Celebrating #YouthinAg Big Ideas – Who will you vote for? Will it be Matt Champness?

At Picture You in Agriculture we believe in collaborating and sharing stories showcasing exciting and innovative leaders in agriculture.

As promised in our previous blog giving our collaborating partners Guy Coleman and Matt Champness the opportunity to share their EvokeAG vision is a natural fit for us.

As it turns out Guy and Matt are great mates ( logical that exciting young people gravitate towards each other).

Please help us to help Matt or Guy to ptich their big idea at Asia Pacific’s biggesst agrifood tech event in February 2020 by voting for them here

This is why Matt thinks you should vote for his pitch

There will be more food eaten in the next 50 years than there has been in the whole of humanity, however, we only have the capacity to produce 30% of that. Currently, I believe it’s pretty shameful that world hunger has increased in recent years, with 820 million people suffering from hunger. This is 2019, we can do better!

Whilst there is much focus on environmental stewardship, conservation and restoration of natural environments, I believe we will never reach sustainable life until everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. Ending global hunger by 2030 is pillar 2.1 of the UN SDG’s and it’s looking unlikely, with a need to double the current rate of decline in global hunger if we are to reach this target by 2030.

If fortunate enough to be selected as an evokeAg Future Young Leader I will discuss the need for greater collaboration from those within the agriculture sector and afar, to build a sustainable future for us all. I want to encourage the youth of today to look holistically at agriculture and how they can work grow the Australian Ag industry and help to build a world free of hunger. The current single disciplinary research approach is not working on a global or national level. Transformational food system change has to start at the farm and community level. Top down global policy is meaningless if ‘on the ground’ capacity is lacking. Therefore, the solutions to decrease food waste and increase sustainable farm production and profit must be developed on farm.

There will be a day when we live in a world free of hunger, but the time it takes until we get there depends on when we start working together as an agri-food industry, as a nation, and as a global society. I want to help foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the future leaders of the world to ensure I see the day we do live in a world free of hunger.

#ZeroHunger #ZeroWaste #StrongerTogether #YouthinAg #YouthVoices

Celebrating #YouthinAg big ideas. Who will you vote for? Will it be Guy Coleman

The legacy of Picture You in Agriculture programs is the

  • young agricultural leaders we empower to advance Australia’s sustainable agricultural future.
  • the school students we equip through our in school programs with 21st century skills who are inspired to be active agents of social and environmental change.
  • perception that agriculture is an exciting industry
    • where innovation, disruption and creativity are fostered,
    • where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly and
    • where partnerships across sectors are encouraged and nurtured

This year to help amplify #youthinag voices we joined forces with the first NFF2030 leaders cohort and the team at AgriEducate.

We are very excited to see both Matt Champness from NFF2030 Leaders cohort and Guy Coleman from AgriEducate have made it through to the finals of the People’s Choice for evokeAG. Future Young Leaders Program 

Please help us to help Matt or Guy to ptich their big idea at Asia Pacific’s biggesst agrifood tech event in February 2020 by voting for them here

This is why Guy thinks you should vote for his pitch

 Bringing out the FarmR in everyone.

At its peak in 2014, Farmville had over 50 million active daily users, even today the number hovers around 20 million. It shows that Facebook users are giving up their time to grow virtual crops, raise virtual animals, market virtual grain and develop a virtual farm all for virtual credits. In a complete contrast to this virtual agricultural engagement, consumers are disconnected from food production more than ever. How does this happen and how do we fix it? Well, social media has been widely touted as the newest channel of engagement, and it certainly helps farmers connect and reach into otherwise unreachable areas. But what if we could take this one step further and employ the latest in connectivity, virtual/augmented reality and robotics and set up what I like to called – FarmR, real farming done virtually. If fortunate enough to be selected for evokeAg, I’ll be discussing the seemingly futuristic ways of engagement and how we can bring together technology with consumer interest to push agriculture into a true 4.0 industry.

