Pick the winner of the 2013 Archibull Prize

The big day is tomorrow for all our finalists involved in the 2013 Archibull Prize.

14 Schools have been selected based on their artwork to send their cows the Awards and Exhibition ceremony

Now its time for the Peoples Pick.

Who will you chose to win the 2013 Archibull Prize

Click on the pictures to see the cows in full glory 

Take Our Poll

 

Target 100 announces 2013 Young Farming Champions

Target 100 – an initiative by Australian cattle and sheep farmers to deliver more sustainable cattle and sheep farming by 2020 – is delighted to announce its Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions for 2013

This year we have again been impressed by the high quality of the Young Farming Champion candidates. They have a great breadth of experience and a passionate commitment to a sustainable future for the Australian beef and lamb industry and will undoubtedly prove to be strong and effective advocates

Elise Vale Community Engagement Manager.

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The Target 100 Young Farming Champions for 2013 are:

Jasmine Nixon, 24, from Wagga Wagga in NSW.

My passion is agriculture and I am proud to say I love my beef cows! Every day I know that I am contributing to help feed the world – and I also love what I do. Agriculture is an exciting place to be, yes there are challenges but there are also endless different opportunities within agriculture and that is something I hope to share and encourage a new generation to take on the challenge to help feed the world!

You can read Jasmine’s blog here

Hannah Barber, 22, from Parkes, NSW;

Education is the key to ensuring the Australian agricultural industry is understood and supported by our urban cousins and I look forward to a career where I can achieve this, and then come home to the farm every evening.

You can read Hannah’s blog  here

Danille Fox, 19, from St George, Queensland;

I see today’s agricultural industry as exciting and challenging and I feel privileged to be a part of an industry which is so vital to Australia’s future. I look forward to contributing to the industry through my veterinary profession and AGvocacy roles

You can read Danille’s blog  here

Naomi Hobson, 23, from Georgetown, Queensland

“People will only conserve what they love, love what they understand, understand what they know and know what they are taught,”  says Naomi.

It doesn’t matter what your background may be all you need is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and the ability to say yes to the opportunities that are presented to you and I guarantee a great adventure will be waiting!

After all, as Dorothea wrote…

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold.

Read more about Naomi here

Our four Champions will share their stories with urban Australians and help improve city consumers’ understanding of the challenges of producing beef and lamb sustainably.
Our aim is for these young women to become part of a strong network of equally passionate young rural people who are encouraging consumers to value, be proud of and support the Australian farmers who feed and clothe them.
An important aspect of their role as Young Farming Champions will be to speak with school children about how sheep and cattle are raised.
Hannah, Danille, Naomi and Jasmine will go into schools which are participating in the Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize program and spread the word on the sustainability of the beef and lamb industry.
By actively engaging in two way conversations the Young Farming Champions will help bridge the gap between city and rural communities by increasing knowledge, generating trust and understanding of modern farming practices.

We will be hosting our  Beef Young Champions at our head office and introducing them to our team members and supporting their journey every step of the way. We wish them well over the course of this year and look forward to their feedback so we can optimise the beef and sheep farmer story experiences we provide in schools and the wider community!

On behalf of Art4Agriculture and the Beef Young Farming Champions we salute the Target 100 team and thank them for investing in next gen food and fibre

Jasmine, Danille, Naomi and Hannah will join the Art4Agriculture team of 2012 Young Farming Champions and we are looking forward to working with them all. They light our fire and keep it burning. So much energy and commitment for a dynamic, innovative exciting and profitable agrifood sector

RAS Youth in Ag Ambassador shares her journey

Over the years Art4agriculture has been very lucky to interact in schools with a number of very talented potential next generation of food and fibre producers and supporters .

Today it gives us great pleasure to update you on the journey of Amber O’Neil who we previously profiled here

Amber who hopes to start a vet science course at CSU next year was recently selected for the very prestigious role of RAS Youth In Ag Ambassador at the 2013 Sydney Royal Easter Show

Youth in Ag Day celebrates the contribution young people make to the agricultural industry in NSW and Australia and also highlights the broad range of opportunities available for young people to be involved in this dynamic and rewarding industry

“Our Youth in Ag Day ambassadors are dynamic, innovative champions for the future of the industry, and for rural and regional areas of Australia,” Mr Davey said.
“These ambassadors have been selected because of their passion for agriculture, their involvement in the industry and their strong desire to contribute to its future. They are excellent role models and a wonderful example of the good things young people are doing in their regional communities.”

