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.
If you are a Young Farming Champion (YFC) you already see yourself as an emerging leader for agriculture. If you also envision your future includes managerial positions, board appointments and CEO roles then the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) is the perfect training ground.
The YVLT is a group of committed YFC alumni who have stepped up to take responsibility for, and share ownership of, a vision to enable and empower young leaders in agriculture. The YVLT provides a youth perspective to Picture You in Agriculture program development and management decisions, representing a powerful personal and professional development path, giving participants the skills and daily habits needed to take on community and business leadership roles in the future.
The current team members are Emma Ayliffe (chair), Dione Howard (vice-chair), Marlee Langfield (social media coordinator), Meg Rice (Innovation Hub representative), Jo Newton (returning officer), Anika Molesworth (partnerships ambassador) and Jess Fearnley ( minute secretary and intern). In addition the Innovation Hub, a sub-committee tasked with exploring new ideas for real-world projects, is ably staffed by Katherine Bain, Samantha Wan, Tayla Field and Chloe Dutschke.
In a recent evaluation report by Dr Nicole McDonald several themes were identified as motivating factors for joining the YVLT:
intrinsic rewards for doing meaningful work for the future of agriculture,
continuing to develop skills and abilities that would help them be leaders,
being a part of a network of capable people that provide personal and professional support,
giving back to a program that had given them a launch pad towards other opportunities and industry wide recognition.
Nicole’s interviews with team members elicited responses including:
“[The YVLT provides] the opportunity to upskill around committees; getting your head around corporate governance, running subcommittees, supporting a chair, setting agendas, and running meetings. All of this puts me in better stead to manage my own business. There are also a lot of non-tangible skills; for example it’s forced me to set deadlines and expectations for myself, for the people trying to contact me and for my team. I’ve been upskilled in social media and communication skills particularly around formalising of emails and proposals and pitching for funding. Those skills are invaluable.”
“It’s more than a committee it’s a learning opportunity. In a short amount of time I’ve already taken on feedback and learnt more than I anticipated; I’ve learnt skills that I didn’t even think of when I signed up for the Youth Voices Leadership Team.”
“The professionalism is really of a high standard on the YVLT, as well as the consideration of personal and professional outcomes; not only looking at what the organisation is looking to achieve, but also what everybody personally is looking to achieve. Looking at what drives each individual person to get the best outcome has been really impressive and something I haven’t seen in other committees.”
The YVLT is a valuable opportunity for YFC alumni to learn and practice professional and corporate skills in a safe environment. These skills include:
leading innovative and forward-thinking purpose-driven teams,
sitting on effective boards and committees
creating and developing and growing start-ups
program design and delivery
messaging and communications
building partnerships for collective action for collective impact,
Problem solving and strategic thinking
negotiation and conflict skills
become a better listener, build empathy and rapport and use your influence to inspire behaviour change for the greater good
Or, as one of our YVLT so aptly sums up:
“It is a great environment to fail miserably safely, to get some really blunt and honest feedback, to improve on yourself and to improve on your general skills.”
The YVLT holds their annual general meeting in March with all positions open. This is your chance to turn your leadership knowledge and skills into daily habits and create the future you envision.
Today’s guest blog post is by Young Farming Champion. agroecologist, farmer, author, keynote speaker, climate warrior and Climate Wise Agriculture founder Anika Molesworth
Being involved in the agricultural sector has given me a front row seat to food production. I have stood in fields surrounded by millions of tiny corn plants, filled with awe at the fragility and possibility of this new life. I have seen hour-old lambs wobble to their feet for the first time, cheering on those first steps as it finds its mothers teat. I have felt the sense of pride of being a farmer and growing food with the knowledge that this is going to be enjoyed by someone and nourish them.
Ronni is CEO and Founder of OzHarvest. She is the yellow truck driving, dumpster-diving, food waste fighter who has recently released her memoir, “A Repurposed Life.”
