Young Farming Champions Muster May 2021

Headline Act
Often our headline act each month celebrates the awards and recognition our YFCs deservedly receive, but every now and again it is good to go back to basics and listen to the passion that draws them to agriculture in the first place. Marlee Langfield is a shining example of this and has commenced sowing her 2021 crops.

“We have been blessed with a full moisture profile and our canola crops have already received just shy of an inch of steady of rain. The soils are just beautiful this time of year – chocolate brown and full of worms! There are little plants just starting to emerge with these past few warm days.”

Marlee also expresses her love for the land in beautiful photos. Thank you Marlee for reminding us why we love agriculture.

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In The Field
Of course, all of our YFC get out of bed every day to work passionately in agriculture and this passion was recognised on May 10 when The Weekly Times ran an article featuring 15 promising Australian farmers under the age of 30. Making the cut were Emma Ayliffe for her work as an agronomist, Tom Squires for his work with wool and shearing and Peta Bradley for her work with sheep genetics. Congratulations all round.

However passion can be tested and mice are this year’s big challenge. Here’s a round-up of how it is affecting our YFC:
Dan Fox (Marra, Riverina NSW): “We are fairing pretty well although there are mice in paddocks and sheds but nothing like what is happening north of us, and nothing like the 2011 plague. We are still baiting everything we are sowing whilst planting but no damage or losses to stored grain or sowed paddocks.”
Keiley Noble (Narromine, North West NSW):

“We’ve been using a drum of ‘Mouse Off’ a week since mid-January on with our hay stacks. The mice have come back strong mid-May.”

Emma Ayliffe (Lake Cargelligo, Western NSW):

“We have had a few isolated issues with certain paddocks that were sown dry and waiting for rain. Sheds and silos are foul. Defiantly north of us are having bigger issues.”

Dee George (Nyngan, Northern) NSW:

“Hit and miss where we are. They are horrible in patches and then only light on in others. Our family (Nevertire) are baiting everything, and I’ve personally bought at least $1000 worth of domestic bait for around our house and shed. They are starting to damage early crops to the west of Nyngan where I work, and earlier in the year east of us they were damaging cotton (chewing holes in the bolls) which I’d never seen or heard of before.”

Marlee Langfield (Cowra, Central West NSW):

“They are around, especially in sheds, we baited off the back of the seeder with our canola because we are fearful of the damage they may do to new crops. At the moment, touch wood, emerging canola is doing ok.”

It’s not even mouse-free underground.  PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick mines for opal west of Lightning Ridge:

“Mice are falling down the shaft into our sump (hole below mining level), which has water in it from recent rains. So imagine a black festering, can’t-be-emptied, 44-sized bucket right at your working shaft and that’s what we’ve got. They are also chewing out the ceiling lining in the camp.”

Let’s hope the onset of winter puts the brakes on the mice!

Melissa Henry is focussing not on mice but on the continued success of her sheep. At the recent Hawkesbury Show Melissa’s Quebon Coloured Sheep Stud took out Reserve Champion Black and Coloured Ewe, Champion Black and Coloured Ram, Best Coloured Wether and Supreme Exhibit!

“What a cracker of a season we are having. The pastures, trees and sheep are looking amazing. Many thanks to all of our fleece and sheep buyers from across NSW and VIC for their continued support.”  Melissa says.

Out of the Field
In more show news Becca George took to the microphone at the Dubbo Show to do her first ring announcing of the junior heifer section.

“We needed someone on day 3 to ring announce so I put my hand up to give it a go. I actually really enjoyed it once the nerves wore off!”

Well done for putting your hand up Becca.

Away from the agricultural shows and agricultural conferences and courses are the big thing at the moment. Meg Rice, Dione Howard and Dee George will attend the Young Farmer Business Program conference in Dubbo on May 28, Meg is also participating in GROW with Tocal College, Emma Ayliffe is lined up to speak at the River Reflections Conference for the Murray Darling Basin Authority in June and Bryan Van Wyk presented at the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program recently.

 

ht to Jill Briggs for sharing the pix of Bryan presenting to her Seafood Leaders

Having recently participated in Dr Jenni Metcalfe’s Confident Communicators workshop Bryan relished the opportunity to put Jenni’s mnemonic MESSAGE into action

Bryan has also been appointed as an industry member on the Northern Prawn Fishery Resource Assessment Group (NPFRAG). This decision making group is made up of researchers, government and industry and provides advice to inform legislation on the fishery.

“I am the youngest member on the group and our first two-day meeting was held in Brisbane earlier this month. Big win for me personally and very humbled to be accepted with open arms into this amazing group of people but it has also taken me incredibly far outside my comfort zone. When you’re sitting on an important decision making table surrounded by very intelligent and experienced people and you are asked to voice your thoughts and opinions on behalf of an entire industry it can be extremely daunting. Definitely one of the most challenging experiences for me so far this year.”

Dr Anika Molesworth has joined the Visibility Co team and recently facilitated a workshop for Researchers in International Agricultural Development on climate change leadership and visibility. The workshops had participants from around the globe, including Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy and Australia.

However the biggest shindig during May was Beef Australia held at Rockhampton where Jasmine Whitten teamed up with Greg Mills to share their knowledge of the beef industry with school students as part of the AgForce School to Industry Partnership Program. They spoke with over 500 students, conducted mock cattle auctions, ran a teacher professional development session and attended the agricultural careers evening. Now they’re taking 3 years to gear up for the next Beef Week in 2024. Oh, and Jas and Greg wore the brightest shirts to prompt conversations on mental health!

Also spotted at Beef Week was friend of the YFC Aimee Snowden in her new role with CQUniversity Australia Agri-tech Education and Innovation.

Climate Change YFC Anika Molesworth is moving into the world of film to spread her climate messages. “I’ve had the pleasure of supporting two amazing filmmakers, Sanne – Eefje Suzanne – Kragten and Tim Arnold AV, as they travelled around Australia filming the stories of famers and their mission to overcome climate change. The Positive Alternative film series provides both dramatic yet uplifting stories about how little changes can create a big positive impact on our lives, on climate change and the world at large.

Another film project Anika has been working with (Harsh Climate Harsh Truth) featured in the Canberra Short Film Festival in March. See the previews for both films here

and

Closer to the PYiA core and the YVLT’s Leadership is Language Series 3 continues with a chat with Country to Canberra CEO Han Worsley. Han had both Meg Rice and Dione Howard as interviewers. Catch all the action here

YFC are also connecting with school students with the popular online Paddock to Pen Pals organised by the ever-enthusiastic Sam Wan. Katherine Bain, Emma Turner, Dione Howard, Tayla Field and Chloe Dutschke participated. These are some of the student comments from Chloe’s session:

“I loved asking her questions and hearing her answers. She explained all about her job. I was interested in how she got into being a farmer and completing a Bachelor of Animal Sciences. She wasn’t a farmer growing up but just loved animals. It was great to meet a real farmer. It’s not a job I had ever thought of before!”

And, because they are not busy enough already, our YFC are commencing their training workshops for the year – learning from the best in Josh Farr and Dr Jenni Metcalfe.

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Check out Dr in waiting Francesca Earp, Dr Calum Watt and Dr Jo Newton’s wrap up in this video.

Prime Cuts

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) is excited to be working with new partners this year and we welcome the Northern Territory Farmers Association to the fold. NT Farmers have selected Oliva Borden to participate in the 2021 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. When her YFC introduction begins with “a female incarnation of John Williamson’s Mallee Boy crossed with Crocodile Dundee” you know we’re going to have some fun. Welcome to the team Olivia.