Amber shares the experience …………………………….

Being selected as a Youth in Ag Ambassador was a great experience and opportunity! Saturday 30th March 2013 was Youth in Ag Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and as an Ambassador it was my role, within a group, to promote agriculture and raise the profile of youth involvement within the industry. We spent the day handing out merchandise, talking to the public and meeting lots of new people.

We started off with a breakfast briefing, where we met all the Youth in Ag Ambassadors and got together before a big day. We were given shirts, caps and badges to wear and a bag of merchandise to hand out at the show. We were then separated into small groups and sent off to different parts of the showground. Our group’s first role was to run the Alpaca Youth Paraders event which we had been organising for months prior to the day. Being part of the alpaca industry allowed our small group to not only run the event but promote the alpaca industry and share our love for the animals and lifestyle with the public. It was a great success, everything running smoothly and all competitors doing everyone proud!

Amber trained all these people for the Alpacas paraders competition at the show and they all got ribbons

During the day we also visited the Food Farm, where we assisted in the movement of crowds and spent several hours talking to the public and promoting agriculture. I had a great time sharing my passion for the industry, talking to people who had never heard the word ‘Ag’ before and sharing my love for animals, agriculture and farming. It was amazing to see so many people interested in an industry that many of them had never experienced before and to tell my story.

Archies in the Food Farm

The Youth in Ag Ambassadors got together again to watch the RAS Young Farmer Challenge, designed to promote excellence in farming and showcase the involvement of youth in agriculture. It was a great event to watch and we all had a good time.

We spent the rest of the day talking to the public and handing out badges and caps, which everyone loved. I had a fantastic day and it was such an amazing opportunity to be a Youth in Ag Ambassador.

See the RAS Youth Group starring our very own Kirsty John (centre) and Young Farming Champions Alumni Heidi Cheney ( far right) 

 

 

No fence sitting here

“SOME PEOPLE WANT IT TO HAPPEN, SOME WISH IT TO HAPPEN, OTHERS MAKE IT HAPPEN.”

Last year Art4Agriculuture introduced you to Jordan Kerr a young man who is making things happen. Jordan’s strong social conscience, sense of community and commitment to be the change that needs to happen had already seen him represent Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference 2011, where he had a speaking gig at the United Nations 2011 in New York.

Having now finished his HSC he is having a gap year before he embarks on a degree in Social Inquiry and International Studies at UTS. With this degree under his belt he will then be looking at a career in international politics and diplomacy.  I am confident people like Nick Xenophon would be grateful indeed to have someone of the ilk of Jordan watching their back 

Jordan has accomplished a great deal in the last 12 months including represent Australia at the Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington DC in January 2013.

He has also set up Youth Link Australia (YLA) in 2012 . The aim of YLA  is to connect youth across Australia with youth services 

I personally see Jordan as a socially conscious leader. I see someone who is aware of the issues facing both local and global communities and is actively trying to correct the problem and providing opportunities to nurture others to do the same. 

Today Jordan gives us an update on the last 12 months. I am just not quite sure what to say when I read his story and see what he has achieved in such a short time. I just wonder what I have been doing with my life. If only the world was full of people the calibre of Jordan Kerr 

The story so far can be found here and the next chapter follows ……

During the six years I spent at Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Glenfield NSW I was lucky enough to meet a number of fellow students who share my values and priorities and then find a supportive teacher body who encouraged us in our endeavours to find and trial new and different ways to connect with and contribute to the wider community.

Having personally benefited from the many opportunities for Australian youth locally, nationally and internationally, I was keen for other young people to share the benefits as well. So last year six of my fellow Hurlstonians got together and set up Youth Link Australia with the purpose of connecting young people with services and opportunities within their community.  By providing a single website Australian youth now have access to a vast variety of resources in one place.

As an organisation we aim to:

  • Enable youth to easily access national services online in one website.
  • Encourage youth to get actively involved within their local community.
  • Provide information in relation to youth volunteering and extra-curricular activities.
  • Provide information in relation to leadership opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.

We are also very partnership focused and work with other organisations to help promote their work to Australian youth, so if you like what you see when you visit our website we would love to hear from you.

Now to the highlight of my 2013 year so far and that of course is being selected to represent Australia at the Presidential Inaugural Conference which was held in Washington DC during January 2013.

Sponsored by the NSW Government, Xstrata Coal, Dick Smith (the individual not the company) and the John Edmondson VC Memorial Club I participated in the 5 day conference that celebrates the inauguration of the President of the United States.

The conference also explored how President’s run winning campaigns and the roles of Presidential staff. Through practical simulations and hands on seminars we actually got to take on the role of presidential staff and run mock campaigns. The conference also explored the history and the controversy surrounding former US President Richard Nixon. A special screening of the movie All the Presidents Men explored the breaking of the Watergate scandal and can you believe it I later had the opportunity to meet with Bob Woodward one of the United States most acclaimed reporters responsible for revealing the scandal to the public.

Guest speakers at the conference included Dr. Condoleezza Rice, General Wesley Clark and Mr Claes Nobel.  Dr. Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to the President spoke about her insider’s perspective of the US Presidency and also about growing up in a segregated community. General Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, four-star general and Presidential Candidate spoke about his leadership experiences on and off the battlefield. Mr Claes Nobel the grandnephew of Alfred Nobel founder of the Nobel Prize addressed the conference about the importance of youth leadership.

The conference also included an evening performance by The Capitol Steps, a former group of congressional staffers turned songwriters. Along with this a black tie Gala Inaugural Celebration took place at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar- Hazy Center, home to thousands of aviation and space artefacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Inauguration day was of course the biggest highlight of the conference. Standing amongst the among the hundreds of thousands of people watching the President take the Oath of Office was a truly unforgettable experience. The national pride and American patriotism was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Jordan was there … he saw history and he was part of it …… I have a feeling he will be making history himself in the not too distant future

Winning Entries for Archibull Prize 2012

As promised here is the full list of winners for the 2012 Archibull Prize

Overall Winning School – Archibull Prize – $1000.  This is determined by adding all the points from the 3 elements

  1. Best Cow – $500
  2. Best Blog – $500
  3. Best Project video or PowerPoint – $500
  • Archibull Prize 2012

The overall winner was James Ruse Agricultural High School at Carlingford closely followed by Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus with De La Salle College and Shoalhaven High School tying for 3rd place and just behind them was Model Farms High School. Just 5 points separated 1st and 4th. This was one close competition in every element. 

The James Ruse elements that combined to win them the big win

  • Blog  http://archibull.tumblr.com

  • Video

    • Best Cow was a win for Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park with “Athena”

     

    This is what the art judge had to say about “Athena” “ Athena says just about everything that can be said about the dairy industry in Australia. With her puzzle base and upright stand, she takes the form of a trophy – a trophy proclaiming Dairy as the Winner! The puzzle base, which depicts a stereotypical dairy farm image, opens up to reveal a series of milk myths, which are then busted by dairy industry facts.

  • Her sides talk about the impact of the carbon tax on the dairy industry, the staggering quantities of cows needed to provide the required amounts of milk, the processes and the biosecurity risks to the industry itself. Scattered all over are also a series of QR Codes, which then link the viewer to a wealth of further information. Definitely the complete dairy picture!”

    • Best blog

    The blog component resulted in a tie between De La Salle College at Caringbah and Shoalhaven High School at Nowra

    The De La Salle team with their trophies

    De La Salle College Caringbah Blog  http://dlsarchi.blogspot.com.au/

     

    The Shoalhaven team

    Shoalhaven High School  http://shoalhavenhigharchibull2012.blogspot.com.au/

     

  • Awards of Excellence were presented to all the second place getters

    Artwork

    Model Farms with Lady Moo Moo

    Winmalee High School with Singer

    Awards of Excellence for Blog

    Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus www.bvcarchibull2012.wordpress.com

    James Ruse Agricultural High School http://archibull.tumblr.com

    Cream of the Crop Awards were presented to

    and the winners are?