You can vote for Guy here 

Next we will share with you why Matt thinks he has the next big idea

#YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #YouthVoices19

 

 

 

 

Meet Sally Downie a champion for wellbeing

Meet Sally Downie our newest Young Farming Champion and the winner of the 2019 Picture You in Agriculture Scholarship.

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Photo by Forbes Corby

My name is Sally Downie. I’m the daughter of dairy farmers. It’s in my blood.

I grew up on a dairy farm near Forbes NSW with my family. I was the only girl in the family and the youngest. I had some big shoes to fit.A large pair of dirty, well worn boots, the pair you pull on each morning and don’t take off until much later in the evening. They are familiar, comfortable but a token of hard work.  For years I strived to fit into those metaphorical shoes.

Sally Downie 2

Farm life was normal to me. I’d come home from school and be up at the dairy milking cows, feeding calves and following mum around the farm.

In high school I began to show dairy cattle. It became my mission to show an animal of my own at every Forbes Show. I soon began to show cattle at Sydney Royal Show and International Dairy Week in Victoria. It was at these shows my eyes were opened to the opportunities in the dairy industry and the amazing people involved. I really began to look at cows, to see what made a good cow. I listened to the judge, to what they looked for and how they said it. I felt that this was my place.

By my senior years of high school life was very different. I was still invested in the farm and in love with cows. I was determined to be a dairy farmer, just like my mum. But I had my own goals, I had to make my family proud. Academics clicked for me, I did alright in school with little struggle (expect when it came to maths). I would work after school on the farm then come home to get assignments done, burning the midnight oil. To my family this was odd and something my brother found to bother me about. I began to struggle as I became sick. I was back and forth from hospital admissions and an array of tests, my list of absent days grew. I seemed ok but inside life was a living hell. I finished year 12 as Dux. I returned to work on the farm showing no interest in university.

Things fell to pieces quickly. By December I was very sick, February I was in hospital for several weeks, by April I was 33kg but took on the role as Central West Dairy Coordinator with DairyNSW anyway. Again I went to Sydney Royal but I was a mere shadow of myself, tired but determined. By May I was 30kg and absolutely devastated as I was told I’d be sent to hospital and I’d miss a farm tour of a local dairy farm. I tried to convince them to admit me after the tour. I didn’t win. I still had plans to visit New Zealand with the dairy network in June. At the same time my family were told I had three days to live. June came around and I was still in hospital, a feeding tube up my nose, weak, bed bound. In September I was discharged from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. An eating disorder,that was my diagnosis. How do I live with that? What farmer won’t eat? If dad can’t accept it how can I?

I fell in love, I saw more opportunities in agriculture,

Sally Downie 4

I began a university degree but I also saw another side to agriculture, the silent suffering, the devastation of mental illness. I accepted my illness. I accepted mental health and began to speak out about it I could no longer say silent about such suffering. I allowed myself to roam, to seek new paddocks.

I opened my eyes, I opened my heart, I opened my world up.

Sally Downie

Resilience starts with believing in yourself. Sally Downie Runner Up Sydney Royal Easter Show Girl 2019

Sally is an alumni of the highly prestigous ABC Heywire Trailblazer program. Read her story here

Watch Sally on Landline here.

You can read more stories about Sally here

Sally now works for Forbes Council as their drought resilience officer. We are very excitied to have Sally join the team.

 

Emotional Win for Agronomist of the Year Casey Onus

Young Farming Champion YFC Casey Onus has been named the Australian Summer Grains 2019 Agronomist of the Year, winning the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award at the annual conference held on the Gold Coast during July. Zoe was a young and well-respected agronomist who was tragically killed in a farming accident in 2013.

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 Casey Onus (centre) with AHRI northern extension agronomist Paul McIntosh and Zoe’s mother Kaz McInnes at the awards night. Source

The Zoe McInnes Memorial recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence in Australia. Casey was nominated alongside senior agronomists with years of experience, proving age is no barrier to the exceptional service she offers to clients.

“I think often as young agronomists we don’t feel as though we have been around long enough to make an impact in our clients’ business and the greater agricultural industry. So to receive recognition like this is great feedback that perhaps we are on the right track and delivering real value.”  she says.

