The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
I have always had a connection to the land, growing up on a sheep and wool enterprise in Cooma, southern NSW. I never went to day-care, I went to ‘daddy day-care’ spending my time out in the paddock with dad (mostly eating sheep poo). When I was in primary school if we were shearing at home I would go straight to the shed after school, uniform and all.
Involving myself in sheep husbandry activities, data analysing and genetic data collection with the goal to continually improve our sheep to meet consumer demands and deliver a superior quality merino wool product. I was fortunate to attend boarding school and spend 12-months in the UK for my gap year.
I have just completed a double degree of a Bachelor of Agriculture and Business at UNE
Success comes from hard work and dedication, that is what my dad Alan taught me
During my tertiary education I networked with a variety of people and held leadership positions, my most recent being the Senior Resident Advisor (SRA) at St Alberts College.
In the last 5 years I have appreciated the value in breeding highly productive and profitable sheep and the benefits of using top genetics to create a superior product. Throughout my studies my attention was drawn to the need to increase sustainability in agriculture and to take a more market-oriented approach in the supply chain. I have a passion for wool focusing on this incredible fibre I believe my roles in leadership have equipped me with the skills to engage consumers in conversations about the sustainability of this superior fibre.
Consumers today are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and their impacts on the environment. They have increasing concerns about their purchases, questioning the sustainability of apparel fibres and demanding transparency and traceability of products. In regard to the wool industry, the future of fashion is heavily dependent on sustainable fibres. Wool is the solution to the future of sustainable fashion. The characteristics of the wool fibre make it highly sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Transparency is key to a create a cohesive pipeline and meet consumer demand- some bales of wool during our last shearing
I believe wool’s superior qualities need to be promoted to highlight the environmental benefits.
Fast fashion has resulted in an increased turn-over rate of clothing compared to 15 years ago due to the constant shift in fashion trends, with clothing collections doubling from 2-5 per year and lifestyle choices influencing consumer demand. With the consequences building as a result of fast fashion I believe we need to educate people about the impacts their purchasing habits have on the environment, as well as about the alternative choices they can make. The perfect world would see every household be able to own woollen underwear or t-shirt so they understand and appreciate the natural qualities of wool and the benefits this fibre has for their personal health, as well as the longevity of the environment. Creating clothing only of natural fibres, and reducing man-made fibres would reduce the level of micro-plastics in our oceans and pollution on land.
We have been using ASBV’s and measuring performance for over 14 years and from my experience and background in data collection and analysis continuous improvement is key to delivering a consistently superior quality merino wool
I aspire to be a leading advocate for increasing the level of transparency and traceability in the wool industry.
I believe a market-oriented approach is the key to improving market responsiveness and building a reputation for wool as a superior and sustainable fibre. I want to increase cohesion along the supply chain and ensure consistent communication channels between the producer and the consumer
I believe transparency is the key to engaging all stakeholders to ensure wool is successfully produced, promoted and consumed.
I know the benefits of this luxurious fibre, and have a desire to be a leading advocate for the future of the wool industry.
It gives us great pleasure to share with you the stories of our 2021 finalists
Meet Katie Barnett
My name is Katie Barnett. I am 21 years old and from Kempsey, on the Mid North Coast of NSW. In 2019, I ventured to Armidale, NSW to complete a double degree, a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Business at the University of New England. I am currently in my fourth and final year. I sit on multiple committees such as ASC of NSW Next Generation, Kempsey Show Society and UNE’s RSUS. In addition, I work on two properties, Kyabra Station and Taylors Run part-time and am just about to start another job at Precision Pastures. I have a small share in a mob of cross-bred ewes and have an enormous interest in women and youth in Agriculture, community involvement and the sustainability and resilience of the Australian sheep and wool industry.
How did I get here? I didn’t grow up on a property and I didn’t have family close by with a property for me to go to. I come from a rural town and went to a mainstream Public School.
Attending the Kempsey Anzac Day March with my fellow Kempsey High School Captain Dion Thompson-Stewart
I’ve always had a passion and ambition to become involved in Agriculture, so I took every opportunity that came my way. It doesn’t matter what your background is, your age or even your gender. If you try hard and keep persevering, you’ll achieve your goals. If I can make it so, can you!
Me and my kelpie Liz
I have been involved in many areas of the Agriculture Industry. I have worked with dairy cattle, pigs, beef cattle on smaller scale and beef cattle on a larger scale (cattle station in QLD) and harvested crops to name just a few. The sheep and wool industries are my favourite.
Its vaccination time on the farm
I love the diversity, the endless opportunities, the innovation, the technology, and the science.
I am proud to be part of an industry where sheep turn grass, water and sunshine into wool – a natural fibre that will last for years and years in your wardrobe, needs less washing, is fire resistant, breathable, recyclable and biodegrable and does not contribute to microplastic pollution
I am particularly interested in supporting producers to continue to deliver sustainable, ethically produced wool.