    20 schools and lots of excited guests came together today at the home of the Royal Easter Show to find out who had won the Archibull Prize.

    There was a lot at stake including these superb hand painted trophies by Wendy Taylor

    Muirfield High School was pretty excited to find out they had won the best PowerPoint or Video section

    Not only was there a cheque for $500 they got one of those very impressive one off original Archies too

    Equally excited was the team from Shoalhaven High School who took out best blog ( a tie with De La Salle College)

    Team Shoalhaven with their Young Farming Champion Stephanie Fowler

    Team Shoalhaven and their cow

    De La Salle College got a big cheque and a trophy

    and reconnected with their Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley

    Model Farms received an award of excellence for their artwork and their PowerPoint

    Model Farms Cow being admired by Young Farming Champion Bronwyn Roberts with  Ann Burbrook

    This is one visually stunning cow

    The winner of the best cow was the team from Caroline Chisholm College seen here  admiring their trophy. The dairy industry is sooooo lucky to have these young people  telling their story through art .  Wow

    Congratulations to Winmalee High School who won an Award of Excellence for their very clever cow “Singer” who is featured in the middle of the first photo.

    Some of the Cream of the Crop winners

    Sarah Leonardi-McGrath with some of the Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus team who won a number of Cream of the Crop awards as well as an Award of Excellence for their blog

    Sarah had some exciting news for the schools in the audience and I will share this with you shortly

    The lovely Sophia Wakeling who we are looking forward to working with in 2013

    AND WHO TOOK HOME THE ARCHBULL PRIZE 

    We did says James Ruse Agricultural High School

    James Ruse Agricultural High School students with the Artwork Judge Wendy Taylor and their Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley.

    On behalf of Art4agriculture Jordan Kerr says thank you to our Guest of Honour Sara Leonardi-McGrath. More from Sara shortly so watch this space

    To our judges – thank you so much this was a tough gig

    Alison Fairleigh – over judge

    Lisa Claessen – blogs

    Ann Burbrook – Videos

    Sophie Davidson –PowerPoints

    and our very special art judge

    Wendy Taylor

    I will put a complete list of the Prize Winners on the web in the next few days

    Congratulations to all the schools, teachers and students. You did yourselves proud and I salute you all

    Meet Lauren Crothers proud to help produce your woolly jumpers

    Another inspiring young Australian chooses to produce food and fibre for the world.

    My name is Lauren Crothers and I am crazy about sheep. I even know how to shear them

    I bet if you knew just how impressive our wool industry is you would be just as proud of Australia’s sheep as I am

    Australia supplies almost 90% of the wool used in the global apparel market and produces more than a quarter of the world’s wool. Approximately 24% of wool produced belongs to cross-bred sheep with the other 76% belonging to merinos. Australian merino wool is especially suited to apparel end-use due to it fine texture and clean, white appearance. Check out what our clever Australian designers do with our magnificent wool here

    “It’s an important initiative to remind us of the wonders of wool. The natural fibre that looks beautiful, feels beautiful, that breathes and cools, that flexes with our bodies, heats and insulates and is environmentally sound.” – Governor General, Quentin Bryce

    There are around 55,000 woolgrowers spread right across Australia, who pay wool levies and as you can see I’m very proud to be one of them!

    Lauren and her dad in the shearing shed

    I grew up on the family property at Dirranbandi located in South West Queensland. “Booligar” is a mixed farming and grazing property, however in recent years the business has been leaning more towards the farming side. The property is 24 000 acres and when I was younger consisted of commercial self-replacing merinos, breeding cattle, irrigated cotton and wheat. When Dad and my Uncle decided that it was more economical to grow irrigated cotton, the sheep side of the business was let go, much to my disappointment.

    This however didn’t stop me; I was constantly visiting my Uncle and Aunt’s property at Tara where I could always be found following a mob of sheep or helping in the yards. Shearing time was my favourite, where the smell of lanolin drifted around the shed and embedded into my clothes. This is where I believe my love for the sheep and wool industry started.

