineering/IT/Maths, Law/Arts/Social Sciences/Extension/Education and Economics/Commerce/Business.
Hot on the heels of being named a doctor after the acceptance of her PhD, Anika Molesworth is penning her first book! “A few months ago, I signed a contract with one of the big international publishing houses and now I have two months left to submit my manuscript! Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to the stories of amazing people around the world on how climate change is impacting their region, what it means for food security, and how we can fix a broken food system in a climate challenged world. From farmers, scientists, nutritionists, chefs and more, the book will explore how everyone can help tackle climate change through the meal on their plate.”
Anika has made a short video on her book-writing experience – watch it here –and when she is looking for a break you can find her chatting to 2GB’S National Rural News about National Science Week. The girl really is everywhere!
Congratulations to YFC Tom Tourle and his wife Courtney who welcomed a baby girl to the world on July 7. Cute-as-a-button Quinn Emily Tourle arrived at 9.30pm weighing 3.36kg and stretching out to 50cm long.
Congratulations also to Deanna Johnstone who has moved into home ownership with the purchase of this sweet little house in Henty. “Project-time,” she says!