Understanding what are our buyers looking for?
What are the main challenges we face as an industry?
How do we remain competitive in a world where we compete with many other products such as synthetic fibres?
When we have healthy soils and pastures we can optimise the animal health and welfare outcome for sheep as well as increase the amount and quality of wool they produce. Animals in farming systems can reduce the need for input such as fertilisers and by implementing rotational grazing techniques ensures that grass is trimmed regularly, allowing it to regrow, store more carbon in its roots and support biodiversity in and above the soil.
Trees are an integral part of the farming system, providing shade for livestock, capturing carbon and shelter for native animals
I believe that I have a great future ahead of me in the sheep and wool Industry and I encourage everyone to have a go. You never know what lies ahead.
Welcome to the Young Farming Champions July Muster. Our headline act this week celebrates the latest milestone for the team.
One of the great strengths of the program is our YFC alumni network who are paying it forward and providing a peer-to-peer buddy system for new entrants.
In 2021 those relationships have led to some of our alumni pairing with their YFC buddies and stepping up to facilitate workshops using a ‘train-the -trainer’ model in which new YFCs co-host targeted workshops
On August 1st, 2021, YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and YFC co-host Dylan Male delivered a ‘Develop your Personal Brand for the Greater Good’ workshop
“A brand doesn’t just deliver a product or service – it can transform the way people think and act
By developing your brand, you will be better equipped to communicate in a way that resonates and motivates your audience to action.
Whether you advocate for a world of zero hunger, for climate action, for gender equality, or want to ensure vibrant rural economies – having a strong brand will underpin what you do.’ ,’ says Anika.
The workshop looked at how you can turn ideas into emotional connections with audiences.
As some of our participants shared the workshop provided our emerging YFC leaders with the tools, knowledge, and techniques to create personal brands for truly inspiring and impactful leadership.
‘I found Roxi’s workshop on empowering effective communications with consumers to be incredibly valuable.
It reminded us that everyone who produces food is also a consumer and we are talking to consumers every day.
Roxi highlighted the importance of active listening and asking to truly understand what is behind another person’s beliefs and values. These skills are like muscles and require time and practice to grow’ says Jo
A snippet from Steph, Olivia and Jo’s workshop for their fellow YFC
Both Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden have taken lessons from Roxi’s workshop to their workplaces
‘The lessons from Roxi’s workshop are relevant to many people across the industry, including my colleagues.
In discussion with my supervisor, I mentioned how great it would be to share some of Roxi’s key points with our team.
My supervisor supported this concept. We got together on 19 July and talked through Roxi’s slides.
‘It was a good opportunity to learn together, to discuss experiences we’ve shared and it also helped me cement my knowledge.’ says Steph.
Olivia is applying the principles of ‘ask; listen; ask; listen; ask; listen’ with the objective of understanding, taking off her agronomy hat and approaching tricky conversations with ethical values at the forefront of her mind and the scientific data in her back pocket.
“Sometimes agronomy is solving puzzles. The tricky thing is these puzzles are like the mountain Roxi referred to and at times everyone’s looking at it from a different angle, You also run into many iceberg conversations where you only see what’s on top and have to dive down to see what’s really underneath in order to solve it.’ says Olivia.
“I’ll be filming monthly videos until harvest in November/December that will be shared with our international customers and translated into five languages! You can follow along on the AEGIC Facebook page” says Marlee
Bryan Van Wykhas had a busy few weeks preparing the 11 Austral Fisheries trawlers he manages to go tiger prawning in northern Australia.
“We have a talented, passionate and dedicated core group of people that we all call family.
‘These men and women are about to embark on a four-month journey across northern Australia packing premium Aussie prawns. They have my utmost respect. They leave their families and friends behind; they work long and hard; and they are stewards of our oceans.
‘They collect important scientific data for conservation, they remove illegal ghost nets, they are world leaders in bycatch reduction, and I am honoured to be part of their family.
Here’s to a safe and enjoyable season. May your seas be calm, your bags full of red gold and your crews happy.’ said Bryan on Instagram
This video was created by Michael Pride to show what happens on board once the prawns are caught by the Austral Fisheries Team
From “Robin Hood” in Milbrulong Riverina NSW to the Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor in Melbourne, Wool YFC’s Dione Howard and Sam Wan discovered the world is a very small place when Sam found Dione’s family farm’s wool clip in her auctioneering catalogue
Unfortunately, with the volatility of the market — the Merino fleece wool was withdrawn from sale so Sam has no auction footage to round out the little video she created for Dione.
Sam was able to share some insights from the Selling Centre floor with Dione
Follow the footage:.
1. Internal catalogue cover – to show Dione when she could tune into the live video feed to watch her wool sell by open-cry auction in Melbourne. Dione’s wool was in the Wagga section.