Ronni and the incredible team at OzHarvest Education are doing fantastic work on stopping society’s dysfunctional food waste behaviour. Their goal is to adhttps://ozharvest.org/vocate, inspire and influence the community in order to halve food waste by 2030. It is so fantastic to see this work being done because no farmer wants to see their food end up in landfill. This is because it’s not only the food that gets wasted – it’s also all the time, labour, water, nutrients that went into producing it. Precious human and natural resources that need to be cherished, not dumped.
One of the most exciting questions to ask regarding food waste, I think, is
“How do we design waste out of the system?”
This is one of the principles of a circular economy – not just how do we recycle better – but how do we actually create systems where waste doesn’t exist?
Where can we put processes and technologies in place, that an output from one user/sector is immediately utilised as a valuable resource by another.
With one in five shopping bags in Australia ending up in the bin, there is huge room for improvement.
Ronni has a radiating smile as she talks about all the opportunities we have to fix the system and feed people properly. She definitely had me motivated to do more by the end of our conversation! Learning about their objective to collaborate with people right along the food system was particularly uplifting. The OzHarvest team is working with supermarkets, distributors, students and farmers to solve this problem.
We all need to play our part in reducing food waste – from the paddock to the plate – and by doing so, we will
In this episode of Leadership is Language Dr Anika Molesworth sits down with OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn to discuss food waste and how we can all play a part in reducing it.
We must change our relationship to food
The beautiful thing is, we’re all part of the solution
Never say its somebody else’s problem. It is our problem.
“My vision for the future is that good food is valued, respected, protected, grown locally, and looked after, and not wasted. So, I want to minimize food waste, upskill people on the value of food, and make sure that nobody goes hungry.”
Ronni Kahn AO is a social entrepreneur and founder of food rescue charity OzHarvest. Ronni is a passionate advocate and activist renowned for disrupting the food waste landscape in Australia. She appears regularly in national media, serves in an advisory capacity to government and is a sought after keynote speaker. Her mission to fight food waste and feed hungry people is supported by some of the world’s finest chefs. Ronni is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and was named Australian Local Hero of the Year. Her journey is the subject of a feature film, Food Fighter and her memoir, A Repurposed Life has recently been published.
Dr Anika Molesworth is the founder of Climate Wise Agriculture. She lives in the Far West of NSW Australia, where her family raises sheep and goats. It was the decade-long Millennium drought that spurred Anika’s interest in climate change, and how to ensure sustainable and vibrant farming landscapes into the future. Anika is a recognised thought-leader of agro-ecological systems resilience, she is an agricultural science researcher, communicator and works in international agricultural development.
As part of Picture You in Agriculture’s support of our Young Farming Champions and emerging leaders, a series of workshops was rolled out in October. Alongside our fabulous national facilitators Kris Beazley, Jenni Metcalfe, Les Robinson and Josh Farr, we were delighted to add internationally acclaimed Kwame Christian to our repertoire.
Kwame is the director of the American Negotiation Institute, a practising business lawyer, host of the world’s most popular negotiation podcast Negotiate Anything (downloaded over 1.5 million times), author of the Amazon best-seller Finding Confidence in Conflict, a negotiation and conflict resolution professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, a regular contributor to Forbes magazine, a LinkedIn trainer and a popular public speaker with his 2017 TEDx talk being named the most popular talk on the topic of conflict.
Working with PYiA, Kwame presented a 90 minute webinar to 14 participants on negotiation and conflict resolution, or as he likes to say: “solving conflict with compassionate curiosity.” But rather than stand in a room and preach, Kwame made the workshop participant driven, asking the all-female attendees what they wanted to achieve, in a pre-workshop questionnaire. Most responses were of the fear/avoidance of conflict, inexperience (as young people) and lack of confidence in negotiation.
Kwame then taught participants that our instinctive conflict responses are fight, flight or freeze but that there was another way. He spoke of acknowledging and validating emotions of both parties and of seeking to understand not judge. He also spoke on:
How to see every interaction as a strategic, persuasive opportunity
How to persuade without being combative
How to develop the proper mindset for effective negotiation
How and when to use these skills for maximum impact
Following Kwame’s workshop participants had the opportunity to put his skills into practice during a further 90 minute simulation exercise facilitated by Dr Nicole McDonald. Recognising all the young women participating in the workshop are negotiating on a daily basis and 60% of women say they’ve never negotiated their salary they identified contract negotiation as a priority.
This two-part conflict and negotiation workshop was a prime example of how PYiA is partnering with like minded organisations who are listening to our young people and delivering professional development based on their wants and needs.
In this episode of Leadership is Language ALISON PENFOLD and CATHERINE MARRIOTT explore Anticipatory leadership – what is it and how can we use it to take responsibility and protect agriculture and what do Dad and Dave have to do with it all?
Catherine Marriott sits down with Alison Penfold to find out.
Leadership takes curiosity, bravery and courage
Be proactive rather than reactive
Call out your own risks and change the narrative
Influence isn’t just going to be what you say, but it’s how you behave. That’s part of telling the story.
“…. over time, what I’ve come to see and [what] I think is really critical, particularly in agriculture, is anticipatory leadership. It’s really about being able to use strategic foresight to identify issues and opportunities, risks and opportunities and get ahead of the curve…….we need to get on the front foot and collectively work together to get ahead, so that we’re in control of managing the risk.”
Alison Penfold is a director of Future Eye. She has a forensic understanding of, and first-hand experience in, community engagement, risk and issues management, policy development, advocacy and political and bureaucratic processes. Her 20 years’ experience includes: Chief of Staff to a Federal Cabinet Minister, policy and political adviser to a range of State and Federal Ministers, CEO of a national agriculture sector industry body, Government Relations Manager for a major retailer and a range of senior policy, campaign and strategic advisory roles. Alison is a change agent promoting the need for business and industry to call out, act on and get ahead of social license risks.
Over the last 15 years, Catherine has worked in management, strategic and leadership roles in the agricultural, research and regional development sectors in Australia and internationally. During this time, she has become a proven business leader, communicator and entrepreneur, focused mostly on leadership development, advocacy and delivering innovative solutions for the industries in which she works. Catherine has always worked in rural and regional Australia and is inspired by the potential of our regions. She is passionate about the people side of agriculture, learning from and sharing with others. Mentoring is a role she plays with enthusiasm as she learns just as much from her mentees as she shares. She uses her Rural Science degree to understand the technical aspects of agriculture, while her experience in business helps her connect with people and maximise opportunities for others. Catherine has worked as a consultant, an entrepreneur, developed a start-up member-based organisation for the northern beef industry and plays a role on a number of private and public boards both in Australia and internationally. She is UNE’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was the 2012 WA Rural Women of the Year.
In this episode of Leadership is Language Dione Howard continues her conversation with Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter as he reflects on a tragedy that reformed safety procedures for his company and provided valuable lessons for both the fishing and agricultural industries.
It is possible to create a legacy from an impossible moment
Near-miss incidents are gifts that can prevent a tragedy
Incidents become part of your story – it is up to you how to shape that story
“Our advice was to lawyer up and go and find the best legal defence you can and defend it to the hilt but that didn’t sit too well with me. We could have gone to court, pleaded guilty, paid the fine and moved on, and Ryan’s legacy would be his name on a dust-collecting file in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, or we could look to make right from wrong.”
David Carter has worked his entire career at Austral Fisheries and its predecessors. Graduating from Melbourne University in 1978 with a degree in Marine Science, David saw an opportunity to enter the fishing industry and began working as a deckhand on a prawn trawler off the coast of Darwin. This was the beginning of what has been a 40-year career in the fishing industry.
