Young Farming Champions Muster March 2021

 

 

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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!

 

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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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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

Young Farming Champions Muster May 2020

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Headline Act

This week is National Volunteer Week with the theme of “Changing Communities. Changing Lives” and  we’d like to give a huge shout-out and thank you to over one hundred Young Farming Champions who volunteer, in some capacity, 365 days a year.

Our YFC have exciting and rewarding careers in agriculture and on top of this give their time to anyone from the local fire brigade to state show societies, but most importantly they volunteer to inspire young people to follow them into agriculture. Even in a COVID world our YFC are integral parts of The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas creating a new world of collaboration, community and connection.

Read on for examples of our wonderful YFC in action.

 In The Field

The coronavirus crisis continues to dominate our lives but our Young Farming Champions have come up with novel ways to approximate ‘business as usual’.

Local Land Services Biodiversity Officer Lucy Collingridge has set-up a drive-through bait collection point for farmers wishing to participate in fox control. “Foxes don’t social distance, so we needed a program that worked for landholders,” Lucy says. Read all about her initiative in The Land.

Also innovating during the coronavirus is wool broker Sam Wan. With buyers unable to attend the usual weekly sales the industry has had to change to an online medium – and Sam was leading the change. Read more about the online wool auctions on Sheep Central.

Before the wool can get to Sam it needs to come off the sheep and YFC Tom Squires has spent the corona crisis shearing rams. On a property in central Tasmania Tom was a part of a 5-person crew, whipping the wool off 5,000 sheep. However, this time around there was a few additional rules and guidelines with every worker keeping 1.5 metres apart and following strong hygiene practices. “Essentially, the same rules which apply in Woolworths apply to the shearing sheds” Tom says. “It has certainly made some shearing times on farms longer than usual, but everyone’s health is a priority and we are grateful the industry can continue to operate”.

On a lighter note, home isolation has meant some of our YFC are returning to familial roots. Katherine Bain took the chance to continue Easter traditions despite isolation and made a year’s supply of quince paste for everyone!

Planting season has also been in full swing for our YFC croppers as they take advantage of good rain received earlier in the year and get out the big toys. Check out this blog post to see what Marlee Langfield, Emma Ayliffe and Dan Fox are planting, and check out Marlee’s superb images below.

Congratulations to Alana Black who is celebrating twelve months in Scotland working for Jane Craigie Marketing and Rural Youth Project, eating haggis and milking coos. Alana has a Bachelor of Communication – Public Relations from Charles Sturt University and in 2018 was announced as an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Trailblazer for her work on communication and succession planning in family farming businesses. Alana’s Scottish employers are so happy with her they made her an anniversary video. Way to go Alana!

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Our YFCs are also working in research laboratories and offices and sharing their technical knowledge with the world. Check out this paper forming part of Calum Watt’s continuing ambition to breed better barley for your beer, this one from meat scientist Stephanie Fowler on fat content of the lamb chop to go with Calum’s beer, and this one from Jo Newton on big data in the dairy industry.

Sharna Holman has been sharing her cotton knowledge on social media – spamming Facebook and Twitter en masse. When confronted on why she has been filling our newsfeed with cotton spam here is what she had to defend her actions: “I think it’s important to showcase agriculture and often our day-to-day jobs and, in my case the trials I’m involved in, to different audiences to highlight the variety in agriculture and agricultural careers. For me, sharing my ‘work life’ on Facebook often allows my city friends to get an insight into what I mean when I say ‘I’ve been in the field’ especially being a born and bred Sydney-sider. Sharing on twitter allows cotton growers and agronomists to get an insight into our trial work, what we are doing and our results and it allows conversations to start with people that we may not have been able to reach traditionally due to distance or time. So sorry, not sorry, for all that spam….”

Sharna Holman

 Out of the Field

World Earth Day was held on April 22 and magazine Marie Clarie asked three scientists about their personal perspective on how these climate events are affecting the wild spaces where they live and work. One of these was our Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who is a farmer at Broken Hill. She inspired the heart and minds of many with a single quote, “I only have to look out the window of my home to see the impacts of climate change,” she says. “It breaks my heart to see the land suffering this way. However, with this sadness for what has already been lost, and the anger for the lack of action taken to address a problem we have been warned about for so long – comes hope.” Anika is continually creating a better future by being a part of the conversation. We are always wondering where we will see Anika feature next. Keep watching this space!

