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.
The John Ralph Essay Competition is held annually by the Australian Farm Institute in recognition of their founding chairmen and aims to foster conversations around agricultural policy issues. “Given the announcement of the John Ralph Essay winner is the key event in Ag Week in Canberra it is a great platform to put forward your perspective,” Greg says. “The policy focus, the need to present well thought-out and supported ideas, the calibre of entrants and the wide reach of the reading audiences makes the John Ralph Essay competition a focal point for discussions in Australian agriculture.”
In his essay, titled The Future of Animal Agriculture, Greg acknowledges the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets and concedes replacing animals on the plate with other sources of nutrition is possible; but he asks how society would cope replacing the other complex roles animals fulfil.
“Animals do not exist in our society simply because they taste good. Primarily animals have become an integral key to the success of human society as animals convert food we cannot eat, into food we can….. The abilities of these animals to eat the widest range of feedstuffs and turn it into eggs and meat have made these animals indispensable. Likewise, ruminants that can convert inedible grass, brush and other high fibre feedstuffs to meat and milk have become a dominant species utilised in both intensive and extensive production systems.”
Greg argues that the production of animal-free meat products involves by-products, which are typically fed to animals.
“Without animal agriculture to convert these by-products and unwanted end-products it becomes a difficult question for society as to how these current feedstuffs would be used in a hypothetical animal free future for agriculture.”
In the complex world in which we find ourselves Greg believes animal agriculture will continue to have a fundamental role in society but needs to find a way for real engagement with its consumers and customers. “Engaging with the community and sharing what we do in animal agriculture and why we do it is a passion for me,” he says. “The topic of the essay this year was a great opportunity to communication my thoughts on the future of what we do.”
Greg is highly respected by Young Farming Champions; most of whom have passed through his workshops, tackled his difficult questions and come to appreciate his support and honesty. It may interest them, then, to hear Greg’s personal motivation for entering the John Ralph Essay Competition:
“When I started university my essay writing was so bad that I got sent off to a remedial writing support service after submitting my first essay. One of the big drivers for entering was to just prove to myself I could do it.”
Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business.
Each year the world looks forward to the creative talents of the entire Beaudesert State High School as they bring quirky and imaginative angles to The Archibull Prize competition. Their 2019 entry was no exception. Representing Australia’s dairy industry their Archie, Hope, incorporated real bovine bones, braille, a cut-out Herringbone dairy and a robotic milking arm. It earned Beaudesert the title of Grand Champion Archibull and has opened the door to allow agriculture’s new voices to amplify their impact.
Watch the moment when the Beaudesert State High School students and teachers find out they have won The Archibull Prize 2019
Beaudesert’s 2019 Archibull journey was a collaboration between students, teachers, industry and community, and epitomises the ethos it take takes a village to raise a child.
Highly effective schools have high levels of parent and community engagement. ‘Community’here includes parents, business and philanthropic organisations, and various services and not-for-profit organisations. Rather than being set apart from the rest of the community, the school is now often seen to be its hub. The community, in turn, is seen as an important source of resources and expertise for the school. Source
At the helm was agriculture teacher Laura Perkins.
“We’ve always had support from the community but each year it gets bigger and bigger and this year it was like a snowball that turned into an avalanche. We had Subtropical Dairy and Dairyfields Milk Suppliers (DFMSC) supporting us. We had Dovers – a local machinery group, we had Hillview Primary School and the council have been amazing.
We got a letter from the Hon. Scott Buchholz MP offering his congratulations to the school and he made a comment how the Archibull was the talk of the town.
We had our own Facebook page and the support on that was superb. The Beaudesert Times were fabulous online and in print and some of the comments from the community on their Facebook page were amazing.
Local people want to know how we can get the cows out in the community even more.”
250 students worked directly on Hope – designing, painting, soldering and applying the myriad of LED lights. “And that’s not including all these other kids who have been supportive and encouraging, especially in the People’s Choice Award, and took what we were doing home and spread the word,” Laura says.
