How a career in plant breeding has led Rebecca Thistlethwaite to find love and compassion for people across the globe

Rebecca T (10).jpg

The roles of plant researcher and humanitarian may seem worlds apart but Dr Rebecca Thistlethwaite is discovering her agricultural career is leading her to a greater understanding, and compassion, for people from all walks of life.

Rebecca is as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate for The University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute based in Narrabri in northern NSW. Her work involves studying the relationships between heat, nutrition and yield in wheat and other crops.

Dr Rebecca Thistlethwaite in Pakistan (4)

In 2018 Rebecca travelled to a farming community in Uganda on a Rotary Group Study Scholarship. She lived with villagers for a month to experience first-hand the challenges they had producing food, and designed ways in which that could be improved in the future.

“It was an incredibly humbling experience to live with people who had so little yet who were exceptionally generous and who opened up their homes and their hearts for me,” Rebecca says.  “The food was so fresh and delicious! Goat meat was particularly common and my hosts were really surprised that Australia is the largest exporter of goat meat yet we rarely (if ever) consume it ourselves. I made some lifelong friendships and I will most certainly be going back.”

Rebecca again found herself overseas this year when she was invited to speak about her plant breeding work at the Aus-Pak Conference for Food Security in Pakistan. She spent time with research teams, in particular students, and early career researchers from the Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, one of Pakistan’s newest universities in the city of Multan, just over 500km south of the country’s capital, Islamabad. As she was the only female on the delegation and not of Muslim faith she faced the trip with some trepidation.

Dr Rebecca Thistlethwaite in Pakistan (2)

“I shouldn’t have worried at all though,” she says. “The Pakistani people I met were incredibly kind and accepting. I was treated like royalty the entire time, presented with gifts and flowers on many occasions, had traditional Punjabi dress and shoes made for me and the Vice-Chancellor even had a tree planted in my honour.”

Dr Rebecca Thistlethwaite in Pakistan (1)

Apart from conference responsibilities the aim of Rebecca’s delegation to Pakistan was to build collaborations to help with the country’s food security efforts and to implement the use of Australian technologies and systems to improve and future proof their research capabilities.

“One of the absolute highlights for me was getting to talk all things culture and religion with many very open-minded men and women of varying ages. In particular, I had fantastic discussions about the challenges surrounding women’s education and career development which is such a passion of mine both in developing countries and in the western society.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Pakistan has suffered from political unrest and religious extremism for many years but they are still an incredibly proud people who only want the best for their country. The trip taught me that kindness comes in many and varied forms and that being different from someone else is not necessarily a bad thing. The world would be a much happier place if we were more respectful of other people’s differences, owned our own individuality and realised that the world would be a very boring place if everyone was exactly the same.”

Find out more about the world of work in agriculture. Visit our website here

#YouthinAgVoices #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champion Calum Watt advancing the WA Grains Industry

“I am passionate about plant breeding because it is the most efficient means by which to improve the productivity and sustainability of plant production and I want to use my passion to address world issues, such as malnutrition.”

CalumW_Photo.jpg Young Farming Champion Calum Watt is kicking big goals in Western Australia as he researches better breeds of barley at Murdoch University in Perth, and a recently announced $25,000 grant from the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd (COGGO) Research Fund will aid his PhD studies aiming to increase barley yield under future predicted temperature increases.

Established in 2000, the purpose of the COGGO Research Fund is to invest in innovative new research and development projects from across the whole supply chain. “The money will essentially go to paying for glasshouse trials and undertaking genetic studies in the lab,” Calum says. “This project, if fully realised, has large economic potential.”

Calum is the first to realise economics plays only one part of the sustainability circle that is agriculture and his research will address a range of issues that must be balanced and managed by farmers.

“Through genetics and breeding we can develop varieties that use fertiliser more efficiently and increase pathogen resistance resulting in less fungicide and insecticide use,” he says. “Plant breeding can also result in greater water use efficiency (more crop per drop) and higher quality produce through biofortification (improving nutritional content).”