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Not to be out done YFCs Tom Squires and Lucy Collingridge celebrated World Earth Day by sharing their love of nature and adventure on our social media channels. Lucy summed up perfectly why we should all celebrate World Earth day, “the earth is such a fragile yet beautiful wonder, and I am lucky to be alive at a time when you can jump in a plane, train, boat or car and see so much of what it has to offer. From watching whales breech only metres from our zodiac in the depths of Antarctica to kayaking next to glaciers that are thousands of years old. What an absolute privilege it is to be able to experience so many of nature’s wonders – not only when we travel abroad but also at home.”

And all of our YFCs are stars on the revamped Archibull Prize website. Tayla Field, Jasmine Whitten, Jessica Fearnley and Casey Onus talk sustainable communities, Lucy talks biosecurity and there are over 30 career profiles on the amazing lives of YFCs. Also on the website is the first project from the newly formed YVLT Innovation team, which showcases Anika and provides a structured way for the general public to engage with her. Read more on the Innovation team in this blog and keep an eye out for exciting developments in the near future.

Still on Anika and during lockdown she has taken the time to connect with farmers from around the world via Zoom. “I have organised or facilitated seven online events over the past few weeks – which has been such a fantastic and energising experience! We can learn a lot from our global farming family and we can be there to support one another during these challenging times.”

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Also innovating during lockdown is Dione Howard who has been judging agricultural essays. “The South Coast and Tablelands Youth in Ag Movement created an online show and fellow 2020 RAS Rural Achievers Ryan McParland and Kory Graham have invited the rest of our group to take part in the show as judges,” she says. “I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s entries and feeling inspired about the year ahead for shows and community events across Australia.” Make sure you join ‘Online Show 2020’ Facebook group for updates and results.

Usually during April Lucy would also be doing her bit for agricultural shows at Sydney Royal and even though she couldn’t be there in person this year, she gave her time for an interview with show ring announcer Lyndsey Douglas. Read the full interview here.

In more exciting out of the field news UNE students Ruby Fanning and Becca George have been selected as part of the Angus Youth Consultative Committee. The Committee provides consultation and representation on behalf of Angus Youth members, and will be a wonderful opportunity for them to explore their leadership potential. Read more on their selection here. Congratulations girls.

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Lifetime Achievements

Our YVLT Chair Emma Ayliffe, continues to kick amazing goals and after six years of study has completed her Master of Science in Agriculture. This is alongside running her business Summit Ag, farming her own land with partner Craig and donating endless hours as a volunteer. Congratulations Emma – you are an inspiration to us all.

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Emma also inspires us with her work/life balance and here she and Craig enjoy a beer and a sunset snap to celebrate two years of farm ownership. Let’s cross our fingers they get wetter years for the next two and keep the farming dream alive!

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and the best news you can join the team

Thanks to Corteva Agriscience two scholarships are available to join our Growing Young Leaders program

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You can find the EOI brochure here 

If you would like a Young Farming Champion to visit your school Expressions of Interest are also open for The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas

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Find out how to get involved here

#YouthinAction #YouthVoices #YouthinAg #Agriculture #Farming #GlobalGoals

Young Farming Champions Muster April 2020

Anika Molesworth took the Young Farming Champions message global when she visited Antartica as part of Homeward Bound

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Welcome to the first Young Farming Champions Muster for 2020. What a year it has been already; opening with drought, morphing into bushfires, blessed with rain and now we are living in a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. However, our cohorts of YFCs are not called champions for nothing and are rising to all challenges placed before them.

Let’s have a look at what Young Farming Champions have been up to under the umbrella of the coronavirus.

First up, the YFC alumni at Youth Voices Leadership Team have announced their new committee for 2020. We welcome Emma Ayliffe as Chair, Dione Howard as Vice Chair, Marlee Langfield and Jasmine Whitten as Social Media Coordinators, Jo Newton as Returning Officer, Samantha Wan as Innovation Hub Representative, Anika Molesworth as Partnerships Ambassador and Jessica Fearnley as the Cultivate Intern.

Speaking of Cultivate, expressions of interest are now open for the 2020 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Program.

And not even coronavirus is going to stop The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas with work underway to take the programs online with a new collaborative vision.

 

In The Field

Our YFC horticulturists Emily May, Tayla Field and Jess Fearnley are exploring new pathways on their career journeys. Emily commenced work with Ace Ohlsson at the end of March as a sales support officer based in McGrath’s Hill (north-west Sydney), and she is excited by the opportunity to share her knowledge with farmers in the region.

Tayla is currently completing a three month internship with Natures Way Foods in the UK. That’s right a career in agriculture can take you global!

And Jess, who works as a development officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries, is using skills learnt in her first year of the Cultivate program to kick start her leadership journey.

