Australian Agriculture beams live into New York City

Through The Archibull Prize we shine a spotlight on the wondrous range of careers available within Australia agriculture. We do this by pairing schools with Young Farming Champions, facilitating career competitions which teach young people how to hone their employability skills and wirte a resume that helps them stand out from the crowd

We also identify others doing great stuff highlighting the diversity of careers in agriculture and the diversity of people chosing those careers.

One of these partners is the Visible Farmer Project, a series of short-films telling the stories of women working in agriculture and promoting the fact that 49% of all food in Australia is produced by women. So successful has this project been that yesterday it was selected to feature at World Webfest Mania, an innovative film festival right in the heart of New York City!

Gisela Kaufmann and Carsten Orlt the dynamic duo behind Visible Farmer 

Check out this Facebook feed to find out more about the live streaming event and the Q&A session.

Our extensive monitoring and evaluation programs tell us it is absolutely pivotal for agriculture to show people who they can be.

We know that when young people first consider the idea of a career in agriculture their thoughts run to farmers, shearers and old blokes with dogs but after participating in The Archibull Prize, where they learn from our partners such as Visible Farmer, they expand this vision to include scientists, agronomists, biosecurity officers and veterinarians.  In fact they learn that in agriculture is the place they want to be.

We are proud to showcase Visible Farmer on the Archie website and in doing so, beleive the message reaches even more young minds in rural and urban Australia.

 

Kylie Schuller – the journey so far which includes a move to America in March 2020!!!!

Kylie Schuller Photo Source RAS of NSW

March 2020. Coronavirus is reaching its tentacles around the world, spreading fear and causing unrest and uncertainty. Does this sound like the time to take on a new role in North America? Heck, yeah! Give Kylie Schuller a challenge and sit back and watch her meet it.

Kylie Schuller is one of our earliest Young Farming Champions, having joined the program seven years ago in 2013.

“The Young Farming Champions program taught me so much about how to communicate and get your messaging right, skills which apply every day in my job,” she says.

With her recent move to Atlanta, Georgia, USA we thought it was an ideal time to catch up with her journey so far and find out what advice she can give to current YFC and the new cohort embarking on the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Kylie grew up on a beef feedlot in rural NSW and her family established a Shorthorn stud in 2001 but she is the first to admit she was not enamoured with agriculture growing up.

“I won’t lie to you, when I was younger living on the farm wasn’t something I was proud of or even enjoyed,” she says. “There was lots of hard work to be done and it seemed to always need to be done when it was 40°C or bucketing down raining. I wish that I could tell you that there was a moment that changed my life, that made me realise how important beef production and agriculture is to our society, but there wasn’t! Somewhere between being obsessed with “Home and Away” in year 7 and travelling across America looking at cows on my “gap” year I found a passion for beef production, second to none!”

Kylie completed a Bachelor of Livestock Science at UNE in 2011 and soon after took a role with domestic foodservice supplier Andrews Meat Industries. Her role was initially involved with administration and support and over the years has grown as the company, too, has grown and expanded. She has been exposed to all aspects of premium beef brand supply chain management and in March accepted a new position with Andrews Meat Industries as their North American Sales Manager. Her role entails introducing high quality Australian Wagyu beef to distributors, chefs and restaurants.


Jacinta Geddes and Kylie Schuller (right) celebrate Andrew Meats winning the Dick Stone Perpetual Trophy in 2014. Photo source . Listen to Kylie on the Country Hour  here 

In today’s world young people may move through many different organisations in the quest for the perfect job but Kylie has remained loyal to the one company and is now seeing a myriad of benefits from this association. What are her key messages?