In 2016, David led Austral in taking the next step along its sustainability journey, with Austral Fisheries becoming the first seafood company in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification under the Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program.
David was inducted into the National Seafood Industry Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of his significant contribution to the Australian seafood industry, and in 2020 David received the Marine Stewardship Council’s Lifetime Achievement award.
Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader. In 2020 she took the step in her leadership journey on the Executive of YVLT as Vice Chair.
Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.
GrowHer is an online platform designed to inspire, inform and include women in agriculture in the Asia Pacific region.
Growing the Next Stories – This global webseries brings together, in five episodes, testimonials from women from seven countries, including Brazil, the United States, France, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and Indonesia. In each chapter they tell about their relationship to rural production, the difficulties and challenges they face.
It is the brainchild of four agripreneurs and ecosystem players, whose respective organisations have formed the GrowHer steering committee. These influential women are Erin Sweeney from Grow Asia, Elizabeth Hernandez, from Corteva Agriscience Asia Pacific, Jade Dyson, from WOMAG, and Cherrie D. Atilano, CEO of AGREA in the Philippines.
GrowHer’s online launch featured all four women who spoke about their desire to empower women in agriculture. “The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) estimates that if women had the same access to ag inputs, to mechanization, water, finance, land ownership, all of those things that men in agriculture have, they would produce 20-30% more food, and that’s enough to be able to take 150 million out of poverty,” Elizabeth said.
Three other women agripreneurs were also invited to speak at the launch. They were Phyu Hninn Nyein, head of operations for Proximity Designs in Myanmar, Yvonne Foong, founder of Chektec from Singapore, and our very own Lynne Strong.
See Lynne’s GrowHer profile here, read about PYiA’s Corteva emerging leaders here and find out more about females kicking big goals in agriculture on the GrowHer website.
In conjunction with the launch Lynne and three Young Farming Champions – Dione Howard, Emma Ayliffe and Anika Molesworth – sat down for a chat with Elizabeth Hernandez at a WOMAG virtual coffee morning. WOMAG is an organization currently based out of Singapore that connects and develops women across the entire agri-ecosystem with the goal of creating a future pool of leaders.
At PYiA we believe in the enormous power of these partnerships .
“We are thrilled they have identified the Young Farming Champions as a model they’d like to roll out in Asia and we are proud to join this coalition of strong voices. We know that alone we are smart but together we are brilliant, and we look forward to this concept of working together, and amplifying each other’s voices, becoming common practice around the world,” Lynne said.
We encourage them to be life-long learners and provide them with ongoing opportunities to be critical and creative thinkers and informed and active citizens of the communities the work, live and play in.
They see everyday as a new opportunity to enhance those skills.
One way we did this during COVID was to develop the Leadership is Language webinar series where Young Farming Champions have the opportunity to host a webinar and interview some of the world’s foremost thought leaders on communicating how we can show leadership by the language and communication styles we use.
Our guests challenge us to change the way we talk as leaders by learning the language of creativity, collaboration and commitment. They illustrate the powerful intersection of communication and leadership and offer simple steps to transform your thinking, your influence and the lives in your span of care and how we can reinvent our leadership style to meet the evolving demands of the new marketplace.
With such a star-studded list of guests how did our YFC prepare for their interviews and how did they find the experience? What have they learnt that will help them (and others) in the future?
Lucy Collingridge was thrown in the deep end as the opening act for Leadership is Language when she spoke with Nicole McDonald, and she followed this up with the internationally acclaimed Michael Bungay Stanier in Series 2.
“I have done a bit of microphone commentary/interview work at shows and our Cootamundra Hereford Heifer Show but this rewarding experience threw me well out of my comfort zone.
Before my interview I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast about FFT’s (effing first times). She speaks about naming the new thing, normalising it and embracing the suck – that it will be hard, I will feel nervous and intimidated but it won’t last forever. I needed to deal with the nerves to get to the good part.
In my first interview with Nicole I was able to catch up with her prior to our interview however I didn’t have this with Michael. I honestly didn’t know who he was so I did my research and learnt who he is and what he has accomplished. Speaking to such an amazing human with so much knowledge was daunting but Michael is such an engaging and open person.
I thoroughly enjoyed our chat, especially as he has no background in agriculture so he was a set of fresh eyes to the issues we face in the industry. I can’t wait to listen back to our chat another 10 times to keep getting things from it!”
Anika Molesworth, already an accomplished speaker, presenter and interviewer, sat down for a chat with Francesca Earl and found you can learn something from every experience.
“It was fantastic to have a chat with the inspiring Franny Earp, who has such depth of knowledge on communicating in different socio-cultural settings. It was hard not to get lost in her adventurous stories from working in South Africa to Laos. I was excited to learn from her and hear how she overcame challenges in communication that comes with doing international agricultural work. My questions came from a personal curiosity and that helped the conversation to flow seamlessly… it was difficult to end it because I was enjoying our chat so much!”
Emma Ayliffe was both interviewer (when she spoke with succession planner Sally Murfett) and interviewee (when she spoke about her new app Yacker).
“The Leadership is Language series has been exciting, fun, inspiring and challenging, but also a great opportunity to gain confidence and practices skills in interviewing, questioning and recording.
It was quite daunting to be at the helm of creating a conversation with Sally that was going to be interesting and relevant for a topic that can be controversial and difficult to breach (succession planning) but tapping into her expertise was phenomenal.
Preparation for the interview took the form of reading and researching Sally and her role in agriculture and talking to my partner and his family about their burning succession questions. From there Sally and I had a quick zoom to meeting to discuss what we were going to go through and I watched a few interviews on YouTube to see what I liked in an interviewer.
The bigger concerns I had were ensuring we captured the key points and ideas …. and hoping that the internet held up! I felt the nerves when we started but being a recording we reminded ourselves we had the ability to cut and change where needed.
The best part for me was talking to an amazing person about a topic that was extremely relevant to me.”
Here is a wrap of Leadership is Language – Series 1.
Our very first Leadership is Language conversation opened with YFC Lucy Collingridge talking with social science researcher Dr Nicole McDonald. Nicole spoke about how she found agriculture through psychology and how communication is a key tool to uniting this diverse industry.
“…..communication is how we connect and understand each other. Words are absolutely important, but then it’s also your tone of voice, it’s your volume, it’s your self-expression; it’s what you’re wearing. All of these things send messages about who you are, what you’re trying to convey. Communication is much bigger than just text or words…”
For the second conversation we engaged friends of the YFC Kirsty White and Rebel Black. Human agronomist Rebel spoke about what leadership means to her and why she thinks, at the end of the day, life is a game to be played.
“…..I think leadership, great leadership requires a high level of personal responsibility, and that’s a very challenging thing to do. It’s much easier for us to blame the outside world for the things that are going on in our lives or in the lives of the people that we care about. True leadership, I believe is a hundred percent self-responsibility, which then enables you to navigate through life in a more easeful way,….”
Third up was Youth Voices Leadership Team chair Emma Ayliffe speaking with Sally Murfett about the power of positive communication in succession planning.
“…. nothing happens without relationship and communication. If you can’t get this part right, nothing else is going to happen along the way. So invest in this process. Invest in yourself so that you can sit at the table and have these conversations that are going to get great outcomes for yourself and great outcomes for the family.”
Then it was time for YFC Hannah Hawker to sit down with Graham Smith, the Australian Rural Leadership Program Mentor, who discussed the importance of throwing out stereotypes and misconceptions.
“….leadership really is a series of processes. It’s not a product or an output or an outcome .. .and if you dig down into that, more often than not, communication will come up as the most important process in leadership.”
YFC Anika Molesworth chatted with Francesca Earp about her research work in Laos and why actively listening to your people it the most important tool to understanding them.