For Laura the biggest highlight in participating in The Archibull Prize has been the development of her students and in particular a vision-impaired girl named Shay.
“When I first met Shay she barely raised her head when I said hello to her but now when I ask who would like to do some guest speaking in front of a group she jumps in straight away,” Laura says. “She chose a message to put on our cow in braille and now we have been contacted by Sally Baldwin from Braille House who is going to support this student, and the rest of our school, to learn braille. Shay now wants to get a stick and a guide dog and work herself and not rely on others. But it’s not just her. It is all the other kids as well.
“The confidence the students participating in The Archibull Prize have developed is amazing. They speak fluently. They think before they say things and they are very exact in what they say.”
This confidence is manifesting itself as a promotion of agriculture, which has been consolidated by winning the Grand Champion Archibull trophy. At the conclusion of the Archibull presentation day in Sydney special guest Costa Georgiadis spent time with the Beaudesert students explaining to them the importance of their win. He produced, from a battered canvas bag, a chipped silver Logie and told how this item has helped him share messages important to him.
“I said to my kids that we really need to listen to Costa because he is a clever man,” Laura says. “Our Archibull award is beautiful – it’s a hand painted cow and I’ve always wanted one – but the last thing I want is for this to go to the library and sit behind glass and over time get pushed back a little further because there are newer trophies added.”
“I told our kids
‘our Archibull trophy is not just a trophy. You need to use it as a microphone to let people be aware of what your journey has been and where it is going to take you. If it gets a chip so be it, if it gets a bit not-so-fancy then so be it, but you need to use this now to project your voice.’
This is the start of these kids getting their own voice and talking about their experience and their journey.”
The next step for Laura and her students will come when they share their story at the SE QLD Young Dairy Network annual dinner where they have been invited to be guest speakers. “I’m really excited about the future,” Laura says. “When I spoke to Brian Cox (SE QLD Young Dairy Network) he said this is only the beginning and there will be more opportunities. Anything we can connect these kids with is going to be beneficial and this is all because of The Archibull Prize. These opportunities wouldn’t have arisen if we hadn’t done this.”
And the team behind The Archibull Prize say mega kudos to the entire Beaudesert Community
Consistent findings from the research in Australia and overseas is that strong school-community engagement can bring a range of benefits. These are not only to students but to teachers, schools as a whole, partners and the wider community. For these benefits to occur, school-community partners need to have a shared vision, work in genuinely collaborative ways, and monitor the progress and effectiveness of their partnership activities. Sharing the results of this good practice means others can recognise the important role that community groups can play in supporting education and schools. Preparing twenty-first century learners depends on everyone in the community seeing this as their business. Source
This fortnight’s top stories from our Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the globe!
Last weekend YFC gathered in Sydney to celebrate the achievements of 2019, learn new skills, develop expertise and plan for the year ahead. Let’s jump straight over to YFC Dione Howard for a workshop recap:
Friday through to Monday saw new YFC learn from coach Jenni Metcalfe of Econnect Communications. Jenni worked with YFC to develop interview skills for speaking on camera and working with the media. Coach Josh Farr worked with YFC alumni to develop strategies for managing conflict, time management and the ever-important social media.
YFC Jasmine Whitten and YVLT acting chair Emma Ayliffe wowed the group on Saturday night with presentations that are sure to inspire their audience into the new year.
Monday saw YFC come together with students from Wee Waa and Lake Cargelligo High Schools who had travelled to Sydney for The Archibull Prize on Tuesday. Simone Tunbridge from ABC’s Heywire program stepped the group through developing and sharing a powerful story.
And the action didn’t stop on Monday as the workshop wrapped up – next it was time for the 10th Annual Archibull Prize Awards. Like a fine wine they keep getting better with age!
Over to YFC Katherine Bain for an Archibull Awards run down:
The 2019 Archibull Prize is definitely one to remember! I was really impressed with where the kids drew their inspiration from for their Archies. They used these inspirations to tell their story of Ag, with all its complexities, really well. When I got to interview them, their passion for the Archies really shined which was so heartening to see. Some of my favorite Archies were Beaudesert’s Milking cow, Hurlstone’s completely felted cow and Lake Cargelligo’s Hydroponic cow. Some of the highlights of the day were Costa Geogiadis’s moving talk and the energy that he brought to the room and Beaudesert’s emotional win as the Grand Champion for 2019!