  • Invest in Lifelong Learning: “I find that the more I learn, the more I have to learn. I think this is important to consider in every aspect of life, but particularly when it comes to profession. You will always benefit from a new perspective.”
  • Give Back: “If there are organisations and opportunities from who you have benefited then a great way to support them is by giving back. I am very grateful for many of the opportunities I have been given over the years and aim to support those organisations with my time and energy wherever possible to ensure that the next generation gets the same opportunities.”
  • Be Customer Focussed: “For me relationships are everything. I find that the best way to achieve anything is through long term engagement and genuinely caring about the different stakeholders of your operation. In sales it’s really important to build that connection, but I think it is just as important to have those relationships across the entire supply chain so we are all engaged and working for the common goal.”
  • Value Networks: “The world becomes a much smaller place when we connect with people. Whether that be in person or online, I think, especially now, people want genuine connection and building up our networks and how we engage with them is a big benefit to us all.”
  • Loyalty: “Some people are so eager to climb the ladder, get the next achievement or accomplishment that they end up jumping around between positions and never really dig into a role. I think if you find a company that fits your mission and values, then you should stick it out, because yes opportunities take time to develop, but there is a lot to be learned in the process.”

Kylie recently shared these key messages and learnings with the UNE Agriculture Industry Connect podcast series, and spoke about the challenges of being in America one week before lockdown.

Her role with Andrews Meat also involves the screening of applicants for some roles and she looks for people with multiple interests and dedication to the agricultural industry, whether that be by attending conferences, listening to webinars or participating in programs such as Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders.

“There is so much information available that there is no excuse not to be engaging with industry and we want someone who goes beyond clocking in and clocking out.”

With that in mind what advice would Kylie give to our new cohort of Young Farming Champions?

“Be open minded – taking in the experiences and perspective of the people around you is so valuable and an incredible opportunity,” she says. “And use it – actually get out there and do the work. It’s all well and good to talk about something in the room, but it is getting out and doing the work of connecting with people about their food and fibre that is the most rewarding.”

 

 

 

Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield show the value of Place-Based Leadership skills for rural Australia

As part of our series showcasing champions in government, not for profits and the private sector doing great stuff we will be sharing stories about rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models.

The research shows for young people in rural, regional and remote Australia to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”.

Today we are showcasing two of our Young Farming Champions who epitomise place based leadership at the highest level and are using what they have learnt on their journey to multiply other leaders in their region.

First Hilux out of the shed is Emma Ayliffe followed by  cropping farmer Marlee Langfield is spending plenty of time on her tractor in the next few weeks.

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) believes in giving voice to young leaders in rural Australia. It does this by equipping them with skills to communicate their stories, in positive terms, to varied audiences, and by providing a safe place to practice what they have learnt. We call these people our Young Farming Champions (YFC).

YFC understand that in order to create stronger communities in regional, rural and remote Australia place-based leadership is key. Leaders working in their own regions, with their own people, are highly motivated with a strong desire to capitalise on future economic opportunities.

Here we shine the spotlight on two of our successful place-based leaders: Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield.

As often the youngest person sitting on boards and committees Emma has come a long way from her childhood tailing wild merinos on stations west of Port Augusta. Today she is a respected agronomist, business owner, farmer and community leader.

Emma Ayliffe cofounder of Summit Ag, entrepreneur and board member

Emma joined the YFC program in 2015 and has been an active member ever since, rising to the position of Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (for YFC alumni) in 2020. In these short five years Emma began her working life as a cotton agronomist on the lakebeds south of Menindee, was head-hunted by Elders to fill a combined research, development and agronomy role, and in 2018 co-founded agricultural consultancy Summit Ag.

Along the way she has been a committed community and industry leader with roles including:

Emma has presented at various industry events including the 2019 Summer Grains Conference and the 2019 PYiA Professional Learning Weekend.

In 2020 Emma was named a finalist in the NSW Young Achiever Awards in recognition of her leadership in rural Australia.

Marlee Langfield Photographer Catherine Forge Source Museum of Victoria

As CEO of Cowra agribusiness Wallaringa Trust, farmer and grain grower Marlee is a steward of the land and a leader in her community. Her family have been farming around Cowra for five generations, three of which have been on Wallaringa.

Marlee joined the YFC program in 2016 and in 2020 took on the position of Social Media Co-coordinator, a natural progression for a young woman already holding leadership positions within her local community including:

In 2019 Marlee’s farming journey was highlighted in the Invisible Farmer project and in 2020 she is furthering her leadership journey as part of the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.

“I believe communities need creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. Transition of leadership from one generation to another is inevitable and if we, as young people, want to breathe life into our communities and see them continue from strength to strength we need to come to the table and be active participants.”

Marlee and Emma both believe one of the important facets of leadership is mentorship of the next generation, and in this they welcome Jess Fearnley to the role of Cultivate Intern with the Youth Voices Leadership Team..

Jess Fearnley Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participant and Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee member

Jess is one of our current participants in the Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program  with expressions of interest now open. Successful applicants will receive a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation and graduate as Young Farming Champions.

Jess, who began her YFC journey in 2019, is already displaying leadership potential being on the Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee. PYiA looks forward to giving voice to yet another place-based leader in rural Australia.

 

 

Young Farming Champion Jessica Fearnley is using her communication skills to kickstart her leadership journey

At Picture You in Agriculture we design our learning and development programs to support Young Farming Champions on their emerging leadership journey. We partner with their workplaces to equip, empower, position and mentor them.

Young Farming Champion Jessica Fearnley who works in horticulture as a development officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries 

In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we look at how the power of this model has enabled Jessica Fearnley to hone communication skills learnt in the first year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program by sharing her EvokeAg experience on the NSW DPI twitter account.

Jessica who works in horticulture as a development officer, joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2019, sponsored by her employer NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“Horticulture is one of highest value industries in the agricultural sector and people interact with it every day. There is a story to be told about the people and the places behind the horticultural industry and the people who consume Australia’s diverse array of fruit and vegetables in terms of how the food is grown, produced and how it ends up on supermarket shelves. I wanted to continue my career development by telling these stories and the Young Farming Champions Program seemed to offer the best way of doing this.” Jessica Fearnley

Through the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program Jessica learnt skills in media and communication.

“My presentation skills improved dramatically after the workshop and I now apply this in my day to day work. I am required to present at field days and conferences and I now know I can get up and entertain people, whilst delivering my message and ensuring it resonates.” Jessica Fearnley

The workshops also taught her the importance of delivering messages simply and this skill become particularly relevant when Jessica was selected by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology (CEAT) as one of six emerging leaders to attend the 2020 EvokeAg event held in Melbourne in February, and her employer asked her to tweet about the event.

“I was given the very exciting opportunity to take over the NSW DPI twitter account to advocate my experience at the EvokeAg conference. This stretched me outside my comfort zone and although I was nervous I felt honoured my employers trusted and supported me to amplify the voices I found interesting on the day and advocate their message to 8726 followers.”

“It was a great chance to put into practice the concise communication skills I learnt at the YFC workshops and deliver my messages within 280 characters. As a recent graduate I was elated to have the power for my messages and thoughts to reach so many people. I am very supported by my team around me at DPI and I feel they are equipping me to develop my leadership skills as well as help others through the ability to practise and fine tune what I learnt in the YFC program.”

Picture You in Agriculture knows knowledge itself is not the key to success. Success comes when this knowledge is applied and when young people are given a road map for their leadership journey. When we trust people with autonomy and authority we give them an opportunity to prove themselves. When people are given autonomy over their work they feel connected to a purpose and part of a team that cares for them.  With support from NSW DPI and her new Young Farming Champions family, Jessica is taking the first steps on what we hope will be a long and rewarding journey.

Thanks Jess for sharing your lessons learnt and mega shoutout to our supporting partners empowering young people to solve tomorrows problems today

Young Farming Champions Emily May and Rebecca George share their lessons learnt from their Year One journey

Following on from our chat to new AWI YFCs Matt Cumming and Tom Squires we now find out what the new UNE YFCs thought of their first year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Rebecca George and Emily May are both studying at the University of New England and have completed the first year of the YFC program where, like Matt and Tom, they gained media training and skills in how to present their story and networked with other young people in agriculture.

“The opportunity to do personal and professional development and to meet other passionate aggies was my motivation for joining the program. I  was keen to learn how to spread positive messages about agriculture in everyday life.” says Rebecca

For Rebecca and Emily, the power of presenting a positive story was a revelation as they became aware of the connotations of reinforcing negative stereotypes.

 “I learnt the power of having a positive vision to inspire people to join a common cause. The personal story I have chosen to share with school students has changed and I now place a greater focus on sharing more of the positive impacts of my journey.

I live and work on farms in Western Sydney and urban expansion is replacing our fertile farmland all around me. I want everyone to be as passionate as me about getting the right balance between land for housing people in Western Sydney and land for feeding people.

Did you know the vegetables produced in the Sydney region account for 22% of all vegetables supplied in NSW? At times of the year, the Sydney region is the source of 90% of NSW’s vegetable products.

Not only this, agriculture on the edge of Sydney provides ecological benefits that are known as ‘ecosystem services’ – the types of values that we enjoy from having green space and biodiversity. Other examples include improved water and waste management, reduced urban heat effects and improved air quality, reduced carbon emissions, conservation of biodiversity, and improved nutrient recycling. Farms also provide mutually beneficial partnerships for job creation and renewable energy generation” says Emily

Emily and Rebecca’s first Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders workshop coincided with a professional development day for teachers delivering Kreative Koalas into primary schools and the chance to network was another highlight for the girls.

“My major highlight from the program was the formal dinner we attended during the first workshop. During this night we met people from various backgrounds including new and alumni YFC, teachers and our YFC ‘tutors’. This was a great experience as it made me come out of my shell and talk to people.”

“The other YFC motivate and inspire me so much. This was my highlight of the program. It is a very special thing to have a large group of people who are all passionate and incredibly knowledgeable to work with, and I learnt something every time I spoke with a YFC.”

Recognising the power of learning from others and having opportunities to practice what you learn are pivotal to success the Picture You in Agriculture team work closely with our supporting partners to ensure success.Developing their personal stories, learning about the media and networking with others has led Rebecca and Emily to become more involved with ag-week at UNE and to spread their agricultural knowledge beyond their own circle of friends and family.

For Emily this has led to an association with the Hawkesbury Harvest.

“Through connections made with YFC I was put in contact with the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail who offered me the opportunity to be one of their voices for their segment on ABC radio. I have applied what I have learnt by reducing the amount of jargon I use in my speech and ensuring the message I portray is of positive nature. Making sure to not reinforce the negative has also been important in developing my messages to be aired on ABC.” Emily May

Listen to Emily on the ABC on the radio

With both girls keen for their second year of the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program they realise the importance of being proactive in their training.

“I think this program is unique in that the more you put in the more you get out. I am now confident I can use my voice to advocate for agricultural change.” Rebecca George

Shoutout to our supporting partners who are empowering young people to collaborate and solve tomorrow’s problems today

 

Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Roundup

At Picture You in Agriculture we love the quote

‘There is no such thing as failure.

You either succeed or learn!’

and we love to share what we learn from our Young Farming Champions.

In recent years the initial training of the Young Farming Champions (YFC) has been formalised in a two-year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we talk to the Australian Wool Innovation sponsored YFC who completed the first half of the program in 2019 – Matt Cumming and Tom Squires.

In their first year Matt and Tom, both shearers, undertook media training, immersed themselves in the networking resources of other YFC and learnt how to tell their own stories to the world to promote shearing as an exciting career choice.

“I’ve worked in shearing sheds, on and off, for 6 years. As shearers we strive to do the best job we possibly can, and we do so in a professional manner. It’s an industry that cares about people and cares about sheep and I wanted the opportunity to share that far and I wide.  I wanted to tell people about my life growing up on the land and how great it can be. I thought Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders would be a great stepping-stone in allowing me to do that.” Tom Squires

A career in wool lets Tom lead the lifestyle he has always dreamed of 

During the workshops Tom and Matt were given an insight to the workings of the media and got the chance to be interviewed by a journalist.

“One of the key skills I learnt from the training was how the media can help you get your message across and how it can get it all wrong if you don’t have the right facts and or haven’t done your research to ensure they receive the correct message,” Matt says.

For Matt shearing is a lifestyle that allows his family to work and play together 

“Being able to talk to leading journalist in the media industry was brilliant,” Tom says. “It challenged me to think from another angle. For example, the one-on-one interview I had with the journalist made me realise journalists wouldn’t run a story unless they know it has an interesting angle for their readers. Now, it may seem common sense, but I never sat back and thought about it. From there it made me think about what is it I really care about and how can I communicate that in a way that will inspire other young people to join me in a career in wool”

Tom and Matt also learnt that to able to effectively talk to the media required the polishing of their own stories; to reduce the use of jargon, to talk in descriptive and personal tones, to use real-life examples rather than facts and to tailor their presentations to a particular audience.

“The program has given me an insight into better crafting a presentation for an audience beyond the agricultural industry,” Tom says. “After presenting, the feedback given was focused around me making sure what was on the slides was able to be read and understood by anyone. This prompted me to shape my presentation more around myself and my own life experiences, rather than telling facts and figures about the industry.”

Adding to this story-telling skillset, Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders also delivered training in the often daunting arena of public speaking and introduced Matt and Tom to a network of young agricultural professionals who can support and encourage them in their own careers.

And so, one year into the program, what have been the highlights for these new YFC and how are they employing their new skills? For Tom, seeing other young leaders striving for success in agriculture has become a great driver.

“In some ways its like shearing,” he says. “In the shearing sheds you always want to be as good as the best shearer (referred to as the gun) in team. You look at the gun and think if he can do it why can’t I? This program was the same for me. I looked around at what the others had achieved and what they had done for the industry and it made me want to do the same.”

For Matt the program is providing continuation of his leadership journey.

“I now have the confidence to want to change and to make a difference within my industry by telling my story and achieving my goals,” he says. “The Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program has taught me that I can lead the way in my industry, and it has given me skills to develop myself and help others to achieve any outcome we are striving for.”

 

 

Sam Arnfield discovers agriculture is a place where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly

I’m not yet thirty but I’ve already worked in grains, viticulture, horticulture and now the wool industry. It’s been an unconventional path but that’s OK. I think its important people know that with a bit of enthusiasm, anyone will take you on and give you a chance. Looking forward I’m excited to continue to learn new skills, with a view to becoming a leader and a manager of people, in whatever corner of the industry I find myself. One thing is for sure, I’ll be doing work that makes me happy. says Sam Arnfield Project Officer with Australian Wool Innovation

At Picture You in Agriculture we get a buzz out of sharing stories about young people who grew up in the city and discover agriculture is an exciting industry where innovation, disruption and creativity are fostered and where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly

This blog post introduces you to  Sam Arnfield our man on the spot with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).  Sam’s career journey was first profiled as a 1st year university student. Ten years after leaving school Sam is a project officer working closely with Picture You in Agriculture to ensure our wonderful wool Young Farming Champions are well supported.

This is Sam’s journey to our door and it’s a journey with lessons for us all.

Sam Arnfield sharing the properties of wool with students at RAS of NSW Farm Day education experiences 

I grew up on a concrete farm five minutes north of the Adelaide CBD. While I have zero family background in agriculture my love of food, biology and geography made studying it a natural choice and I was very lucky to have a fantastic high school ag teacher, Chris Muirhead, who was buoyant about the prospects of careers in agriculture.

At that time, university enrolments were on the slide and the sentiment in the industry was poor. South Eastern Australia was in the midst of the Millennium Drought and the wool price was around a third or what it is today. However, with booming middle classes in Asia and the advent of e-commerce and smart technology, Mr. Muirhead saw changes on the horizon for our world and our industry. He recognised the importance of enticing people from non-traditional backgrounds into agriculture at a time when young people were leaving the family farm in droves, never to return. I ignored him and followed my school mates to law school.

I took some time off after school teaching English school kids how to play cricket. This was the perfect opportunity to take stock and work out what I really wanted to do with my life. Returning home, I ditched law school before even starting and embarked on a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Adelaide Uni. It was there I met my best friends. We drank together, played footy together and ended up working together for some time.

Without a farm to go back to, or any practical agricultural skills, I foolishly chose the graduate job I thought could earn me the most money. I took a job in grain marketing – not the smartest move for a kid who’d failed maths every year in high school. I sucked, badly, and lasted six weeks and one day.

It was a lesson in doing things for the right reasons and a reminder that you should always do things that make you happy. Maybe that’s a selfish outlook, but we spend more time at work than we do with friends, family and loved ones so we may as well be happy while we do it.

With a degree and no job, I sheepishly went back to a research organisation I’d done some work experience with and begged for a job. I began as a casual, doing all the things nobody else wanted to do – counting potatoes, counting weeds, washing cars and weighing grain. It was mundane but it was fun. At that time, the organisation was packed full of young people, most of whom I’d studied with. We had fun and we worked hard. I stuck around like a bad smell, eventually landing a full-time job where I could spread my time between horticulture, viticulture and the grains sector, conducting field trials for new agro-chemistry.

Jobs in agriculture offer diverse opportunities 

The job allowed me to travel around South Australia, learn some practical skills and gain a knowledge in a raft of sectors but I eventually realised I was working because I loved the people and not the work itself. After five years it was time for a change, and time for some more skills.

As serendipity would have it, I met a girl while I was searching for my new job. She just happened to be moving to Sydney. I quickly changed my filter settings to ‘Ag jobs in Sydney’ and before too long we were off. I landed a job at Australian Wool Innovation, which was odd to my friends considering I’ve never worked in wool in my life.

I barely knew the front end from the back of a Merino. I must have bluffed my interviews well, but I think it goes to show that if you’re keen and passionate about ag it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done, or what you know, people will give you a chance.

I got learned up pretty quickly on the sheep front and I’m currently coordinating projects in the Leadership and Capacity Building portfolios. This group of projects aims to capture and retain the best and brightest people within the wool industry. I work with initiatives such as Young Farming Championsto foster the development of young wool industry participants and to encourage YFCs to become inspirations for young people. Other projects involve fostering careers through scholarships, educational resources and leadership programs. I get to work with passionate, smart and driven people from all around Australia every day.

A typical day at the office can include sharing the properties of wool with school students

A typical day in our office at Circular Quay has me collaborating with colleagues, contacts and industry leaders about how to best present the wool industry to students, updating educational resources, planning events and of course all the boring backroom administration. Recently, I’ve been working with colleagues to coordinate a response and to collate information to assist woolgrowers impacted by the recent bushfires.

Although I’ve only been here a year, I’ve learned an incredible number of skills and have grown more confident in my abilities as a communicator. From people management and organisation as well as managing funds and writing legal contracts it’s been a steep learning curve. Stepping out of the paddock into an office was tough but it’s a step I needed to make. My colleagues have been so generous with their time, and I’m absolutely loving my role.

The history and camaraderie that exists within the wool industry is, I think, unique to wool. Everyone I speak to is hell-bent on improving and driving Australian wool forward. Everyone’s got lots of great ideas and with that comes some robust conversations.

At the core of it, wool is a choice for growers and consumers. The challenge to encourage people to continue to grow and buy this fantastic fibre is one that the industry is tackling head on.  That discerning consumers around the world are attracted to the sustainable credentials of wool is encouraging and I think the current market value reflects this.

I  look forward to playing my role in encouraging young Australians to enter and remain within this vibrant industry.

I’m not yet thirty but I’ve already worked in grains, viticulture, horticulture and now the wool industry. It’s been an unconventional path but that’s OK. I think its important people know that with a bit of enthusiasm, anyone will take you on and give you a chance. Looking forward I’m excited to continue to learn new skills, with a view to becoming a leader and a manager of people, in whatever corner of the industry I find myself. One thing is for sure, I’ll be doing work that makes me happy.

Lessons Learnt Number 6 – time to throw out your perceptions of Millennials and open your eyes to the world of opportunity in rural and regional Australia

Not so long ago the stereotypical image of a person in agriculture was of an older, struggling, white male and the image of a Millennial was of a young person sitting around a café eating smashed avocado and complaining about the unattainable property market. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we talk to The Regional Investor and bust those stereotypes wide open.

The Regional Investor could be you. She is a 26-year-old agronomist working in regional NSW. Her job in agriculture is well paid. She lives in a rural town with a strong community of young professionals. And that busts the second myth that a career in this industry is no more than a low-paying job in the sticks. “To me, a career in agriculture means getting well paid to do something you love,” she says.

In fact, The Regional Investor’s career as an agronomist pays well enough to allow her to follow her financial dreams of building a property portfolio, with her partner, in rural Australia. “Property investment provides a tangible asset regardless of your location or starting point,” she says, “and investing in regional areas offers opportunities to get into property at lower price points with better cash flow to help you get started.”

Gaining financial skills alongside her agricultural degree has been a mixture of education and experience for The Regional Investor. “When I finished uni and got a well-paying job the first thing I did was get a dirty car loan and a big V8 ute,” she says. “I learnt very quickly that I didn’t like bad debt. I had that car for less than nine months and it would have cost me about eight grand. It was a valuable lesson about debt.”

The ute taught her that her surplus income from agriculture should go towards something that would appreciate rather than depreciate and so began a financial journey into property investment. She met with a mortgage broker who “opened our eyes to the different ways you can structure finance”, she used the internet to research for nearly four years and she then committed two years to a Master of Business Administration (MBA). “The MBA gave me more of that financial background but it also gave me business skills I now use day to day as an agronomist.”

The Regional Investor invests in rural towns with a diversified workforce – “we tend to stay away from mining towns that may go bust overnight” and in properties with positive cash flow. “We only buy properties that pay for themselves so we only have to fund that initial deposit,” she says “and from there they pay themselves off and grow a little bit in equity that we can pull out and put into the next one.” Ultimately it is her aim to own a range of properties – from residential to commercial – across Australia.

The Regional Investor sees many advantages to a career in agriculture in rural regions. There is the well-paid job, the opportunity to get into the property market and the network of young professionals like her. To give back she volunteers as co-chair of the local Young Aggies group and shares her property experiences on Instagram as @the_regional_investors where her tag line is: “Borderless investors from regional Australia. Building a property portfolio from scratch. No Lotto, No Inheritance. Just two PAYG 20-something’s.”

Recent surveys such as the SEED report (Developing student interest in the agriculture sector) and the Gallup Findings on the Changing Nature of Work, with Jim Harter have found that in young people’s minds a career in agriculture isn’t just a career but a lifestyle, and that the separation of work and life is less and less defined. Results also identify the lower cost of living and greater sense of freedom as the most positive aspects of regional living. These may become the stereotypes to which a new generation, and The Regional Investor, belong.

And to the avocado myth: Do Millennials sit around all day in cafes eating smashed avocado? “I think that’s an interesting point,” The Regional Investor says. “People may think a career in agriculture and investment in property means you have to save and have no life. That’s not the case. I’ve still been overseas every single year and will continue to do so. We are not going to sacrifice our lifestyle to build something when we could die tomorrow.”  It seems you can have your avocado and eat it too.

Follow @The_Regional_Investor to get great tips like this

When I first started telling people that we were looking at property investing I was given ALOT of advice. Some good and some bad depending on the experiences that particular person had with property themselves. People giving you advice 100% have the best intentions, but sometimes you have to take a step back and ask yourself why the good and bad stuff happened. 
Did they self manage a property and have a bad tenant? 
Did they rent out the family home and not make money because it wasn’t investment worthy in the first place? 
Did the bank of mum and dad help them out?
Most importantly were they proactive in educating themselves before they started or did the wing it and then wonder why it didn’t work?
I’ve learnt to take something out of every piece of advice especially horror stories. I work out what they did wrong, how it can be avoided and try to avoid making the same mistake myself. 
Some of the best advice I’ve receive to date;
– Work out how someone is getting paid, often off the plan with the flash brochures and rental guarantees comes at a cost…. to you. Buy in an established market, not a new development with no resale history. – Create a win-win situation for yourself and the seller. Be negotiable, realistic & timely.
– Don’t get emotional, if the numbers don’t make sense walk away. If you can’t take emotion out of it outsource to someone that can; buyers agents, accountants and your broker. – Don’t be afraid to ask a silly question, a silly mistake is far worse and can be costly when it comes to property. – Employ services based on quality not price, it’s better to loose a little money for the right job than to pay for it twice. – Never cross collateralise. Ever. Pay your lenders mortgage insurance, if you can’t buy it without a guarantor then you simply can’t buy it.
– There’s no afterpay in property, if you can’t manage the money then property is not for you. Get rid of the Foxtel, the gym membership and everything else you don’t use. Monthly subscriptions hurt your serviceability hugely. – Don’t take advice of anyone who isn’t where you want to be.
– Don’t miss out on the things you want, work harder, save more, do both

 

Careers in Agriculture – offer real world skills to solve real world problems and an opportunity to have a positive impact on the world

2019 celebrates 10 years of The Archibull Prize.  The foundation strength of the program is the rigor with which we monitor and evaluate and tweak it. Creating a culture where review and evaluation are seen as critical steps to gather evidence for agriculture to make informed decisions and allocate resources smartly for community engagement activities is at the heart of everything we do.

To celebrate ten years of highly insightful data the Picture You in Agriculture team will be sharing their lessons learnt via conference presentations, blogs, posters, infographics, animations …….. All the ways the wonderful world of communication has to offer people who live in the 21st Century

LESSONS LEARNT – ONE

OPENING YOUNG EYES TO CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE

Opening young people’s minds to the diversity of careers in agriculture that offer an opportunity to provide  practical real world skills to solve real world problems and have a positive impact on the world is a key objective of The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions programs

Research shows the traditional source of inspiration for careers is family, friends, television celebrities and high profile sports people . Research also shows children leaving primary school have closed their minds to up to 70% of careers. Our challenge has been how to open their minds to be curious about the world of work and tap into  what motivates young people .

Research shows young people highly value careers where they can make a difference The Archibull Prize entry survey question reinforces this desire

In their January 2018 report Drawing the Future UK charity Education and Employers explored the career aspirations of primary school children from around the world: “Early intervention can be a very cost effective, targeted way of raising children’s aspirations and broadening their horizons,” the report says. “The evidence suggests that giving children the chance to meet volunteers from the world helps them to see the meaning and relevance of the subjects they are studying at school. Embedding experiences of the real-world in learning and the school curriculum can lead to increased motivation resulting in increased educational attainment.”

The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas programs employ these strategies by assigning each school a Young Farming Champion (YFC), a young agricultural professional who is perceived as speaking from a vantage point of real authority as they earn a wage and grow a career within the industry.

We have found the YFCs also play a key role in providing young people with role models and tackling stereotyping around gender and ethnicity, which opens their eyes to possibilities not previously considered.

We have also learnt that offering a careers competition, in conjunction with The Archibull Prize, is a positive way to extend our reach and engage students not directly involved with the program. Our annual National AgDay Careers Competition asks students to identify their strengths and interests, choose a career in agriculture and research the educational pathway to that career. In 2018 over 30 entries were received for the competition from primary and secondary schools in urban, rural and distance education environments, and 22 unique careers were identified.

Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan is an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture.

Sam mentored students at Picnic Point High School in 2018 with The Archibull Prize and teacher Lisa Gourlay was particularly impressed.

“Sam arrived with three suitcases full of her own clothes that were made from 100% wool including shoes and jackets. She came with loom and finger knitting and pom poms. She came with a ball of energy and was so genuinely passionate about sharing her career and this project. She really was an inspiration.

When we looked at what jobs were available in the sheep industry we were very narrow minded thinking of the farm and the sheep. Then we meet Sam who is beautiful and young, from Blacktown, who is now working across rural Australia and internationally.”  Lisa says.

The Archibull Prize use of entry and exit surveys of students and teachers allow us to monitor the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the students they are building relationships with.

Within these surveys word clouds are used to collate responses. The following word clouds illustrate the change in agricultural career definition from the beginning to the end of the program.

Identifying the issue 

The Archibull Prize entry surveys show students struggle to name a career in agriculture and only identify farming related activities

Identifying the messenger and what success looks like 

Exit survey

The Archibull Prize exit surveys year on year highlight the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the students 

Teachers value The Archibull Prize for its capacity to provide students with the real world skills to be ready for the jobs of the future.

Join the team of teachers and students who are part of the solution. Expressions of interest for the 2019 Archibull Prize are now open and can be made by contacting Art4Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong at lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au

#YouthinAg #StrongTogether #YouthVoices19