It is for reasons such as these that COGGO was attracted to Calum’s work.

“COGGO is privileged to be able to fund these valuable research projects for the advancement and improvement of the Western Australia grains industry”, Mr Rhys Turton, COGGO Chairman, says. “We have a long history of providing catalytic funding for new R&D ideas and have seen many past recipients make a significant impact on returns for Western Australian grain growers.”

Away from university Calum is making a mark on national and international levels presenting at barley conferences in Perth and Latvia this year and attending a statistics workshop in Bangkok. Both these overseas experiences have been funded by a postgraduate research scholarship. He has also been nominated by his university to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in August.

In 2018 Calum represented agriculture in the Western Australian Young Achievers Awards, reaching the semi-final stages.

“What I realise from events such as these is ultimately how small our industry is yet how much recognition we can achieve,” he says. “It’s a great networking event and it’s really the only type of awards night of this calibre over our way for youth in agriculture.”

Calum’s career will be one to watch as he endeavours to use his research for the greater good.

Calum Watt

“I am passionate about plant breeding because it is the most efficient means by which to improve the productivity and sustainability of plant production and I want to use my passion to address world issues, such as malnutrition.”

 

Young Farming Champions Muster February 2019 1st Edition

This week our Young Farming Champions (YFC) would like to take a moment to extend our thoughts and well wishes to those farmers in Queensland currently affected by devastating widespread flooding. To our North Queensland cousins, we are thinking of you! #StrongerTogether

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Happy International Women in Science Day!

Our Young Farming Champion network is full of legendary women using science to make the world a safer, healthier, more abundant place for humans and animals to live. Today Picture You in Agriculture is celebrating them and their vital work with this video starring YFCs Lucy Collingridge, Danila Marini, Alexandrea Galea, Anika Molesworth, Jo Newton and Dione Howard. Wonderful work from wonderful women! #WomeninScience #InternationalWomeninScienceDay #WomeninSTEM

Wool YFC Bessie Thomas made headlines in the Rural Weekly this fortnight with a joyful story following her family’s journey through the last two years of drought. Bessie, her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter farm merinos in far-western NSW. She has received much kind feedback following the story and wanted to thank everyone for their ongoing support through the drought. Read the story here.

Bessie Sparks of Joy

Out of the Field

Congrats to YFC Bron Roberts who has just launched her new business venture B R Rural Business offering tailored management solutions for productive beef enterprises. Bron says, “I’m passionate about the beef industry and helping producers to be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. If you or anyone you know need a hand keeping records and want to use them to make real decision to improve your livestock productivity then I’m your girl!’ You can support Bron in her venture on Facebook here

Bron new business

Youth Voices Leadership Team Mentor Leader and Local Lands Service vet Dione Howard spoke to NSW Country Hour late last month. Listen in here from 11min35sec to hear Dione outline the risks of livestock eating toxic weeds causing liver damage. Great job Dione!

Beef YFC Kirsty McCormack, who’s currently living and working in Canada, was spotted in this case study by Rural RDC.

Kirsty McCormack

YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah, who run The Food Farm on the NSW Central Coast, recently joined Nationals candidate for Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson in judging the 2019 Kiama Showgirl. Well done Tim and Hannah!

KatrinaTim Eyes Showgirl judge

Tim will also be returning to the Sydney Royal Easter show this April. Tim was over the moon when he got the call from the RAS of NSW in 2017 inviting him to be the farmer the glamping participants get to share the campfire experience with over the 14 days of the show. He so looking forward to inspiring the lucky glampers to be as excited about the agriculture sector as he is again in 2019. Read all about it here.