Casey felt it was a huge honour to be nominated for this award and a big surprise to win, yet beyond the accolades the award has personal meaning.

“I knew Zoe when I worked with Landmark and she was the sort of agronomist to whom we should all aspire. She was passionate, driven, she never took no for an answer and she would have a go at anything.”

These are traits shared by Casey and it is obvious she has learnt well from her role-model.

The award comes with a $5000 bursary.

“I  would like to use the bursary to follow my passion for precision agriculture and traceability throughout the entire grain supply chain.”

Casey is well known for her determination to introduce technology to growers, whether that is by utilising big data collected on farms or contracting drones to check crops for pests.

“I want to employ that technology to develop a paddock to plate process for grains, so the bursary may help me find someone working in this space who I can learn from. I’d like to find someone like Zoe.”

Casey joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2015. We are thrilled to have role model of her calibre advocating and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture

Casey Onus YFC .jpg

 

#Youthinag #YouthVoices19 #StrongerTogether

 

 

Oxley Park Public School using their kitchen garden to help students take control of their nutritional needs

This week, as part of our series shining a spotlight on our amazing school partners, we celebrate Oxley Park Public School who participated in the inaugural Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre  Kitchen Gardens program and hosted its celebration event.

The program aims to develop student educational and life skills. Eleven schools are participating and students spend one hour a week in the garden and one hour a week in the kitchen. Branimir Lazendic is principal of The Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre.

“I’m always looking out for inquiry-based, real-world projects for kids to do and with Kitchen Gardens the students are involved with growing their own produce, harvesting it, preparing it and sharing it. Kitchen Gardens allows students to work collaboratively as part of a group, to think critically and creatively, to contribute effectively to society and to look after their own well-being. Without well-being you can’t have learning in the first place.” Branimir Lazendic principal of The Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre.

Cassandra Lindsay is a teacher at Oxley Public School and has developed the fully functional garden, which provides a range of fresh organic produce to students and local families.

Teacher Cassandra Lindsay talks about the Kitchen Garden Program at Oxely Public School

Cassandra also runs the Garden Club five days per week at lunchtime where all students who are interested can learn the skills of growing and caring of fruits and vegetables.

“My passion for school gardens began long before I actually became a teacher.  As a child I would spend time with my grandparents helping them tend to their backyard vegetable garden and in high school I took agriculture as an elective and spent all of my lunchtimes in the ag plot.  When I started teaching at Oxley Park Public School it was evident many of our students had not had the opportunity to grow food, or even had any understanding of the process it takes to actually have vegetables on the dinner table. Enabling students to produce food in an organic low cost manner is empowering as a teacher.  Every day I can give a child an opportunity to experience growing of food, gives every child another chance to a healthier future.”

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Wow, with that passion we can’t wait to see what Oxley Park Public School will bring to their Kreative Koalas project, especially with Cassandra at the helm. She has already instigated environmental changes in the school with initiatives such as nude food days, improving paper recycling and recycling plastic bottles, and believes Kreative Koalas will further fuel the school and community’s war on waste.

“Our vision is to create a plastic free canteen and school environment. I want to empower our students to have a voice to make a change, be the voice of their community and spread awareness amongst the school community.  This project is also an opportunity for our students to make real changes and share their story through a mix of artwork and digital media.”

Oxley Park Public School will definitely be a school to keep an eye on in this year’s Kreative Koalas.

Mega shoutout to our Kreative Koalas supporting partners Hunter Local Land Services and Holcim Australia – we couldn’t do it without you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet our new 2019 Wool Young Farming Champions

Picture You in Agriculture, in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is pleased to announce Tom Squires from Tasmania and Matt Cumming from New South Wales as the 2019 Wool Young Farming Champions. Young Farming Champions is a program that identifies youth ambassadors and future influencers working within agriculture who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.

