Young Farming Champions Muster August 2021

Welcome to our 55th Young Farming Champions (YFC) Muster which brings you this month’s top stories from our YFC around the country and globe.

Young Farming Champions Alumni Anika Molesworth ( Daily Telegraph) and Emma Ayliffe (Country Style) had full page stories in mainstream media this month 

Headline Act

Exciting news as this month we are looking to increase our crop of Wool Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

 AWI is proud to have supported the Young Farming Champions program for eight years and we believe the program is an important way to develop the next generation of our industry’s leaders.” CEO Stuart McCullough said

The 2021 scholarship will allow  a young person with their heart in the wool industry to participate in the prestigious two year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program, and for a Young Farming Champion to mentor them.

Find out the details here 

The EOI brochure can be found here

Please find the Expression of Interest form here

With 8 out of 10 of our Young Farming Champions being female its not surprising we would join forces with Soroptimist International (SI )Griffith to achieve gender equity.  

The partnership began in 2019 when SI Griffith supported  YFC  Dr Anika Molesworth to travel to Antarctica with a cohort of 100 other female scientists from around.

Flash forward three years later, and when Soroptimist International Griffith (SI) wanted to take action to address climate change, they turned to Anika. She shared with SI the impact that Action for Agriculture (A4A) had played and was continuing to play in her professional and personal development, six years after joining one of its world-renowned programs, Young Farming Champions (YFC).

“I attribute my work’s impact with rural women, farming communities and international development largely to the skills I learnt through this program

A4A is championing rural young people, teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and bringing those people close to food and farming production, motivating and enabling them to help shape rural communities for the better. Imagine if more rural people are given a similar opportunity!”  says Anika, who now sits on the A4A Youth Leadership team.

As Soroptimist International Griffith’s founder Will Mead says, that “was enough for us”. They decided to provide financial support for a leadership course run by A4A aimed at enabling equity for emerging female leaders, as part of their global vision on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s mentorship. The workshop was run in October 2020.

YFC Connie  Mort, Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong and YFC alumni Dione Howard

A dinner held in Griffith on July 21 was a chance for SI to meet A4A leaders including founder and national program director Lynne Strong, Dr Dione Howard, Connie Mort, Veronika Vicic and Dylan Male. All shared with Soroptimist International Griffith their own stories and A4A’s highly revered programs for primary and secondary schools (The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas) .

You can read more about the event here 

In the Field

 

Australian Farmers Campaign – Where REAL Climate Action Happens stars Dan Fox 

YFC alumni Dan Fox a grain grower based at Marrar, New South Wales, has been featured in National Farmers Federation’s latest initiative – “Australian Farms – Where REAL Climate Action Happens.”

The campaign tells the stories of farmers like Dan, who take their responsibility as environmental stewards of the Australian landscape seriously.

To view Dan’s Farmer Profile and learn more about the actions he’s taking to tackle climate change visit here 

YFC Marlee Langfield continues to hone her videography skills for the AEIGC Crop Updates 

Check out Marlee’s instagram account to see more of her beautiful pictures from her farm

Out of the Field

YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM recently presented to University of Melbourne Masters of Agriculture Students

I think giving students exposure to industry though guest lectures & practical work experience is really important for helping increase awareness of opportunities in the agricultural sector & to support students to be job ready.
As a student, an industry guest lecture for my genetics subject marked a turned point in my career by introducing me to Sonja Dominik. A CSIRO Vacation Studentship, an honours project and a PhD (in conjunction with University of New England (AU), AGBU and CSIRO), followed in quick succession and today I still have an amazing mentor, friend and role model.
It’s now a pleasure to be able to pay it forward for today’s university students.

YFC Alumni Dione Howard interviewed  the team from The Livestock Collective and Black Box Co for our Leadership is Language series

 

YFC alumni Peta Bradley, Dione Howard & AWI’s Emily King came together virtually at the Australian Sheep Veterinarians Conference 30th June to 2nd July 2021

YFC Dione Howard recently helped to organise the Australian Veterinary Association Sheep Veterinarian’s Conference in Wagga Wagga.

Despite rapidly changing COVID restrictions the conference still went ahead in a blended format, with speakers zooming in and audience able to watch from wherever they could! Included in the line up of speakers were YFC Peta Bradley & AWI’s Emily King, who presented on ‘Understanding ASBVs’ and ‘What makes good extension?’ respectively. A masked conference didn’t make for very recognisable photos so enjoy this flashback photo of Dione & Peta from 2017!

 

Our Paddock Pen Pals will feature in a new STEM Education Textbook!

Congratulations to our Wool Young Farming Champions team – their Paddock Pen Pals initiative led by Samantha Wan in partnership with Carlingford West Public School, will be featured in a new STEM education textbook from Macquarie University School of Education, to be released in early 2022

Dione Howard, Zoe Stephens ( Carlingford West Public School) and Samantha Wan at Sydney Royal Easter Show

Speaking of Paddock Pen Pals our YFC have been continuing their Wow Wednesday’s partnership with the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education through Virtual Excursions with Emma Ayliffe sharing her role as an agronomist with the students this month

2021 YFC Francesca Earp is leading a team of  YFC who will be beaming into Mary McKillop College to discuss SDG 5 Gender Equality and Bryan Van Wyk is working with Sana Said to beam into Riverstone High School to look at SDG 14 Life Below the Oceans

Prime Cuts

Dylan Male selected as a 2021 Youth Ag Summit Delegate

2021 YFC Dylan Male will be representing Australia as one of 100 delegates aged 18 to 25 from 44 countries to attend the biennial 2021 Bayer Youth Ag Summit.

At the two-day summit held on November 16-17 2021, themed ‘feeding a hungry planet’, Dylan will have the opportunity to learn from, engage and network with industry leaders and his fellow delegates from across the globe toward a more food-secure world.

