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 March 2019 Second Edition

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

In the field

lets hang out sheep

This week there is a woolly buzz in classrooms in Sydney and we are thrilled to launch the pilot of our new program Paddock to Plate Pen Pals. Supported by Australian Wool Innovation this new program will see students Google Hanging Out with our Young Farming Champions working in the wool and sheep supply chain.

Skype sessions have been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the field, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma, she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. See case study here

Carlingford West Public School Google Hangout with Danila Marini

Monday morning CSIRO Sheep Researcher and YFC Dr Danila Marini beamed into Carlingford West Public School to discuss all things animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology and teacher Zoe Stephens says students were fascinated:

On Tuesday morning it was Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian and Wool YFC Dione Howard turn

This is what teacher Zoe Stephens had to say ” What a great connection! The students were so engaged and interested. I think you may have inspired some students to become future vets! The medical equipment you showed the students were amazing, especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans! Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

Elders Wool broker Sam Wan and sheep musterer Chloe Dutschke will beam into Carlingford West PS later this week. Paddock to Plate Pen Pals will also be supported by blog posts, social media and case-studies.

Alexandria Galea

In the Central Highlands of Queensland, YFC and Secretary of the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCGIA) Alexandria Galea and YFC and Cotton Info Extension Officer Sharna Holman worked with a team to deliver a Teach the Teacher Tour to gain hands on experience of agriculture.

Sixty teachers visited an irrigation farm, took a quick agronomy lesson and had a siphon starting competition. The adventure continued to a horticulture farm, to an automotive packing plant for citris and grapes and Fairbairn Dam.  Events like this aim to inform teachers of farming practices and give them a positive and fun experience of agriculture so that they can share this knowledge in the classroom. Great work Alexandria and Sharna.

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The Archibull Prize is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and the team is looking back over what we have learnt throughout our decade long journey of harnessing the best and brightest young ag minds to take the farm into urban classrooms. Our first Lessons Learnt Blog explores careers in agriculture and offering real world skills to solve real world problems. Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan shines as an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture. Read more HERE

Sam Wan 1

Out of the field

YFC Dr Danila Marini talks sheep welfare and the fascinating new world of virtual fencing with University of New England:

“Since ancient livestock herders began erecting barriers of brush and stone to contain animals, fencing has been a time-consuming and expensive business for farmers. Imagine, then, the virtual fence: an invisible line on the landscape that animals will not cross, which can be created on a map on a tablet, and moved or erased at a touch. After decades of research trial and error — lots of error — the concept is now a reality, at least for cattle. The rapid minaturisation of technology means that the solution may soon be applied to sheep, and that’s where UNE post-doctoral student Dr Danila Marini steps in.” Read more HERE

Danila Marini

Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is off to Antarctica this year and has co-authored a story in the lead up to her adventure via The Crawford Fund titled “Farming on Thin Ice.”

“Later this year, two young agricultural researchers who are both former Crawford Fund scholars and now RAID Network members, will be setting off to Antarctica. They were selected to take part in an incredible 12-month program with a cohort of 95 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) from around the globe. The Homeward Bound programme is a global leadership initiative to equip women in STEMM with strategic and communication capabilities in order to influence policy and decision-making regarding the sustainability of our planet.” Read more HERE

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Bianca Das (left) and YFC Anika Molesworth (right) will be setting off to Antarctica later this year.

Friend of Art4Agriculture and consultancy guru Greg Mills caught up with Wool YFC Peta Bradley at Zone Junior Judging in Armidale. Peta was meat sheep judge and Greg was the steward. The winner and runner up  from Armidale will compete at the zone final at Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.

peta and greg

YFC and 2017/18 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year Runner-up Emma Ayliffe is fresh off the plane from ADAMA’s Young Agronomist study tour to Israel. Emma and the study tour team had a jam-packed trip and returned with many agricultural insights. Stay tuned for Emma’s recap on the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week!

Emma A

YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.

Meg Rice

YFC and Local Landcare Coordinators (LLC) Erika Heffer and Jasmine Whitten are both off to Sydney this week for the Statewide LLC Gathering. Jasmine checked with the  Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from the Dubbo airport this morning on her way to the big smoke. She’ll keep us updated on all the Landcare happenings this week, so keep an eye out!

jasmine whitten

Prime Cuts

Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke is one of six finalists for the this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship. The Scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience and mentoring to young people aspiring to a career in the wool industry. The recipient of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship will be announced at the scholarship dinner on April 4th. Good luck Chloe!