It was a massive day for everyone involved, but so fulfilling seeing everyone smiling at the end of the day, knowing that months of hard work had paid off.
The Young Farming Champions team would love to thank all of our supporters and sponsors of The Archibull Prize for 2019 – we love working with schools in this program and are proud of what each student learns and achieves when participating in The Archibull Prize!
In the Field
Wheat and barley harvest is in full swing at Grains YFC Marlee Langfield’s farm, Wallaringa, Cowra. Marlee, a talented photographer who also runs Marlee Langfield Photography, sent through this photo essay: “We are very thankful for our harvest and hope everyone stays safe this harvest season.”
Out of the Field
Climate YFC and western NSW farmer Anika Molesworth is on the journey of a lifetime with Homeward Bound, heading to Antarctica as part of a collaborative effort towards leadership for #climateaction. Anika is one of 111 women – the largest ever female group to head to Antarctica – from 33 countries, and she has also been chosen to support Al Gore’s Climate Reality leadership organisation, presenting on how she perceives the climate crisis through the lens of her work. We are so incredibly proud of you Anika. Keep the updates coming!
Follow @AnikaMolesworth on Twitter and @anikamolesworth on Instagram to keep up to date.
To celebrate National Agriculture Day, Wool YFC and Senior Biosecurity Officer Lucy Collingridge had a chat with Kristy Reading on ABC New England North West. Take a listen here. In a celebration of our agricultural industry, Lucy spoke about the great progression our agricultural industry has achieved in recent decades, the opportunities available in our agricultural industries – including a large range of jobs, overseas study tours and conferences – and how supportive our industry is. For a young women who comes from a non-agricultural background, Lucy should be incredibly proud of her achievements over recent years, including study tours to Argentina, Uruguay and Canada, the completion of a Graduate Certificate in Agriculture and involvement in many country shows across NSW, and she believes the Young Farming Champion program is a fantastic platform to be able to share her experiences with other young people and show them the opportunities available in the Australian agricultural industry.
Speaking of National Agriculture Day, we’ve announced the winners of our National Ag Day comp, hosted alongside Little Brick Pastoral, Career Harvest and Celistino. Well done to all the entrants and winners! Jump over here to read all about it.
We’re in Outback Mag! Thanks to the marvelous Picture You in Agriculture journalist Mandy McKeesick our YFC program and wonderful wool YFC Samantha Wan are featured in the December/January issue of R.M. Williams Outback Magazine.
“Since inception 10 years ago, the Young Farming Champions program has trained more than 100 people to promote agriculture to young people.
“At Burwood Girls High School in Sydney students are excitedly awaiting a farmer. Many will be imagining an older white male, so when 31-year-old Sam Wan breezes through the door, preconceptions and stereotypes fly straight out the window. Sam is young. She is female. And she is one of them. As a first-generation Chinese-Australian born in the western suburbs of Sydney, Sam’s own stereotypical career path may have been a doctor or lawyer, but she has found her calling as a wool broker in Melbourne, and her enthusiasm for the industry is infectious.”
Read more here. And buy December/January issue of Outback Magazine to read the full story!
University of New England YFC Becca George was in The Land last week, speaking about her involvement with Angus Youth Roundup and dreams for the future. Read the article below:
Well done to YFC Bronwyn Roberts from B R Rural Business who spoke at the Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma, Qld.
Cotton YFC Alexandria Galea was spotted in the new National Ag Day video “The Quiet Farmer” from Rabbit Hop Films:
The Quiet Farmer from Rabbit Hop Films on Vimeo.
Congratulations to YVLT acting chair Emma Ayliffe who has been announced as a semi finalist in the First National Real Estate Leadership category of the 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards. We wish you so much luck in the judging Emma and appreciate all the hard work you have put into the Picture You in Agriculture programs throughout 2019 (and before!)