    At the age of twelve I was trucked off to boarding school on the Gold Coast, whereby I learnt numerous skills, however it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I would much rather be doing physical work than sitting at a table with pad and pen. It was much like the old saying, ‘You can take the girl out of the bush, but you can’t take the bush out of the girl’. Agriculture wasn’t taught as a subject which I expected and consequently I undertook a Certificate II in Agriculture in Years 11 and 12. Although I didn’t enjoy school I made the most of my opportunities and consequently I was awarded the position of School Sports Captain in my final year.

     

    At the end of Year 12 I decided to take a working gap year as a jillaroo. I managed to get a position on a commercial sheep station 150kms North West of Warren. Working alongside the manager and another jillaroo on a 35,000 acre property running 7000 merino breeding ewes was certainly an experience. After around five weeks the other jillaroo left, leaving an enormous amount of responsibility on the shoulders of my then 17 year old body, but I loved every minute of it.

    Throughout the 13 months that I was there, I worked alongside a second jillaroo for approximately 9 weeks. The rest of the time it was just me and the boss! It became apparent that it was increasingly difficult to find young people interested in the sheep and wool industry. One particular day I was working beside my boss in the workshop when I posed the question, ‘Why don’t young people want to get involved with wool or sheep anymore? Why would they rather cattle or cropping?’ He didn’t have any answer to it, probably because he is so passionate about the industry!

    At times it was lonely, tiresome and very physical, but I absolutely loved it! It taught me a number of key things including responsibility, independence and an enormous amount about sheep and wool. I entered sheep judging competitions and I was constantly asking questions so that I could gain more knowledge. At school I was never a morning person, however when my alarm sounded (usually while it was still dark) I was eager to get up knowing that I would learn something new every day and do something that I am passionate about.

    Throughout my time working on “Womboin Station” I decided that I would go to Uni and study a Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of Queensland. Although I was hesitant I knew that it would be best to acquire business knowledge if I wanted to run my own business. It was also at this stage that I decided to go into partnership with my twin sister and another good mate. We purchased a mob of sheep and they are currently lambing. I learnt how to shear (I managed to shear 50 for the 2 days – but couldn’t walk properly for 2 weeks after!) And we are aiming to increase our mob and produce high quality merino wool as well as breeding with merino rams.

    Lauren and click go the shears

    The fruits of the labour

    Although I’m studying full-time, managing sheep and have a weekend job I still maintain involvement in the Agriculture Industry. I applied for a Horizon Scholarship,which I was honoured to receive. With this I aim to attend as many field days and conferences as possible along with gaining a wealth of knowledge from industry leaders. I also hope that my story is able to inspire the younger generation to become involved in the agriculture industry and in particular the sheep and wool industry.

    Every family needs a farmer. No matter who you are, your gender, your background or where you live you can become involved in this amazing industry. There are a number of corporations that are committed to fostering opportunities for helping people into this industry. The key to getting people involved is in education.  One  program which I aim to be involved in is the Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shearsbeing held at Jondaryan Woolshed. The festival will let people experience the lives of pioneers and a chance to live and breathe life as an Aussie and understand what it is that made our culture and grew our spirit as a nation.

    I know that without a doubt my future lies within the agricultural industry and I hope that by sharing my journey with you I can inspire others to travel in my footsteps.

    Thanks Lauren Art4agriculture is indeed looking forward to you joining us as an Australian Wool Innovation Young Farming Champion

    Look out Hillary Clinton, Jordan Kerr might just be joining you on the list of 100 most influential people

    The Mudgee district is well known for its fine wine. Its also the home of a quite remarkable young man. Our guest blogger today is Jordan Kerr one of the major prize winners in the Art4agriculture Cream of the Crop Competition. Jordan attends Hurlstone Agriculture High School at Glenfield and is now in his final year. He is hoping his HSC mark will allow him to do a degree in Social Inquiry and International Studies at UTS with a view to a career in international politics and diplomacy.