“…..have proper conversations with farmers about why they’re doing things and what’s influencing those decisions … tailor ag extensions to why farmers are making those decisions.”
Internationally acclaimed leadership coach Dave Stachowiak was the guest of YFC Dione Howard for the sixth instalment of the series. Together they spoke about how to build ally relationships between consumers and farmers.
“…..we can come back at look at ourselves and say, “Okay, now that we’ve figured out what’s important, or at least some indicators of what may be important, where do we have some common alignment?” That’s a great starting point then for that relationship.”
Rounding off Series 1 of Leadership is Language was PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick getting the lowdown on the new conversation app Yacker, developed by YFC Emma Ayliffe.
“It’s particularly important to be empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”
Series 1 has been a remarkable success and we look forward to the next series with a diverse range of guests involved with coaching, communication, stakeholder engagement, collective impact and action, worker health and safety, fishing, water, food recycling and much more.
We are excited to have our Youth Voices Leadership team chair Emma Ayliffe, co-founder of Summit Agriculture sits down with our wonderful journalist Mandy McKeesick to chat about the new conversation starting app Yacker, and why it is important to understand your audience.
Leadership is about understanding your client or customer
Being empathetic to the other person’s views
Never underestimating who is watching or listening to you
Avoiding speaking in frustration or anger
“It’s particularly important to be sympathetic and empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”
Emma Ayliffe is an award-winning agronomist and successful businesswoman. She is co-founder of agricultural consultancy Summit Ag, co-owner of a 1700-acre cropping property and an in-demand public speaker. In 2018 she was runner-up in the Adama Young Agronomist of the Year awards and has taken the stage at PIEFA Conference, the Australia Cotton Conference and the Australian Summer Grains Conference
Emma believes in the importance of agricultural sustainability and the role that young people play in the industry. She has been a Young Farming Champion since 2015, is the current chair for the Youth Voices Leadership Team and established Tulli Young Farmers to better support young people in her region.
Mandy is an Australian writer and photographer who shares stories for, and about, the bush. She has worked with the Picture You in Agriculture team for five years, sharing stories of Young Farming Champions far and wide, and regularly contributes to R.M Williams Outback magazine.
Summit Ag delivers interdependent agronomic and farming systems advice for irrigated cropping with a strong focus on cotton agronomy and research. It covers all areas in the Southern Valleys working with established and dryland growers with the aim of increasing productivity, profitability and overcoming challenges and soil constraints. www.summitag.com.au
Yacker was initially developed to assist Summit Ag clients connect and share information, and has now expanded to service the entire agricultural industry.
Want to know more?
Visit the Yacker website (www.yacker.com.au) and download the app for free on any iPhone or android device.
In this episode of Leadership is Language internationally-acclaimed leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier sits down with Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge to discuss drama triangles, sheep and the power of curiosity.
When you ask a question be genuinely interested in the answer
Beware of the dysfunctional Dreaded Drama Triangle
Narrow the problem down – you can’t boil the ocean
“What happens with your expertise? It cloaks curiosity, ….. I know a whole bunch of stuff, but what if I didn’t, what if I was naïve to this, if I had to start again?”
Michael Bungay Stanier is an internationally recognised leadership coach with his book The Coaching Habit selling over 700,000 copies and receiving over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. In 2019, he was named the #1 thought leader in coaching, and was shortlisted for the coaching prize by Thinkers50, the “Oscars of management”.
Michael is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led. He left Australia nearly 30 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
His latest book is The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever. ⠀
Lucy Collingridge is a biosecurity officer with the North West Local Land Services, based in Narrabri. She is primarily focused on vertebrate pest animal management and is involved in the implementation of the North West Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan, emergency management responses and assisting groups with funding applications.
Lucy is a passionate Young Farming Champion and has an extensive resume volunteering with community groups and agricultural shows.