Cotton YFC Martin Murray was profiled on NSW Young Farmers Facebook page this week for his role on the Young Farmer Council. Great read Martin!

martin-murray.jpg
“I’m an agronomist working for a group called AMPS, we’re an independent agchem reseller with a very strong focus on on-farm research to improve grower outcomes. I work with our research team in the running of our trials and our growers to transfer our research findings into on farm results to further strengthen their businesses. “I joined NSW Farmers in 2015 as they are able to effectively represent the farmers of NSW, taking their thoughts and concerns to parliament. I also joined the Young Farmer Council so I could be proactive in representing the interests and concerns of young people in or entering agriculture. “There are two major ways we can give young farmers a hand up going into the 2019 state election. First, stamp duty relief will remove the significant disadvantage in relation to other first home buyers, because we can’t currently access the exemptions offered to young city residents purchasing homes zoned as residential. Second, we can help lift the productivity of our farm businesses through investing in our farmers’ digital, financial and risk management skills.”

Prime Cuts

Our Youth Voices Leadership Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe is an invited speaker at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference. Em’s been invited to talk on ‘Careers in Grain’  in the student forum. You can find our more detail about the program and register to attend here.

Emma is also jetting off to Israel shortly as part of her prize for winning Runner Up in the ADAMA Agronimist of the Year awards. Safe and happy travels Emma! We’re looking forward to hearing all about it.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_4a08.jpg.4t9l3h1.partial

Sticking with the conference theme, Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton, will be heading to Edinburgh in April where she’s had a paper accepted at the British Society of Animal Science Conference. The paper highlights the value of using data from commercial Australian dairy farms to demonstrate the benefits of herd improvement practices.

Jo Newton

Jo’s not the only YFC venturing to the Northern hemisphere. One of our newest YFC Alana Black will be heading to Scotland. While there she will be working for the Rural Youth Project. The Rural Youth Project aims to “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

alana black

Given the massive contribution Alana’s to the YVLT Communication Sub-Committee we know she’s going to make a really valuable contribution in Scotland and we’re looking forward to the sharing of ideas and experiences between the Rural Youth Project and PYiA. Read more about Alana’s journey here.

Congratulations to YFC and Climate Action advocate Anika Molesworth who has been appointed to the Crawford Fund’s NSW Committee.  The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries of Australia’s engagement in international agricultural research and development.

The 2018 Narromine Showgirl and Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien will represent Narromine at the Zone 6 Final of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition on February 16 in Young. Keiley will be up against 39 other Showgirls, from which three finalists will be chosen. Read more in the Narromine News here. Good luck to Keiley, and also to YFC Jasmine Whitten who will head to Narrabri to compete in her Showgirl Zone Final on February 26th! #goodluck

Keiley O'Brien
Photo: GEORGIE NEWTON PHOTOGRAPHY

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champions Marlee Langfield and Keiley O’Brien share what the drought has taught them

Continuing our Lessons Learnt from the Drought Series. Today Grain Young Farming Champions Marlee Langfield and Keiley O’Brien share what the 2018 Drought has taught them.

 

 Marlee Langfield ( photo Cowra Guardian) and Keiley O’Brien ( photo Western Magazine) 

Young Farming Champions Marlee Langfield and Keiley O’Brien are two young women taking drought by the horns as they embark upon new agricultural roles with their partners in central New South Wales.

At 23 Marlee is CEO and manager of her family farm “Wallaringa” near Cowra, where she and her partner Andrew Gallagher produce grains and oilseeds. Just up the road at the Rawsonville Crossroads between Narromine and Dubbo Keiley, 23, and her partner Ross Noble run a diversified contracting business.

Drought has affected both businesses in the last two years and shows little signs of easing in 2019 so how has the season affected Marlee and Keiley and what lessons have they learnt?

“We began our 2018 sowing program planting dry into marginal moisture with our fingers crossed for follow up rain,” Marlee says. “Then we received a break half way through the program which restored our faith. The crops thrived off 5 to 13mm rain fall events throughout the majority of the growing season which is significantly less than the ‘norm’.”

However with droughts often come severe frosts, which affected the low lying areas of Marlee’s canola. “The main stem of a canola plant acts like a timeline displaying a visual of plant health by the appearance of the pods: shrivelled up and discoloured pods means it has been frosted, plump and elongated means it has enjoyed ideal conditions,” Marlee explains. Frost damaged canola has extremely low yield potential thus the decision was made to cut 12% of the Wallaringa canola crop for silage –which went as good feed to dairy cows.