    Jordan is certainly off to a great start. He represented Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference 2011, where he had a speaking gig at the United Nations 2011 in New York.

    Jordan also played a very active role in the fight to save his school from being the victim of urban sprawl in 2009. Jordan featured in a Daily Telegraph story where he was quoted as saying “ the Government is trying to turn the school into a hobby farm with one cow and one sheep. I am asking, as a student, to please help save my school and the future of Australia,” he said. “We are a fully functioning farm that is running with a profit. It is the future and the State Government needs to learn to keep its hands off.”

    Jordan and his dog as they appeared in the Daily Telegraph in 2009 with a passionate plea to save Hurlstone Agricultural School from the auctioneers hammer 

    Buoyed by vocal students like Jordan, the lobby group SHEAP and strong community support the school managed to escape the auctioneers hammer. Read the incredible full story How people power saved Hurlstone’s green space here

    Jordan’s extra curricula activities which include being Chair of the school’s environmental committee and overseeing the installation of a $10,000 Eco gardenat the school has seen him win the NSW Premiers Diamond Award for volunteering 2010.

    Jordan also played a key role in Hurlstone Agricultural High School’s Archibull Prize entry for 2011. The cow they called iMoo is made out of stiffened cotton and covered with 10 iPads.

    Jordan sought and obtained interviews with a number of NSW government ministers  including Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and the Premier Barry O’Farrell which he then loaded onto the the iPads to make their cow highly interactive and quite unique indeed . See Jordan talk about the interviews here and read our popular blog post on iMoo here

    Jordan pictured with Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP at the Archibull Prize Awards ceremony

    I have never quite met anyone like Jordan before. He is one of the most focused young people I have seen and I have gut feeling Mudgee will famous for a lot more than its wine when Jordan enters the world of international politics.

    Here is Jordan story …….

    After growing up in Mudgee and attending Mudgee Public school I followed my sister to Sydney to attend Hurlstone Agricultural High School. There were a number reasons I was keen to attend Hurlstone including the fact that it is one of the top schools in NSW and I also wanted to experience the excitement of going to a boarding school. While this was all well and good I soon found out that boarding school was not easy. Living away from home as a 12 year old, was a bit lonely. But I soon settled in and the support from the students and the staff was fantastic. Attending Hurlstone has also allowed me to explore my extracurricular and leadership potential. In 2011 I represented Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and New York.

    At this conference I spoke to fellow international youth delegates at the United Nations as well as speaking to a conference room full of students about the importance of Agriculture to our future.This conference was a great opportunity for me as I met lots of passionate and committed people interested in the same things that I am.

    Jordan speaks at the UN in 2011

    When I saw a poster advertising the Cream of the Crop competition I thought to myself what a fantastic idea. I knew coming from a regional area and going to Hurlstone I had the inside story on agriculture that I could share to help educate others. Living in the city I was well aware most people believed that milk came from the supermarket and meat came from the butchers. Speaking at the Global Young leaders Conference in 2011, I knew the importance of agriculture for our survival and international stability. Understanding the role of agriculture in feeding 3rd world countries is also of paramount importance.

    At the conclusion of the conference on feeding the growing global population I spoke with fellow speakers about what issues they thought currently faced our sustainability. The main concern was population growth and its ramifications on food security and the environment and political stability.  Population and urban expansion became the theme for my Cream of the Crop Competition 2011 entry. The idea was to help show the impact unchecked population growth will have on not only Australia, but the entire world.

    After creating my PowerPointI thought about the logistics to feed such vast areas of population and what does it take to feed massive cities such as Sydney?

    I knew that opinions would vary so decided to conduct a variety of video interviews on the issue from the public to the NSW Premier. I then compiled the interviews into a video titled ‘Feeding Sydney’to help people come to terms with the huge amount of food that it takes to feed Sydney each day.

    Team Kerr at the Cream of the Crop Competition Awards and Presentation Day

    I believe education in particular kids teaching kids is a great way to tell the real story of agriculture. In this way we can generate respect for food and the people and industries involved in its production as well as the farmers that grow it and all the people who support them such as the scientists who do the research and development.  Lets not forget the resources of land, water and human skills that produce it. Wow when you think of it that way its must be the greatest story ever told.

