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.
Young Farming Champion Chloe Dutschke who was recently named the joint winner of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship along with Brett Stockings of Dubbo is certainly becoming a dynamo in the wool industry.
Picture taken by Forbes Corby
After completing a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Adelaide in 2014 Chloe began her career in wool as a jillaroo in the Flinders Ranges. Today she is a contract musterer working anywhere from southern NSW to northern SA but, along the way, Chloe has taken every opportunity to immerse herself in the world of wool. For example, in 2016 Flinders Merino, a South Australian woolgrowers group, sent Chloe to Hong Kong to learn all about the wool supply chain. So it should come as no surprise that Chloe was amongst the six finalists for this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship.
“The scholarship has a strong focus on young people and offers a large range of networking opportunities which I was drawn to,” Chloe says. “I self-nominated but was also nominated by David Rankin, manager of Tupra Station in NSW. I feel he nominated me because he can see the need to encourage and guide young people in agriculture and has seen first-hand the passion and dedication I have to the sheep and wool industry.”
For Chloe the win is not only recognition for her own dedication but recognition and thanks to people who have assisted her career and become her mentors. People such as David Rankin, Plant a Seed for Safety founder Alex Thomas, Peter Westblade committee members Georgie McGuiness and Craig Wilson, and our very own Picture You in Agriculture director Lynne Strong.
“I believe those who inspire you, giving you their time and leadership, are mentors. I try to surround myself with those types of people and hope to one day be a mentor for someone else.”
The Peter Westblade Scholarship comes with a $10,000 bursary, which Chloe is using to attend conferences such as MerinoLink, LambEx and EvokeAg, and to extend her corporate networks in order to promote her visions for the wool industry.
“I have developed The Pastoral Network for the pastoral areas of northern South Australia,” Chloe says. “I see it as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to share industry and community events and information, jobs, topical articles and general information.”
So committed is Chloe to her project that she has entered the ABC Trailblazer competition.
“I am hoping that being selected as an ABC Trailblazer means I can further develop this shared information idea into a website for other agricultural areas to use across South Australia and nationally as well.”
Congratulations on all you have achieved and all you aspire to Chloe. You are a credit to the wool industry and Australian agriculture.
At Picture You in Agriculture we believe in collaborating and sharing stories showcasing exciting and innovative leaders in agriculture.
As promised in our previous blog giving our collaborating partners Guy Coleman and Matt Champness the opportunity to share their EvokeAG vision is a natural fit for us.
As it turns out Guy and Matt are great mates ( logical that exciting young people gravitate towards each other).
Please help us to help Matt or Guy to ptich their big idea at Asia Pacific’s biggesst agrifood tech event in February 2020 by voting for them here
This is why Matt thinks you should vote for his pitch
There will be more food eaten in the next 50 years than there has been in the whole of humanity, however, we only have the capacity to produce 30% of that. Currently, I believe it’s pretty shameful that world hunger has increased in recent years, with 820 million people suffering from hunger. This is 2019, we can do better!
Whilst there is much focus on environmental stewardship, conservation and restoration of natural environments, I believe we will never reach sustainable life until everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. Ending global hunger by 2030 is pillar 2.1 of the UN SDG’s and it’s looking unlikely, with a need to double the current rate of decline in global hunger if we are to reach this target by 2030.
If fortunate enough to be selected as an evokeAg Future Young Leader I will discuss the need for greater collaboration from those within the agriculture sector and afar, to build a sustainable future for us all. I want to encourage the youth of today to look holistically at agriculture and how they can work grow the Australian Ag industry and help to build a world free of hunger. The current single disciplinary research approach is not working on a global or national level. Transformational food system change has to start at the farm and community level. Top down global policy is meaningless if ‘on the ground’ capacity is lacking. Therefore, the solutions to decrease food waste and increase sustainable farm production and profit must be developed on farm.