We’re excitedly looking for the next crop of Young Farming Champions to join out team in 2019! Expressions of Interest are now open for University of New England Young Farming Champions. If this is you or someone you know, please share the word! Find our more HERE

 

UNE YFC Flyer

IN 2019 there will be a smorgasbord of opportunities for schools to partner with our Young Farming Champions.   In 2019 we will be rolling out our Primary School program Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge  in Western Sydney and the Hunter.

Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.

Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:

  • Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
  • Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.

Contact Lynne Strong E: headkoala@kreativekoalas.com.au to access an expression of interest brochure

#YouthinAgVoices #YouthVoices #StrongerTogether

Expressions of Interest open for University of New England students to participate in Young Farming Champions program

We are very excited to announce our new partnership with the University of New England. Young Farming Champions (YFC) at UNE will identify and engage five undergraduate students for a yearlong program that will support the students, enhance their career ambitions and lifelong learning capacity as well as be a role model for current students.

If you are studying at UNE and this sounds like you. You can apply here 

UNE YFC Flyer

YFC UNE Alumni include

  • Dr Jo Newton. Read about Jo here
  • Lucy Collingridge Read about Lucy here
  • Dr Danila Marini. Read about Danila here
  • Meg Rice. Read about Meg here 
  • Casey Onus. Read about Casey  here
  • Jasmine Whitten. Read about Jasmine here 
  • Kirsty McCormack. Read about Kirsty here
  • Kylie Schuller. Read about Kylie here  

Jo Newton

#YouthinAgVoices #StrongerTogether

 

 

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 First Edition

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

Another fortnight of celebrating the amazing achievements of the young farming champs. It is an exciting time for the team, with the Archibull Prize expressions of interests for secondary schools is now open! We can’t wait to see what the schools come up with, and support them on the journey through agriculture.

In the Field

In our latest Lessons Learnt from the Drought Wool YFC’s Bessie Thomas, Peta Bradley  and agronomists James Kanaley and Martin Murray share their stories on how the drought is affecting them, their families and their businesses

You can read Bessie and Peta’s stories here.
Peta

You will find James and Martin’s stories here 

James Kanaley (2)

The last fortnight saw the celebration of Regenerative Ag Day with a number of YFC showcasing what hey are doing with their businesses.

YFC Marlee Langfield is celebrating the selection of one of her photos in the AgWomen Global Book…. stunning pic, Marlee!

Marlee AgWomen.jpeg

Egg Industry YFC Jasmine Whitten has been busy in her new role as the local landcare coordinator for Western NSW presenting to the Cobar and District Rotary club talking about her role for the LLS, her volunteering and how all this fits in with her personal values.

Jas Cobar 2

Friend of the YFC Nicole McDonald has also had a feature piece as part of the Archibull Career Snapshot, and not with the typical agriculture job description that you might expect. Nicole took some time out to describe her role as a social science researcher and how that fits into the broad world of agriculture, going to once again show the wide diversity of career option on ag. Read Nicole’s story here.

Erika Heffer ran a Foundations in Leadership course for a teamwork exercise mentoring 14 people in Masterchef style. She also made an appearance on ABC Swan Hill Radio talking about the Archiebull Prize as well as all the other wonderful projects she has been busy with.

Erika Transparent 2

Sheep YFC Chloe Dutschke has been in NSW at Wyvern Station learning the tools of the trade for sheep. This included learning about sheep selection, stockmanship, personal development, agtech and a heap of other skills. This was thanks to the Peter Westblade Scholarship where Chloe was joined by 30 other sheep producers.

Chloe Dutschke 1

Out of the Field

Congratulations to YFCs Keiley O’Brien and Jasmine Whitten who both competed in their Showgirl zone finals this month. These two stars shone bright and you should both very proud of your tremendous efforts. Thank you to Lucy Collingridge for your involvement and keeping everyone up to date with your wonderful hosting of the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page during the week of Showgirl Finals.

Horticulture YFC Tayla Field was featured on the Career Harvest website with an article on careers  in horticulture and all of the opportunities that have been provided to her, read more here.

Shoutout to James Bidstrup for a mention at the evokeAG conference. The importance of sharing the amazing story that is Ag isn’t lost at all on the wider community it seems! Thanks so much.