006

Sowing canola seed with an air seeder

029

The canola plant pocks through 12 days after sowing 

047

227 days from start to finish – harvesting canola windrows in December 

2018 highlighted for Marlee the difference small management decisions could make to the farming operation and also brought unexpected bonuses – with little rainfall there was low disease pressure and therefore reduced monetary inputs. “All things considered we really did grow a remarkable crop,” she says with optimism often missing in drought-related conversations.

 

Hay making comprises the bulk of Keiley and Ross’ contracting business but they learnt early on to diversify to spread their risk. In 2018 this decision proved invaluable. “In a good year such as 2016 we bale around 15,000 large square and round bales,” Keiley says, “but in poor years, like 2017 and 2018 we averaged around 5,000 large square and round bales.” To support the business they grow irrigated lucerne for the horse market and offer sowing, spraying and harvesting services to clients.

Drought exacerbates financial pressures and Keiley used the dry time to upskill. In December she graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Business majoring in marketing and this year is undertaking a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping and Accounting.

Keiley Une Graduation.jpg

Keiley graduated from University of New England with a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Bachelor of Business Majoring in Marketing. 

She and Ross also attended a Young Farmers Business Program in Dubbo.

“We were in the middle of re-structuring our business from a partnership to a company so the YFBP really helped us get our head around what we were doing and broke those big and complicated notions into easily understood blocks,”

“Another highlight was goal setting. We have goals of what we want to do and where we want to go but going through the SMART approach and physically writing them down on paper really re-enforced to us our aspirations and future direction. Mingling with other young people who had a passion for agriculture was also great because we made some good mates and industry connections.” she says.

keiley ross and ruby

Keiley and her partner Ross and daughter Ruby 

Andrew and Marlee.jpg

Andrew (left) and Marlee with agronomist Baden Dickson ( centre) Source The Land

Both Marlee and Keiley recognise the support and guidance they have received as they transition into business owners and operators in their own right. From a young age Marlee worked alongside her parents on Wallaringa and absorbed the world of grains, and then later gained off-farm experience to enable her to take the reins of the family property. Keiley credits Ross’ father with giving him deep foundations in the working of land and machinery, as well as providing equity to get their joint business off the ground.

Support has also come from a range of industry advisers and local businesses and Marlee credits her agronomist, Baden Dickson, in particular for supplying much needed expertise.

Going forward Marlee and Keiley will put lessons learnt into practice and continue their educational journeys, learning from those who have gone before them.

“As young people with a relatively young business we have learnt to be open with the way we do things,” Keiley says. “You don’t always have to take on board everything everyone says, but you should always thank them for taking the time to share their knowledge and ideas with you.”

And when the drought finally relinquishes its hold, what then?

“If we can grow a remarkable crop in one of the most challenging seasons then I can’t wait to see what we can do when it DOES rain,” Marlee says.

and Marlee will be documenting every step of her farming journey with her magnificent prize winning photos

002

#drought #YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #ThisisAusAg

 

Young Farming Champions Muster November 2018 2nd Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country.

Happy National Agriculture Day!

This week we’ve gone all out to celebrate National Agriculture Day in a BIG way, culminating in The Archibull Prize National Awards and Exhibition Day at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday.

School students, teachers, YFC and special guests travelled from across Australia to be part of the 2018 Archibull Prize. Mega congrats to everyone involved: all the winners, participants, movers-and-shakers behind the scenes and espeically to Hurlstone Agricultural High School whose Archie “Brahman” took out the Grand Champion Archibull award for 2018. For full coverage head to our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter and look for our hashtag #Archie18

But for YFC, our #AgDay celebrations started earlier in the week when 13 YFC travelled to Sydney for a brilliantly engaging professional development workshop…

Sydney Workshop

Current and alumnus Young Farming Champions gathered at the magnificent Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Headquarters in Sydney for a workshop. Admiring the wonderful view of the harbour and the bridge from the boardroom of AWI, the YFC attended sessions on understanding and working with different personalities, understanding how policy is developed and refining the elevator pitches. This workshop the YFC were lucky enough to be joined by the experienced management team of Gaye Steel, Greg Mills and Jenni Metcalfe that challenged and brought the workshop to life as well as experts in the policy writing and social media fields.

Workshop

This workshop also saw a YFC workshop first with 4 Alumni YFC joining via video conference on Sunday for a very special session with the incredible Paige Burton on the effective use and ins-and-outs of social media. This allowed some of our YFC to join from as far away as Wilcannia!  Paige shared with the group many of the techniques of ensuring that the reach of the YFC are heard far and wide. We can certainly see how this young lady was named by Impact 25 as on of the 25 Most Influential People in the Social Sector. There will be many products of this workshop on social media this week for the #Archie18 Archibull prize awards.

The products of the weekend were even more accomplished YFC (which is hard to believe considering the rest of the achievements in this weeks Muster) in the arts of social media, pitches, interviewees and #youthvoices of agriculture!

In the Field

Grains YFC, farmer and talented photographer Marlee Langfield has started canola harvest on her property in the NSW Riverina. “I have harvested more seeds than I planted, so I’ve already won!” Marlee jokes! “Very busy times right now, but I’m loving it.” Check out this gorgeous shot Marlee took of her crop earlier in the season:

Marlee's Canola

Did you catch Landline on Sunday? Cotton YFC Alexander Stephens is driver extraordinaire behind the wheel of the cotton harvester in this awesome story on the revival of cotton growing in the Kimberley Ord River region.

Out of the Field

Rice YFC Erika Heffer visited Parliament House in Sydney this week for the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare event, highlighting Local Landcare Coordinators who have run unique projects this year.  Erika says, “The highlight was meeting ministers that have an interest in Landcare and hearing Niall Blair, the Minister for Primary Industries, acknowledge Rob Dulhunty, the Landcare NSW outgoing chair.”

Erika Landcare
Murray region Local Landcare Coordinator Erika Heffer and Local Landcare Coordinator from Bland Temora in the Riverina Britt Turner

Cotton YFC and founding member of Farmers for Climate Action Anika Molesworth spoke with ABC Radio National this week, tackling the question “How can farmers adapt and innovate to ensure the future of farming and our agricultural land?” Listen to Anika’s interview here.

Beef YFC and our current Aussie-in-Canada correspondent Kirsty McCormack presented for a 4H group in Brandon, Manitoba last week. She shared her insights on Young Farming Champion and Archibull Prize programs as well as the Australian beef industry and its challenges. Well done Kirsty!

Kirsty McC

Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien has been featured in this week’s Allied Grain Systems “Mates in Grain.”

Read Keiley’s full story on the Allied Grain Systems Blog here.

Keiley OBrien.jpg

 

Prime Cuts

Well done to Cotton YFC Alexandria Galea who was named a finalist in the Queensland Ministers Emerging Leader Award for innovation leading to profitability and sustainability. Finaists and winners were celebrated at Wednesday’s AgFutures Innovation and Investment Forum in Brisbane.

Congratulations to YFC Anika Molesworth on her win in the NSW and ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards on Friday. Anika took out the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award. Well done!

Huge congrats to Wool YFC and Wool Technical Coordinator Sam Wan who is up for the title of Elders Employee of the Year. Kudos Sam!

Exciting international news for Beef YFC and stud Limousin cattle breeder Jasmine Green and husband Hayden from Summit Livestock. Jas and Hayden’s cow Summit Meadowgrass was named “Limousin Miss World” in the world Cattlemarket.net championships. While Jas stayed home to keep the stud cows fed and watered, Hayden travelled to Farmfair in Edmonton, Canada last week to receive the award. Summit Meadowgrass was nominated to represent Australia after winning supreme exhibit at Sydney Royal Show earlier this year. Incredible achievement, well done Jasmine!

Jasmine Greens Miss World cow win

Cotton YFC, agronomist and farmer Emma Ayliffe had a special visit from ADAMA Agricultural Solutions head office representatives (who’d just popped in from Israel!) and local managers last week to receive her Runner Up Young Agronomist of the Year award. Top job, Emma!

Emma with ADAMA rep

#ArchieAction #YouthinAg #YouthVoices18

Young Farming Champion Dan Fox wins Innovation Farmer of the Year 2018

Young Farming Champion Daniel Fox was announced as one of the winners in the 2018 Kondinin/ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards at a dinner at Parliament House in Canberra on October 16.

The Australian Farmer of the Year Awards are designed to celebrate and applaud the outstanding achievements of those individuals and families making a significant contribution to Australian Agriculture.”

Daniel won the Award for Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by Telstra. He is a fifth-generation farmer, whose family have been farming in the Marrar district of New South Wales for more than 80 years. Over the last decade Daniel has been helping move the farm from a traditional mixed sheep and cropping property to a continuous cropping enterprise using regenerative agriculture.

Fox Family.jpg

Farming in partnership with his wife Rachel (left) and parents David and Cathie (right ) and grandparents farming is all about family for Dan Fox 

“It’s very humbling to win this award,” Daniel says. “There are a few local growers in our area moving in the same direction as us and we bounce ideas off each other quite regularly, for which I thank them very much. This award is reassuring that we are moving in the right direction and we will continue to implement regenerative agriculture practices on our farm and share our ideas and the information we learn. On a personal note, I feel this award is just as much earned by my family as it is by me, as without them I would not have had the opportunity to work on our family farm and be inspired by their work ethic and passion for agriculture.”

Changes made on the Fox farm in recent times include the purchase of a disc planter in order to move to a full zero-till controlled traffic system, a transition to organic-based liquid fertiliser, companion cropping and experiments with chaff lining and cover cropping.

Guy Franklin, Telstra’s General Manager, Innovation Accelerator, was impressed by Daniel’s commitment to applying innovative techniques on-farm and making fantastic progress in improving and future-proofing his farming business. “It is great to see a next generation family member apply new thinking to the way of doing things and this shows a good understanding of innovation,” Guy said. “I applaud Daniel, as I think what he’s doing will be a blueprint for how the land will be managed for sustainable use into the future.”

Meet Dan

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether

 

Grains and Cattle and Sheep Showcase – 2018 ARCHIBULL PRIZE ARTWORKS

Over the past week we have showcased our 2018 Archibull Prize artwork entries

  1. Horticulture
  2. Pork and Eggs and Poultry
  3. Wool
  4. Cotton – Primary and Rural and Regional Schools
  5. Cotton – City High Schools

and today we bring you our Grains and Cattle and Sheep Archies

First bull of the truck is lil’ T-Bone from The Lakes College on NSW Central Coast.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Lakes College is a Youth off the Streets alternate school who worked with Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes  The school has done a champion of documenting their Archie journey on their blog. Check it out here 

This is what Team TLC had to say about lil’ T-Bone

Our artwork clearly articulates that ‘The future is in our hands’, the current generation of young Australians. We hope our cow bridges the divide between rural and suburbia, politicians and our generation, as well as the disadvantaged and the advantaged in society.

As a team, we wanted our Archie to have an impact on the entire community by essentially transforming it into a giant moneybox to raise funds for rural grants and community initiatives. However, our cow is more then just a ‘cow bank’. It is a symbolic representation of the divide in the community and a call for action all at once.

Our Archie is not perfect. Neither are we (… no one is!) but, our Archie has heart. It encompasses our individual and unique traits, all we have learnt and reflects our core values. It is also, most importantly, an expression of community. We have had all members of our school working on this from our amazing students, to every single teacher, our incredibility hands on principal, generous volunteers, sister school ‘Mercy College’ and rap artist Losty. This totals over 50 people… that is 50 people we have educated about the current climate in agriculture, that is 50 hearts we have touched and we still have more people to reach.

Furthermore, our cow is able to give back to the rural community and help shape ‘Healthy Communities’ across our country. As a giant ‘cow’ bank (not piggy!) we are hoping to raise money for the Aussie Farmers Foundation by taking our cow out into the community.  Community members can bridge the divide by making a donation and a pledge and placing it inside our cow.

Lil ‘T-bone is also marked to go on convey through rural NSW with Father Chris Riley in November this year. This is the cow that keeps on giving to our rural community. It is our way of recognising the courage farmers have and thanking them for their efforts. Our cow will bring about change, not just in our school but in the whole community.

Next Archie off the truck is ‘GRAIN’ville Bakery from  the students at Granville Boys High School who partnered with Young Farming Champion Dan Fox 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The GRAIN’ville Bakery of the World represents the importance of grain to all cultures of the world.  In our  Year 8 Einstein class there are over fourteen different cultures represented, the class connected with the topic of grain by investigation pastries from their cultural background.  Our cow is a proud baker using Australian products creating pastries from around the world. His stomach is his oven and his rump are the serving boards

The flags on the spine of our cow represent the countries of our student’s heritage and flows into the tail which has Australian Grown written down it. These represent the importance of Australian grains to feeding the world, and are also a nod to the multiculturalism of the students coming from a variety of backgrounds but are also all Australian. This is why the baker cow has the Australian flag on his hat.

For city students that go to the bakery every day and who love their man’oushe (Lebanese za’atar flatbread) understanding the connection between the grains and their pastries is important.   This is why represented on the legs are four grain, rice, corn, oats and wheat which connects the grains to the bakery. Connecting the country to the city.

Next up we have MacIntyre High School in Northern NSW who partnered with YFC Meg Rice to study the Grains industry and create Daffy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our cow is called Daffy as there is an elderly retired farmer whom frequently visits our school farm to offer help and show cattle and he is a bit of an icon so we thought we’d remind our teacher of him being around by naming the cow Daffy to have some fun!! (bush humour…)

Daffy is from the heart of country kids suffering through a 100 year drought where time and energy are precious resources. Each student  who participated did it in scarce time as we all have been needed on our farms to cart water, feed sheep and cattle and poddying (bottlefeeding) many newborns which are all priority tasks of everyday life that take us from our school work, homework and assessment needs.

One side of Daffy shows the process of growing a crop from seed to harvest going through stages of growth from 3 leaf to 5 leaf to tillering, booting and seedset and the  machinery involved along the way.

The other side of daffy shows the issues facing production and pathway to new improved techniques for sustainability to lead us from the drought and parched land to hope and growth. Her head is pointing to the future where the career paths lay. The  jumble of careers represent the thoughts of our ambitions and possibilities.

On Daffy’s legs are what drives the motions of crop production with basic gear like rubber tyres and tyned implements and press wheels for that ideal soil and seed contact for growth and germination.

Archie no 30 come from Kellyville High School in Western Sydney. The students partnered with YFC Dan Fox to study the Grains industry and create Ceres.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 She represents the fertility of the earth and was the Roman God of Agriculture. The Greeks called her Demeter. Most cultures have a deity they trust the growing of crops and food to, in Aboriginal culture from NSW the name is Birrahgnooloo, Kamilaroi.

Our cow “Ceres” pays homage to the way mankind has created sculptures over time, that have looked on to help with the harvest.

We recognise the importance of technologies and improvements of the agricultural experts to improve productivity and quality of grains for food and feed.We also recognise the effect of chance and the elements, clean air, water, heat and earth on growing successful yields of crops. 

Pretty impressive aren’t they. Now whilst the art judge ponders her choices its your turn next

Watch this space as next week we will launch the People’s Choice and you can support the schools and pick your favourite Archie

in 2017 the people’s choice blog post was a social media phenomenon. 185,000 people across the globe visited the blog post 65,000 people voted in the poll.