There will be a day when we live in a world free of hunger, but the time it takes until we get there depends on when we start working together as an agri-food industry, as a nation, and as a global society. I want to help foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the future leaders of the world to ensure I see the day we do live in a world free of hunger.
Please help us to help Matt or Guy to ptich their big idea at Asia Pacific’s biggesst agrifood tech event in February 2020 by voting for them here
This is why Guy thinks you should vote for his pitch
Bringing out the FarmR in everyone.
At its peak in 2014, Farmville had over 50 million active daily users, even today the number hovers around 20 million. It shows that Facebook users are giving up their time to grow virtual crops, raise virtual animals, market virtual grain and develop a virtual farm all for virtual credits. In a complete contrast to this virtual agricultural engagement, consumers are disconnected from food production more than ever. How does this happen and how do we fix it? Well, social media has been widely touted as the newest channel of engagement, and it certainly helps farmers connect and reach into otherwise unreachable areas. But what if we could take this one step further and employ the latest in connectivity, virtual/augmented reality and robotics and set up what I like to called – FarmR, real farming done virtually. If fortunate enough to be selected for evokeAg, I’ll be discussing the seemingly futuristic ways of engagement and how we can bring together technology with consumer interest to push agriculture into a true 4.0 industry.
Young Farming Champion YFC Casey Onus has been named the Australian Summer Grains 2019 Agronomist of the Year, winning the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award at the annual conference held on the Gold Coast during July. Zoe was a young and well-respected agronomist who was tragically killed in a farming accident in 2013.
Casey Onus (centre) with AHRI northern extension agronomist Paul McIntosh and Zoe’s mother Kaz McInnes at the awards night. Source
The Zoe McInnes Memorial recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence in Australia. Casey was nominated alongside senior agronomists with years of experience, proving age is no barrier to the exceptional service she offers to clients.
“I think often as young agronomists we don’t feel as though we have been around long enough to make an impact in our clients’ business and the greater agricultural industry. So to receive recognition like this is great feedback that perhaps we are on the right track and delivering real value.” she says.
Casey felt it was a huge honour to be nominated for this award and a big surprise to win, yet beyond the accolades the award has personal meaning.
“I knew Zoe when I worked with Landmark and she was the sort of agronomist to whom we should all aspire. She was passionate, driven, she never took no for an answer and she would have a go at anything.”
These are traits shared by Casey and it is obvious she has learnt well from her role-model.
The award comes with a $5000 bursary.
“I would like to use the bursary to follow my passion for precision agriculture and traceability throughout the entire grain supply chain.”
Casey is well known for her determination to introduce technology to growers, whether that is by utilising big data collected on farms or contracting drones to check crops for pests.
“I want to employ that technology to develop a paddock to plate process for grains, so the bursary may help me find someone working in this space who I can learn from. I’d like to find someone like Zoe.”
Casey joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2015. We are thrilled to have role model of her calibre advocating and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country and globe.
First stop on our round the world tour of YFC this week is the tiny town of Tocal, NSW, where dozens of YFC and Kreative Koala teachers gathered for our first 2019 Workshop.
It’s over to Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke and Horticulture YFC Tayla Field for a workshop recap of the alumni stream:
Our workshop weekend kicked off with a dinner Friday night with a chance for Alumni YFC to catch up and to meet the 2019 intake of YFC and Kreative Koalas teachers.
Saturday started with a brainstorming session including how we can make the most of our program and to showcase Agriculture to the best of our abilities. This involved reviewing, gathering, implementing and analysis of our social media. We have many new ideas and cannot wait to bring them to life.
Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy is our new Alumni workshop facilitator and has brought an engaging energy to the program. We discussed the six needs of life that all of our decisions can be linked back to: Certainty, Variety, Connection, Significance, Growth and Contribution. We used them to understand our motives in situations and to recognize our needs in determining our own personal goals.
Our goal setting session was very rewarding with many of our YFC Alumni beginning to define goals for their own lives using the SMART goal setting rubric whilst also addressing and overcoming problems which can lead to our goals not being actioned.