And while we’re talking about careers this blog, written by our AWI colleague Sam Arnfield, is a great example of where agriculture can take you.

Out of the Field

In March YVLT Social Media Coordinator Marlee Langfield joined a group of industry trailblazers, influences and farmers who came together from across Australia to begin their journey on the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. The aim of this six month program is to upskill producers in engagement to raise awareness and build connections with different audiences about the experience of grain farming in Australia. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.

Marlee has also featured on the Invisible Farmer Project with her story titled: Proud to call myself a rural woman. We’re proud to call you a YFC, Marlee. Read her fabulous story here.

Photographer/Source: Catherine Forge, Museums Victoria 

It was back to school for Jo Newton (third from left in photo) who returned to Tintern Grammar as part of the Junior School Girls International Women’s Day celebrations. The Year 6 students ran the assembly with each year level preparing interview questions about different alumni’s careers. The Preps prepared questions for Jo, which included asking her about why she enjoyed working with animals and what steps they could take if they wanted to work with animals. The Preps also performed a special song they had written about Jo.

YFC agronomist Casey Onus presented a talk on “promotion, price and unheard advice” to growers and emerging agronomists at the Grains Research and Development Corporation catch up in Goodiwindi on March 3. Good on you Casey for paying it forward.

YFCs Jasmine Whitten, Dione Howard, Matt Cumming, Meg Rice, Keiley O’Brien, Marlee Langfield, and Dan Fox attended the inaugural Young Farmer Business Program in Dubbo on February 7. Gatherings such as this play an integral role in our networking, socialising and personal wellbeing. Watch the videos here and here.

Anika Molesworth moderated an online panel webinar titled “Making a Global Difference” on March 19th – run by the Crawford Fund and the Future Farmers Network. The webinar was about agriculture in developing countries, its benefits of volunteering to our neighbours and Australian agriculture, and pathways to get involved. Anika was joined by fellow YFC Sam Coggins on the panel who gave great insight on his time working overseas in agricultural development and what he’s up to now with ACIAR.

Emily May has teamed up with Harvest Trails and Markets (aka Hawkesbury Harvest) and ABC702 radio who broadcast ‘what’s fresh on the Farm Gate Trail’ each Saturday morning.

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

Emma Ayliffe, never one to sit still for long, began 2020 by setting up Tulli Young Farmers and hosting their first field day with guest speakers including our very own Dan Fox. Read more here.

Prime Cuts

Did we mention Emma doesn’t like to sit still? Well we are pleased to announce she has been recognised for all her dedication and hard work, being named a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards.

“The Young Leader Award is much bigger than me,” Emma says. “It’s a recognition for the business and the amazing people I work with. It is an amazing pat on the back for the YFC and YVLT for all we have achieved and a huge recognition for the wider ag industry that allows someone like me to have a go and push the boundaries”.

This, folks, is leadership at its finest and we will be keen to follow Emma’s leadership journey closely over the next few years.

Also kicking big goals is YVLT Vice Chair Dione Howard who was named a finalist in the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) 2020 RAS Rural Achiever Award. Unfortunately the Sydney Royal Easter Show is cancelled this year due to coronavirus but on the flip side Dione has another twelve months to polish her skills! The 2020 Rural Achiever cohort will be held over until 2021.

Not one but two Cotton YFCs have been awarded Nuffield Australia Scholarships!! Narromine’s Billy Browning, supported by the Australian Department of Agriculture and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, will investigate the value-adding of irrigation water and increased utilisation of low-flow water, while Richie Quigley, supported by the CRDC and Cotton Australia, will investigate cropping systems and methods to retain more crop residue in zero-tillage farming systems. Congratulations boys.

Lifetime Achievements

Congratulations to YFCs Hannah Hawker and Prue McCormack who have welcomed little bundles of joy into the world. Alfie George Hawker was born on 2.12.2019 to Hannah and Sam, while Isla McCormack was born to Prue and Shannon McCormack. Congratulations also to Keiley O’Brien and her partner Ross who tied the knot in late February. Rumour has it they got the got the best wedding gift anyone could ever ask for – a decent drop of rain!

But all great love stories have a few good plot twists. This was the sunset at which Anika and her fiancé Corey were to say their wedding vows. Their loved ones would raise their champagne to the sky, the orchestra would play and they would dance as the stars came out. However, this chapter took a different turn.

“Instead of symbolising a life of love between two people, this sunset is written into our story to signify the love we have for all family and friends in our hearts. The wedding will just have to wait for another perfect sunset when the threat of COVID 19 is just a thing of the past.”