    Thank you Jordan.  This is indeed a special young man don’t you agree?

    Are you the one?

    Todays guest blogger is Amber O’Neill the young superstar who was the overall winner of the Cream of the crop Competition. I have asked Lisa Claessen one of our guest judges to preface Amber’s blog with her thoughts on the winning entry by Amber “Are You the One”

    Amber O’Neill is congratulated by Sonia Muir NSW DPI Manager Community Engagement

    Lisa said “Amber’s winning entry for the 2011 “Cream of the Crop” awards stole my heart. As a teacher, how could I not be impressed by “Are You the One”, a clever tribute to her teachers at Cranebrook High School, and how education enhances an awareness of the contribution of Agriculture to us all.

    I love Amber’s ability to see Agriculture with “ big picture” thinking, an industry of many facets, offering opportunities for many.

    Amber typifies what I see as an emerging trend; of urban living students, inspired by an experience, perhaps at school, or by an encounter with Agriculture through visiting a farm for work experience or pleasure etc. I find it in quite a few of my kids and am thrilled to see their thirst for knowledge grow, and how some of them are realising their dream to pursue further education within the industry.

    I am sure this is not the last we will hear from Amber, and I hope we see her name in Agricultural circles of the future. Passion is an incredible driver Amber; May you find your heart’s desire!”

     

    The Amber O’Neill Story …….

    I am a city girl, but my heart lies in the paddocks of country Australia where school is an hour away, where my next door neighbour is unseen and it takes half an hour to drive to the closest road. At night I see street lights and houses, but I imagine the clear, starry nights over the wide open plains.

    Living in an urban area, going to school five minutes down the road and having access to all the facilities I need, no one could ever tell that I am a country girl at heart. My neighbour’s house is no more than two metres away on either side and the road is only a few steps from my drive way

    My name is Amber and I live in the suburb of Cranebrook, and I am in Year 11 at Cranebrook High School. I love my school and I would never trade it for anything. They have given me the best education I could have asked for and have even managed to satisfy my country passion and thirst for agriculture.

    Amber (centre) with fellow students have fun with their 2010 Archibull Prize entries

    Our school has a very strong agriculture department with highly supportive teachers and this has enabled me to be accelerated and I now do year 12 agriculture whilst still in year 11 for all my other subjects. People always ask “isn’t it too hard?” or “why would you do more than you need to?” but I just say that it isn’t more work when you’re so interested and nothing is ever too hard if you put your mind to it. I’m not just interested in agriculture though, I also love science and am studying biology, chemistry and physics and love pushing myself which includes studying extension maths and English.

    Mr Murray and Mrs Saxon are my agriculture teachers. They are two in a million. They make school and learning so much fun. They encourage, inspire and motivate us and we now share their passion and dedication to the school farm and our animals. They deserve a huge thanks

    Whilst I would love to just move to the country side with hectares and hectares of land in the middle of nowhere and own a million animals and grow my own food, I believe that a good education will open many doors and enable me to better understand the land when I finally escape the city.

    With four other siblings, younger than me, and two phenomenal parents our family is tight and loving. We all have different passions, whether its sport or agriculture, acting or socialising, we all are all success stories in our family’s eyes. We all attend public schools (primary – Henry Fulton and secondary – Cranebrook High) and wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else. My parents have always supported us, no matter what the circumstance or situation; they have that unconditional love that makes us all proud to say that they are our parents.

    Amber and her family celebrate her Cream of the Crop Competition big win

    I was born in Perth, before moving to Sydney when I was about 2 and half years old. We drove all the way from Perth to Sydney, from one side of the country to the other. Since our move to this side of the country, I have moved house at least ten times, moving from  Cranebrook to Dubbo to Londonderry and back to Cranebrook (living in many houses along the way). I loved moving, the thrill of living in a new house and the first night where we wouldn’t have beds to sleep in was a “routine” (although I am sure mum and dad absolutely loved packing, not).

    Through primary school, I wanted to be a journalist when ‘I grew up’. After that I wanted to be a famous horse barrel racer. And now, I want to be an equine/camelid vet (whilst owning a farm) and simply make a difference.