Read this wonderful story in the Lake Cargelligo News which details Emma’s dedication beautifully.
Congratulations also to YVLT Communication Creative Team Leader Bessie Thomas who won the Spirit Category of the Weekly Times and Harvey Norman Shine Awards. Bessie and her husband Shannan flew to Melbourne for the intimate awards luncheon with the other category winners at Cruden Farm. They were hosted by Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page and chairman of The Herald and Weekly Times Penny Fowler. Read more here.
Bessie says the experience was an absolute delight and honour.
“Meeting the other finalists and sharing in their stories was very special. These awards really bring to light the incredible things rural women are doing all over Australia, that there is often no other recognition for. I’m so thrilled and proud to be among such a dedicated, courageous and passionate bunch of humans.”
Congratulations to Wool YFC Matt Cumming and his fiance Heidi who got engaged on the weekend. Best wishes to you both!
BESSIE THOMAS has been through nearly two years of dust storms and feed runs, yet every day she finds something good to say about the agriculture industry.
That is a measure of her positive spirit.
Bessie and her husband, Shannan, manage his family’s sheep property, Burragan, near Wilcannia in NSW’s far west.
The young couple and their daughter, Airlie, 3, are living through the thick of drought.
Bessie finds ways to be optimistic, not just for herself and her family.
But also to boost other farmers across the nation who are struggling through the same thing and to educate the wider public about the ongoing dry.
“I could get out of bed every day and share the hardships but, you know, the next day I probably wouldn’t want to get out of bed,” says Bessie, who shares the highs and lows of her life in the wool industry through a blog and Facebook page called Bessie at Burragan.
“By always focusing on the positive, it can bring a spark of joy to someone else on social media and maybe give them hope.”
Bessie is relatively new to the wool industry.
After growing up at Swan Hill and then the Sunshine Coast, she completed a degree in journalism and communication in Queensland.
After marrying Shannan, they jumped at the opportunity to manage Burragan.
“When we moved down it was a fantastic season,” Bessie says.
“The grass in the paddock was so high you could hardly see the road to find the house.”
The 28,000-hectare station is in a vastly different state today, running half the sheep it did back then.
Rain in April and again this month offered some reprieve, and they haven’t had to handfeed since May.
“We only wish we could share it around with everyone who missed out,” Bessie says.
Through the long dry, she has used her communication skills to raise awareness of the realities of drought.
Bessie is an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion and the group’s volunteer communication creative team leader. The organisation works to close the gap between young people and food producers, and inspire pride in Australian agriculture.
“So, I have gone into schools and spoken to urban audiences about agriculture and growing food and fibre,” Bessie says. “The highlight of volunteering is connecting and collaborating with talented young people, who are considered inspirational leaders of the agricultural industry.”
Bessie Thomas puts her storytelling talent and optimism to use for the good of the agriculture industry.
For that — as well as raising awareness of the drought with a smile — she is a deserving winner of the Shine Award for Spirit.
There are six categories in the Shine Awards: Belief, Courage, Dedication, Grace, Passion and Spirit and Bessie joins fellow finalists – entrepreneur Amanda Griffiths from Long Pocket in QLD and shearer Janine Midgley from Bullsbrook in WA – in the Spirit category, which is for those who the sheer power of personality shines through.
“What a thrill to be honoured alongside Amanda and Janine,” Bessie says. “I could easily name hundreds of women who could take my place as a finalist in the Spirit Category and they are the ones who keep my spirits up! So thank you to all the people in my life, family, friends, and beyond, who fill my cup, push me up hill, let me chuck my toys, make good things happen, check in on me and pick me back up again. I am so lucky to have the best possible people enter my orbit.”
The winner of each category will receive a $2500 voucher from Harvey Norman, and the overall winner will receive a $5000 voucher. Look for the announcement of the winners in the Shine Magazine in The Weekly Times on the newsstands November 20.
