Young Farming Champions building consumer trust and confidence

This weekend Art4ag is joining some of the nation’s most inspiring young people in agriculture at the Future Focused Agoz Conference at the Sebel Surry Hills.

The Future Focused event will provide an environment in which young Australians involved in agriculture can share ideas amongst themselves and with Australian and International presenters committed to building trust and confidence in Agriculture and our food system.

Sadly missing in action is @AusCottonGirl aka Takes of a Cotton Wife aka Bess Gairns and partner Andrew O’Connor who found themselves flood bound and unable to catch their plane. As the blog says “We might not be married to each other yet… But we are definitely married to our cotton”

There is no one who writes more passionately about cotton farmers and cotton farming than Bess If you haven’t read her blog  yet take a little time and read it here Your day will definitely be brighter for it.

But other industry stars did manage to avoid the sudden downpour and flew into Sydney for what is turning out to be one of the best events on the agriculture calendar this decade Art4agriculture Young Farming Champions Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu joined the amazing Charlie Arnot from the Centre for Food Integrity on the centre stage.

Art4Ag Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry presents @ FFagOz Conference

How proud is Art4agriculture of their rising industry leaders and we will load Hollie and Melissa presentations on our next blog.

This space has now been filled by Melisssa’s presentation


So watch this space for Hollie’s inspiring speech.

Also speaking today was Sam Townsend from the Daily Telegraph who loves to write positive stories about great Aussie farmers. She said we need to stop hiding behind our bushells and get out in the media and be proud and loud. If you are a farmer (or know a farmer) who has a great story to tell email Sam

Conference participants were also honoured to hear the story of #agchatoz from co- founder @danicaleys and what a great story that is

Kirsty John Hollie Baillieu Danica Leys and Heidi Cheney

Cotton comes from sheep doesn’t it? No it comes from Cows!!!!

By the time Archibull Prize 2011 judges reached Colo High School on the first day of judging we had started to believe Western Sydney students could turn a cow into anything at all and the students at Colo high School didnt let us down.

Can you imagine how gobsmacked we were when we saw “Threads”.

At first glance “Threads” had obviously had an altercation with a clothes line. On the line was a wide range everyday products made from cotton.

"Threads" Dont you just luv the name

But wait there is a lot more to “Threads” than first meets the eye

Colo High School was the first school who used both the inside and outside of the cow to tell their story.


Inside their cow was the story of the rural/urban divide with the country and city divided by a field of cotton. The imagery depicted cotton as the “heart” of their cow

Colo High School students with "Threads"

Colo High School’s treatment of the theme allowed the students to cleverly tell two stories of the same industry.

Art teacher Ms Mountain talks about the development of the Big Ideas here

Technology whizz Jesse shares his invovlment in the program here.

News Flash

Jess and the Colo High School technology team of Paul Pagnan and Ben Anderson took out best PowerPoint presentation ( tie with Model Farms High School)at the Archibull Prize 2011 Awards and Exhibition Day
You can see this very clever PREZZI here

Art4Agriculture unveiling Next Gen super stars

Art4Agriculture National Program Director Lynne Strong and National Program Manager Kirsty John of Event Directors were excited to be off the Glenwood High School in Western Sydney where we were going to meet the IT genius that is Alexander Rafferty.

We discovered Alexander when we ran the “What you can CreATE” competition to share the statistics of what it takes to feed and clothe Sydney for a day sustainably we uncovered from working with the Central District Exhibit for Sydney Royal Easter Show in April this year  See background below**

Alexander created the most amazing web page see it here. Is this kid a whizz or not?

Alexander won $500 donated by Clover Hill Dairies and a $100  gift voucher from Woolworths

When we arrived at Glenfield High we discovered we would be presenting Alexander with his giant cheque (see pix below)at a ceremony to celebrate the school’s 2012 prefects as well as congratulate Alexander.

How proud is the school of Alexander. We discovered web design is just one of a diverse range of skills this awesome young man has.

Amanda Rafferty Alexander Rafferty Lynne Strong and Glenfield High School Headmistress

This is what Alexander had to say after the presentation “I think it’s fantastic that I have gotten to use my own skills to help raise awareness of the importance of farmers in the suburbs. The competition opened my eyes as well. Before, I knew little about the modern farmer”

*Here is the background from our Art4ag web site web page found here

Exciting beginnings
Three years, ago Wendy Taylor the designer of the Central District Exhibit at the Sydney Royal Easter Show contacted me I Art4Agriculture National Program Director Lynne Strong) after seeing Art4Agriculture’s Picasso Cows program.
Wendy had long felt that the District Exhibits should encourage designers to challenge themselves to reinvent and create new and unique displays.
Even on the phone, I could hear her enthusiasm and bright mind ticking over. I knew I had to meet this woman.
When we did connect, it wasn’t long until we talked about our new school-based program, the Archibull Prize.
Wendy was just as excited about the “Archies” as I was—she felt strongly that the District Exhibits echo its ideals, promoting sustainable and local agriculture. The program is designed for secondary schools and aims to increase agricultural and environmental awareness through art, creativity and teamwork. Each participating school learns about relevant agricultural issues and then using the ‘blank canvases’ of two life size, fibreglass cows, must depict two contrasting stories about the future of agriculture in their local area. It is up to the students how they use the cows—whether they paint, sculpt, drape, photograph, or project on or whatever they choose.

The Journey
So began one of the most inspiring journeys I have walked (or run, in the case of Wendy), watching this woman’s vision come to life onto the unique canvas that is the iconic Central District Exhibit.
In 2010 Wendy and her team launched our Art4Agriculture signature program, the Archibull Prize. The display used the recognisable figure of the cow, reinvented into everyday items of produce utilising art and design to connect concept and community for the promotion of agriculture.
The display featured 10 cows, each representing an area of agriculture, as defined by the District Exhibit competition: Dairy Produce, Foods, Wines, Preserves, Fruits, Vegetables, Cucurbits, Grain, Stock Fodders and Wool. The ten cows stand within a profusion of agricultural products – with diversity and abundance for all to see. The front and back walls of the display are simplified to create balance and maintain the emphasis on agriculture. The sculptural and dynamic impact of the cows, with the uniqueness of concept, draws attention to the District Exhibits and the Archibull Prize program, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer. See it come to life here

So where to in 2011?
During a visit to Clover Hill Dairies, Wendy and her family were amazed at the quantity of milk that a single farm supplied to Sydney each and every day.
This sparked an idea and started a discussion. What does it take to feed Sydney for one single day?
We decided to research and uncover this quantity of food, to highlight the importance of the rural sector. To our amazement, these figures did not exist; there were some industries that weren’t able to supply any figures of any kind. The quantities are staggering and they only hint at the full story. It’s staggering enough to discover you need 90,000 cows to produce 1.3 million litres of milk that Sydney consumes every day, but then how much land do you need for those cows? How many people to run the farm? How much feed for the stock?
These are only a handful of questions and they are only for one area of agriculture. The drive behind this display is to start a discussion. If we can get people talking, thinking and appreciating their reliance on the rural sector, then the display has done its job.

For us, the 2011 display celebrates the noblest profession – our farmers.
Australian farmers feed and clothe 60 million people. If they were doctors or nurses or pharmacists or ambulance officers or firemen there would be a moment in most people’s lives when they would be reminded just how important those professions are.
Farmers, at less than 1 per cent of the Australian population, are almost invisible. With food in abundance in this country, there is little opportunity to remind Australians just how important our farmers are.
Wendy Taylor and the Central District Exhibit, I salute you – for fourteen days and fourteen nights you are reminding Sydney and showing visitors just how important our farmers are.
Let’s hope this starts a very long conversation and a new appreciation for the Australian farmers who produce our food and fibre.
So just what does it take to feed Sydney for a day? We will be loading all the statistics from the Central District Display early in May.

What next – the 2012 Challenge
Wendy and the Central District Exhibit has kick-started this campaign in a way farmers could only dream about. Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 will be a fantastic opportunity to continue these conversations
This is my challenge to Australian farmers:
Farmers are currently number 9 on Australia’s most trusted professions list. How can we work together to make 2012 the year Australia votes to put their farmers at number 1?

Community Spirit through the lens

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Siannon Parice and partner Tay Plain of Clearcut Productions have joined forces with Art4Agriculutre to create a series of videos to showcase young people doing great things to sustain our landscapes and waterways

Most recently Siannon captured the spirit and passion of Dune Day through the lens of her camera

Dune Day is a community event organised by the Gerringong Gerroa Landcare Liaison network in partnership with Landcare Illawarra and Southern Rivers CMA. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of Landcare and Bushcare and in particular coastal restoration projects.

 Dune Day also aims to engage a range of demographics ranging from children, youth, young adults as well as the rest of the community through a range of interactive activities such as sand sculpting, local young musicians, live street art, photography, information displays, tree planting, and workshops on native flora and fauna.


Face painting by Young Farming Champion and Eco Warrior Erin Lake

Dune Day attracted around 100 community members on Saturday the 12th of November who came out to celebrate Landcare volunteers who contribute to environmental restoration projects across the entire Illawarra region.

The event also helped to raise hundreds of dollars in donations which will go back into regional Landcare projects which aim to protect our native flora and fauna.

Technology in the beef industry has big impact on Richmond High School

After visiting Cranebrook High School we jumped back in the truck ( image is everthing)took the secenic route to Richmond

Art4Agriculuture Young Farming Champion visited Richmond High School situated in outer Western Sydney as part of their Archibull Prize journey to share her story

Alison runs her own agricultural consultancy firm providing on farm technology implementation for farmers

Her area of speciality is NLIS data base management and having engaged her to assist with Clover Hill Dairies NLIS database upgrade I can provide testament she is highly qualified, efficient and in this case a blessing in disguise. Every farmer knows its very important to adhere to strict biosecurity guidelines. But I digress 

The students were also fascinated by the development of the QR code app. See Alison’s presentation to the students for further information     

With Richmond High School students at sport art teacher Simon Wyatt was on hand to share the Richmond High School Archibull Prize journey and the story of “Patti” with the judges. 

What an awesome job he does. He shares the journey with you here

NLIS is the National Livestock Identification System developed to help Australia trace animals, improve market access, and manage disease and residue control issues. In cattle, electronic ear tags or rumen boluses (an electronic tag deposited in the stomach) are used to individually identify and trace their movements in NLIS. By using this method, individual animal movements can be recorded on a central database, enabling fast and accurate tracking of cattle movements for disease or residue-affected animals. The system also provides documentary records of movements, such as waybills and combined NVDs and waybills. 

How does NLIS work?

Because NLIS is both electronic and permanent, individual animals can be traced faster and more accurately than with the previous tail tag and waybill systems. In the event of a disease outbreak, quarantine measures can be deployed faster and with limited costs to industry and government.

The system also allows for faster return to business enabling the rapid removal of suspect infected or contaminated animals. The previous tail tag system tracked cattle from their consignment property to sale or slaughter. Beyond that, tracing relied on paper-based records held on farms or elsewhere.

Where is the demand for NLIS coming from?

Global trends are very clear; our major customers and competitors are rapidly moving towards individual animal identification tracking systems. In 1999, the European Union was the first to require individual animal identification to support hormonal growth promotant (HGP)-free certification. Canada, Japan, Uruguay, and Brazil all have government and industry-backed individual animal tracing systems in place.

Key benefits for the Australian livestock industry

  • reduced financial and social impact of a livestock disease or residue incident due to faster and more accurate livestock identification and traceability
  • being prepared for international customers demanding lifetime traceability
  • maintaining access to overseas markets
  • ensuring domestic and export consumers continue to have confidence in Australian beef and dairy products
  • upholding Australia’s reputation as a producer of safe, wholesome beef and dairy products.

Key benefits for producers

Direct benefits from NLIS depend on how a producer uses the technology in their business. These can include:

  • improved management and breeding decisions by using individual animal performance data linked to carcase feedback to fine tune compliance with customer specifications
  • saving time and more accurate individual animal data due to automated electronic reading
  • improved deterrent to stock theft.

    Richmond High School Archibull prize 2011 Entry "Patti"


Who would of thought you can turn a cow into a table?

Cranebook High School, can that’s who!!!!!!!!

Third cab off the rank on day 2 of the Archibull Prize 2011 was Cranebrook High School in Western Sydney where the agriculture team under the guidance of the hard working and much loved Dani Saxon signed up for a second year of the Archibull Prize.

This year students from year 8 to 11 collaborated to tell the story of sheep with the assistance of two life size fibreglass calves.  

Here is the background in the students own words

We learnt about sheep production, the processes of farm gate to plate and ensuring the sustainability of our future.