Saturday’s program was also filled with a session on the sustainability circle conducted by Greg Mills, which showcased five of our YFC Alumni sharing with teachers participating in Kreative Koalas how their role meets the sustainability circle in their work. This was a great opportunity for teachers and Alumni to learn together.
We concluded Saturday with a dinner inviting special guests including Tracey Norman, Mayor of Dungog Council, Lindy Hyam, Chair of Hunter LLS, Jane Llyod Jones, School Engagement Officer at Hunter LLS as well as Julie White and Jo Hathaway from Tocal College. We left the dinner truly inspired after speeches from Lindy Hyam, Youth Voices Leadership Team vice-chair Emma Ayliffe and Josh Farr.
Listen to Emma’s dinner speech here:
Listen to Josh’s speech here:
Our workshop concluded on Sunday but not before YFC had a sustainability session debrief with Greg Mills, reiterating the importance of a good presentation and the use of three key messages and understanding the story we are trying to tell.
Josh once again captivated the YFC Alumni and took us on a journey to understand Emotional Intelligence and our belief system. We were challenged in this session to become vulnerable and delve deep into ourselves to find our beliefs and recognise how they affect our everyday lives. This session was very emotive for all our Alumni recognising how negative self beliefs can shape the way we think about situations and define experiences we have had.
This workshop was by far the best workshop I have attended, it was emotive, engaging, challenging with lots of new information learnt. Thank you very much to the Alumni, new YFC, Teachers and facilitators for a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for a brilliant recap Chloe and Tayla!
In the Field
Wool YFC and Elders Wool Technician and Auctioneer Sam Wan has achieved a selling centre trifecta: Auctioneering the Elders Wool Fremantle offering means that she has now sold at all three wool selling centres in Australia!
This career highlight comes on the back of Sam’s two week study tour to Italy as part of the award for Elders “Thomas Elder” Employee of the Year.
Wool YFC Samantha Wan: Starting in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, the city of Biella became the center of the textile business because of its geographical features. Written documents prove that wool workers and weavers have been active in the region since 1245. It’s known as the ‘Wool City’, as it’s where the best wool mills in Italy are gathered and the most high quality woolen fabrics are weaved.
The water from the area is particularly hard due to its Alpine beginnings. As water runs down from the Piedmont mountains into the Biellese region, it picks up elements of the mineral formations it erodes along the way. The resulting hard water, which is particularly valuable for finishing fabrics, helped to distinguish the local fabrics and aided Biella’s ascent to the top of the world of wool.
Verrone, combing mill to see how the greasy wool begins the journey in Italy
Botto Giuesseppie, iconic fabric mill – one of the three ‘Royals’ of Biella
Tollegno 1900 SPA, mainly a worsted fabric producer, producing 4.5million metres of fabric each year, in over 5000 variations
Fratelli Piacenza SPA, woollen mill specialising in the Noble Fibres (superfine merino, cashmere, yak)
Marzotto, spinning and weaving factory in Valdagno
Simply incredible to see how the wool fibres are nurtured to create garments.
Fascinating stop overs at Parma ham factory and sheep cheese dairy how they carve a niche for their products.
AWI/The Woolmark Company Milan office to hear of the latest collaborations and the Italian perspective on wool in today’s fashion
While wool is always the highlight, the tour also took me to iconic sights and experiences such as a gondola ride in Venice, the ruins of Pompeii (highschool dream fulfilled!), the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Florentine steak, the Colosseum and so many more!
Most people bring back trinket souvenirs, I’ve brought back a healthy appreciation of coffee and a bit of an espresso habit!
Out of the field
One of our newest YFCs from the University of New England, Becca George, has attended 3 conferences/ workshops across three countries in the past three weeks! “The 24th-26th of June I attended the IFAMA conference in Hangzhou China, then after landing in Sydney from Vietnam I went straight to the YFC workshop & then on the 8th-9th of July I was at the Australian Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast! No rest for the wicked or a YFC 😋” Becca says. Look back through our posts on Picture You in Agriculture to see more highlights of Becca’s trip.