Each year the NSW Department of Primary Industries celebrates women volunteers in the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll. Over 900 women have been recognised for their contribution to community since the Honour Roll began in 2010. They have volunteered for sporting groups, for health, for heritage or for environmental conservation. They have given their time to industry, to social justice, to emergency services and to wherever there is need.
In 2019 four of our Young Farming Champions have been added to this illustrious list: Emma Ayliffe, Lucy Collingridge, Dione Howard and Bessie Thomas.
Emma volunteers her time with the Local Cotton Growers Association, Tulli Young Farmers and PYiA programs Young Farming Champions and the Youth Voices Leadership Team. In winter she also donates her time to her local netball club. By paying forward the support and encouragement she has received over the years, Emma hopes to give similar opportunities to the next generation.
Lucy was introduced to agricultural shows while at high school and now, apart from her commitments with PYiA, volunteers everywhere from her local Cootamundra Show to the Sydney Royal. Lucy believes volunteering is a chance to help her community and industry grow and enjoys the rewarding feeling of working with amazing, like-minded people with a common goal – and having fun while doing it.
Representing the wool industry, Dione volunteers with PYiA, WoolProducers and as a mentor in CSU’s Veterinary Science Alumni Network. She does this to ensure the community has an appreciation of where their food and fibre comes from and she believes young people in agriculture have wonderful stories to share and wants to help them tell these stories, make a change and leave their own mark on the world.
Bessie volunteers as the Communication Coordinator for the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT), which is the youth-led voice of PYiA. As Communication Coordinator she works with over 100 Young Farming Champions to collate their activities and events. Bessie believes we all have an ethical and social responsibility to live by actions that leave communities, people and the world feeling valued, appreciated, supported and better off than we found them.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” MARJORIE MOORE
Read about all this year’s remarkable women here in the 2019 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.
Earlier in year Jasmine, who attended the conference on a scholarship provided by Intrepid Landcare in partnership with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, had co-designed an educational program for primary schools through Western Landcare at Cobar called “Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms”. This formed the basis of her presentation at the conference where she illustrated it had inspired young people to take up the Landcare challenge. “I described a healthy farm then shared the belief that the future doesn’t belong to me and it doesn’t belong to you (the audience),” she says. “It belongs to the next generation coming through and who better to teach them then farmers who care for a whopping 61% of this country and work with the soil day in day out.”
“To be acknowledged as the best presentation is the biggest boost,” Jasmine says. “It makes me realise all of my hard work has paid off.” See a video of Jasmine’s in action at Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day here
Erika, too, was rewarded for her work as a young leader in the Landcare arena. The Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award recognises someone aged between 15 and 35 years who is committed to community engagement.
Erika Heffer accepting the Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award
“My greatest passion as a Landcarer is to bring people together to deliver real outcomes for the groups they belong to and the local community, Receiving this award is like meeting up with someone to talk about an idea or seeing people show up to a meeting or a workshop – I feel a sense of accomplishment for this first step, as well as excitement for what can come of it. I believe Landcare opens the door, but it’s the community that steps up to the challenge.” said Erika
Both Jasmine and Erika value the time and support of mentors as their careers blossom.
“I have sought out mentors and likeminded people both to help me grow and to achieve projects that couldn’t be achieved without collaboration and I would like to thank Neil Bull (Ricegrowers Association of Australia), John Fowler (Murray Local Land Services), Edwina Hayes (Regional Development Australia Murray), Lynne Strong (Picture you in Agriculture), and Senator Perin Davey for being great mentors and friends.” said Erika
The power of volunteering is also important to the two girls.
“My journey has involved practicing at schools, being a YFC and saying YES to any opportunity,” said Jasmine
“I have loved raising awareness for agriculture, Landcare and the joy of volunteering, whether volunteering for my faith, an Agricultural Show, a Landcare Group, or even the Deni Ute Muster. The best part is that I am not alone, I am surrounded by passionate volunteers and that’s what makes my community a great place to live.” said Erika
Shoutout to our supporting partners working together to empower young people to solve tomorrow’s problems today