2. Catalogue listing for Robin Hood wool – this is the hard copy of the finalised internal catalogue that I use to overview the wool sale, follow queries. It lists all the objective test results. A digital and hard copy version is available to wool buyers.
3. Copy of the classer’s specs – this is the paperwork that follows the farm bales to the wool store and tells the technical staff what number the bales are, what is in them and which bales go together. It also includes the wool classer details and the National Wool Declaration (NWD). Dione’s dad classed the wool clip, the paperwork was very tidy and properly completed!
4. Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor, Melbourne – where samples of the bales are set up for buyers to inspect and value prior to the auction. In this week, Elders Melbourne was offering 5270 bales.
5. Wagga section, Dione’s wool started at Lot 1310. Zoom to a floor sheet which accompanies each sample – this shows Lot 1310 was made up of 10 bales and is a line of AAAM – Merino Fleece.
6. Walk past the other merino fleece lines offered for sale.
Wool YFC Dione Howard and her partner Joe Fitzgerald were featured in a full page story in the Daily Telegraph.
Fingers crossed for another bumper season ahead, and that it’s business as usual for regional NSW farmers, were the key messages of the Telegraph story. Joe farms at Cootamundra where the crops are in and there’s been plenty of rain, setting the scene for another excellent harvest. All that’s needed is some sunshine and to keep those little mice away!
Corteva supported YFC and graduate agronomist Emily May was looking forward to sharing her career journey with students at AgVision
When COVID lockdown saw it postponed, always ready to make the most of every opportunity Emily took over Elders Instagram stories to share a Day in the Life of a Graduate Agronomist with their followers.
Out in the field
YFC Dylan Male made the most of his trip to the Northern Territory and took time out to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden
“During my recent travels to the Northern Territory, I was fortunate enough to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden in Katherine. As we got to know each other better, we quickly discovered that we had many shared interests and passions, most notably for all things agronomy. We both told stories about our pathway into agriculture and shared our excitement about embarking on the YFC journey. We left the catch-up feeling a greater sense of connectedness and look forward to staying in touch’.
COVID lockdowns also mean our YFC won’t have the opportunity to visit schools in person, so our agile team is connecting with facilitator Josh Farr and the Paddock Pen Pals team led by Sam Wan to get some tips and tricks on how facilitate highly engaging zoom workshops with school students
Participating in the 2021 Archibull Prize Riverstone High School is first out of the blocks to investigate SDG 14 Life in the Oceans making the most of Bryan Van Wyk’s expertise as manager of the Austral Fisheries Northern Fishing Trawlers
Students will be quizzing Bryan about:
• plastic in the ocean,
• what the future looks like for our oceans and animals,
• sustainable fishing
Representing Riverina Local Land Services YFC Dione Howard and Megan Sinclair zoomed into Barellan Public School Year 4-6 class who are participating in Kreative Koalas on Wednesday 21July.
Dr Calum Watt has found himself in demand with schools students. After reading about Calum, Principal Kris Beazley from the Centre of Excellent in Agricultural Education sprang into action
“The students will be touching on CRISPR 9 next week as part of their initial work and then taking a deeper dive in a couple of weeks, so we would love to hear about your passion and knowledge in this area and how it is being used in Australian agriculture.” says Kris in her email to Calum
Calum presented CRISPR 9 technologies to her students on 28th July.
“Calum was fantastic. He covered CRISPR science, genetics, career opportunities plus the skills and knowledge required to do a PhD. A session that was originally planned for 40 mins stretched to 90 mins with the students highly engaged for the entire time” says Kris
Kris and her teachers are building on the success of the workshop with Calum and making the most of COVID lockdowns by initiating ” Wow Wednesdays” – a 60 minute masterclass with an industry expert. The students are super excited to have Wool YFC Dr Danila Marinizooming in this week and Australian Young Farmer of the Year YFC Emma Ayliffethe following week.
YFC and Chair of our Youth Leadership Team Dione Howard was a very worthy finalist in the Lambition Awards. Check out her inspiring story here
The ever multi talented Dr Anika Molesworth is the voice of latest Case tractor add. See the back story here
“We need no thanks, rewards or dues, we love this land, it’s what we do. There’s not a day that the landscape doesn’t captivate me with its vast wonder, there’s not a day that I don’t feel honoured to work alongside farmers who produce food and fibre for our country, and beyond. Each day we rise to our challenges, are grateful for our opportunities, and strive to make tomorrow the best it possibly can be. I hold such deep admiration for the farming community. With all its highs and lows, the triumphs and turmoil – and recently I was invited to read a poem about this incredible community.” says Anika Molesworth – farmer, scientist and now voice of CASE IH Australia/New Zealand’s new advertising campaign.
YFC Meg Rice has recently completed the Graduate Program with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Throughout the program Meg worked on Murray-Darling Basin policy, trade and market access, live animal exports and the Future Drought Fund. Meg is excited to invited to take up a permanent role as a Senior Policy Officer within the Live Animal Export branch of the department.