Wool YFC and Peter Westblade Memorial Scholarship winner Chloe Dutschke recently attended the Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition careers expo, talking to students about her experience in agriculture so far and about the Peter Westblade Scholarship. “My highlight was seeing a record number of 45 companies attend the expo supporting youth heading into ag and the red meat industry. There were a record number of companies with graduate positions, so great to see them investing in the next generation of ag,” Chloe says. “It was also fantastic talking to students who are willing to do the tough jobs, start at the bottom and work their way up, to create innovation and showcase our ag industry.”
Eggs and Poultry YFC and YVLT Communication Sub Committee member Jasmine Whitten has had a busy week attending conferences and workshops across NSW.
“I went to the GrasslandsNSW conference, where I heard Greg Mills speak on social licence and also got to catch up with (Wool YFC) Katherine Bain. The conference covered so much, from how to build more profitable grazing businesses, to how producers are managing the drought building more profitable agricultural businesses.”
“I was also at the Bank Ready workshop which is part of the young farmer business program run by NSW DPI. The event had a great representation of people from lawyers, accountants, bankers and of course young farmers. My brother works on our family farm and he walked away inspired that there were options for young people to get into farming. These events are worth getting to if they are run in your region,” Jas says.
Huge congratulations to YFC and agronomist Casey Onus who was named Agronomist of the Year at the 2019 Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast last week. We are so proud of you Casey, well done!
“The 26-year-old B&W Rural agronomist beat out experienced agronomists from around the country, including fellow Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey who was named runner-up, to win the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award which recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence by an agronomist.”Read more in the Moree Champion here.
Congrats to Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair and dairy geneticist Dr Jo Newton on her awesome op-ed “Forging an agricultural leadership path” published on Farm Online last week.
Well done to Picture You in Agriculture YFC Alana Black on her opinion piece published in The Land this week titled, “We need to be proactive in telling farm stories.”
“In order to stop decline of rural economies, we need to recognise it isn’t purely a geographical issue, and to ensure their strong continuation we need urban consumers to buy into regional communities,” writes Alana. Read the full story here.
YVLT Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe is inspiring us all this week with her optimism and vision. Emma was showcased on australianleadership.com
Congratulations and a huge Thank You to friend of the PYIA programs Greg Mills who was recently thanked for his long-term contribution and support of our YFC with the presentation of a Champion of Champions award. No one deserves it more than you Greg, thank you! Watch here:
Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge made is back from the Arctic Circle in time to attend the Tocal Workshop. We were excited to hear about the rest of her incredible adventure:
“I headed to Norway and Denmark for a holiday. Most of my time was spent on a ship touring the western coast of Svalbard. I visited the worlds most northern town (Ny Alesund), saw a polar bear and reindeer, kayaked around some massive glaciers, went for a dip surrounded by icebergs and pack ice as it was snowing, and learned heaps about the amazing animals of the Arctic – did you know the Arctic Tern travels from the Arctic to Antarctica and back each year?! The really cool (pun intended) part of the trip was that it was a reunion of friends made on a trip to Antarctica two years ago – 20 of us “Epic Antarcticans” who were all on a Love Your Sister fundraising trip to Antarctica made the trip north for this Arctic adventure! “Places We Go” were on board to film the trip so that episode of the show will hopefully be out later this year.” We can’t wait to watch it Lucy!
Climate YFC and western NSW farmer Anika Molesworth is fundraising for her journey to Antarctica later this year where she will work closely with women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) from around the world on matters that affect the sustainability of our planet. Anika’s journey is part of her 12 month Homeward Bound leadership program and her campaign for support to get to her to Antarctica can be found here: chuffed.org/project/farmer-in-antarctica
All eyes will be on the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference to be held on the Gold Coast from July 8 to 10, where two of our YFC stars will shine. Agronomist and co-owner of Summit Ag Emma Ayliffe will lead the Student Forum program while agronomist Casey Onus has been nominated for the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award.