    My love for agriculture really sparked when I was in year eight..  All students study agriculture in year eight and I simply fell in love. At that point in time we had a steer, chickens, sheep and alpacas. Alpacas are my favourites. Their huge, deep eyes and beautiful eye lashes, their unusual behaviours and uniqueness just grabbed me and pulled me in.

    At the end of year nine, I was invited to Warralinga Alpaca Stud (professional alpaca breeder) to see all their alpacas, during the school holidays. It was the most amazing experience and at the end they offered me the opportunity to help every weekend. I could never say no, and never have. Since that day, I have worked with alpacas every week, training crias (baby alpacas) for the show, cleaning paddocks and feeding all seventy mouths. I have attended all the regional shows and even attended national shows. I have been able to show top quality alpacas, winning champions and reserves, many first places and having the best time ever. At the Hawkesbury Show and the Australian National Show I won first place for alpaca junior judging (where I judge alpacas on their fleece and conformation). These were the best experiences, learning so much about the alpaca industry and its future. I have also participated in handling, showmanship and performance competitions, where I am judged on my ability to handle alpacas, winning first and second place at several shows.

    Fellow Cranebrook student Michaela with Amber ( centre) their agriculture teacher Dani Saxon

    My love for alpacas has now grown beyond school . Last year I started my own alpaca stud, called Alkira. I bought a white female and have agisted her at Warralinga. I showed her at Castle Hill Show and she received a Reserve Champion, and a very happy owner. I love her to pieces, and she has proven to me that agriculture is definitely the industry I want to spend my life working in.

    I am a city girl, but I have taken every opportunity possible to become involved in agriculture and to prove to others that a city girl can  get muddy and a fall in love with farming. Opportunities such as the Cream of the Crop Competition have enabled me to share my love for all things agriculture and hopefully give inspiration to others to get involved in agriculture and make a difference.

    Although my background is not in agriculture; school and alpacas and my involvement in agricultural shows has shown me that farming is the most important profession in the world.

    Farmers and their support networks feed the world.  Not a single person can live without some kind of agriculture, and I would love to one day, leave an impact on this amazing industry.

     

    We are very confident you will Amber

    Cream of the Crop 2011 Finalists Announced

    Art4Agriculture has once again identified the superstars of the future being nurtured in NSW High Schools

    The following Crème de la crème are our finalists for the 2011 Cream of the Crop Competition

    Other finalist presentations to be loaded shortly

    Jacinta Kelly – CSU

    Well done all of you as you can see you are part of a very talented group of young people. We look forward to showcasing your work at Sydney Royal Easter Show 2012

    Click on the picture to view the entry

     1. Amber O’Neill

    from Cranebrook High School

     

     

     

     2. Cherie Chen, Sophie Song and Lisa Shi 

    from James Ruse Agricultural High School

     

     

     

    3. Brandon and Dustin Gaddes

    from Schofields

     

     

     

    4. Jordan Kerr

    from Hurlstone Agricultural High School

     

     

     

     

    5. Amber O’Neill

    from Cranebrook High School

     

     

     

     

    6. Katy Donovan

    from Bede Polding College

     

     

     

     

    7. Ashleigh Lane and Stephanie Murphy

    from Model Farms High School

     

     

     

     

    8. Caitlin Vella

    from Caroline Chisholm College

     

     

     

     

    9. Ayla Webster

    from Camden Haven High Distance Education

     

     

     

     

    10. Amber O’Neill

    from Cranebrook High School

     

     

     

     

    Dorothy Wong Julia Liang and Patricia Yam James Ruse Agricultural High School
    Jordan Kerr – Hurlstone Agricultural High School
    Sophie Wu Victoria Deng and Yive Yang – James Ruse Agricultural High School
    Amber O’Neill – Cranebrook High School
    Jack Newham Josh Turner Jonah Stivicic – McCarthy Catholic College

     

     

     

    Jesse Brown Colo High School

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Neil Jain Hurlstone Agricultural High School

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Emma Rice Hurlstone Agricultural High School