Tom Squires grew up around sheep in Tasmania, owned his first mob by age sixteen, completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce in New Zealand and is now living his dream job as a shearer and a farmer. “There’s an incredible feeling of excitement as you hear sheep hooves trotting down the ramp into your stockyards, knowing they’re your sheep” he says. “But the true thrill comes when you stencil your name onto your first bale of wool. There’s that sense of achievement in seeing a fleece being packed into a bale, knowing someone will benefit from what you produced.” Tom wants consumers to understand the entire wool supply chain and to realise the true pride farmers have for their produce. “It’s a long road to this destination but I want to be a part of the change: One voice, one education, one person at a time.”

Matt Cumming owns and operates a shearing contracting business in Inverell in northern NSW, a one-stop shop for all shearing needs from mustering to wool pressing. He employees a core team of six under the age of thirty, and encourages them to reach for the stars. “I am very proud of my team for their workmanship and the pride they take in their work. I especially enjoy the moment when they reach personal milestones, which enables them build confidence in themselves and their work,” he says. Matt and his team compete in shearing and wool handling competitions and believe Australia’s reputation for high quality wool demands a high quality shearing and wool clip preparation. “I have been mentored by many Australian and World Champions and it is important I pass on my knowledge and experiences and continue to be an advocate for professional standards within the sheep and wool industry.”

Tom and Matt will participate in the Young Farming Champions leadership development program, a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation. In the first twelve months they will attend two immersion workshops and in their second year will visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers

Graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2017 Young Australian of the Year finalist Anika Molesworth and 2018 AFR 100 Women of Influence Dr Jo Newton.

Read Matt’s story here

Read Tom’s story here

Welcome to the team Matt and Tom

#YouthinAg #WearWool #LoveWool #YouthVoices19

Meet Shearing Contractor Matt Cumming who was destined to work in the wool industry

Today’s guest post comes from shearing contractor Matt Cumming

Matt C

Hi, I am Matt Cumming and I am a 27 year old shearing contractor from Northern New South Wales based in Inverell. One of my favourite earliest memories is of going to work with my grandfather, being keen to take part in the action, sliding down the sheep chute at any given chance.  

I am a 5th generation shearer, who took a chance when I was 23 and started my own contract shearing run.  We work throughout northern New South Wales and south western Queensland.

I was always destined to work in the wool and sheep industry, despite my mum’s best encouragement to finish year 12 and complete my apprenticeship, as a boiler maker/metal fabricator which I started as a school based apprentice.  I went shearing full time when I was 20 and three years later CMAT Contracting was born.

CMAT Contracting offers a full contract shearing service, wool press and labour hire. It is important to me to offer a full contract shearing service, from mustering, drenching, lamb marking through to rolling out the last bale of wool for the season.  I am very proud of my core team of six, all aged under thirty, for their workmanship and the pride they take in their work.   Each member is able to work individually and as part of a team, which results in a happy client.  I especially enjoy the moment when they reach personal milestones, which enables them build confidence in themselves and their work.

CMAT Contracting employees, Ewan Winter and Nick Cumming, recording their personal best daily number shorn at Guyra, in the New England region, NSW.

I am passionate about the wool industry and competition shearing and wool handling events, who for me go hand in hand. I not only sponsor and compete in these events myself, but I also encourage my team to do so as well.  Competition is important to raise the bar within our industry, as it encourages mentoring from the older, more seasoned professionals to the up and coming, and those considering entering the industry.  Australia has produced world champion shearers and wool handlers, who showcase the professional quality within our shearing sheds.

Matt Cumming and Heidi Anderson (CMAT Contracting Wool Classer) competing at the Sapphire Sports Shear, Inverell 2019

I take pride in my small contribution within the Australian Wool Industry, as Australian wool has the reputation of being a high quality product, and as such it demands a high quality shearing and wool clip preparation.  I have been mentored by many Australian and World Champions and made some great friends along the way. It is important that the information I have had the privilege to learn and the experiences I have had, I pass on and continue to be an advocate for professional standards within the sheep and wool industry. I encourage all to try our industry, as it can be very rewarding!!

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #StrongerTogether