Meg Rice pictured with the department Secretary, Andrew Metcalfe OAM.
A huge congratulations to friend of the YFC Hannah Wandel who was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Great story in HerCanberra here
July has been a huge month for the YFC and we will have more of their July adventures to share with you in our August Muster
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Dr Anika Molesworth book Our Sunburnt Country here
And none of this could happen without our supporting partners investing in our YFC
Young Farming Champion Dr Calum Watt found himself in his happy place when he was recently asked to run a train the trainer workshop on CRISPR technology and wheat breeding at the recent WA PRIMED teacher workshop. Calum’s tutorial will support secondary school science teachers to bring agriculturally focused action learning into their classrooms.
Calum is our only Western Australia based Young Farming Champion and hasn’t had the opportunity to participate in our schools-based programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas and he found this opportunity an exciting milestone in his personal and professional development journey.
“I found the skills I learnt in my Young Farming Champions’ workshops gave me the confidence to say yes when I was invited. Having access to all the data collected from 10 years of Archibull Prize entry and exit surveys asking young people what they care about and want to learn about allowed me to tailor my tutorial to support teachers to teach agricultural themes in a way that I was confident will resonate with young people not much younger than me.
After the tutorial I received great feedback and I knew that it was a success when every teacher asked me where they could get wheat!”
Calum joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2015 as an undergraduate at Murdoch University and has been listening to the Young Farming Champions tell him for five years how much satisfaction they get from going into a classroom, sharing their passion and having students and teachers engage with you. He is thrilled to join the club.
“The flow on effect has led to one of the attending metropolitan-based teachers lining up a series of secondary school presentations for me .
I will say this though, first time in an educational setting had the nerves firing. It was a very different kettle of fish from my scientific seminars I have done before.”
Our Young Farming Champions are all cheering Calum on from their workplaces across the country
We thank our supporting partners for investing in young agriculturalists like Calum
One of the guiding principles of Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) is to introduce students to the world of work and encourage the uptake of agricultural careers by presenting the industry as an exciting option for a career with purpose.
Together with our supporting partners PYiA delivers the in-school programs Kreative Koalas ( primary students) and The Archibull Prize (secondary students) to ensure career development begins on the first day of school.
This life-long learning journey is further strengthened by the engagement of Young Farming Champions, a cohort of young agricultural professionals who relate easily to students.
Align with the National Career Education Strategy using bottom-up tried and tested innovative localised approaches targeting wants and needs of teachers, students, parents and carers.
Support partnerships to thrive between schools, education and training providers, employers, parents and carers, and the broader community.
Ensure students have transferable skills that equip them for the future of work.
Our surveys and research over the last decade have proven this to be a highly effective model of keeping agriculture careers front of mind, improving agricultural career outcomes, creating educational pathways and catering for the needs of teachers and students and the future workforce and employers.
Kreative Koalas is an action learning program for primary school students that introduces them to the world of work through connection to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. Kreative Koalas embeds sustainability across multiple Key Learning Areas of the school curriculum and encourages students to develop external collaborations with professionals within their community; expanding their understanding of the world of work as they learn how people in different jobs contribute to a sustainable future.
We were lucky to have the opportunity to have a Zoom meeting with farmer and environmentalist Karin Stark, whose family uses renewable energy (solar) to power their cotton and wheat farm. This was an extremely valuable experience, as students were able to develop their knowledge and understanding of how renewable energy can be used in different communities for different purposes.
The Archibull Prize then consolidates this introduction by showing students career pathways to sustainability though the lens of agriculture and asking them to investigate innovative approaches to problem solving in an industry that requires multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills. Throughout The Archibull Prize students develop the transferable 21st century skills that underpin employability for the future.
“Picture You in Agriculture’s school-based programs support the establishment of school-industry partnerships, connecting young people with the world of work in agriculture. Delivered to students K-12, these programs were adapted by teachers to meet the developmental needs of students and used to integrate a range of subject interests and skills into project-based learning activities. Teachers were empowered to collaborate with local community groups, employers, and organisations which meant the program activities provide effective career guidance in ways that are meaningful for students. It is promising, that in a year where teachers reported significant challenges with student’s engagement at school due to COVID-19 restrictions, that both The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas programs successfully contributed to the development of participants 21st century skills and increased interest in careers in agriculture.” Dr Nicole McDonald PhD in Vocational Psychology of Agriculture, BSci. (Hons.) Psychology Program Evaluation
Underpinning the success of both Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize are the Young Farming Champions (YFC). Due to their age (often not much older than the students they connect with) YFC become role models. They are memorable, credible, passionate about their industries and they disrupt stereotypical images of what a farmer is.
See how 2020/2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year, Emma Ayliffe is sharing her journey to be a farmer with students here
Students learning from a YFC realise careers in agriculture can be high-level, STEM-based worlds of opportunity.
Value adding to the one-off engagement events like careers fairs offered by industry, YFC go into schools as part of a 12-week immersion process providing multiple touch points for learning and two way conversations. For these 12 weeks the YFC are basically on speed-dial for teachers and students.
YFC are trained by PYiA to be advocates for agriculture and positive role models for younger generations. Through their training they are given opportunities to practice in safe environments to become confident communicators and trusted voices in the communities in which they work and live. Horizontal development comes from online and in-person workshops where they build their skills and knowledge. Vertical development comes from the multiple opportunities to stretch themselves and interact with thought-leaders and strategists from around the world.
Our YFC represent a range of industries and professions in agriculture.
They firstly learn to lead themselves then, as alumni, they learn to lead others while being supported by mentors from their sponsor organisations or workplace and through the YFC alumni buddy system. This produces young people who understand the importance of listening to understand and are confident sharing their story with students and opening students (teachers, parents and influencers) minds to changing images and perceptions about careers. Our research shows that YFC as role models are the key to opening the door.
Through Kreative Koalas, The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions, PYiA is providing leadership and career development action learning opportunities for young people from Prep to early 30s; showcasing the world of work in agriculture and sustainability and providing pathways and skills for the workforce of tomorrow.
A little bit of trivia to show its working
Nationally, the most popular broad field of education (in terms of the number of applications) in 2020 was Health (74,780 applicants or 26.0 per cent of all applicants). This was followed by Society and Culture (69,036 applicants or 24.0 per cent) and Management and Commerce (32,516 applicants or 11.3 per cent).
Fields of education that recorded strongest growth in applications in 2020 were Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies (10.8 per cent), followed by Information Technology (9.8 per cent), Natural and Physical Sciences (3.1 per cent), Society and Culture (2.3 per cent), Education (2.0 per cent), Health (1.7 per cent), Engineering and Related Technologies (1.1 per cent) and Architecture and Building (0.7 per cent Source
At PYiA we believe leaders are made. They are products of their environments, of the people surrounding them, nurturing them, and INVESTING IN THEM.
“In a world full of noise it can be overwhelming for school students to decide on a career and it’s hard to be what you can’t see.”
With research showing young people moving from primary school to secondary school have closed their minds to 70% of the careers available agriculture is excited that Picture You in Agriculture has found a successful tried and tested model to open young people eyes to the exciting and diverse world of work in agriculture.
Every school participating in The Archibull Prize competition is partnered with a Young Farming Champion (YFC) to assist them in their agricultural learning journeys. But did you know a YFC represents more than a friendly face in your classroom? A YFC can open the door to brand new worlds for your students and introduce them to the diversity of knowledge and careers available that align with the issues most important to them. A YFC can show your students careers within agriculture that have social and environmental purpose.
A recent Picture You in Agriculture survey has shown the following issues are what young people care about and want to learn how they can play a role in addressing
Further research shows how YFC can successfully engage with teachers and students to change agricultural preconceptions.
Our YFC champion these issues every day in their jobs within agriculture and fishing; YFC such as Tayla Field and Bryan Van Wyk.
Tayla is a business manager for salad producer One Harvest and knows the importance of food security and the impact of consumer expectations in the provision of safe and nutritious food, and of good food produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. At the 2021 Hort Connections Gala dinner Tayla spoke of these issues and you can watch the video here.
From the table above Tayla cites “Knowing what food is good for you” and “Making less waste” as issues she can directly address within her job.
“We have been seeing consumers becoming more aware of their health during COVID, with freshness, taste, provenance and nutritional value being key purchasing drivers. Luckily, the fresh produce industry has a range of options from fresh fruit and vegetables to nuts and herbs, that can form a part of a healthy diet for shoppers of all ages. Our business uses plastic to deliver our products to the consumer in a safe way, while maintaining the integrity and freshness of the raw material, but we are working on a number of operational projects to reduce plastic throughout our supply chain. This includes the introduction of new ways of working and new machinery to help facilitate these changes. I am loving being able to see these projects come to life and the business focusing on, and actively investing in, improving our environmental footprint,” Tayla says.
Tayla works with the vegetable farms of Australia’s east coast and further north, on the seas out from Cairns and Karumba, Bryan Van Wyk is managing the prawn trawler fleet for Austral Fisheries. Life in the oceans has been identified as one of the top issues of interest to secondary students and Bryan takes this part of his job incredibly seriously. He recently zoomed in to speak with QLD Marine teachers.
Bryan Van Wyk’s office
“Having enough food to feed everyone” and “Life in the oceans” are high on our list of priorities so its pretty cool to see that its equally as high on young people’s minds. With nearly 20% of the world’s animal protein coming from seafood, commercial fishing is an important way of feeding the world. However, if poorly managed or unregulated, it can result in widespread ecosystem declines. Australia is blessed with some of the healthiest oceans and best fisheries management practices in the world. The Northern Prawn Fishery is Australia’s largest and most valuable prawn fishery and is renowned for its robust ecosystem-based management and bycatch reduction work. With 11 vessels in this fishery, Austral Fisheries work closely with scientists, fisheries managers and industry to ensure the on-going health and sustainability of the oceans in Northern Australia,” Bryan says.
In a world full of noise it can be overwhelming for school students to decide on a career and, like us all, it’s hard to be what you can’t see. Young Farming Champions are role models for students; they are memorable, relatable, credible, passionate about their industries and they are disrupting the stereotypical images of what a farmer is. How many students would think as a ‘farmer’ they could be dressed in a stunning pink dress addressing a national conference, or working on fishing boats while raising the profile of Patagonian toothfish? There are new worlds to discover every day in agriculture and a YFC can be your personal, professional guide.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and at Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) it takes a village to support, mentor, teach and encourage our Young Farming Champions. One of our village “chiefs” is Dr Jenni Metcalfe from Econnect Communication who each year holds a series of workshops to enable our YFC on their leadership and career development journeys.
Recently Jenni conducted an online workshop Designing Compelling Messages including a mnemonic to capture her ideas:
Motivated – What is driving you to communicate? What do you want to achieve?
Empathy – Who do you want to communicate with? Have you tried standing in their shoes?
Specific – What is the concrete (not abstract) message that you want to convey?
Simple – Have you considered what your audience could misunderstand?
Acknowledge uncertainty – How sure are you of your information?
Game-change – Does your message include a call for change, in attitudes or actions?
“I printed out the mnemonic and have it on my office wall. I have found it very useful to evaluate my presentations before sharing and will also use it to gauge any future articles, videos or reports I compose before publishing,” he says. In fact, Bryan used the mnemonic to test one of his favourite video creations: Born Free, Caught Wild. The Northern Prawn Industry and this was his assessment: “Motivated – yes; Empathy – yes; Specific – kind of, but there’s a lot of information to digest; Simple – relatively; Acknowledge uncertainty – thinks so; Game-changer – the message was to buy Australian and MSC-certified prawns, but it could have been clearer; and Enable – as above.” Great work Bryan.
At the beginning of June Steph Tabone had the opportunity to present to her Corteva colleagues about her YFC experience.
“I shared some insights on [Jenni’s] workshop as I felt that this topic would resonate with my colleagues. We have all been in social situations where we’re asked who we work for, and it can be a challenge knowing how to say you work for an agricultural chemical company because the people we are speaking with may not be as connected to agriculture as we are. I am proud of what we do and am proud to share the great things Corteva is doing, because we really have had a positive impact on the farmers we work with. I shared how these workshops help not only in conversations with adults who have existing perceptions of the industry, but also with the next generation in schools, engaging them in conversations about agriculture and the exciting career opportunities in our sector. I enjoy working for Corteva and I am confident other young people will too. Jenni’s workshop helped me understand how to share my story so it is engaging, relatable and memorable ” Steph says.
Steph Tabone (left) and Lynne Strong at the Corteva birthday celebrations in the Botanic Gardens on June 1st
Connie Mort joined Steph on the Corteva stage and her take-home message from Jenni’s workshop was the relevance it had not only for her but for long-term YFC.
“We are in these workshops alongside alumni who have been with the program for up to eight years, such as Jo Newton and Anika Molesworth. This gives me confidence that content provided by the YFC program will be continually fresh and evolving, and that it is really all about life-long learning,” she says.
Most of our new YFC will now know Jenni from her workshops but few might know the full impact she has had on Picture You in Agriculture.
Program founder Lynne Strong has the backstory:
“The YFC program was inspired by the 2010 Climate Champions program I participated in. Jenni co-founded the program with Colin Creighton AM and delivered it for four years. The learnings inspired much of her PhD thesis. I was highly impressed by how much confidence and skills competence the program gave to farmer participants and I was committed to having it funded for young people. Jenni and her partner in mastery, the wonderful Sarah Cole, then ran our first YFC workshop in 2011. Jenni is a world-leading science communicator with the vision to ‘bring science to life’ and we are very grateful to have Jenni as a central part of our team and carry on the legacy of the Climate Champions program”
and as Jenni so succinctly puts
“The YFC is an example of participatory science communication about sustainable agriculture. Like I found in my thesis, Rethinking science communication models in practice, this program works because of the relationships of trust that have grown between young people involved in agriculture (the YFCs), more experienced mentors and trainers, experts in sustainability, and educators. Developing such relationships of trust takes time and have the power to create a legacy of transformational change.”