 

Emma Ayliffe has been named as a finalist in the 2020/21 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards (Young Farmer category). The winner’s announcement ceremony will take place on 17 June at Parliament House in Canberra and will feature a live ABC Country Hour broadcast. Congratulations Emma, we can’t wait!

Lifetime Achievements

Anika Molesworth is in the final stage of turning her dream of writing a book into reality. The manuscript is currently with her publisher getting a final nip-and-tuck before going to print.

“The book will hit bookshelves at the end of August, and I am so excited to share this story with the world!”

Young Farming Champions Muster April 2021

Headline Act

We all know those quiet achievers; the ones who we rely on to get the good job done; the ones who we count on but perhaps who we don’t always openly acknowledge. Well the Young Farming Champions has a quiet achiever …… and finally the spotlight is falling upon Dione Howard.

Dione is the 2021 RAS Rural Achiever, crowned at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and we couldn’t be more proud. A YFC since 2015, Dione has never said no to a challenge, and in her work as a veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services continues to promote the wool industry, agriculture in general and the role of young people in the future of food and fibre production. We can’t think of a better winner of this award. She even used the YFC phrase “Young people may be only 20% of the population but we are 100% of the future”. That’s our girl!

Congratulations Dione and best wishes for the year ahead and the national finals to be held at Sydney Royal in 2022. The world is beginning to realise what we have known for a long time – you are brilliant.

 Dione and Graham Howard 

In The Field

Success in agriculture rarely happens overnight. It requires commitment and patience and this is exemplified by Peta Bradley and her family, whose New Armatree homestead near Armatree in Central West NSW, recently celebrate 100-years.

“The New Armatree homestead, where our farm is, was built in 1921 from Cyprus pine that was cut and milled on the property. It has been in the Bradley family since 1953,” Peta says.

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At the other end of the agricultural spectrum we have two YFCs starting out on their “100-year” journey – Emily May and Jess Fearnley. Emily is making her first forays into an agricultural career with Elders:

“the start of April marked a pretty exciting, nerve racking and pivotal progression stage in my journey as an agronomist, being given my wings and the freedom to go out on my first ever solo property inspection covering just over 500ha (1200 acres). Here’s to many more adventures through muddy paddocks, identifying weeds and helping those who produce all our food.”

Jess is establishing a grazing venture with her father:

“During the 2019 drought my Mum and Dad had to sell off their small Angus cattle business. For the last couple of years Dad and I have been missing the cattle and really looking for opportunities to get back into the business. A few months ago Dad approached me to become his business partner for another small cattle business, where we would have self-replacing heifers. Although a bad time to be getting into cattle, with the prices at all-time highs, we are looking at alternative breeds and ways to get into the industry without a huge outlay. I am excited for the opportunity to set up our business and learn the ins and outs of what a business needs. Hopefully my dad and I can agree on things!”

Twelve months ago Chloe Dutschke was writing about the effects of COVID-19 on her shearing season. In 2021 she is having a ripper year – Chloe and her team took the fleece from 15,500 sheep in 13 days! And with good fleece weights. Way to go Chloe!

Another having a ripper season is Sharna Holman who is welcoming in the first of the cotton harvest in Queensland and NSW.

“Picking is about to get underway from those who have been busy spending the past 5 months growing next season’s socks, undies, jeans and cotton seed oil.”

Proving that you really can’t stop our YFC, even amongst the mess that was COVID last year, it has been nearly twelve months since Emma Ayliffe launched her communication app Yacker. In 2021 she is also having a ripper year and has participated in the Farmers2Founders Bootcamp Accelerator for producer-led startups and SMEs.

Emma and the Summit Agriculture team are also looking forward to supporting their farmers during the picking of the Riverina cotton crop

Meanwhile Emma Turner recently featured on the ABC Victorian Country Hour talking about her move to Mildura as a Wool District Manager for Elders, and her love for all things wool in general. “You can’t beat being based in the area you love, doing a job you love, in an industry you love,” she said.

 

With the introduction of our first fisheries YFC Bryan Van Wyk we can now add ‘in the water’ to ‘in the field’. Bryan has been bust getting the banana prawn season underway out of Karumba in far north QLD, where crews can catch, pack and snap freeze between 5,000 and 10,000kgs of prawns per day. Learn more about this exciting adventure here.

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Out of the Field

Out of the field and there was only one place to be this month – the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The highlight was, of course, Dione and the Rural Achiever Award, but the Royal offers many opportunities for YFC to be involved, catch up with each other and celebrate Australian agriculture. Dee George was stewarding in the Angus and Shorthorn ring in the cattle section, supported by her sister Bec. Tim Eyes was also stewarding cattle (and working for MLA) while Jo Newton was a steward in the sheep ring. Other YFC faces spotted at the show were Steph Fowler, Jasmine Green (and baby Arthur) and Erika Heffer.

Dee and Becca George

Also at the show was friend of the YFC Aimee Snowden who filed this feel-good report:

“At the 2019 Sydney Royal Easter Show, we (PYiA) presented Hamish Maclure with the Middle School National Ag Day Careers Competition Award (from 2018) when he was 14. Fast forward to the 2021 Show, and Hamish and brother Ed have established their own Limousin Stud and at their first royal outing (for their stud) took out Supreme Champion interbreed heifer and a cheque for $8,000! Hamish also competed in the Meat Breed Sheep Junior Judging.”

Well done Hamish – it’s fabulous to watch your agricultural journey.

Dragging ourselves away from the show and we were excited to see the third series of Leadership is Language launched with Jo Newton holding an enlightening conversation with Josh Farr, who also delivered some insider-secrets on how best to use LinkedIn. This third series is sub-titled Conversations with Thought Leaders and we look forward to seeing who else will pop up with our YFC.

The interview with Josh and Jo was the perfect precursor to our first workshop for the year where our Young Farming Champions Alumni joined our 2021 new program entrants for a six hour goal setting workshop with Josh on April 17th. Everyone left the workshop with a personal development plan. Next month they will be working with Dr Jenni Metcalfe to hone their communication skills and reconnecting with Josh and their accountability buddies

In Melbourne this month the Australian Volunteers Program hosted the ‘Connecting RAVN and the Global Alumni’ networking event bringing Australian Volunteers alumni, current Australia Awards Awardees and New Colombo Plan alumni. New YFC Dylan Male was invited to speak about his own NCP experience in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. What a way to hit the ground running as a YFC!

Dylan is sponsored to participate in the Cultivate- Growing Young Leaders program by Riverina Local Land Services. This week he spent two days with the Riverina Local Land Services board who gave him the opportunity to do a presentation and share his journey with them. Riverina LLS then hosted Dylan on a tour of regional farms

Dylan centre with Ray Wills GM of Riverina LLS and the Riverina LLS board

Great to see one of our inaugural YFC Alison Hamilton is now a board member of Riverina Local Land Services. Speaking of Young Farming Champions stepping up to board leadership roles, congratulations to Wool YFC Samantha Wan who has joined the board of the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation supporting rural families in need. Sam has also stepped up to manage Picture You in Agriculture Paddock Pen Pals program in 2021. She is currently working with fellow wool YFC to beam into Carlingford West Public School in May 2021

Prime Cuts

We are even more excited to announce the 2021 participants in the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program as they begin their YFC journeys. Joining Bryan Van Wyk (who we met in the March Muster) are NTCA scholarship winner Shannon Chatfield from Newcastle Waters Station in the Northern Territory, Connie Mort and Steph Tabone from Corteva Agriscience, Corteva scholarship winner Veronika Vicic, Riverina Local Land Services scholarship winner Dylan Male, NT Farmers are sponsoring agronomist Oliva Borden and our inaugural SDG 5 Gender Equality Ambassador Francesca Earp.

Welcome to the family everyone.

Lifetime Achievements

With COVID restrictions eased weddings are once again happening and this month we send HUGE congratulations to Anika Molesworth who married Corey Stenhouse and to Rebecca Thistlethwaite who married Kieran Shepherd. Wishing you all health, wealth and a life-time of happiness.

Sam Wan and Tom Boucher recently celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary. Here’s a snap of their happy day taken, most appropriately, in a shearing shed!

#YFCMuster #YouthinAg #YouthVoices

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2021

 

 

Headline Act

The Young Farming Champions program gives our young agriculturists the confidence to lead and the greatest manifestation of this is through the Youth Voices Leadership Team. It therefore gives us great pleasure to introduce the YVLT for 2021. Taking on the position of Chair is Dr Dione Howard.

“I’ve put up my hand to lead the YVLT and continue the legacy of outgoing Chair Emma Ayliffe because I’m excited for what’s in store for this group. Our team worked hard to deliver flexible online workshops and bring 18 episodes of Leadership is Language to our community in 2020. The YVLT will continue this initiative and have some amazing new projects in the pipeline. I am looking forward to supporting the team to bring these to life in 2021.” says Dione

Last year’s YVLT intern Jess Fearnley has stepped up to the position of Secretary and Jo Newton has retained the position of Returning Officer. Other committee members are Marlee Langfield, Meg Rice, Chloe Dutschke, Katherine Bain, Calum Watt, Tayla Field and Sam Wan. The position of Vice Chair is currently vacant and represents an exciting opportunity for another YFC to step into the leadership role. Please contact Dione if you are interested.

In The Field

With 2021 well underway we welcome a new crop of YFC to the program. A big PYiA welcome to our first fishing YFC Bryan Van Wyk from Austral Fisheries. We look forward to learning more about your watery world. And how is this for possibly the best profile pic ever:

Austral Fisheries Bryan Van Wyk in his favourite place

If you know a young person from the Northern Territory who would make an exceptional YFC expressions of interest are now open, courtesy of NT Farmers; and stay tuned as we introduce more new YFC in the coming weeks.

Two of our YFC alumni have started new jobs. After working for the Department of International Trade in London for a year and a half Laura Phelps has taken up a new position as head of the Regulatory, International and Legislative Strategy Unit at Food Standards Agency. It’s great to see one of our YFCs working overseas in international agricultural policy development.

Dr Calum Watt has commenced his working career but he tells it best:

“Finally graduated from uni after almost 10 years and three degrees all culminating in a book I will dread reading again 😂. Now I have dived head first into the world of wheat breeding with national wheat/barley breeding company InterGrain.”

After close to 10 years Calum Watt has graduated from Murdoch University. Pictured here with his supervisor and mentor Prof. Chengdao Li.

Congratulations Laura and Calum.

Many of our YFC have been dealing with the scourge of a mice plaque in NSW and QLD (I am personally thinking of learning Italian so I have different ways of swearing at them) and an increase in grasshoppers, all of which are part of the challenges agriculture presents. But in the last week the blessing of being involved in agriculture has been realised with the coming of the rain over much of eastern Australia. The rains started in the north. “We have had ample rain at home and I would say everything is replenished – even the swamps are full. Up until recently you didn’t have to go far to find people destocking due to water shortages, but this last week might have changed things,” says Hayley Piggot from QLD’s Carnarvon Ranges. Down in NSW the rain got a bit more serious as Naomi Brannan reports: “Moree is flooding so everyone’s cotton etc. is underwater!” Let’s hope all who need it have had a proper drink, and to those affected by damaging floods we wish you a quick recovery.

Out of the Field

As we said at the beginning of this Muster the YFC program gives our young people the confidence to lead and they have certainly been acting upon this in recent weeks. Sam Wan has commenced the Agribusiness Leadership program with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF), while Adele Smith and Tim Eyes participated in the ARLF Trail program for emerging leaders. Adele and Tim first met each other as 2014 Young Farming Champions.

As part of the Trail experience Adele and Tim heard from the current CEO Han Worsely and former CEO Hannah Wandel of Country to Canberra

Jo Newton was been selected for the ADC Australian Leadership Retreat held from March 18-21, and Tim Eyes, who is on the BBM Youth Support board, was part of a reference group for the BBM partnership with UN Youth Australia; providing support leadership to those in the vocational education training (VET) system.

Anika Molesworth is as visible as ever in the leadership space. This month she has popped up on Visibility Co and has been announced as a champion for the Country to Canberra program, alongside Elizabeth (Liz) Brennan and Natalie (Nat) Sommerville.

Anika also joined fellow YFC Emma Ayliffe, Bronwyn Roberts and Jasmine Green in a four-page spread in Woman’s Day titled “Real Life – Incredible Aussie Women – Ladies of the Land” (which also featured north QLD grazier Kate Andison). These ladies are superstars!

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Not to be upstaged Dione Howard appeared on the cover of The Land!

 

Prime Cuts

Former YVLT Chair Emma Ayliffe has been in the spotlight with an op ed piece on the future of agricultural careers, first published with Grain Central. This has kicked off our highly successful “Crafting Careers in Agriculture” series featuring some of agriculture’s brightest minds including Corteva’s Rob Kaan, dairy consultant Dr Neil Moss, AWI’s Craig French, NFF CEO Tony Mahar, SCU’s Prof Jim Prately, Austral Fisheries’ Lesley Leyland and innovative agriculture teacher Scott Graham.

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Lifetime Achievements

After reporting last month that Naomi Brannan and husband Sean were expecting we are pleased to announce that, after a dramatic birth, Imogen Rose Brannan has been welcomed into the world. “She was born in Moree via emergency c-section seven weeks early,” Naomi says. “We were in intensive care in Sydney for a week but now she’s breathing on her own but still being fed by a tube because she’s very little still. Hopefully we will be out of Royal North Shore hospital in 3-4 weeks.” We hope so too and send you our best wishes to all your family, Naomi.

Imogen Rose Brannan

mega shout out to our journalist Mandy McKeesick who collates our Muster every month

Young Farming Champions Muster February 2021

Dr Jo Newton OAM

Headline Act

It was a proud moment for all involved with Picture You in Agriculture when our very own Young Farming Champion Jo Newton was presented with her OAM at Government House, Melbourne on February 10.

“After a long wait it was a memorable and magical day to attend Government house with my family and manager at Agriculture Victoria, Prof Jennie Pryce, for my OAM investiture and then enjoy a delicious celebratory lunch afterwards. Despite the mandatory mask wearing everyone’s smiles throughout the day were contagious and it was very special to be able to (finally) celebrate with my family and Jennie.

Physical distancing requirements meant the Governor could not pin medals to recipients and I was asked to nominate one of my guests to do this. I asked Jennie to attend the ceremony and pin my medal to me. As well as being my manager, she has been a mentor and role model to me since I started with Agriculture Victoria in 2015. Asking Jennie to pin my medal was also symbolic of the numerous mentors, role models and colleagues in the agricultural sector who have supported my agricultural journey so far.”

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Dr Jo Newton OAM with Dr Jennie Pryce (Agriculture Victoria),  Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria, Jenny Weller-Newton, Alex Newton and Mike Newton.

Among Jo’s many roles as a YFC has been as Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT). The team allows YFC to hone their leadership skills in a safe environment, and to contribute to the running of the YFC program. The YVLT AGM will be held on March 15 and new committee members are encouraged to join. Please contact Jo or current Chair Emma Ayliffe for more details on what this can mean for your career.

In The Field

2020 may have been a year of challenges but one industry emerging shiny and bright from the COVID cloud is agriculture, and we celebrate all our YFC who are working on the front lines; YFC like Dione Howard and Emma Turner, both fierce advocates of the wool industry, who are participating in the 2021 NSW Livestock Leaders Agvocate Program to further enhance their storytelling and communication skills. Or, Emma Ayliffe of Summit Ag who is increasing her marketing of the app Yacker with a 6-month business boot camp run by Farmers 2 Founders.

2020 delayed some agricultural programs but they are taking off in 2021 with renewed vigour, such as the RAS Rural Achievers, which sees Dione lining up with other young agriculturists across the state. Read all about Dione and her fellow Rural Achievers here.

Dione joined other YFC wool enthusiasts Chloe Dutschke and Adele Smith at the Wyvern Training Weekend in February. Hosted by TA Fields Estate the weekend aims to mentor and educate young people in the wool and sheep industry and also conducts the Peter Westblade Scholarship, of which Chloe is a former winner. Adele and Chloe are both on the Scholarship Committee while Dione captivated her audience sharing her animal health knowledge in the Production to Processing workshop.

Moving away from livestock and onto plants and two YFC have been in the news promoting their respective careers in agriculture. Emily May talked about horticulture in Sydney’s peri-urban environment in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of NSW Farmers Federation magazine The Farmer, while grain and oilseed grower Marlee Langfield was the poster girl for the NFF 2020 National Agriculture Day Luncheon. She was also profiled on the Ag Day Bake-off, with some very delicious looking scones!

Congratulations to Emily who has recently started a new job as a graduate agronomist with Thomas Elder based in Forbes, central west NSW, for six months.

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Youth Voices Leadership Committee intern Jessica Fearnley also works in the plant world, as a development officer with temperate fruits (apples and cherries) for the NSW DPI. Not afraid of a challenge, Jess has embarked on a part-time Masters of Global Development at James Cook University.

“ Inspired by a conversation with Corteva Scholarship finalist Francesca Earp I choose Global Development because my dream is to work in research in the international agriculture space. I want to get more of an understanding of the different challenges these countries face, not just from an ag perspective. For example, I am going to do women health subjects (almost like medicine subjects) so I can understand other challenges these women might face in developing countries, as they are usually the farmers while the husbands go off to find work elsewhere. My major will be in climate mitigation and adaptation.”

 

Out of the Field

In an in-the-field/out-of-the-field crossover YFC Alexandria Galea, who works as a sales agronomist at Cotton Grower Services, led the Teach the Teacher Tour this year.

“It is by far one of my favourite events. It was an absolute joy to lead the tour, which saw 60 education professionals venture on farm to gain a hands-on experience of agriculture in the Central Highlands (QLD) and build relationships with the community.”

The Australian Association of Animal Science biennial conference was held during February with a host of YFC in action. The 33rd conference was hosted in Fremantle, WA, and online with regional hubs in Armidale, Wagga and Brisbane. Steph Fowler gave an update on her work on predicting eating quality of lamb using lasers.  Peta Bradley tuned in from the Armidale Hub and co-authored this paper looking at genetic gain across different regions in the sheep industry. Jo Newton shared lessons learnt while valuing herd improvement during the ImProving Herds Project (with an invited paper on the same topic just published in Animal Production Science) and Danila Marini’s work on virtual fencing was mentioned on Wednesday’s plenary session “Barnett Memorial Lecture” by Dr Caroline Lee. Well done team.

Doing their bit to promote rural and regional Australia are YFC Marlee Langfield and PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick who have both joined Rural Room as media stringers. Rural Room, a network of rural creatives, aims “to create a progressive, dynamic, creative picture of life in regional Australia which extends beyond the stereotypes and perceptions that have traditionally perpetrated mainstream media.”

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Meanwhile, the YVLT’s Leadership is Language series kicked off 2021 with a well-attended seminar hosted by former-politician and community mover-and-shaker Cathy McGowan AO. Stand by for more inspiring episodes of the series as the year progresses.

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Prime Cuts

Sitting at the very top of the YFC Hierarchy of Outcomes is Global Impact – “Young Farming Champions share with the world what they have learnt and multiply their impact.” A shining example of this is Anika Molesworth who has been the “go-to” person for multiple media outlets as they report on the Australian Government’s internal squabble and inaction on net zero emissions by 2050. During February Anika, often with a trembling voice (such is her passion), has appeared on The Project and The 7.30 Report, on RN Radio and ABC PM, and in print with The Australian and The Saturday Paper.

“It’s been difficult to listen to the cowardly comments from some of Australia’s politicians this week. Unfortunately, problems do not go away when you close your eyes or block your ears. You have to actually do something about them. The role of Government is to look after its citizens, and at the moment they are failing to protect farmers from the threat of climate change. And we don’t accept this.”

Anika is a role model for many in agriculture as she invites us all to be part of the team that finds the solution. What to know more? Check out this trailer for an upcoming documentary: Harsh Climate Harsh Truth.

 

Lifetime Achievements

It is with enormous pleasure we announce the birth of Lachlan Hugh Thomas to YFC Bessie Thomas and husband Shannon from Burragan Station in far-western NSW. Lachlan was born on February at 1.10pm, weighing 3.3kg (7lb 5oz) and stretching 51cm long (exactly the same as his sister!).

Another YFC with exciting baby news is Naomi Brannan (Mulligan) who is expecting a baby girl with husband Sean.

YFC Peta Bradley has been swimming to raise money for sick kids as part of the Sunlight Super Swim. Her team, the HighCOWS, has raised over $14,000 to support kids in hospital and Peta has personally swum 120km in 30 days! Not even a change of pool or lightning could stop this aquatic powerhouse. Well done Peta.

That’s a wrap for our 1st Muster of 2021. We are all looking forward to see what March brings

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #BeTheChange

Young Farming Champions December Muster – A Reflection on 2020 the good the better and the best

 

2020 – what a year it has been.

2020 opened with drought, morphed into bushfires, was blessed with rain for what became a bumper harvest and then transcended into a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. Many of our YFCs were forced into hard lockdowns and COVID has impacted us all, challenging us to find new ways to do business and to connect or, as has been often quoted this year,

“life is not what happens to us, it is about how we handle what happens.”

However, Yong Farming Champions (YFCs)  are not called champions for nothing and they rose to all challenges that impacted their personal and professional lives.

In 2020 our YFCs have: taken on new jobs (and even overseas postings),  joined leadership programs and speaker forums, been guest speakers, produced podcasts (a lot of podcasts) and webcasts, committed to conferences (in person and then online as the year progressed), been awarded Nuffield Scholarships, donated hundreds of volunteer hours, written research papers, connected with schools doing The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, attended zoom meetings (lots and lots of zoom meetings), taken on committee and board positions, featured on well-being seminars, launched an app (Yacker – are you on board yet?), raised money for charity, won national fleece competitions, bought houses, supported each other in lockdown, joined the mental health and occupational safety conversations, launched websites, created videos, participated in international agricultural networks and completed degrees to become doctors and masters. Whew.

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We’ve had a RAS Rural Achiever (Dione), a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards (Emma – who can forget that red dress) and even an OAM (Jo).

The Innovation Hub of the Youth Voices Leadership Team launched the highly successful Leadership is Language series with a range of Australian and international guests interviewed by Young Farming Champions.

We’ve adapted to our ever-changing COVID world with drive-through bait station, online wool auctions, social distancing in shearing sheds, online ag shows, lanolin cream production and online bull sales, just to name a few.

And life has gone on. Hannah Hawker, James Kanaley, Tom Tourle and Jasmine Green welcomed new babies.

 

Keiley O’Brien, Dwayne Schubert and Naomi Mulligan were married and Anika Molesworth and Melissa Henry postponed much-anticipated weddings.

As we near the end of this exceptionally challenging year we asked the Youth Voices Leadership committee what have been their highlights and what are they looking forward to in 2021.

Emma Ayliffe (Chair):

“I am looking forward to setting up the YVLT committee for a long and successful future through finalising what our future looks like and identifying the leaders of tomorrow. This year has been a fun challenge and to see how the committee responded and what we achieved has been amazing.”

Dione Howard (Vice-Chair):

“I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 – our team has learnt so much during this challenging year and I hope we can take those learnings out into the big wide world! I can’t wait to celebrate life events with those nearest and dearest, get on the dancefloor and give people a big hug!”

“last day of our family harvesting – it’s been a wonderful season and bring on the time for rest.” says Dione

Jo Newton (Returning Officer):

“After spending nearly half the year locked down in Melbourne, I look forward to partaking in life’s simple pleasures in 2021 like meals shared with friends, smiles not obscured by masks & the freedom to visit friends & explore Australia”.

 Photo by: Massimiliano Nardini @ Mt Oberon, Wilson’s Prom

Samantha Wan (Innovation Hub Representative):

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we all emerge from what has been a year like no other, how it has shaped our perspectives and appreciations and use the skills we’ve developed and honed to take on a new chapter in 2021.”

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“Sam is also looking forward to some reading time with her dogs”

Anika Molesworth (Partnerships Ambassador):

“The absolute highlight for me was the Language is Leadership series, which has not only brought to my attention some incredible thought-leaders and change-makers – people who are not just talking the talk but walking the walk –but has allowed me the opportunity to connect with them. I could speak with them one-on-one, ask them questions, learn from them and then have a platform to share these learnings far and wide.”

Jess Fearnley (Intern):

“I am looking forward to hopefully seeing each other’s faces in person and working towards some really good programs in the New  Year. This year has been a fantastic learning experience and I am super excited about our next workshop with Cathy McGowan in 2021

The last words on our summation of the year that has been 2020 go to Picture You in Agriculture director Lynne Strong:

“As a person who thrives on watching others grow and thrive I have found it very rewarding to watch how flexible and agile the team has been in this wild year. COVID has impacted both our personal and professional lives yet we have remained hopeful, collaborated, reimagined, innovated, stuck to our truth and delivered joy; all the things that get people through turmoil and change. I salute the Young Farming Champions”

#YouthinAg #CollectiveAction #CollectiveImpact #ConnectCollaborateCommunicate #EngageEmpower

 

Young Farming Champions November 2020 Muster

Headline Act

The Young Farming Champions program gives our young people the skills and confidence to tell their stories, many of which you will read about in this Muster. However one YFC kicking presentations well out of the ballpark is Anika Molesworth. On October 28 Anika spoke at her second TEDx event. Commenting on a previous TED talk by indigenous legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, Anika presented the argument that as climate change and environmental degradation worsen we need to radically re-think the ways humans interact with nature.

Anika gave examples of where rights have been given to the environment such as Lake Erie in the US, the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India and all the rivers in Bangladesh. “By granting legal rights to our environment, and rethinking the way we interact and respect our world, are we able to save what we cannot afford to lose?” Anika asked.

Congratulations Anika – you continue to be an inspiration for the YFC family.

In The Field

Into the field now and all of us who work with Mother Nature know she can be a hard and fickle business partner. Just as some of the best crops in central NSW where readying for harvest in October, Mother Nature sent hail in not one but two havoc-wreaking storms. Speaking in the Parkes Champion Post YFC agronomist Emma Ayliffe described the devastation: “What wasn’t affected at first was wiped out in the second event last weekend in most unusual circumstances.” said Emma. “For these people they have gone through a roller coaster of emotion since the event – from saying things like ‘Well, we’ve got more room in the silos for the rest of the crop’, to ‘F@#! it was going to be such a good harvest!’.” Emma’s own property was affected by the hail.

Meanwhile harvest continues under grey skies for our Cowra cropper Marlee Langfield – check out her amazing photo

Even though they both dance with Mother Nature Marlee and Emma are resilient future ready farmers, and this month we celebrated them, and others, in the launch of a new PYiA initiative – Future Ready Farmers. YFC Dan Fox also featured alongside friends of the YFC Karin Stark and Angus Whyte. This series will highlight to students undertaking Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize real-life examples of farmers in modern Australian agriculture.

Out of the Field

Out of the field our YFC are continuing their leadership journeys by embarking on a range of diverse programs. Tim Eyes has joined the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Trail program and Chloe Dutschke is working with YFC friend Rebel Black in her Emerging Women Leaders program. We look forward to them all sharing snippets of their new-found wisdom with us soon.

Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participants Jess Fearnley and Emily May participated in a session of Paddock Pen Pals as part of the 2020 Kreative Koalas program. As you can see from Emily’s Facebook post it was a highlight for her

Other YFCs are honing their presentation skills as they share their own stories – both career and life related. Emma Ayliffe sat down with PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick to discuss Emma’s new communication app Yacker, Anika chatted with Natalie Isaacs, founder of 1 Million Women, in an Instagram live event, Peta Bradley was the guest of a UNE podcast, while Kirsty McCormack (live from Canada where she works as technical sales manager for Quantum Genetix) spoke at the Advancing Women in Agriculture conference.

Young Farming Champion Sharna Holman is sharing her careers in agriculture pathways wise advice in this series of forums with PIEFA

Jo Newton discussed her cancer diagnosis with Women’s Agenda and Dione Howard once again interviewed Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter – this time on the importance of occupational safety.

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Our YFCs find themselves in diverse arenas and may be the interviewee or the interviewer. How do they prepare, how do they control their nerves and what lessons have they learnt that we in turn can all learn from? Well, we asked them. Read their responses here.

Words Have Power Concept text on background

Prime Cuts

Congratulations again to Anika who has been appointed Deputy Chair of Farmers for Climate Action.

“To work alongside 5,000 farmers – some of the most hard-working and inspiring people I’ve ever met – is a true privilege,” Anika says. “These farmers do not accept environmental degradation as inevitable. They do not accept worsening climate conditions and increasing fragility in their rural communities. They know we can do better. So they are stepping up, standing face to face with the big challenges, and saying ‘I’ll be part of the solution’.”

The  YVLT Innovation Hub Committee is super excited to announced their first iHub project Leadership is Language has its own web page here

Lifetime Achievements

It’s “happy non-wedding” day to YFC Melissa Henry and fiancée Simon Maher. They printed their wedding invites in early March but as COVID19 struck and borders were closed the invitations were never sent. Here’s looking forward to a real wedding next November with an even bigger celebration (and bigger cake!).

YFC Dwayne Schubert did manage to pull off a minor miracle with the support of the legal amount of family and friends and trusty zoom for extended family across the ditch married his long term partner Libby Cooper on the farm in Tassie

How is this for a fabulous wedding memory

Young Farming Champions Muster October 2020

Headline Act

The Leadership is Language series, which launched earlier in the year, is back for its second season with Young Farming Champions sitting down with distinguished guests to learn more about the role of language and communication in leadership. As well as being an exclusive insight into some brilliant minds, the Leadership is Language series showcases our YFC as inquisitive, polished and informed professionals.

The second series has (and will) feature acclaimed personalities such as Amelia Berner from OzHarvest (interviewed by Meg Rice), international leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier (interviewed by Lucy Collingridge), Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter (interviewed by Dione Howard) and the Murray-Darling Catchment Authority’s Monique White (also interviewed by Dione).

In The Field

In the north-west of NSW there is a buzz. Dust-blown and heat-baked for years there are now crops ready for picking and harvest machinery is on the road from all corners of Australia. Not missing out on the action is Keiley O’Brien and her partner Ross who run Noble’s Ag Contracting.

Check out these wonderful videos to see the Keiley and Co. making hay while the sun shines

and in the dark

Night-time bailing at Narromine

 “We think this is the earliest we have cut hay and we are bloody pumped for the season that lies ahead,” Keiley says from Narromine.

Of course, crops don’t grow without good soil and carbon so it was fantastic to see YFC Tegan Nock talking about why investing in soil makes good sense with evokeAg’s Samantha Noon this month. If Tegan’s name seems familiar it may be because she and her partner Frank created this award-winning documentary on soils and carbon.

With the soils right and the grass growing, livestock are also flourishing and adding some humour to our lives. Check out this farm funny from Jasmine Green and this sheep meme from Sam Wan – love ‘em.

So healthy soils, healthy plants and healthy animals all add up to sustainable agriculture and doing her bit to promote this is Erika Heffer who, in her role supporting the Murray Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, has created this fun video …. And we hear there are more to come. Top job Erika.

The Young Farming Champions are a tribe of motivated agriculturists and in October it was time to celebrate the rural women among them.

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“Although I might not be able to physically see it, I know I’m part of a tribe of strong women who are instrumental in the functioning of our rural communities. They are the glue that holds it all together. They go by all sorts of different titles that they use to identify themselves, and these can change maybe two, three, four or five times a day, a week or a lifetime! They are forever changing hats and always in motion. So here’s to them… may we know them, may we support them, and may we be them!”  Marlee Langfield said.

Marlee put together this wonderful collage in recognition of the International Day of Rural Women on October 15.

Out of the Field

Out of the field now and our YFC (both men and women) have been promoting Australian agriculture loudly and proudly across a range of media. Calum Watt has been part of the WA government’s PRIMED project, which is promoting careers in primary industries to school students and he also featured on a Generation Ag podcast talking about his passion for barley research.

And while we’re on the boys, Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah Greenshields from The Food Farm featured on the next Young Farmer Business Program and Future Famers Network Startup Stories. Tim & Hannah are young farmers in the Yarramalong Valley on the NSW Central Coast. They are passionate about growing and producing food in a regenerative way, growing beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs.

Jess Fearnley continues to advance her career in leaps and bounds and is now part of the RAID (researchers for agriculture for international development) network, where “six Australian volunteers and five Vietnamese researchers (EMCRs) will embark on a five-week online workshop to strengthen research, leadership and management skills in agricultural research and development.” We look forward to hearing more about Jess’s adventure.

Jo Newton has also been busy. She was interviewed for a Humans of Agriculture Podcast with (Zanda McDonald award finalist) Oli Le Lievre and also stood up to answer the difficult questions on MIR technology in the dairy industry in an “Ask the Researcher Virtual Forum”.

 

Other YFC sharing the good news stories and taking on leadership roles include Lucy Collingridge who appeared on a UNE podcast, Chloe Dutschke who has been accepted for a Leaders Emerge 2021 program with friend of PYiA Rebel Black, and Anika Molesworth who has taken on the role of Deputy Chair for Farmers for Climate Action.

Prime Cuts

One of the strengths of Picture You in Agriculture and the Young Farming Champions is the partnerships we form and nourish. In 2020 that has included Corteva Agriscience, and Corteva, in turn, is a founding partner of the recently launched GrowHer community. In their launch week GrowHer featured PYiA director Lynne Strong and profiled our Corteva emerging leaders.

WOMAG is also associated with GrowHer and YFCs Emma Ayliffe and Dione Howard recently sat down for an e-coffee with the WOMAG women.

Another initiative celebrating Australian agriculture is Future Ready Farmers. Developed under the PYiA umbrella, Future Ready Farmers aims to showcase modern agriculture to school students. Already featured are Karin Stark, Angus Whyte and our very own YFCs Marlee Langfield and Dan Fox.

Working together with our partners the YFC community is well-placed to be the voice of agriculture’s future.

Lifetime Achievements

Cheers to Calum Watt who, after a nine-year stint, has completed university with the submission of his PhD this month. Calum has been dedicated to the research of barley (and breeding better barley for your beer!) and will continue the journey as he takes on a role as a crop breeder with Intergrain in November. Congratulations Doctor (almost) Calum. Read about Calum here 

Lifetime achievements also involve climbing personal mountains. It is well known that Jo Newton has climbed a cancer mountain recently and during October she took on a challenge with Peter Mac’s Unite to Fight Cancer, raising money by walking 60km in 10 days. Joining Jo in the challenge was YFC Dione Howard who was excited to reach her km and $ committment

Another YFC, Hayley Piggott, is also getting active to support cancer research, cycling over 150km (so far) around her station in the Carnarvon Ranges for kid’s cancer in the Great Cycle Challenge. Well done girls – your efforts are amazing.

#YouthinAg #CollectiveImpact #YouthVoicesYFC #ConnectCollaborate

Young Farming Champions Muster September 2020

Headline Act

The NSW Young Achievers Awards were presented in an online ceremony on September 11 and the star of the show was our very own Emma Ayliffe who was a finalist in the First National Real Estate Leadership Award. Emma beamed into the ceremony clad in a red dress standing in a bright yellow paddock of canola. “As one of the few rural finalists I saw it as an opportunity to capture the beauty of the rural landscape I live and work in; a landscape many people don’t get an opportunity to see.” What an extraordinary way to showcase agriculture to the world! Well done Emma, we are so proud of you.

In The Field

Emma’s yellow paddock of canola is typical of the good season she, and all others involved in cropping, are currently experiencing, and work is on to ensure the crops are maximised. Emma has been busy monitoring and managing – checking for rust and powdery mildew, baling lighter sections of wheat crops, keeping an eye on insect populations and rehilling paddocks for the return of cotton at the end of the month.

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Dan Fox, who farms at Marar in the Riverina, is looking forward to harvest, which will include wheat, barley, fava beans and vetch. Vetch is planted as a companion crop to feed nitrogen into the soil for cereal crops and has allowed the Fox family to reduce fertiliser use. If Dan could wave his magic wand, he would love a frost-free spring and the icing on the cake would be 50-100 mm of rain. We wish you the magic Dan.

Our livestock YFCs are also experiencing a busy spring. Chloe Dutschke has weaned a mere 15,000 lambs, selling the wethers and retaining the ewe lambs, which have been returned to the paddock.

Jasmine Green from Summit Livestock is gearing up for their second annual heifer and genetics sale on October 6. “The sale will be online only using the AuctionsPlus platform (think eBay for cows!),” Jasmine says. “We have put together photos and videos of the sale lots and, rather than running a sale day event, people can look at them and bid without leaving home or tractor.”

Other YFCs work with NSW Local Land Services. Biosecurity officer Lucy Collingridge recently appeared on WIN news to warn about growing wild dog populations

Rice Young Farming Champion and Landcare Coordinator Erika Heffer partnered with Kimberley Beer from Mixed Farming Systems and the Murray Regionals Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Sandy Dellwo to design and deliver the roll out of Murray LLS Sustainability Credentials Project which helps farmers map their farm to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Veterinarian Dione Howard has been using Facetime to look (virtually) at sick sheep in the paddock and determine treatment plans. Dione has also been using her social media skills on Instagram where she was recently featured on @getagducated and shared this video about her work as a vet.

 Out of the Field

Online communication skills, honed through the YFC program, having been coming to the fore during COVID. Dione joined Lucy Collingridge, Katherine Bain, Danila Marini, Chloe Dutschke and Sam Wan recently to beam into classrooms as part of Paddock Pen Pals. Sam has been coordinating the PPP team and mentoring Tom Squires and Matt Cumming for their first school visits.

Jo Newton has been mentoring younger YFC, assisting Meg Rice with her role in the newly formed Innovation Hub and Katherine Bain as she works behind the scenes to roll-out the next series of Leadership is Language. “My early agricultural journey has been shaped by role models and mentors. I believe in using the opportunities I’ve been afforded to pay it forward to support others,” Jo says.

YFC intern Jess Fearnley is receiving mentorship from PYiA director Lynne Strong. The pair has teamed up to collate materials for a Deep Dive into Careers in Agriculture, which will be used for students participating in The Archibull Prize.

The SA Branch of the Australian Association of Animal Sciences is proud to present the “Hot Topics in Animal Sciences” webinar series during September, starring our very own Danila Marini who will present on virtual fencing and animal behaviour.

Anika Molesworth has, too, been on stage, presenting “Fighting for Love” at the virtual Global Energy Smart Summit.

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Anika spoke about the challenges climate change brings to families and landscapes, and most importantly, what we can do about it. She received some heart-warming  feedback, with participants commenting on her passion and optimism, with one listener saying “You made me believe in the future again.”

See more of Anika on her newly launched website.

Prime Cuts

Congratulations to our wonderful and inspiring Jo Newton who has been named a winner of the 2020 Global Enactus Alumni Award (over 30 Category) at the Enactus World Cup. The award recognised alumni who live the Enactus values of integrity, passion, innovation and collaboration, and exemplify the Enactus mission of engaging the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders to use innovation and business principles to improve the world. Jo’s involvement with Enactus began through the University of New England team in 2010.

The World Cup saw teams from 32 countries meet online. Collectively the 1730 university teams of 72,000 next gen leaders improved the lives of 3.2 million people around the world. Jo was a judge and says: “Watching the presentations in the semi-final round and seeing each team’s progress against the UN sustainability goals reinforced to me the impact a team of driven young people can have.”

Congratulations to Meg Rice who has been elected to be as a board member of Country to Canberra

Another worthy achievement, often overlooked, is the way our own driven young people support each other. When Emma’s Young Achiever Awards was bumped from a black-tie event in Sydney, Lucy Collingridge stepped into the void to organise an online black-tie celebration for her. And with our Melbourne YFC still doing it tough in lockdown it was encouraging to see them reach out to each other, such as when Sam recently sent Jo some greenery to brighten her world. Here lies one of the greatest strengths of the YFC program.

Lifetime Achievements

The YFC also support and celebrate each other through life-time events, whether that be a growing family or time-out for some self-love, so it is with great pleasure we shout-out to Jasmine Green, who with her husband Hayden, welcomed Arthur William Green to the world on August 7 …..

…. and Jess Fearnely who had the experience of a life-time when she jumped out of her comfort zone to participate in a three-day snowshoe hike through the Snowy Mountains, which included camping out in the snow!

Jess also ran 100km through rain, hail, sun and snow to raise $1500 for the Fred Hollows Foundation. This money will restore sight for 60 people

Amazing stuff, girls.

#YouthinAg #STEMCareersinAg 

Young Farming Champions Muster August 2020

Headline Act

Covid continues to affect how we live and work and our thoughts this month are especially with our Victorian Young Farming Champions once again in lockdown. Yet even under these conditions they continue to shine.

Covid has challenged us to re-think the delivery of The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas and in this we took a proactive approach by developing a new model earlier in the year; and how to incorporate our YFC, whose travel restrictions change on a daily basis, was also an area in which we had to adapt.

Picture You in Agriculture is an organisation driven by agile and determined youth and we have been able to use virtual classroom options to expose young people to the diversity of careers in agriculture using our Paddock Pen Pals model. Carlingford West Public School in western Sydney recently participated in a Paddock Pen Pals session where six YFC – Lucy Collingridge, Chloe Dutschke, Danila Marini, Katherine Bain, Samantha Wan and Dione Howard – were thrilled to torpedo the stereotypical expectations of what a farmer looked like. It was a brilliant opportunity to show young people who they can be.

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And remember we said Victoria was in lockdown? Well the organisers of PPP thought it might be a good idea to give Melbourne-based wool-broker Sam Wan a rest from school participation. Sam got wind of this and was straight on the phone wanting passionately to be involved.

“I grew up only half an hour from Carlingford West – these students were me – and I had no idea about wool at their age.

I was excited to talk to the next generation of wool consumers about the benefits of wool and wool’s importance in Australia and of the career opportunities available.” Seems you can’t keep a good YFC down!” Sam says

In The Field

In the field our cropping YFCs are revelling in a good season and are in awe of the difference twelve months and a bit of rain can make!

Down at Lake Cargelligo, as she scans her now lush paddocks, agronomist Emma Ayliffe believes she has the best job in the world coming into spring. Emma has also been out-standing in her field (pun intended), talking to ABC Radio about Yacker. She had a yarn with Kia Handley about Covid and how Yacker is getting people talking again.

The canola crops around Cowra in Central West NSW are coming along a treat. Frequent in-crop rainfall and slightly warmer temperatures are bringing in brilliant yellow flowers across Marlee Langfield’s paddocks. “We have been blessed with substantial rain throughout the season, which is saturating our soils and causing our machinery to bog, so we called in the local ag pilot for our recent fungicide spray to get the job done,” Marlee said.

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In other Cowra-based news YFC and meat scientist Dr Stephanie Fowler has taken on more responsibility in her role with NSW DPI’s Centre for Sheep and Red Meat Innovation. With the retirement of her “great supervisor, mentor and boss” Dr David Hopkins, Steph will continue his work in collaboration with colleague Dr Benjamin Holman.

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Shoutout to Cowra Guardian for the photo

Calum Watt continues with his research to breed better barley for our beer and recently published his latest findings. Read all about “Harnessing Transcription Factors as Potential Tools to Enhance Grain Size Under Stressful Abiotic Conditions in Cereal Crops” here. We love your work Calum!

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Out of the Field

Out of the field and into the wider world and it has been podcast central for our YFCs this month as they share their stories across multiple platforms.

The successful YFC conversation series Leadership is Language has continued with YFC filling both the interviewer and interviewee roles.

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Hannah Hawker opened the current round of proceedings when she sat down with ARLF’s Graham Smith on July 23, Dr Anika Molesworth spoke with Francesca Earp and got insights into international agriculture on July 30, Dione Howard interviewed Coaching for Leaders podcast creator Dave Stachowiak on August 6 and Mandy McKeesick (writer and keeper of the YFC stories) stepped up to talk to Emma Ayliffe about her new app Yacker on August 13.

Following on from the launch of the Farms Advice podcasts, which last month featured Martin Murray and Emma Ayliffe, woolly YFC Emma Turner joined the party during August to speak about her life as an independent wool broker with the Australian Wool Network. Check out the full conversation here.

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Dr Jo Newton also joined the podcast party when she was interviewed by Mark Ferguson from neXtgen Agri. Mark generally focusses on the sheep and beef industries in Australia and New Zealand but spoke with Jo to get her take on the dairy industry and its contrasts to his usual world. Listen to the Head Shepherd podcast “From the City to the Cows” here.

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Never one to be left behind Martin Murray has joined the podcast party by creating his very own! Agronomist Martin takes a weekly look at agriculture and farming in Australia and around the world, covering a range of topics including soil health, ag tech, farm innovation, weed management, herbicide usage, livestock management, profitability and sustainability. Join Martin’s party here.

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Genetics and feedlot overseer Chloe Dutschke shared her thoughts on farm safety and mental health during a conversation with Alex Thomas and #Plantaseedforsafety. Through this project Alex is empowering women to take a lead role in farm safety: “that’s why I created the #PlantASeedForSafety Project. It’s about celebrating rural women and amplifying industry-driven, practical solutions that inspire rural men to save a life, by listening to their wife. Silence and safety paperwork doesn’t save lives, but rural women who are prepared to #PlantASeedForSafety – do.” Congratulations Chloe for sharing your stories.

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In other news several friends of the YFC – Matt Champness, Nicole McDonald, Franny Earp and Aimee Snowden – have been involved in putting together the AgriEducate 2020 Essay Competition. Tertiary students can contribute to overcoming issues in food production and agriculture here in Australia and globally by entering the essay competition in one of four categories: Science (e.g. agriculture, medicine, life sciences, nutrition),Engineering/IT/Maths, Law/Arts/Social Sciences/Extension/Education and Economics/Commerce/Business.

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Prime Cuts

Hot on the heels of being named a doctor after the acceptance of her PhD, Anika Molesworth is penning her first book! “A few months ago, I signed a contract with one of the big international publishing houses and now I have two months left to submit my manuscript! Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to the stories of amazing people around the world on how climate change is impacting their region, what it means for food security, and how we can fix a broken food system in a climate challenged world. From farmers, scientists, nutritionists, chefs and more, the book will explore how everyone can help tackle climate change through the meal on their plate.”

Anika has made a short video on her book-writing experience – watch it hereand when she is looking for a break you can find her chatting to 2GB’S National Rural News about National Science Week. The girl really is everywhere!

 

Lifetime Achievements

Congratulations to YFC Tom Tourle and his wife Courtney who welcomed a baby girl to the world on July 7. Cute-as-a-button Quinn Emily Tourle arrived at 9.30pm weighing 3.36kg and stretching out to 50cm long.

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Congratulations also to Deanna Johnstone who has moved into home ownership with the purchase of this sweet little house in Henty. “Project-time,” she says!

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Young Farming Champions Muster July 2020

Headline Act

Our Young Farming Champions are known as innovators, and during isolation they have certainly lived up to this title! In June we launched the Leadership is Language series, where our team sit down (virtually) with some of Australia’s foremost thought leaders to discuss how leadership can be influenced by the language and communication styles we use.

​The first interview in our series was hosted by Lucy Collingridge, who chatted to social science researcher Dr Nicole McDonald, and Nicole followed up this debut with a workshop specifically for Young Farming Champions. Next in the series saw friends of the YFC Kirsty White from Bald Blair Angus Stud sit down with human agronomist Rebel Black. Then it was Emma Ayliffe’s turn to chat to agri-specialist Sally Murfet, who also hosted an interactive workshop for the team.

Keep an eye on the website for more interviews in the Leadership is Language series – you’ll never know who might pop up!

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In The Field

Here in Australia we may be shivering through winter but YFC Kirsty McCormack is enjoying a Canadian summer. Kirsty has been working for genetics company “Quantum Genetix” as their Technical Sales Manager since Dec 2019. She lives on the ranch where her partner works, right next door to the Rocky Mountains and while July usually means it’s time for the Calgary Stampede, coronavirus has cancelled it this year. Instead of riding rodeo Kirsty is taking the time to enjoy the beautiful Rockies. We recently asked Kirsty what she loves about the world of agriculture

The people!! … how passionate they are. How much innovation and pride they take in making it better! …. the connection to the land the way they manage the soils

Follow Kirsty on Instagram  to see and feel how she shares her love of what she does through beautiful words and magificent images.

CowNerd Girl

Also working in North America is Kylie Schuller who is the sales manager for Andrews Meat Industries in Atlanta, Georgia. Kylie was one of the earliest YFCs, graduating in 2013 and, even though she admits she wasn’t thrilled with agriculture growing up (she grew up on a feedlot), she now has plenty to say on how the industry has provided a world of opportunity for her. See what advice she has for new YFC here.

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And while we’re chatting about northern summers YFC Alana Black, who is now based in Scotland, works with the Rural Youth Project. This “research-based project aims to develop feasible strategies to facilitate the involvement of young people in agricultural and rural activity by better understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.” One of Alana’s recent initiatives was to coordinate the Road Ahead seminar, which brought together six agriculturists from across the globe (including our very own Emma Ayliffe) to talk about farming and food-supply post Covid-19. “It was a chance to discuss the future of farming through our eyes and it was followed by the opportunity for journalists from around the world to hit us with their burning questions,” Emma says. If you didn’t manage to stay awake for the 11pm to 1am live broadcast on July 10, you can catch the replay here.

Back on Australian soil and two of our YFC – Emma Turner and Cassie Baile – have been busy providing wool reports for the Australian Wool Network. Watch their most recent video here. And also having a yack about agriculture have been Emma Ayliffe and Martin Murray who recently contributed podcasts to the newly formed Farms Advice website. Catch Emma’s podcast here and Martin’s here.

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Combining his interest for plants, agriculture and a newfound love for genetics, Young Farming Champion Calum Watt will be submitting his PhD thesis in September. Calum’s thesis looks at how  genetic research improved the productivity, sustainability and profitability of grain production by enabling plants to utilise their resources more efficiently and withstand seasonal stresses. Read the story in FarmOnline here 

Calum Watt

Out of the Field

We reported last month that Emma and Jo Newton would be featuring on Well-Being Wednesday; a free webinar hosted by Cynthia Mahoney and Louise Thomson discussing the wisdom and stories of rural woman. Well, now you can catch their videos!

Here is Emma and

Here is Jo.

In July we also caught up with YFC Dione Howard and her dad Graeme. The Howards have long been associated with NSW Farmers, with Dione’s great-grandfather being involved with early farming advocacy organisations in the 1950s and 60s. Check out the blog to see the cutest photo of Dione and her Dad, and learn why agricultural advocacy is important to them.

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The Howard Family a wonderful example of the culture of volunteering and advocacy in rural and regional OZ 

YFC Jasmine Whitten is a business analyst with Agripath in Tamworth and this month she spoke with evokeAg about how we are currently using farm data and the potential for where farm data can take us in the future. Discover what she had to say about farm data here.

Last year four of our YFC – Bessie Thomas, Lucy Collingridge, Dione Howard and Emma Ayliffe – were honoured in the annual NSW Department of Primary Industries Hidden Treasures list. This year Lucy is returning the love; taking part in a video to promote the 2020 Hidden Treasures about her extensive range of volunteering.

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And while she’s at it Lucy is also going dry in July. This is why: “I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’ve got it pretty easy in life. Some people don’t. We all know someone impacted by cancer, or we have lost someone from the dreaded disease. This July, I’m joining in on #DryJuly to help support cancer patients.” As we go to press Lucy has already raised over $1200 and the month is not over yet. Throw your support behind Lucy by donating here.

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Prime Cuts

In our Prime Cuts this month it’s a huge congratulations to YFC Melissa Henry and her Quebon Coloured Sheep. Melissa is passionate about supporting small-scale producers like herself and hand-crafters that want to grow their livestock enterprise and make the best use of their wool and lamb products. She regularly exhibits Quebon’s coloured wool and recently won Champion Lamb Fleece at the 23rd National Fleece Competition of the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Association (NSW) Inc. She also took out prizes for weaner and lamb fleece at the event held in Canberra. Find out more about Melissa’s coloured sheep by visiting the website.

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Lifetime Achievements

There is now a doctor in the (YFC) house. Congratulations to Anika Molesworth who had her PhD accepted during July – an amazing achievement and very well deserved. We’re all proud of you!

8.Anika

Photo credit Klorane Changemakers  

And on the subject of houses, congratulations to Jasmine Whitten who has put the sold sticker on a home in Tamworth

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and to Laura Phelps who has bought a flat in London. And suddenly they’re all grown up! Watch this space for a blog from Laura on what she is doing in the UK – its pretty exciting stuff

Callum and Laura