Young Farmers Grasping the Nettle of Power

Art4Agriculture headquarters always enjoy our daily dose of BushBelles an often witty,
sometimes off the wall and always inspiring place and source of information for rural

Today Bushbelles gave us serious food for thought with this “deeply powerful trailer about the media and its representation of women”.

After viewing the trailer we gave some serious thought to the media and its representation of women in agriculture and agriculture in general.

The trailer opens with this quote from Alice Walker “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”.  Looking at the dictionary definition of power as “the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively” Art4Agriculture would like
to follow up Alice by saying once you have grasped the nettle of power it’s
what you do with it that counts

If indeed “The media is the message and the messenger and increasingly the most powerful one” why is agriculture afraid of telling our story, the real story?

Why are we such poor marketers? Why isn’t agriculture seeing the media as high priority, a great opportunity and marketing tool?

Agriculture has great stories to tell.  Farmers should be very proud of their
profession. After all what’s is more noble than feeding and clothing and housing
the world?

So let’s get our priorities right because in the world in which we all now farm image is everything and image needs to be created and it needs to be actively managed.

So what image does agriculture want the people who buy our food and fibre to see?

So many questions???

Who are our role models?  Who do we admire? Who inspires us?

What qualities, attitudes and abilities must they have to advocate for ourselves and our goals and take leadership on the issues that we believe in and debunk the myth conceptions about agriculture and farmers?

Well Art4Agriculture thought long and hard about this and we decided that the image we wanted our communities to see was young farmers who could promote positive
images and perceptions of farming.  Young farmers who would demonstrate passion for their industry while providing real life examples to young people who may have never considered a career in agriculture. Young people who can relate to students and are adept at breaking down stereotypes of farming and agricultural careers.

So the quest was on

Where are these people? Do they grow on trees or do they have to be identified, engaged, nurtured and trained.

Well we can assure they don’t grow on trees but they are out there and they do need to be identified and they need to be nurtured.

Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been visiting schools across Sydney and now they are in the media telling agriculture’s story.

Today we throw the spotlight on Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton

About Stephanie Tarlinton
Stephanie Tarlinton grew up on the family dairy farm just 15km north/west of
Cobargo with two sisters, Bridget and Megan and parents Richard and June.

She is a 6th generation decent of W. D Tarlinton who discovered the Cobargo
area on the far south coast of NSW.

She completed her primary education at Cobargo Public School and then went to
high school in Bega before moving away from home to attend agricultural

Following this she worked on a sheep/beef property at Goulburn then moved home
to assist on the farm. Since 2008 she has have travelled to New Zealand, United
States of America, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, and China primarily to
study the different agricultural systems in these nations.

In late 2011 she will travel to Argentina, Singapore and India all on study
tours focused on gaining an understanding of agricultural production and what
it contributes to their daily life.

Stephanie enjoys the challenge of travelling to developing nations while
gaining a greater respect and appreciation for the opportunities she has had
available to her.

In 2009 she started university and is now currently studying her third year of
a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in
Orange, NSW. She undertook this degree with the aim of completing further
studies in the form of masters. Growing up in the dairy industry has inspired
her to continue in this sector although in the business area, for example
working to develop a company’s export sector. She wishes to play a role in
building the global name of Australian dairy products and increasing the value
of the domestic industry.

Some of Stephanie’s latest achievements include; 2011 Runner Up Showgirl for
the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Charles Sturt University Dean’s Award for
Academic Excellence 2011, RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship for 2011 and Royal
Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever 2007.

See Stephanie’s story here

Here is a great example of print media press Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton is garnering across the country


Growing up on the family’s dairy farm in Wandella instilled Stephanie Tarlinton
with values and knowledge she is now sharing with students in Sydney as one of
Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions.

Young Farming Champions provide information to students about the commodity
they’ve been allocated to study as part of Art4Agriculture’s Archibull Prize.

The Archibull Prize invites students in suburban high schools to learn through
hands on experience about the challenges of housing and feeding the world with
a declining natural resource base.

This year, 21 schools in Sydney are participating in the Archibull Prize,
exploring the theme “The Rural/Urban Divide-What does it take to feed
Sydney for a day?” This theme celebrates the role Australian farmers’ play
in feeding Australian families and many other families around the world.

Each school is provided with a life size fibreglass cow on which the students
create an artwork about, their allocated commodity, the farmers who produce it
and how this commodity is being produced sustainably.

By providing a “human face” of farming, Young Farming Champions like Stephanie
are helping to bridge the rural-urban divide at the same time sharing their
knowledge of farming with city students.

“I am passionate about Australian agriculture as I have grown up as part of a
family whom have a long association with farming and in particular the dairy
industry. Farming to me is the provider for my family and a way of life,” says
Stephanie, who is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Agricultural
Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Orange with the aim of
working in the dairy industry when she graduates.

Stephanie recently presented at Schofields Primary School and Rouse Hill
Anglican College in Sydney sharing with almost 100 students stories about
growing up on her farm and the importance of farmers in supporting our cities.

“I would love to be able to develop a greater understanding of the true value
of agricultural products. If people valued, understood and appreciated the
quality of the produce available to them in Australia perhaps our local
agricultural industries would be more strongly supported. Participating in
Young Farming Champions has given me the opportunity to contribute to this
process,” said Stephanie.

“Having been a cattle exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Easter Show I have seen and
spoken first hand with people of all ages who did not realise where milk came
from. I also have cousins from the city with little understanding of the
process of farming until they visit.”

Young Farming Champions prepare a video and PowerPoint presentation for use at
the schools and answer questions from the students broadening their
understanding about agriculture while helping them prepare for the Archibull

Students had so many questions!” said Stephanie. “The primary school children
asked:  How many babies can one cow have?  How old do cows get?
How do they make the different types of milk?  How much milk
do you make?  How do cows turn grass into milk?  How does beef get
from a cow to the supermarket?”

“The high school I visited didn’t offer agriculture as a subject, so I was
talking to visual arts students and it was fantastic to spread the messages
about farming to a group of students who may not have been exposed to
agriculture before. Their questions were more technical and based around
production and the agronomics of dairy farming, as well as the educational
requirements to farm. “

The aim of the program is not to lecture the students about agriculture, but to
share perspectives between farmers and metropolitan consumers.

“It was great to meet the students,” said Stephanie.  “In fact, I probably
learned as much as they did from the experience!”

Art4Agriculture run training sessions for Young Farming Champions to prepare
them for their school visits.

“I have learned so much through my involvement in Young Farming Champions.
Visiting the schools has proved to be a real highlight of my farming journey,
and I’ve been provided with training in public speaking, presentation skills
and video production which I’ll be able to draw upon in the future.  I
would encourage any young farmers who are interested in sharing their story to
get involved!”

The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions programs are sponsored by
Woolworths Ltd and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

More information about Art4Agriculture initiatives and how to get involved in
Young Farming Champions is available at

or contact

Lynne Strong, National Program Director Art4Agriculture

Phone 02 42 360 309 or 0412 428 334

Farmers Unite, Stand up and Say Yes to Investing in Next Gen Farmers

Art4Agriculture dedicates this post and salutes the industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people.

But we ask the following questions

  • Why doesn’t all peak industry bodies share the same ethos?
  • Why aren’t all peak industry bodies adopting a coordinated and collaborative
    approach to efficiently and effectively achieve the best outcomes for agriculture?
  • Why is it too many of those who hold the purse strings can’t leave their egos and
    personalities at the door and work for the common good

As the debate around long term food availability and affordability intensifies, Art4Agriculture believes it is vital for all organisations involved in the food supply chain to adopt a leadership position to help safeguard Australia’s future food security
and this must start with investing in the next generation of farmers.

How right is Senator Ludwig when he says “We need to invest in the youth of today to ensure our agricultural sector is equipped with a skillful workforce to face the challenges of the future,”

Art4Agriculture is committed to ensuring we have a sustainable food supply chain long into the future by providing capacity building programs that invest in developing future industry leaders.

We are equally committed to fostering and providing opportunities to attract young people to join the agriculture sector.

But we are disappointed that some peak industry bodies do not appear to share our vision

Surely in an era where farmers are less than 1% of the population and communities who make up the other 99% hold the power and are prepared to wield the power that
determines our farmers social license to operate alarm bells would be ringing in
all peak industry body bell towers

Extraordinarily we have found there is confusion inside some of our peak industry
bodies about whether investing in cross industry partnerships that give our young
farmers the skills set to engage with consumers to share stories and build
trust and understanding of modern farm production systems is “core business” or

There is also confusion at the top over whether programs that send clear messages to our peers that meeting or exceeding consumer expectations are high priority and “core business”

Art4Agriculture’s strategy is help create a culture of change at industry level and engage with peak industry bodies and partner with visionaries who in the first instance recognise there will be no future without investing in youth and in the second instance are prepared to lead by example.

We celebrate those industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people through programs like the Investing in Youth Program which provides financial and mentoring support to Australian students who are committed to contributing to Australia’s rural sector.

This program aims to encourage more young people to study agriculture
courses at university, which will help to ensure Australia has an adequate
supply of primary industry graduates in the future. Successful recipients are selected on the basis of their commitment to a career in primary industries.

Successful applicants receive $5,000 annually for mentoring partnerships,
and leadership and skills development workshops.

Visit–program-sponsors.cfm and join us in saluting the visionaries who see investing in youth as core business. Can you find your peak industry body here if not may we suggest you ask them why not?

Art4Agriculture has personally seen the benefits of this joint industry and government collaboration project that has delivered us some of our Young Farming Champions like Naomi Marks.

Read Naomi’s story here:

Dorrigo dairy farmer Naomi is keen to make her mark

Naomi Marks had no hesitation in putting up her hand to become a Young Farming
Champion.  Citing a passion for agriculture and a particular interest in promoting agriculture to schools Naomi was chosen to tell the dairy industry’s story to Sydney school children.

Growing up on a 200 cow dairy farm on the Mid North Coast, where she also runs her own herd of Jersey stud cattle, Naomi is keen to lead by example when it comes to
demonstrating that agriculture is full of young and vibrant people.

Naomi has recently completed visits to Maraylya Public School and Model Farms High School where she was able to share her farming story and check out the students’
progress in preparing their entry for the Archibull Prize.

The Primary School class I spoke to was so impressive! There was not enough time to answer all questions…they were enthusiastic, interested, keen to know more and absolutely loved my video.
All of them paid attention the whole time and loved it when I involved them by
asking them questions. Their level of knowledge also blew me away!  They had so many questions that they are going to email me the rest!

Young Farming Champions provide students with the human face of farming; allowing them to interact and share stories that create a bridge across the rural-urban

The sessions with the students are not designed to be lectures about agriculture,
but rather a two-way conversation about modern farming techniques and how
farming benefits city based consumers.

I think the three most important  messages I’d like students to take out of my presentations are:

 1. Farmers produce clean, safe and fresh food and fibre with high quality assurance standards, second to none.

2. Agriculture is a large contributor to Gross Domestic Product.

3. Farmers preserve land and other resources, whilst agriculture keeps small
towns alive and provides many jobs.

The students at Maraylya Public School and the Model Farms High School are
participating in the Archibull Prize and will undertake a range of curriculum
activities aimed at showcasing the importance of getting the balance right
between the involvement and agricultural production.

Each school has been provided with a fibreglass cow on which they will paint an artwork
that explores the themes they have studied.

Naomi’s presentations were an important part of the process, allowing the students to
ask questions and clarify their knowledge around the topic.

The next step for Naomi is to focus on her own studies as exams loom for her Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of New England.

Naomi prepared resources for her school visits.

A great story from ABC Rural on Naomi here


You can see why the students loved  Naomi’s video here. Its a ripper Naomi

Art4Agriculture salutes the Cotton Research and Development Corporation for sponsoring Naomi Marks Investing in Youth Scholarship

Art4Agriculture seeking Next Gen Rising Stars

Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been telling NSW primary and secondary students their stories of involvement in food and fibre production. The students thirst for
knowledge about agriculture has been amazing. The program has become part of
the educational theme in next year’s Australian Year of the Farmer and as
Art4Agriculture National Program Director Lynne Strong explains will be rolled
out to over 9,000 schools nationally.

“The Art4Agriculture programs and the Young Farming Champions will go national as
part of the Australian Year of the Farmer activities in 2012 and we are calling
for expressions of interest from young farmers across Australia to get involved
in the Young Farming Champions program. Art4Agriculuture was developed by
farmers and is delivered by farmers and we are keen to work with state farming
organisations to not only help build the capacity of young farmers to tell
agriculture’s story to a fundamental key audience – consumers but  also
lead their industries into the future”. She says.

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse program of events during Australian Year of the
Farmer in 2012 (and beyond). These events will provide a platform from which to
develop, build and strengthen the capacity of the Young Farming Champions and
allow industry to develop key farmer-to-stakeholder and farmer-to-consumer

And Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champion Alison McIntosh is already living that

Alison is the not only an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion she also is the Cattle Council’s Inaugural Rising Beef Champion see and Alison reflects on her USA cattle tour here

In her role as Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Alison has been visiting schools across Western Sydney sharing her story.

Alison found the experience highly rewarding. At Caroline Chisholm College she not
only shared her story with the students they also proudly showed Alison their
farm as well as videoing her and putting her under the spotlight with a mock TV

At Terra Sancta College the students said Alison’s visit gave them a whole new insight
into Australian domestic beef industry. Alison also found herself part of a
photo shoot with the school’s Archibull in amusing spots in the school
surrounds including a photo-shoot with the chooks. Alison’s
phobia of birds is well known amongst her friends and when the students
suggested she hold a rooster she was mortified and gracefully (she hoped she
looked graceful and not petrified) declined

At Richmond High School Alison shared her story with the visual arts students who are
painting the Archibull. Alison said it was clear the students were highly
creative and many sketched and wrote down ideas as she spoke.

“Richmond High School agriculture classes show team have always been very active and highly regarded on the show circuit winning many prizes with their beef cattle and I am looking forward to seeing how their partnership with the visual arts students translates onto their cow art” says Alison

Alison’s in-school presentation can be found here Love My Angus You will too 

This week Alison found herself centre stage at the biggest agriculture A list event on
the calendar. She not only had the great thrill of representing  young
farmers but all farmers across the country by giving a speech on their behalf
at the launch of Australian Year of the Farmer in 2012

Glenn McGrath with Richie Quigley Alison McIntosh and Radiator the Charolais

(Hopefully I can get a better shot of this shortly from the official photographer) 

This is part of what Alison had to say

What an honour it is to be standing here today as a representative of all Australian
I am a 4th generation farmer on my family’s beef cattle farm in southern NSW – and I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living! I have combined my love of
working with people and with animals in the industry I love, and this is very

As a young rural leader I want to enhance the links between urban and rural
Australia, so that all Australian’s have a deeper appreciation for where their
food comes from. The research which Year of the Farmer are releasing today,
highlights some of the challenges which lie ahead for farmers like me in
achieving this – but the coming years activities will go a long way to begin
this important process.

I am excited about 2012; The Australian Year of the Farmer will help bring farmers
like me closer to our customers. Our nation and the world need farmers; The
Australian Year of the Farmer is an important year for ALL Australians. I am
looking forward to spreading the word about our great Australian farming story,
and particularly ensuring that the next generation of young Australians are
well connected to farmers and the farms where their food comes from.

Check out this video to be reminded of how proud all Australian can be of their

Art4agriculture joins the famous faces for the launch of Australian Year of the Farmer

The Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 was officially launched this week at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and Art4Agriculture’s Art and Design Guru Wendy Taylor played a key role by the creating the backdrop display and wow what a backdrop

Isnt this woman a genius!!!!!

Australian Year of the Farmer launch display created by Wendy Taylor ( Red Blue Design) Art4ag Art and Design Gurus

The faces in the centre of display belong to Virginia Tomlinson
(Woolworths) Lynne Strong (Chair Art4Agriculture) and Kirsty John (Event

This masterpiece transformed the Royal Botanic Gardens into an agricultural showpiece to celebrate the broad range and fine quality of produce which Australian farmers grow and harvest.

The display took the form of a map of Australia to emphasise how this
initiative encompasses all Australians, whether they be primary producers or
one of the millions who benefit from the dedication and commitment of Australian farmers.

The display also told a three-dimensional story of Australia by depicting topography as well. The larger and taller produce became the mountain ranges, grading to the smaller grains and fibres which became the lower altitude areas.

The map of Australia was also divided, state by state, to highlight the different produce generally grown in each state or territory. Around 40 different types of produce were shown on the display creating a bright, colourful and photogenic backdrop to launch the Australian Year of the Farmer.

Art4Agriculture was also represented by Young Farming Champion Alison McIntosh who spoke at the launch

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions Richard Quigley and Alison
McIntosh with “Radiator”

Art4Agriculture Young farming Champion Hollie Baillieu also played a key
role featuring on the Australian Year of the Farmer video.

See Hollie here

The Royal Botanic Gardens which was chosen for the launch as it is the
site of Australia’s first European farm and welcomed farmers, farm animals,
farm machinery side by side with Wendy’s cornucopia of Australian agricultural
delicacies for the national announcement that 2012 will be the Australian Year
of the Farmer.

Loran Blades Event Directors and Art4Ag secretariat puts her stamp of
approval on the display

Patron, the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC, officially launched
the Year in conjunction with Ambassador Glenn McGrath and his wife Sara, and
Natalie Gruzlewski, host of Television’s Farmer Wants a Wife.

Designed to celebrate the contribution farmers make to the Australian
economy and community, the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is an education
and awareness campaign founded by a not-for-profit, non-political organisation.

A selection of prize winning stud animals including a Charolais bull,
alpacas and Merino sheep, as well as a New Holland T7.6 tractor driving against
the backdrop of the Sydney skyline added to the agricultural atmosphere.

Young Farming Champions Alison McIntosh and Richie Quigley with famous faces at AYOF 2012 launch

Following the launch, Australian Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC,
joined local school children and Royal Botanical Gardens Executive Director,
Professor David Mabberley, in planting a citrus tree at the site of the first
farm in Australia.

Conceived by NSW-based farmer Philip Bruem AM, and former Sydney Markets
CEO Geoff Bell, Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is a year-long program of
activities that will celebrate the contribution farmers and rural communities
make to our national economy and society.

“Every person who eats food is connected to farming. Every person
who wears a wool coat is connected to farming. Every person who has timber in
their house construction or sits at a wooden table is connected to farming.

“We encourage all Australians to reflect on the origins of the food
they consume and the fibre and other products they use every day and to seek
out and buy Australian produce wherever possible,” Mr Bruem said.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry the Hon Joe Ludwig MP
said the year-long celebration would highlight how Australia is leading the
world in farming techniques and innovation.

“I congratulate the founders of Australian Year of the Farmer for
creating this program which I believe will highlight the essential role of
Australian agriculture to the maintenance of national and global food security.

“It will showcase the role our farmers play as environmental
managers, creating and delivering sustainability through best practice
management,” Senator Ludwig said.

As part of the Australian Year of the Farmer program, a range of events,
initiatives and the Art4Agriculture educational programs will be rolled out
across the nation throughout 2012.

Highlights will include a nine-vehicle One Country Roadshow travelling
more than 56,000kms to attend more than 400 events, an unprecedented an
Agricultural Innovation and Technology Expo as well as the most significant
food event to be held in Australia, Food of Origin Extravaganza, to promote the
quality and origin of Australian food products – from ‘wheat to meat’ and
‘paddock to plate’. Education will be a strong focus, as will the many career
opportunities available in the agribusiness sector. A photo competition, a
commemorative collector’s coin and stamps as well as a TV program and
privileges card have all been planned as part of the celebration.

Woolworths’ General Manager of Fresh Food, Pat McEntee echoed the
importance of farming to Australian families.

“We source 100 per cent of the fresh meat and poultry and 97 per
cent of the fruit and vegetables sold in Woolworths supermarkets from
Australian producers and growers. Australian farmers support Woolworths and our
customers – and we’re proud to support them,” Mr McEntee said.

Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is a year-long program of activities
that will celebrate the contribution farmers and rural communities make to our
nation – offering recognition for: feeding the nation, for leading the world in
farming techniques and innovation, and for sustaining the vital agribusinesses
that underpin the Australian economy.

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry visits St. Michael’s Catholic Primary School

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry visited St. Michael’s Catholic Primary School and Crestwood High School in Baulkham Hills last term to present the fresh young face of farming to students

The Young Farming Champions initiative pairs students participating in the Archibull Prize school program with a young farmer who comes to the school and talks to the students and shares their farming experiences.

The Young Farming Champions demonstrate passion for their industry while providing a real life example to young people who may have never considered a career in agriculture. Because they are young they can relate to students and are adept at breaking down stereotypes of farming and agricultural careers to introduce the dynamic, innovative and high-tech industry in which we all operate.

Melissa is our Sheep Meat /Wool Specialist and is proudly supported by Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Here is what happened in Melissa’s words ( I am confident  you
will agree it’s pretty obvious Melissa enjoyed presenting the sheep industry to
the students just as much they enjoyed hearing about it )

The St. Michael’s students were from years 3-6 and selected to be
part of the Archibull program. They were all so keen to be part of the Young
Farming Champion visit and volunteered for a role on the day.

They had two students filming me and an official note-taker for
their Blogs. All students had their own note book and all were encouraged to
ask questions – which they certainly did!  Wow the students maintained their
attention for over an hour and were obviously enjoying learning about sheep –
meat and wool.

 It was a very interactive session. Their main interest was in learning about sheep and what happens on-farm through-out the year.

My favourite question was “what do I think of the stereotype of farmers (being 65yr old male)?” This highlighted to me that I wasn’t what they expected and they also recognised there are a lot of different people in farming.

The question which was asked by both schools was “do I feel isolated living in a rural town?” .  I replied that I feel more connected with people now than when I was living in Sydney where I felt almost anonymous. I told them it was just small things that make you feel part of the community like seeing people in the supermarket you know and
stopping and talking to them.  

I took different types of fleeces and wool products into the school, which they passed around and really loved.

The teachers at the school are so passionate about the Archibull Prize
program and are integrating the program within classroom activities.

My Crestwood High School visit was equally exhilarating. I spoke with the whole Yr 9 Ag class and a handful of Yr 9 Visual Arts students who were interested in participating in the Archibull program. As the Visual Arts students were the minority in my audience, I felt like there was a divide in the room and it may have been better to present to these 2 groups separately.

However I was wrong and as soon as I finished my presentation, the Visual Arts students came up to me and were ALL asking questions and then took me to the Visual Arts room and showed me their Archibull cow and their design drawings.

 I was very impressed! They will certainly do the Australian Wool Industry and the Archibull Program proud!

 The High School students were also very interested in my study and career path and also the opportunities that are available to them across the supply chain. They asked a lot of questions about wool and lamb prices, scale of production, cost of production at a commercial level. The Agriculture class were also looking at BioClip as a technology in the wool industry.  See it on YouTube here


There is also a great video about sheep shearers here

I would like to say a special thanks to Claudia Wythes from
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) for supplying me with merino fabric samples to
take into the schools, so the students could feel the difference in wool types.

I would also like to say a special thanks to Deborah Leake from
MLA who is not only investing in the Young Farming Champions program but also ensuring the Beef/Sheep Young Farming Champions and the schools have access to all the resources created for schools by MLA

 “Being part of the Art4Agriculture team is so rewarding as our programs celebrate the immense diversity within primary industries, our people, the range of produce and our commitment to environmental stewardship” says Melissa

Melissa also created her own resources for her school visits

See Melissa’s video here:

and Melissa’s PowerPoint presentation here

Melissa Henry – Tree Changer and Passionate Sheep Farmer

This week Art4Agriculture is thrilled to feature Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry.

We love Melissa she is a dream to work with. Lucky Lachlan Rivers CMA- the job that pays the bills which means she can spend her valuable spare time sharing her stories and inspiring other young people to take up careers in agriculture and natural resource management.

Melissa has joined the Young Farming Champions because
she is passionate about being part of our Art4Agriculture programs developed to bridge the geographic divide that prevents urban students from learning about and observing modern farming practices. The Young Farming Champions value-add to this process by providing urban students with a human face to put to the research they undertake as part of our programs. This gives urban students an opportunity to ask questions of real farmers who are able to relate their learnings to what happens in a modern agricultural enterprise.

Melissa sees that attracting people into agriculture starts with exposing our primary and high schools students to the diverse and exciting opportunities available in the primary industries sector. A critical factor in engaging young people in agricultural career pathways is the timing of career education interventions. Capturing their attention in early to middle secondary years is crucial and she is very proud to play a significant
role in raising their awareness of agrifood sector career pathways by helping
deliver Art4Agriculture programs to this key audience.

“Our industry needs to provide students with positive role models and
experiences. It is also important for students to be able to see how they can apply their knowledge and skills to help feed and clothe an ever growing population sustainably.” says Melissa.

Melissa’s Tree Change saw her move to Boorowa in Central NSW and her career goal is to link her animal science and natural resource management background with a  community focus to empower our urban cousins to successfully and sustainably achieve their own farming goals, no matter how small or large the scale.

“I’m really enjoying living and working in a rural community. I’m able to work side by side with farmers and the community to help them achieve their goals in Natural Resource Management. Many people from Sydney and Canberra are moving into rural areas, redefining the structure and vibrancy of rural communities and contributing to the sustainable local production of food and fibre and this can only be a good thing” says Melissa

See the video Melissa has created to share her story with the students here

In our next blog Melissa will share her school visits to St. Michael’s Catholic
Primary School and Crestwood High School in Baulkham Hills.

Young Farming Champions Finding their Voice

Like all Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions Emma Visser knows how important it is for all young people to have a voice. Fired by her love of animals and agriculture Emma is using her voice and taking every opportunity to engage, empower and inspire others to follow her career education pathway into the noblest profession – farming

Emma and Friend

This month Emma has been very busy sharing her farming stories internationally through her entry in the ABC Heywire Competition. HEYWIRE is an annual competition for young people from regional Australia. It’s a place for young people to share stories and opinions about the news that affects them.  Emma’s video entry captures her life moving from the city to the country. ”Every day brings many new experiences and learning curves. I would love to see more young people know they can get involved with agriculture without having to be brought up on a farm”.

You can watch Emma’s Heywire Entry here

Emma also had a chance to share her story face to face when she visited Windsor Public School as part of their Archibull Prize journey. Emma was very excited to find Windsor Public School was right into the flavour of food experience when she arrived She was met by a teacher dressed as a strawberry and when she signed in she was informed that it was “mufti day” and all the students and teachers were dressed as a fruit or vegetable. Some were dressed as bananas, apples, oranges, and one boy was covered in green paint as he was a dragon fruit.

Firstly she was invited to the staffroom for morning tea and to meet all the teachers. One teacher said that the students kept asking when “he was coming” referring to the farmer that was going to visit the school. When she told them that the farmer was actually a female, the kids couldn’t believe it.

When the bell rang she went the classroom and she found forty year one & year two’s all dressed as fruit and vegetables. So cute. She found all the students very focused on what she had to say. She told them the story of the calves on her farm and their life journey. The students really enjoyed her video and asked LOTS of questions which she really enjoyed listening to. The students asked questions like ‘How many cows do you have, how many cows do you milk, how much milk do our cows make, how long have I worked on the farm, how big do cows get, and how do the cows get their names?’

After answering questions the teacher then put on a video for the students. Some of the students follow the KT’s Farmlife blog online about a little girl who lives on a beef property. Some of the class had watched a video of a calf being pulled out and were very keen to show all their fellow school friends. Some students covered their eyes and ears when watching it, but most of the students were fascinated.

Emma said “I really enjoyed my school visit. The kids were really interested in what I had to say, loved my video and pictures and now all want to be farmers”.

Emma’s Windsor Public School PowerPoint can be found here

Check out some more great Heywire stories from young rural people here