Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield show the value of Place-Based Leadership skills for rural Australia

As part of our series showcasing champions in government, not for profits and the private sector doing great stuff we will be sharing stories about rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models.

The research shows for young people in rural, regional and remote Australia to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”.

Today we are showcasing two of our Young Farming Champions who epitomise place based leadership at the highest level and are using what they have learnt on their journey to multiply other leaders in their region.

First Hilux out of the shed is Emma Ayliffe followed by  cropping farmer Marlee Langfield is spending plenty of time on her tractor in the next few weeks.

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) believes in giving voice to young leaders in rural Australia. It does this by equipping them with skills to communicate their stories, in positive terms, to varied audiences, and by providing a safe place to practice what they have learnt. We call these people our Young Farming Champions (YFC).

YFC understand that in order to create stronger communities in regional, rural and remote Australia place-based leadership is key. Leaders working in their own regions, with their own people, are highly motivated with a strong desire to capitalise on future economic opportunities.

Here we shine the spotlight on two of our successful place-based leaders: Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield.

As often the youngest person sitting on boards and committees Emma has come a long way from her childhood tailing wild merinos on stations west of Port Augusta. Today she is a respected agronomist, business owner, farmer and community leader.

Emma Ayliffe cofounder of Summit Ag, entrepreneur and board member

Emma joined the YFC program in 2015 and has been an active member ever since, rising to the position of Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (for YFC alumni) in 2020. In these short five years Emma began her working life as a cotton agronomist on the lakebeds south of Menindee, was head-hunted by Elders to fill a combined research, development and agronomy role, and in 2018 co-founded agricultural consultancy Summit Ag.

Along the way she has been a committed community and industry leader with roles including:

Emma has presented at various industry events including the 2019 Summer Grains Conference and the 2019 PYiA Professional Learning Weekend.

In 2020 Emma was named a finalist in the NSW Young Achiever Awards in recognition of her leadership in rural Australia.

Marlee Langfield Photographer Catherine Forge Source Museum of Victoria

As CEO of Cowra agribusiness Wallaringa Trust, farmer and grain grower Marlee is a steward of the land and a leader in her community. Her family have been farming around Cowra for five generations, three of which have been on Wallaringa.

Marlee joined the YFC program in 2016 and in 2020 took on the position of Social Media Co-coordinator, a natural progression for a young woman already holding leadership positions within her local community including:

In 2019 Marlee’s farming journey was highlighted in the Invisible Farmer project and in 2020 she is furthering her leadership journey as part of the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.

“I believe communities need creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. Transition of leadership from one generation to another is inevitable and if we, as young people, want to breathe life into our communities and see them continue from strength to strength we need to come to the table and be active participants.”

Marlee and Emma both believe one of the important facets of leadership is mentorship of the next generation, and in this they welcome Jess Fearnley to the role of Cultivate Intern with the Youth Voices Leadership Team..

Jess Fearnley Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participant and Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee member

Jess is one of our current participants in the Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program  with expressions of interest now open. Successful applicants will receive a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation and graduate as Young Farming Champions.

Jess, who began her YFC journey in 2019, is already displaying leadership potential being on the Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee. PYiA looks forward to giving voice to yet another place-based leader in rural Australia.

 

 

Anika Molesworth says COVID-19 is a big challenge for farmers, but it also encourages us to share ideas and work together for a better and more resilient future.

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Is distance a barrier to #ClimateActionNow Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth??

No way!!!!

If you think a global pandemic is too overwhelming to do something – Anika says think again!

Anika zoomed from her farm in Broken Hill to Pakistan last night, on the topic “How COVID-19 is impacting agriculture and rural communities, and what needs to be done.”

In Anika’s own words ……

To a large and diverse virtual classroom, we spoke about how COVID-19 impacts on both the lives and livelihoods of farmers and people living in rural communities.

My key points were:
• COVID-19 poses a particularly serious threat to farmers who live remotely and do not have easy access to doctors and healthcare.
• The disease is a vulnerability amplifier for poorer farmers, older farmers, those who have limited labour resources and few market options.
• Disruption to food availability and affordability can lead to reduced food options in some regions and therefore poorer diets and malnutrition.
• Transport restrictions can impede access to markets, and challenges in logistics can be particularly obstructive for fresh food that is highly perishable, which may result in increased food loss and waste.
• Increased costs of farm inputs, like livestock feed, fertiliser, water, contract labour and machinery, may result in lower net returns.
• The reduction in tourism to rural areas has flow-on financial impacts to local farmers and local businesses (e.g. restaurants, shops, hotels).
• Improving hygiene and working conditions for farmers is critical to prevent the spread of disease, as well as improving information channels and access to healthcare.
• Improving the standard of living for farmers through education, income diversification, market access, food transport and storage practices, will help them to become more resilient to future crises.

There was great conversation with lots of excellent questions and comments.

I learnt a lot and thank Humera Hania for inviting me to virtually visit Pakistan to be part of this event.

COVID-19 is a big challenge for farmers, but it also encourages us to share ideas and work together for a better and more resilient future.

Visit Anika’s website to learn more how she is putting her passion project into action

Visit her Youtube Channel here 

Applications now open to join the Young Farming Champions program

Are you an early career professional with a passion to lead and advocate for agriculture? If so then Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA), in conjunction with Corteva Agriscience, is seeking applications to join the prestigious Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Graduates of this program become Young Farming Champions – a national network of globally connected young thought leaders thriving in business and in life, who are inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture.

Young people aged between 18 and 30, who are studying or who have completed an agriculture related degree, are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation.

In Year One participants will attend two mandatory immersion workshops in July and November, and The Archibull Prize Awards Ceremony. They will be partnered with a Young Farming Champion to support their journey and will be required to develop an action plan with their employer or university.

In Year Two of the program participants will put their learnings into practice by visiting schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of Australian farming and the diversity of agricultural careers.

2020 represents the first year of collaboration between PYiA and Corteva, which extends beyond the Young Farming Champions program to the creation of resources to be used in schools to teach sustainability. Dan Dixon, ANZ Marketing Director for Corteva Agriscience is excited to participate in this initiative and support young agricultural professionals willing to champion agriculture through the wider community.

“Educating teachers, students and non-farming communities on the latest sustainable agricultural advancements and the importance of agriculture to the nation is vital to ensure that not only Australian agriculture has a voice, but that voice is providing accurate information that is then amplified through our schools,” he said.  “Previous participants of the programme are already viewed as leaders in their fields. We encourage all agriculture graduates to apply to become members of this growing community.”

Expressions of interest for the 2020 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program can be accessed via the Expression of Interest brochure found here 

For further information please contact Picture You in Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong at lynnestrong@pyia.com.au