As well as co-owning her own consultancy business Emma owns a farm with her partner, is Acting Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership team and was runner up in 2018 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year. With this depth of experience behind her at such a young age she was a natural choice to speak at the conference and on Monday (July 8) will share her personal journey in agriculture.
“A lot of university students attend the conference and I think it is important for young people to see other young people having a real crack in the world and that you don’t have to be 35-40 years old to be achieving great things,” Emma says. “I think it is also important that people coming into a career in ag hear a whole story, not just the successes and smiles, but the warts, the hard work and the literal tears that goes into being successful; not to scare them off but to ensure that they have realistic expectations of what they are getting themselves into and to see that it is okay to not fit the mould or stereotype that is portrayed.”
You can see a sneak peak of some of Emma’s life journey and her presenting style here
The conclusion of the Summer Grains Conference will be a gala dinner on July 10 where the prestigious Zoe McInnes Memorial Award will be presented to one of the country’s finest agronomists. Of the four finalists, three are senior agronomists with years of experience in the grains industry. The fourth is our very own Casey Onus.
“Zoe was the kind of person we should all aspire to be as young agronomists, so it’s a huge honour to be nominated for her award,” Casey says. “I think often as young agronomists we don’t feel as though we have been around long enough to make an impact in our clients’ business and the greater agricultural industry. So to receive recognition through being nominated for an award like this is great feedback that perhaps we are on the right track and delivering real value.”
“Casey was nominated for her commitment and enthusiasm for the agricultural industries,” Emma says, and this is a view shared by her employer Peter Birch of B&W Rural, Moree.
“She is a fantastic and vibrant young lady who is very, very good at IT and precision farming and all that entails,” Peter says. “She thrives on agronomy, does a great job, is very down to earth and gets on well with the farmers.”
Awesome stuff Emma and Casey – we are mega proud of everything you do
Breaking news Casey Onus wins Agronomist of the Year
Emily joins the team with Laura Bignell moving to Rockhampton to join the Teys Australia Livestock Team.
UNE Young Farming Champions (LtoR) Forbes Corby, Ruby Canning, Rebecca George, Haylee Murrell and Emily May
Emily May brings a unique perspective to Young Farming Champions as she has witnessed first-hand Sydney’s urban sprawl impacting on agriculture.
This is Emily’s story …….
I come for a non-farming family on the outskirts of Sydney in the Hawkesbury district, an area which used to be a thriving agricultural hub. As I have grown up I have seen the way the area has changed in such a short period of time. Heading into town we used to pass numerous properties growing veggies, fruit or turf but these have now given way to housing developments.
These small farming businesses have been instrumental in my decision to study agriculture. My first job was with a neighbour who operated a citrus orchard and I enjoyed it so much I return each year for the winter harvest on Kathleen Groves Farm. I have also worked with flower growers, on a vegetable farm and for a strawberry propagation company.
I contemplated leaving high school after Year 10 and getting a trade, but my careers advisor Mr Lavelle could see I had a passion for the work I was doing on the farms on weekends, and he encouraged me to complete the HSC. After high school I worked for a civil company and while this job was enjoyable I didn’t have the same passion or hunger to learn more about it like I previously had with my farm jobs. Realising that working in agriculture was something I was good at and really enjoyed only encouraged me to keep pursuing it and I decided to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE, which has been a wonderful and enriching experience.
While studying I continue to work on small farms and market gardens. The value of land continues to rise, as do the expenses of running a farming business and farmers have found it more profitable to sell to developers. I believe that in order to keep agriculture on the outskirts of Sydney we need to utilise innovation and technology to compete with this urban sprawl, and it is this understanding that drives me in my university studies.
We are very excited to have Emily join the Young Farming Champions team who are learning to share their stories confidently and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture.