Young Farming Champions Muster April 2019 Second Edition

It’s Sydney Royal Easter Show time! This year we have sixteen Young Farming Champions trekking to Sydney for the show. Whether it’s stewarding merinos, hosting groups of glampers around the campfire, prepping prize poultry or judging show cattle, we are THERE! It’s the highlight of the agricultural show calendar and if you’d like to share the #myeastershow love with us, head on over to the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page to keep up with our YFCs at the show.

Read on for this week’s tops stories from our Young Farming Champions (YFC) across the county!

In the field

If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a contract musterer looks like, Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke shared insights into her career when she guest hosted our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week. Head to our Facebook page to follow more of Chloe’s adventures.

Chloe Dutschke

It was a busy week for Chloe, coinciding with the announcement of the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Scholarship, in which Chloe was named a 2019 Scholarship winner. Mega Congratulations Chloe! Read more about it in The Border Mail here.

Adele Chloe and Dione.jpg
Wool YFCs Adele Smith, Chloe Dutschke and Dione Howard at the Peter Westblade Scholarship dinner.

Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe attended the Acres of Opportunity Irrigated Cotton field day in Conargo, NSW. It was an opportunity for growers to look at a new cotton development in the local area.

Emma Ayliffe grower day

Out of the field

Primary Preview Day 1

Well done to our team of Young Farming Champions and friends of the program who helped pull off the incredible Primary Preview Day at Sydney Royal Easter Show last Thursday. Hundreds of school children engaged with activities around wool, eggs, soil and bees, hosted by our YFCs Samantha Wan, Haylee Murrell, Tim Eyes, Jasmine Whitten, Laura Bignell and Casey Onus.

Primary Preview Day 2

The biggest thanks goes to the team of brilliant “doers” who support our Young Farming Champions in these activations. All news from Sydney Royal reports the Primary Preview Day was a smashing success and we owe so much of that to the dream team who are behind us every step of the way. Thank you to everyone involved.

This was also a great opportunity for friend of PYiA, the incredible Aimee Snowdon from Little Brick Pastoral catch up with Hamish McClure, one of the winners of our 2018 National Agriculture Day competition.

Hamish McClure And Aimee Snowdon.jpg

The first Saturday on the Royal Easter Show provided the perfect opportunity for Paddock Pen Pals teacher Zoe Stephens from Carlingford West Public School and YFC Sam Wan and Dione Howard to meet face to face in the Sheep Pavilion.

Zoe Stephens Paddock Pen Pals with Dione and Sam .JPEG

Emily King from Australian Wool Innovation made the most of Zoe’s visit with an interview for the Yarn podcast series.  We look forward to sharing Zoe’s yarn with you shortly.

Beyond Sydney Royal, Climate Action YFC Anika Molesworth has had a busy week with keynote speaking gigs to more than 1000 people at NSW and ACT Geography Teachers Association Conference, Rotary Conference and Prime Super – Unleash Your Super Power Events.

Our PYiA Program Director was in the audience at the Prime Super – Unleash Your Super Power Event and said Anika had a very powerful affect on the audience with a number of people commenting that Climate Change was an important issue to them and Anika had empowered them to have meaningful conversations with friends, family and colleagues about Climate Action. Well done Anika!

Anika Call to Action Slide .png

lucy with deer

This week Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge travelled to Wee Waa and Walgett to present to two classes of students studying Certificate II & III of a Conservation Land Management course. As a Biosecurity Officer, she spoke to the students about the Biosecurity Act 2015, best practice for pest animal management and why management of invasive species is important, and what everyone can do to minimise the risk of spreading weed seeds. Lucy says, “The skills and confidence that I gained from the YFC program came in handy today! On arrival in Wee Waa, I discovered that the facility did not have a projector for my PowerPoint and I was able to modify my presentation to suit the setting. Without my YFC training I would have let this affect my delivery!”

Wool Young Farming Champion Sam Wan and Eggs Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten represented PYiA at Animal Welfare Collaborative Academic Think Tank Summit in Sydney on 9th April.

The goal of The Animal Welfare Collaborative is to act as a conduit for the multiple stakeholders in Australia’s livestock production system (industry bodies, community organisations, animal welfare organisations, research institutes, and the Federal, State and Territory governments) to do the following:

  1. Collaboration: Build respectful, collaborative relationships
  2. Translation: Turn the scientific evidence base of animal welfare into useful, field-ready decision tools
  3. Adoption: Increase the adoption of evidence-based ‘best practices’ in animal welfare
  4. Progress: Facilitate incremental, evidence-based improvements to animal welfare
  5. Participation: Enhance public participation in evidence-based decisions around animal welfare

Jas and Sam.jpeg

YVLT mentor coordinator and Wool YFC Dione Howard spoke at the District Veterinarians of NSW Conference in Newcastle this week about the complications of grazing canola in dry conditions. Around 90 delegates descended from across the state to discuss lessons learnt from drought, the key issues in NSW surveillance activities and to celebrate 101 years of public veterinary service.

Dione vets presentation.jpeg

YVLT Chair Jo Newton joined several hundred animal scientists from around the world at the British Society of Animal Science Conference in Edinburgh. She presented some of her research in the genetics and genomics session. Jo also had the opportunity to catch up with researchers at University of Edinburgh and gave a guest seminar on the value of genetic & genomic tools. She managed to fit in some sightseeing too, including a whisky tasting in the largest private whisky collection in the world.

Prime Cuts

We are very excited to introduce the 5 University of New England students who have been selected to undertake the Young Farming Champions Program. They are:

Welcome to the team!

Forbes Corby was spotted at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Ag Bag Stand, where he is spending his Easter break making sure every cent raised by the sale of the Ag Bag goes directly to the RAS Foundation Community Futures Grant program. Great work Forbes!

Forbes Corby.jpg

Congrats are also due to YFC Sally Poole who will shortly commence a new role as a precision ag agronomist at Precision Cropping Technologies (PCT) in Goondiwindi.

Massive shout out to YFC Alana Black who has had a piece published in The Australian Farmer. In it Alana shares her family’s experience with succession planning and has some great advice for anyone thinking about succession in farm businesses. You can read the story here.


It very much feels like all roads lead to the Royal this week with many YFC involved throughout the show. Congrats to YFC Bec Thistlethwaite, who has been selected as a 2019 Rural Achiever and is currently enjoying a behind the scenes Easter Show experience. Good luck to Bec this week as we await the announcement of the RAS Rural Achiever Scholarship.

Bec Thistlethwaite RAS Rural Achiever.jpg
YFCs Lucy Collingridge, Rebecca Thistlethwaite and Jasmine Whitten catch up at Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Lifetime Highlights

Congrats to YVLT secretary & Wool YFC Peta Bradley on her recent efforts at the Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim. Peta competed in two events, taking home two medals! A gold in the 600m Jetty Swim and bronze in the 2km ocean swim. Now in it’s 22nd year over 600 people competed in the charity event. You can watch some of the action here:

Wool YFC and YVLT communications coordinator Bessie Thomas and her family swapped the bush for the beach earlier this month, holidaying in the beachside paradise of Port Stephens thanks to an incredible random act of kindness. Bessie and her family – who have been farming through drought for several years –  were gifted the week long holiday from Alloggio/Port Stephens Accommodation business owners Will Creedon and wife Karen, former member of the NSW Legislative Council Scot MacDonald, and the Port Stephens Council. Local businesses The Little Nel cafe, Imagine Cruises, 4WD R US sandboarding adventures and Crest Birubi Beach cafe all pitched in to spoil Bessie’s family with delicious meals and amazing adventures. Read more in The Rural Weekly here.

port stephens.jpg
Bessie Thomas and family pictured with Karen and Will of Allogio / Port Stephens Accommodation

Outback Magazine and PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick currently writing a feature story on the fishing industry took the opportunity to make PYiA HQ her base this week. Have a great week together Mandy and Lynne!

Lynne and Mandy.jpg

Mandy is keen to take some Jamberoo green grass home with her 


#myeastershow #YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #ThisisAusAg

Young Farming Champion Muster April 2019 Edition 1

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Sheep breeders descend on Dubbo.

Central West NSW was home to all things sheep on the week of the 18th of March. Wool Young Farming Champion (YFC)  and Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) Secretary, Peta Bradley was present along with a 300 plus strong crowd at the Sheep CRC Final Conference celebrating 19 years of industry collaboration, research and adoption. Following this Sheep Genetics, who Peta works for, had their Leading Breeder conference, 170 sheep breeders from 6 states plus New Zealand attended.The conference theme was “Breeding sheep for a Future Environment”. See the word cloud below from the conference under the #leadingbreeder19 tag taken from the avid sheep breeders on Twitter.


Jasmine Whitten our Eggs Young farming Champion has been busy attending the Local Landcare Coordinator State Gathering in Sydney. This was an event where all the coordinators from across NSW got together for a few days of networking, sharing and learning from each other. At the event Jasmine participated in strategic planning, governance, and group facilitation workshops. She learnt a few tips and tricks which will hopefully make their way into her school presentations in this year’s Archibull Prize.


On top of this Jasmine in her role as a Local Landcare Coordinator at Western Landcare worked with the Buckwaroon Landcare Group organised a schools event for year 4 students at Cobar Public School. This event was called Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms and taught students how farmers care for their soil through the use of QR codes, using a stream table and an experiment which focused on the importance of grasses in our farming systems. It was a huge success with students asking if they can do it every single week!

Check out this little girl explaining how it all works  – another Jasmine in the making

YFC Calum Watt is kicking big goals in Western Australia as he researches better breeds of barley at Murdoch University in Perth. Calum is completing a PhD aiming to increase barley yields under future predicted temperature increases and has been nominated by his university to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in August. We look forward to the insights from the symposium – jump over to the blog to read more about Calum’s research!


The ‘field’ for many of our YFCs currently extends well beyond the paddocks of Australia – YFC Laura Phelps is currently in the United Kingdom leading the team responsible for EU-Exit for the Food Standards Agency. The Food Standards Agency makes sure that food is safe, what it says it is and that the rights of the consumer are protected. Laura has put together a guest blog for us on what she’s loving about working in the UK and the path that led her there – have a read and check out her visit to Hogwarts!

Laura P

YFC and YVLT Chair Jo Newton guest hosted the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from Ireland which also happens to coincide with the day of the Irish – St Patricks Day! Originally Jo started her YFC experience has a Wool YFC and she got her sheep fix by heading to an Irish sheep farm for lambing. You can read more about Jo’s experiences on our Facebook Page.


Some of the Eastern States were lucky enough to get under some much needed rain over the last fortnight with some significant rainfall reports recorded. Reports of >120mm in Central West NSW were recorded and some rivers which have not flown in 2 and a half years now have water moving downstream.

As Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge commented it would have been pretty awesome to watch the Castlereagh River start flowing again in Coonamble! This footage right on 12pm as the waters hit town ☔️

Fingers crossed that this is a sign of things to come for the rest of 2019 and follow up rainfall is not too far off the horizon. See our Facebook Page to see where the rain fell!


Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Out of the field


Now for an update on the launch of our Paddock Pen Pals program! Last muster we’d had the first couple of Google Hangout sessions beaming our YFCs straight into the classroom. The next wool YFCs taking the schoolroom to the paddock – or wool selling centre – were Sam Wan and Chloe Dutschke. Sam had an immediate connection with the students from Carlingford West Public School, being a city-kid herself. Chloe tuned in from the vast plains of Hay NSW which amazed the students in their classroom.

Our YFCs are again gearing up for Primary School Preview Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which will be held on 11th April. Students in Years 4-6 will experience the show behind the scenes and learn about Australian agriculture in a series of fun and interactive workshops. This year we are excited to be partnering with University of New England (UNE) and their Discovery Voyager team to bring five workshops to students on the day. YFC Jasmine Whitten will be talking all things eggs, YFCs Sam Wan and Haylee Murrell will be sharing the wonders of wool, YFC Casey Onus will workshop the secrets in soils and YFC Tim Eyes will bring the story of bees to students. We can’t wait to share with you some stories from the day in our next muster!

Earlier this month YFC and Youth Voices Vice Chair Emma Ayliffe recapped her recent trip to Israel over on our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page. Emma shared many insights into the 2019 ADAMA Young Agronomist Study Tour, including everything from farming systems in Israel to the nation’s rich cultural landscape. 

Emma Israel.png

Emma’s recap coincided with World Water Day on March 22nd, here’s what Emma had to say about water use in Israel:

I was lucky enough while in Israel to spend a day looking a desert farming, it is amazing to see high value crops being successfully grown in a region that receives 30mm/year! Irrigation allows these small producers to capitalise on their land, even though the water they use is extremely salty. This means that irrigation decisions need to carefully assessed based on weather, soil salt levels and the growth stage of the crop. It is truly amazing to see what can achieved with a bit of determination.”

Catch up on more of Emma’s recap over at our Facebook page!

Prime cuts

Congratulations to part of the YFC family, Greg Mills, who alongside his business partner in FutureGen Education Angela Colliver, was recognised for innovation in training programs in meat processing plants across NSW. Greg and Angela have developed programs to introduce school teachers to the industry, including plant tours and processing operations such as biosecurity risks, ethical handling of animals, use of robotics and packaging. Well done Angela and Greg!

Greg and Angela

Greg Mills and Angela Colliver of FutureGenEducation 

This week the NSW & ACT Geography Teachers’ Association annual conference is to be held at Sydney’s ANZ stadium. Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is keynote speaker at the conference and will speak on youth in agriculture, climate and community. This year’s conference theme is “reflecting on the past, assessing the present and shaping the future” and we are proud that Anika has been chosen to share her powerful messages on this theme. Congratulations Anika!


Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 Second Edition

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

In the field

lets hang out sheep

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

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

Carlingford West Public School Google Hangout with Danila Marini

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

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

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

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

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

Alexandria Galea

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

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


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

Sam Wan 1

Out of the field

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

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

Danila Marini

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

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

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

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

peta and greg

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

Emma A

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

Meg Rice

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

jasmine whitten

Prime Cuts

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Contact Lynne Strong E: to access an expression of interest brochure

#YouthinAgVoices #YouthVoices #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 First Edition

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

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

In the Field

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

You can read Bessie and Peta’s stories here.

You will find James and Martin’s stories here 

James Kanaley (2)

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

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

Marlee AgWomen.jpeg

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

Jas Cobar 2

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

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

Erika Transparent 2

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

Chloe Dutschke 1

Out of the Field

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

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

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

James Bidstrup

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

Bec T

Prime Cuts

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

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

Dr Jo Netwon, Chair

Emma Ayliffe, Vice Chair

Peta Bradley, Secretary

Dione Howard, Mentor Leader

Anika Molesworth, External Relations Manager

Bessie Thomas, Communication Co-ordinator

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19



Young Farming Champions Muster February 2019 1st Edition

This week our Young Farming Champions (YFC) would like to take a moment to extend our thoughts and well wishes to those farmers in Queensland currently affected by devastating widespread flooding. To our North Queensland cousins, we are thinking of you! #StrongerTogether

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Happy International Women in Science Day!

Our Young Farming Champion network is full of legendary women using science to make the world a safer, healthier, more abundant place for humans and animals to live. Today Picture You in Agriculture is celebrating them and their vital work with this video starring YFCs Lucy Collingridge, Danila Marini, Alexandrea Galea, Anika Molesworth, Jo Newton and Dione Howard. Wonderful work from wonderful women! #WomeninScience #InternationalWomeninScienceDay #WomeninSTEM

Wool YFC Bessie Thomas made headlines in the Rural Weekly this fortnight with a joyful story following her family’s journey through the last two years of drought. Bessie, her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter farm merinos in far-western NSW. She has received much kind feedback following the story and wanted to thank everyone for their ongoing support through the drought. Read the story here.

Bessie Sparks of Joy

Out of the Field

Congrats to YFC Bron Roberts who has just launched her new business venture B R Rural Business offering tailored management solutions for productive beef enterprises. Bron says, “I’m passionate about the beef industry and helping producers to be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. If you or anyone you know need a hand keeping records and want to use them to make real decision to improve your livestock productivity then I’m your girl!’ You can support Bron in her venture on Facebook here

Bron new business

Youth Voices Leadership Team Mentor Leader and Local Lands Service vet Dione Howard spoke to NSW Country Hour late last month. Listen in here from 11min35sec to hear Dione outline the risks of livestock eating toxic weeds causing liver damage. Great job Dione!

Beef YFC Kirsty McCormack, who’s currently living and working in Canada, was spotted in this case study by Rural RDC.

Kirsty McCormack

YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah, who run The Food Farm on the NSW Central Coast, recently joined Nationals candidate for Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson in judging the 2019 Kiama Showgirl. Well done Tim and Hannah!

KatrinaTim Eyes Showgirl judge

Tim will also be returning to the Sydney Royal Easter show this April. Tim was over the moon when he got the call from the RAS of NSW in 2017 inviting him to be the farmer the glamping participants get to share the campfire experience with over the 14 days of the show. He so looking forward to inspiring the lucky glampers to be as excited about the agriculture sector as he is again in 2019. Read all about it here.

Cotton YFC Martin Murray was profiled on NSW Young Farmers Facebook page this week for his role on the Young Farmer Council. Great read Martin!

“I’m an agronomist working for a group called AMPS, we’re an independent agchem reseller with a very strong focus on on-farm research to improve grower outcomes. I work with our research team in the running of our trials and our growers to transfer our research findings into on farm results to further strengthen their businesses. “I joined NSW Farmers in 2015 as they are able to effectively represent the farmers of NSW, taking their thoughts and concerns to parliament. I also joined the Young Farmer Council so I could be proactive in representing the interests and concerns of young people in or entering agriculture. “There are two major ways we can give young farmers a hand up going into the 2019 state election. First, stamp duty relief will remove the significant disadvantage in relation to other first home buyers, because we can’t currently access the exemptions offered to young city residents purchasing homes zoned as residential. Second, we can help lift the productivity of our farm businesses through investing in our farmers’ digital, financial and risk management skills.”

Prime Cuts

Our Youth Voices Leadership Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe is an invited speaker at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference. Em’s been invited to talk on ‘Careers in Grain’  in the student forum. You can find our more detail about the program and register to attend here.

Emma is also jetting off to Israel shortly as part of her prize for winning Runner Up in the ADAMA Agronimist of the Year awards. Safe and happy travels Emma! We’re looking forward to hearing all about it.


Sticking with the conference theme, Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton, will be heading to Edinburgh in April where she’s had a paper accepted at the British Society of Animal Science Conference. The paper highlights the value of using data from commercial Australian dairy farms to demonstrate the benefits of herd improvement practices.

Jo Newton

Jo’s not the only YFC venturing to the Northern hemisphere. One of our newest YFC Alana Black will be heading to Scotland. While there she will be working for the Rural Youth Project. The Rural Youth Project aims to “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

alana black

Given the massive contribution Alana’s to the YVLT Communication Sub-Committee we know she’s going to make a really valuable contribution in Scotland and we’re looking forward to the sharing of ideas and experiences between the Rural Youth Project and PYiA. Read more about Alana’s journey here.

Congratulations to YFC and Climate Action advocate Anika Molesworth who has been appointed to the Crawford Fund’s NSW Committee.  The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries of Australia’s engagement in international agricultural research and development.

The 2018 Narromine Showgirl and Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien will represent Narromine at the Zone 6 Final of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition on February 16 in Young. Keiley will be up against 39 other Showgirls, from which three finalists will be chosen. Read more in the Narromine News here. Good luck to Keiley, and also to YFC Jasmine Whitten who will head to Narrabri to compete in her Showgirl Zone Final on February 26th! #goodluck

Keiley O'Brien

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster January 2019 2nd Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country and the globe.   In the Field The power of collaboration is a defining feature of our Young Farming Champions (YFC) team, and this week it was well and truly evident! Wool YFC Bessie Thomas is based on Burragan Station near Wilcannia in Far … Continue reading “Young Farming Champions Muster January 2019 2nd Edition”

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

In the Field

The power of collaboration is a defining feature of our Young Farming Champions (YFC) team, and this week it was well and truly evident! Wool YFC Bessie Thomas is based on Burragan Station near Wilcannia in Far Western NSW and last week Bessie’s family’s wool went up for auction. Enter Wool YFC Samantha Wan. Sam is a Wool Technical Coordinator  and Auctioneer with Elders at the National Selling Centre in Melbourne. Sam sent through photos and videos so that Bessie and her family could experience the next step of the process chain.

Wilcannia to Melbourne.JPG

A 1000 km and 11 hour journey by road for a true example of #Farm2Fabric #StrongerTogether


The Journey of Wool  in pictures from YFC Bessie Thomas’ property in Far Western NSW to YFC Sam Wan’s place of work at Elders, Melbourne.

Back on Burragan Station, Bessie compiled a visual memory of 2018:

“It was the driest year we’ve had since I moved here in February 2011. We received 83mm of rain for the year – better than some – when our yearly average is between 250-300mm. We’ve now been hand feeding a mixture of grains and hay for almost two years and we’ve sold about 50 percent of our usual herd. I’m proud we made it through and still have happy sheep growing wool to show for the hard work put in this year (especially by my husband who only had 14 days off all year), but geewhiz, it’s time for some rain (and a family holiday!) please! Bring it on 2019! We can do this!”

With no sign of relief for many drought-affected regions of Australia, YFC and Moree-based agronomist Casey Onus shared a photo of the harsh reality of cotton farm dams in the current climate. These dams are either bone dry or being utilised as a paddock to try and grow a crop.


YFC Casey Onus shares the harsh reality of drought affected cotton farms.

The drought has brought about key learnings for many members of the YFC network – these formed the first instalments of our blog series “Lessons Learned from the Drought.” In Part One of the series Cropping YFCs Emma Ayliffe and Dan Fox teamed up to share what farming in one of the worst droughts in NSW had taught them 


Emma Ayliffe and her partner Craig bought a farm in the middle of drought, but positivity ,diversity and preparedness are paying off.

“Smile! We can’t make it rain… When you find yourself in the dust stand up, brush it off and go again. A new year means 365 days to kick goals.”  says Emma 

In Part Two of the series, Grains YFC’s Marlee Langfield and Keiley O’Brien share their insights into making hay (and growing crops) while the sun shines … and shines, and shines!

If we can grow a remarkable crop in one of the most challenging seasons then I can’t wait to see what we can do when it DOES rain,” – Marlee Langfield.


227 days from start to finish – harvesting canola windrows in December on YFC Marlee Langfield’s property near Cowra, NSW.

Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe took cotton, community and educational interaction to a new level in 2018 as she worked with Parramatta Public School in The Archibull Prize.

emma ayliffe parammatta public school case studyParramatta Public School won the Professor Jim Pratley Award at The 2018 Archibull Prize Awards

This amazing level of all round engagement first started at the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show and Emma followed up with school visits and skyped in to show the students a moisture probe in action in the middle of a paddock. You can read more about Emma’s work with Parramatta Public School here.

Out of the Field

We have already heard about the wonderful work of Wool YFC Samantha Wan and her championing the #farm2fabric journey of Bessie’s wool. Samantha has taken the next step in sharing all things wool by creating a blog for all things wool titled I Wool, Wool You? You can jump on and follow Sam’s blog here.

Sam Wan Blog.png


While we’re on the subject of wool, YFC Melissa Henry had a successful weekend at Bungendore Show with her stud Quebon Coloured Sheep, bringing home Grand Champion Ram. Melissa and her family operate their stud at Young, in the beautiful Hilltops region of NSW.

Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry

YFC Melissa Henry operates Quebon Coloured Sheep, who had a successful weekend at Bungendore Show.

And wait there is more on the subject of wool!!! Sheep Producers Australia is providing a fantastic opportunity through their Sheep Industry Ambassadors program 

sheep industry ambassador award

There was also plenty of opportunities for young beef producers with the 2019 Angus Youth National Roundup held in Armidale in January . This event draws over 170 competitors from Australia, NSW Zealand and Germany and some familiar YFC faces! YFC Jasmine Green judged the parader’s competition and YFC Dee George helped organise the event, both women encouraging other young people to develop their skills and instil a love of Angus cattle.

“My first roundup was in 2005. Throughout my years competing and now helping organise an event like this, I have made lifelong friends and contacts within the industry. I learnt so much and will continue to learn more through my involvement with AYRU.” Dee says.

Young Farming Champion  Jasmine Green

YFC Jasmine Green judged the parader’s competition at the 2019 Angus Youth National Roundup.

Superstar Jasmine Whitten has just started her new job with Landcare NSW. Jasmine has made the move west to Cobar to start the position as Local Landcare Coordinator for the Bourke and Far West Region. We are sure that she will be a wonderful addition to the Landcare Team! You can see Western Landcare post here.

Young Farming Champion and Landcare coordinator Jasmine Whitten

Narromine based Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien has certainly had a busy 12 months. She has been rewarded for her hard work with 2 big pieces of news coming in over the last week. Firstly she has begun a new job at RuralBiz Training and to cap it all off she had the honour of speaking at her local Australia Day Ceremony. This is an honour for anyone to be asked to speak at such an event – so a massive congratulations to you Keiley.

Now a shout out to Aimee Snowden, close friend of the Young Farming Champions program. Aimee is the founder of Little Brick Pastoral, who teamed up with the Archibull Prize in 2018 for the National Ag Day Careers Competition. We love following the adventures of Aimee and her Lego Farmer who this month attended BrickVention in Melbourne. Check out the Little Brick Pastoral blog to catch the highlights from BrickVention and what’s ahead for Aimee in 2019!

This one’s straight off the plane! YFC Sam Coggins has just arrived at Rothamsted Research in England – he will be there for three months contributing to a project (funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) aiming to enable better agronomy tools and services for small-scale farmers in Africa. We look forward to sharing more updates from Sam’s trip!

Horticulture YFC Tayla Field is profiled in this month’s edition of Vegetables Australia, speaking about what drives her passion for agriculture.

Tayla has been extremely busy since graduating from university, after participating in two leading professional development courses for the horticulture industry, as well as participating in The Archibull Prize and working full time.

Tayla Field Young Farming Champion

YFC Tayla Field is profiled in the January-February edition of Vegetables Australia. You can read the full article and catch up on all of the horticulture happenings here!

Meat Scientist and Young Farming Champion Dr Steph Fowler is in her mobile office on the road for the next two weeks with her master’s student Bridgette travelling from Cowra NSW to Qld to collect data from northern cattle. Ever wondered what a meat scientist does? Well now is your chance.. follow Steph and Bridgette’s journey on our Facebook page here

steph fowler meat scientist

Prime Cuts

YFC Calum Watt is off to a cracking start for 2019 – Calum successfully applied for an industry grant to undertake a barley breeding program on top of his PhD from early 2019. Calum was featured in Farm Weekly towards the end of 2018 when the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd funding was announced. Has also published his first scientific article. Congratulations all round Calum!

Calum Watt .jpg

YFC Calum Watt was featured in Farm Weekly following his successful grant application to undertake a barley breeding program in 2019.

Mega congratulations to one of our inaugural YFC Hollie Baillieu who has recently taken up a new role as Manager of Public Policy at Woolworths


Hollie Baillieu

As part of the Government Relations and Industry Relations team, Hollie will use her  passion for agriculture and experience in the sector to work with industry and government throughout Australia. She sees relationship building  as key to this role. Hollie will also take on a mentor role for our Young Farming Champions in 2019. Thank you Hollie. Your career journey life experiences will bring a wealth of knowledge and valuables insights to our new Mentor-Mentee program  Cultivate – Empowering Influencers 

We are also super excited to see long term Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize programs champion supporter Emeritus Professor James Pratley awarded an OAM for significant service to agricultural science through roles as an educator, researcher and adviser.

Wrapping Up

Whilst Australia Day brings many mixed emotions our Young Farming Champions took the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful produce our Australian farmers feed and clothe us with in this video and these words

“Today we look backwards, forwards and most importantly see where we are right now and decide what it is we must do to make the best decisions into the future. The future isn’t a place we just get to go – it is a place we get to create. Together.”

We look forward to working with young people in rural and regional Australia and urban communities in 2019 to co-create the bright future we all deserve

 #YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether


Young Farming Champions Muster January 2019 Edition 1

happy ny

Happy New Year from team YFC!

Another year, another 365 days of opportunity for this amazing bunch. While everyone has been enjoying their summer breaks the team keeps on achieving. Here are snippets from the last 2 weeks.

In the field

Over the last few weeks we have seen a huge number of dust storms blow through parts of Australia. While dust storm are not uncommon, the drought that continues to linger is making them more prevalent and more spectacular. A number of YFC have been caught in the middle of the dusty events with some great pictures captured here from right across New South Wales

This great video footage from Cotton YFC Ben Egan at Warren

and this from Wool YFC Bessie Thomas as Wilcannia


and this from  grains YFC Keiley O’Brien at Narromine


Out of the Field

The New Year is a time of change for many, with several of our YFC stepping into new positions around the country!

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Wool YFC Katherine Bain has got a promotion at Paraway Pastoral becoming a Business Analyst for Central West NSW Region. This role will see Katherine working closely with station managers analysing farm financial and production information. Congrats Katherine.

Emma Turner  (39).jpg

It’s a long way from Ivanhoe, NSW to Launceston, TAS. Wool YFC Emma Turner made the move just before Christmas to join the Australian Wool Network as a Wool Admin and Buyer.


In contrast, Eggs YFC Jasmine Whitten is heading out west to Cobar, NSW to take up a position as a Local Landcare Coordinator in January.

Jasmine also jumped on Picture You in Agriculture socials this week capturing her experiences at the Santa Gertrudis Junior Show in Warwick, QLD. It was her third year as a group leader at the show. The event aims to provide an opportunity for students aged 7-18 years to learn about all things beef from meat science, how to parade an animal, to be a junior judge!

santa youth camp

Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge has also been supporting the next generation. Lucy helped her home show society host 36 kids aged from 5-25 years for the Cootamundra Hereford Heifer Show.


The two day show allowed kids to learn about breeding, growing and showing cattle, with detailed workshops on public speaking, halter making, assessing animals, artificial insemination, animal husbandry, grooming, parading and marketing.

Lucy said, ‘We had kids travel from all over NSW and even as far as SA! Due to the hot weather, a number of local studs provided cattle for the kids to use to reduce the risk of heat stress to transporting the livestock.’  

Summer heat is quite a contrast from Lucy’s worldly adventures in Canada. Lucy’s written a guest blog capturing her experiences here  

Huge accolades for YFC Tegan Nock pictured here celebrating with partner Frank Oly. Their collaboration Grassroots: A Documentary, recently won ‘Best Climate Change Documentary’ at the Life Science Film Festival in Prague.


Grassroots was written & produced by Tegan and directed by Frank.  You can watch the doco (for free) over on the Australian Science Channel. Grab yourself a cuppa & settle in when you’ve got 20 min up your sleeves to be inspired by what a passionate group of people is able to achieve.

Watch it here

Congrats are also due to YFC Prue McCormack has had a busy few months ticking off 3 major milestones. Prue finished her Vet Science degree at CSU while 37 weeks pregnant! Prue & Shannon welcomed son Jock into the world on August 1st. Coincidentally Jock shares his birthday with horses, which is fitting given both his parents love of horses! Prue has recently commenced part time work at New England Veterinary Services while still operating her equine dentistry business


Prue & Jock at Jock’s Christening

Last year Wool YFC Danila Marini won the Professional’s category at the LambEx Young Guns Competition. At LambEx Danila shared some of her work as a post-doc at the University of New England. She’s part of a larger team of researchers exploring how virtual fencing may help better manage livestock. Danila’s research focuses on sheep. If you missed LambEx, you now have the opportunity to watch her presentation online here. This is one you don’t want to miss

Danila impressed LambEx audiences with her presentation

Keeping with the YouTube theme, Lucy Collingridge  recently spoke to the University of New England about her time experiences at UNE. Congrats Danila and Lucy, great to see your communications skills being put to good use.

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAG

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