Our Young Farming Champions are extraordinary roles models of who you can be in the world of agriculture
Dr Anika Molesworth, Dr Jo Newton, Daniel Fox and Samantha Wan are just a small sample of the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the world
Picture You in Agriculture has a long history of working with Hurlstone Agricultural High School and their extraordinary art department with the school winning The Archibull Prize three times. We are mega excited that the new farm model designed for the school by Professor Ian Lean will see students immerse themselves in agriculture of the future where we get the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and the planet
Student outcomes and learning have been at the centre of decision making. The proposed farm upgrades will create fit for purpose facilities to support the next generation of students learning about contemporary agriculture and STEAM ( science, technology, engineering, art and maths)
To achieve improved agricultural education outcomes, the farm will be upgraded with co-located technology in a centralised farm hub and and the boarding facilities will be upgraded.
The proposed upgrades to the farm and boarding facilities will provide students with:
■ improved educational outcomes in agriculture and STEAM
■ new and upgraded boarding facilities with additional capacity for up to 180 boarders
■ new fit for purpose, modern farm and dairy facilities offering expanded education experiences
■ ease of farm operations and management
■ more opportunities for students to view and interact with livestock
■ collaboration opportunities with the new Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education, universities and
“Hurlstone will benefit from cutting edge agricultural technology in the proposed farm upgrade. A farm hub will be at the core of the upgrade and will co-locate farming enterprises, technology, machinery and housing for livestock. It will also provide improved linkages to learning and boarding spaces. The new central farm hub means students will have access to modern technology, more viewing and animal interaction opportunities, co-located learning space, and greater collaboration opportunities with teaching staff, industry and university partnerships.”
It sounds like a major undertaking but for Ian the driving factors are reasonably simple.
“We are marrying the concepts of compassion for animals with the science and data of modern agriculture,” he says.
In order to achieve this Ian and the development team must overhaul facilities to provide a farm that is potentially smaller but can sustain the same amount of livestock.
“We are looking at agriculture in an urban environment so there needs to be a deep consideration of the needs of the animals but also an awareness of how we interface the urban with the rural. The objective is to provide environments that would be extremely comfortable and animal friendly and also demonstrate that modern agriculture is precise, quantifiable, compassionate and oriented towards profitability.”
The dairy at Hurlstone has long been its showpiece and it has been central to the redevelopment. Robots will be introduced to aid in data capture and illustrate modern milking methods, showing students the role of this technology. All animal and plant enterprises will be designed to allow replication and research studies with a view to engaging senior students modem agricultural science. Agronomy and soil production systems will also feature.
“We want to retain the opportunity for humans and animals to bond the way they should and combine this with science so that students can understand modern agriculture. These are critical aspects that students need to see in order to formulate ideas about careers in agriculture and we will show them that we can feed the planet, nurture the landscape and look after our animals well,” Ian says.
The world has changed – we are living in a new norm. Today in our Crafting Careers in Agriculture series we are looking at how our education system is adapting to support our young people to be resilient and thrive in the new norm.
Taking a new approach to learning by partnering with tertiary institutions, industry and community is the goal of Richmond Agricultural College’s Centre for Excellence in Agricultural Education. In this edition of our Crafting Careers series we talk with Principal Kris Beazley on how the new model works and how it equips young people for a career in the agricultural industry.
The recently formed Centre of Excellence is still developing and stretching its educational wings and Kris is excited to be on the frontline of an educational revolution. “The Centre of Excellence is a privileged place to be because we have had the luxury of taking some time to look at our curriculum and ask how we can do it differently, meet syllabus outcomes and ensure authentic, partnered and applied learning opportunities for our students,” she says. “In addition to our stand-alone AgSTEM high school we have the capacity to work with schools from Kindergarten to Year 12 across the state in delivering AgSTEM, sustainability and careers education, and teacher professional learning.”
The Centre has five pillars of learning: agriculture, STEM, sustainability, Aboriginal Knowledges and career-transition. “Everything we do aligns to those components,” Kris says. “We want our young people to have the confidence and agency to use their capabilities, not only for career purposes but as change agents in community and society. We talk about our young people being social entrepreneurs in everything they do, and that is very important to us.”
Using a transdisciplinary rather than siloed approach to the curriculum the Centre of Excellence is underpinned by partnered learning, which is reflected in its location on Western Sydney University’s (WSU) Hawkesbury campus. But the partnering does not end with tertiary institutions. Instead partnerships with industry and community are actively encouraged. Students work on design thinking projects with members of society as diverse as astronauts, local permaculture community organisations and industry at a local and national level. “In all elements of our programs we have developed partnered learning opportunities for our students beyond the school,” Kris says.
Another aspect of the Centre is its ability to deliver programs into schools across the state, with a focus on agriculture and sustainability, on topics such as protected cropping and food production, the importance of bees and river health. As with the fulltime campus delivery, partnering is critical. “We give young people a real world problem and ask them to be part of a real world solution,” Kris says. “These programs give kids the power to go and stand side by side with people in industry and community.”
Hackathons are another innovative way the Centre educates. During hackathons students and teachers work to develop solutions to real world problems and create new future possibilities. In their recent series of Hackathons with Cotton Australia, Woolmark/Wool Innovation, Adobe and tertiary institutions students explored the future possibilities of sustainable fibre in Australia, considering issues such as the supply chain, circularity, impacts on rural communities, cities and consumers. The Centre also delivers Hackathons linked to Bees and Pollinators, sustainable fashion, water management and other contemporary issues. A hackathon was a contributing factor in Penrith Valley Learning School’s winning entry in the 2020 Archibull Prize. “They did a full day hackathon with us where all students engaged in deep learning and critical thinking. All students in the group contributed to a collective design solution through developing their ideas, intense feedback, prototyping and testing; we thought about what they valued and gave them the research, communication and critical thinking skills to take their project to reality. Watching a group of young people stand up and have agency and voice was extremely powerful.”
Empowering young people to find and use their voice is the cornerstone to this revolution in agricultural education. With voice and agency students will not only become the changemakers of tomorrow, but will start this journey in their primary and secondary years today. They will be confident to ask the right questions and network with experts in industry, policy making, research and the community. In doing so they are confident consumers, wise decision makers and more importantly have a greater understanding of the opportunities available to them in the Australian Agriculture and STEM industries. Australian agriculture will be stronger because of it.
One of key learnings from the Young Farming Champions cross agriculture sector network is whilst farmers from different industry sectors are experts in their field, they often know very little about other sectors and are hungry to learn. So you can imagine how excited the team is to have Bryan Van Wyk join us from Austral Fisheries so we can learn about carbon neutral wild catching fishing
Bryan Van Wyk’s office – does it get better than this
Banana Prawn season is underway and we invited Bryan to share with us what the 2021 season is looking like.
the inside story …….
The banana prawn season is one of the most wild and exciting commercial fishing seasons the world has to offer. Due to the rapid life cycle and boom-bust nature of prawns, it is one of the few fisheries in Australia that can’t be managed with quotas. This means skippers are able to go and catch as many prawns as they can in the short period which makes for a highly competitive, strategic and actioned packed fishing season. For the past 4-5 months the fishery has been closed to allow a newly spawned generation of banana prawns to have the chance to settle into the rivers, grow and recruit back into the fishing grounds after the wet season rainfall. Prior to the start of the fishing season on April 1st, the fishing grounds are re-populated and large mud boils (banana prawn masses which disturb the sediment on the sea floor to create mud plumes) can be seen from space. When the season commences, airplanes are used to direct vessels to banana prawn mud boils where crews can catch, pack and snap freeze between 5,000 and 10,000kgs of prawns per day (when things are going well). Once a skipper fills their vessels freezer, the crew are required to unload the catch via a mothership or a nearby port.
The largest and most consistent banana catches are found during the first month of the season. Karumba is a small, remote fishing town situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is an attractive unloading point for vessels due to the close proximity to fishing grounds and the availability of fuel, supplies, repairs and product transport logistics. For the past 5 banana prawn seasons I have orchestrated and managed an unload operation in the heart of Karumba while attending to the vast day-to-day operational duties of managing 11 prawn trawlers. Each year is a challenging and fulfilling journey and this year was no different.
In preparation to this season I put together a workforce of 20 people in Cairns (which was a real challenge with a noticeable shortage in available seasonal workers). After inductions and paperwork were finalised, we made our way to Karumba, set up camp and began training in preparation for our first round of customers. Always being prepared is at the heart of everything I do and worker health and safety is a priority at Austral Fisheries. As a group we practice setting up the unloading gear, stacking boxes and highlight potential safety hazards in our environment along the way.
This year’s season started off with a bang with most vessels in the fishery filling up in the first week of the season. On the second day of the season there were over 30 banana prawn marks spotted with our plane near Karumba and in the first 10 days we unloaded a total of 380MT which was on par with some of our bigger seasons. This was one of the most exhausting 10 days I have experienced in Karumba. It’s hard to predict how long catches like this would last in a volatile fishery like this but if there is one thing I’ve learnt in this industry it’s that you have to prepare for the worst (or best depending which way you look at it) so I made the call to increase packaging productions, bring in reinforcements and more supplies to keep up with the catches. Sure enough, after making these decisions, catches began to drop rapidly and boats started moving out of the Karumba region. It’s not unusual for catches to suddenly drop like this, but predicting when this occurs is impossible. With a full team of staff, unloaders and engineers, and freezer trucks on standby, we made the call to end the operation for another year.
Goodbyes are never easy, but bringing a workforce together with completely different views and beliefs, watching them work as a team in a challenging environment and then seeing lifelong friendships developed by the end is one of the most rewarding parts of this journey.
Although starting off strong, we are now 3 weeks into this banana prawn season and early predictions are showing an average catch season outcome. There is still potentially more than 7 weeks of fishing to go and things may change as more prawns are found. These prawns will all be sold into the domestic market (supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers) for Australian’s to enjoy throughout the year.