James Bidstrup

And what do NASA and Australian Agriculture have in common? YFC Rebecca Thistlewaite has featured on the Graincorp podcasts to discuss how research coming from NASA is helping plant breeders and scientists to breed hardier crops. Take a listen here.

Bec T

Prime Cuts

Expat and YFC Laura Phelps has been promoted in her role in Brexit to the Head of EU-Exit at Food Standards Agency. Congratulations Laura on this amazing promotion, we are looking forward to seeing what you can achieve.

Finally, the Youth Voices Leadership Team held their inaugural AGM on Monday. Huge congratulations to these YFC on their re-election to the following committee positions:

Dr Jo Netwon, Chair

Emma Ayliffe, Vice Chair

Peta Bradley, Secretary

Dione Howard, Mentor Leader

Anika Molesworth, External Relations Manager

Bessie Thomas, Communication Co-ordinator

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19

 

YVLT

Young Farming Champion Meg Rice showcases the Trailblazers she met at the Heywire Gala

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Young Farming Champion Meg Rice (right) with Lauren Heritage-Brand on the red carpet at the Heywire Gala

Young Farming Champion Meg Rice recently had the opportunity to represent Art4Agriculture at the ABC Heywire Gala dinner at the Australian National Museum in Canberra. Here she met some very inspiring young rural Australians.

Each year the ABC conducts a storytelling competition, known as Heywire, for people aged 16-22 living in regional or rural Australia, and each year the organisation also selects a small group of young people, known as Trailblazers, to further share their stories and ideas with the nation as a whole. Meg mingled with both Heywire participants and alumni and 2019 Trailblazers at the gala dinner.

“There were many movers and shakers in the room who expressed their support and enthusiasm for the youth in rural and regional communities,”

Meg says. “Thank you for believing in us was the message conveyed by Heywire and TrailBlazer winners, and the enthusiasm was absolutely infectious. It was hard not to leave the event very inspired and motivated.”

Two of the Trailblazer winners, in particular, impressed Meg.

Emma Moss is a very confident young woman brimming with excitement and enthusiasm who spoke with great conviction about bridging the urban/rural divide, particularly in the beef industry,” Meg says. Emma spent two years working on Kimberley and Pilbara cattle stations and established a strong Instagram following with her evocative photographs. Now studying sustainable agriculture at the University of Queensland at Gatton, Emma is keen to go into schools to talk about her agricultural experiences.

Emma Moss

Read more about Emma here.

Joe Collins was the second Trailblazer winner to leave a strong impression on Meg.

“Joe is passionate about the sharing the importance of reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability through community art,” Meg says, “and also using technology to improve the sustainability of agriculture.”

Joe, who is currently studying at university in Melbourne, hails from the tiny Victorian town of Woomelang (population 200). Inspired by the Grain Silo Art Trail he has painted eight large-scale murals of the environment and endangered species within his local community in an effort to encourage tourism and reinvigorate the economy of his town.

Joe Collins

Read more about Joe here.

Meg herself is also kicking some impressive goals. She has accepted a position as a clerk with a Canberra law firm, which will see her specialise in rural succession planning when she graduates as a lawyer this year.

Heywire Crew

The Heywire team and Art4Agriculture share common values with Art4Agriculture supporting both agricultural (The Archibull Prize) and environmental (Kreative Koalas) causes. Congratulations to Meg, Emma and Joe for championing these values.

#YouthinAGVoices #StrongerTogether

Lets talk about growing up gay in rural Australia

Meet Young Farming Champion Jessica Kirkpatrick. In this wonderful blog post Jess shares her story with Canadian bloggers Allie and Sam and talks about a topic that isn’t discussed as much as it should be and needs to be talked about more!

Jessica Kirkpatrick.jpg

GROWING UP GAY IN RURAL AUSTRALIA

I grew up in rural Australia in a small farming community of around 1500 people… disappointingly for this story, it was a sheep farm and not a kangaroo farm (it would be so much more stereotypically Australian). I did all the usual stuff: riding horses, playing in my local netball team and helping out on the farm. We are sixth generation farmers and have been on our farming property for over 150 years. I am very proud of my family and their ability to produce safe and sustainable food and agricultural products for Australians and for people around the globe. I would say, agriculture is in my blood and it is my passion, but that is skipping ahead. Let’s rewind to growing up.

You can read Jess’ story here 

#soproud #strongertogether #YouthinAgVoices

 

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!

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“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.

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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