In the creation of our Archibull’s we focused on sheep production, both meat and fleece. We incorporated this industry with sustainability and the farm gate to plate process themes to present to the judges our two bulls.

One Bull shows the history, process and variation through the fleece industry. The colours of the bull resemble a large quilt, with the white stitching between each colour. The painted tools scattered across this quilt show the history of shearing (showing the old hand shears and the modern electronic shears). The other tools are those used for husbandry practices on the majority of sheep farms in Australia (including the drench gun, elastrator and shears). The French knitted fleece over the bull symbolises the bleaching, dying and processing stages of fleece. For natural fleece to be usable by commercial produces, much of it must be dyed to suit the consumer demand (in this case it is blue). The French knitting gives the viewer a clear image of the products created from sheep fleece.

Cranebrook’s second bull shows more of the farm gate to plate processes, incorporating sheep within it. On one side of this bull there are lush paddocks of pasture and extensive breeding of sheep and other farm animals. The Woolworths truck (a sponsor of the Archibull Prize) shows the long packaging, processing and transporting stage of most agricultural products. Having the Woolworths truck driving straight onto the dining table, on the opposite side of the bull, gives the idea of the farm gate to plate process (explaining to the viewer where there food and fibre come from). The opposite side of the bull (the dining table) shows the products from these animals and crops, such as the hamburger, sauces, chicken, fruit and vegetables. This gives the viewer a direct connection with the bull’s, as most of these products are found on everyday dining tables.

Cranebrook’s second bull shows the farm gate to plate processes

Starting our Archibull’s was probably the most difficult stage of the Archibull Prize, combing all the ideas from across the school into two bull’s. Several classes ranging from year 8 to year 11 contributed ideas and sketches, which were put together and rearranged by our teachers.

Once we had created the final design we began painting our base colours on both bull’s. On the table bull the legs were painted in a brown colour, to resemble the wooden legs of a table, whilst one side of the body was painted blue with a green horizon and the other side a peachy pink of a dining room.  On the fleece bull we painted large patchy areas of bright colours and small white markings around each section (stitch marks).

To create our dining bull we cut out pieces of thin wood for the table (which was lots of fun, trying to make the wood fit around the shape of the bull). We then glued large blocks of wood on the sides of the body and attached the table. After time the table eventually fell off (ooops!) and we decided to drill the table onto the bull rather than glue. We then placed the pasture of grass on the blue side and a cliché dining room tablecloth (red and white checked) on the other. Once the pasture and tablecloth was in place, the real fun began. We used plastic foods, animals and other crafty items to create a farm and a dining room. On the dining side we placed two plates of food, in front of two dining table chairs. On these plates consisted of agricultural products such as beef, chips and sauces. This shows the processes from the other side of the bull and shows the viewer where their food comes from. The window on the wall shows the view of the paddock from inside the dining room, with the sheep in the distance. This connects both the production and consumption of sheep. On the opposite side the small pond, surrounded by ducks and geese shows the biodiversity of a farm, and symbolises the water and nutrients needed to run a farm. The hay feeders scattered in the paddock shows the effort put into farms to correctly manage animals and provide nutrients for livestock. The various species of farm animals show the many different kinds of agricultural products produced to feed Sydney for a day.

Cranebrook’s second bull was created through the painting of tools and equipment used to produce sheep. The old hand shears show the history of shearing mechanism, compared to the electronic shears used now. These were painted on by using our own tools used on our school farm. A drench gun, elastrator, castrating knife, NLIS tags and ear tagger are also found on the bull, to show the husbandry practices used to produce sheep. Without these tools many livestock would die from pests and disease and many could not be identified. Once the basis of these shapes were painted we added definition and detail to create a more realistic image of them. We then attached the French knitting to the bull, which resembles the processing of natural wool (dying, bleaching and spinning).

The Archibull Prize journey was amazing, we learnt so much about the production of many different agricultural products, learning where our food and fibre comes from and how they reach our homes.

Makeover for the Beef Industry

In our last post about our journey to find the Archibull Prize 2011 winner we told you about the Story of Beef entry from Caroline Chisholm College. We now share with you their video entry which is task 3 of the Archibull Prize 2011

The task is to put together a short video, no longer than 5 minutes to raise the profile of the school’s allocated food or fibre industry ( in this case beef) and promote the Australian farmers that produce it.

We can assure you Caroline Chisholm’s entry is sure to make you smile