Dylan was recognised for his contributions in building a food production system that is culturally aware and regenerative. This includes his PhD research investigating the agronomy of a native perennial grass species that is supporting Dja Dja Wurrung (Djaara) people in their vision to return culturally significant food plants to the landscape. Dylan hopes to use the opportunity as a platform to advocate for modern food production systems that better support Indigenous people in developing and protecting their food systems, with the help of modern day science and technology.

Following the Summit, Dylan will participate in the first-ever virtual YAS University, where he will continue to learn, network, and further develop a Thrive for Change project which aims to advocate for a food production system that is more secure, climate resilient, land regenerative and culturally aware, before making his final project pitch in early 2022.

Australian Young Farmer of the Year Emma Ayliffe continued her round of media engagements and featured in the September issue of Country Style Magazine

Dr Jo Newton was looking foreword to joining her ARLP 28 cohort for the legendary Kimberley experience 

“After border closures prevented course 28 of ARLP from starting their program in the Kimberly in July we pivoted & came together for 5 days over zoom. It was great to finally get to meet the rest of my cohort. Listening to everyone’s participation presentations highlighted the depth & breadth of experience & diverse skills within the cohort. Despite this several common threads shone through, none more so than the desire to positively contribute to agriculture, rural, regional and remote Australian communities. I’m now really excited to meet the rest of my cohort face-to-face and continue on this journey together over the next 15 months.”


Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong was a guest speaker at THE Rural Woman’s “The advancement of women and girls” Round Table Event 16th August

 

YFC alumni Emma Turner features on Generation Ag Podcast

2014 Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner chats to the Generation Ag podcast team about working in the wonderful world of wool! Emma current works as a District Wool Manager for Elders based out of Mildura.

Click on the link to listen

Dr Anika Molesworth saw the launch of her first book Our Sunburnt Country on 31st August 2021 

Anika has appeared on The Drum, had a full page spread in the Daily Telegraph and being interviewed by Holly Ransom on her Energy Disruptors webcast

Watch it here 

Lifetime Highlights

YFC alumni Hannah Hawker welcomed gorgeous Joseph William Porter to the world on 10.08.2021.

How adorable is this pix – we love it when our Young Farming Champions start having their own champions

Big shoutout to all our funding partners who are investing in next gen leadership capability building

 

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2021

Welcome to the Young Farming Champions July Muster. Our headline act this week celebrates the latest milestone for the team.

One of the great strengths of the program is our YFC alumni network who are paying it forward and providing a peer-to-peer buddy system for new entrants.

In 2021 those relationships have led to some of our alumni pairing with their YFC buddies and stepping up to facilitate workshops using a ‘train-the -trainer’ model in which new YFCs co-host targeted workshops

Headline Act

On August 1st, 2021, YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and YFC co-host Dylan Male delivered a ‘Develop your Personal Brand for the Greater Good’ workshop

“A brand doesn’t just deliver a product or service – it can transform the way people think and act

By developing your brand, you will be better equipped to communicate in a way that resonates and motivates your audience to action.

Whether you advocate for a world of zero hunger, for climate action, for gender equality, or want to ensure vibrant rural economies – having a strong brand will underpin what you do.’ ,’ says Anika.

The workshop looked at how you can turn ideas into emotional connections with audiences.

As some of our participants shared the workshop provided our emerging YFC leaders with the tools, knowledge, and techniques to create personal brands for truly inspiring and impactful leadership.

Earlier in the week YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM was joined by YFC co-hosts Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden to provide an opportunity for YFC to practice their lessons learnt from Roxi Beck’s Engage Workshop.

‘I found Roxi’s workshop on empowering effective communications with consumers to be incredibly valuable.

It reminded us that everyone who produces food is also a consumer and we are talking to consumers every day.

Roxi highlighted the importance of active listening and asking to truly understand what is behind another person’s beliefs and values. These skills are like muscles and require time and practice to grow’ says Jo

 

A snippet from Steph, Olivia and Jo’s workshop for their fellow YFC

 

Both Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden have taken lessons from Roxi’s workshop to their workplaces

‘The lessons from Roxi’s workshop are relevant to many people across the industry, including my colleagues.

In discussion with my supervisor, I mentioned how great it would be to share some of Roxi’s key points with our team.

My supervisor supported this concept. We got together on 19 July and talked through Roxi’s slides.

‘It was a good opportunity to learn together, to discuss experiences we’ve shared and it also helped me cement my knowledge.’ says Steph.

Olivia is applying the principles of ‘ask; listen; ask; listen; ask; listen’ with the objective of understanding, taking off her agronomy hat and approaching tricky conversations with ethical values at the forefront of her  mind and the scientific data in her back pocket.

“Sometimes agronomy is solving puzzles. The tricky thing is these puzzles are like the mountain Roxi referred to and at times everyone’s looking at it from a different angle, You also run into many iceberg conversations where you only see what’s on top and have to dive down to see what’s really underneath in order to solve it.’ says Olivia.

In the Field

Marlee Langfield is using her photography skills and honing her videography skills to share the journey of her farm’s wheat crops from planting to harvest as part of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre Crop Updates

“I’ll be filming monthly videos until harvest in November/December that will be shared with our international customers and translated into five languages! You can follow along on the AEGIC Facebook page” says Marlee

Bryan Van Wyk has had a busy few weeks preparing the 11 Austral Fisheries trawlers he manages to go tiger prawning in northern Australia.

“We have a talented, passionate and dedicated core group of people that we all call family.

‘These men and women are about to embark on a four-month journey across northern Australia packing premium Aussie prawns. They have my utmost respect. They leave their families and friends behind; they work long and hard; and they are stewards of our oceans.

‘They collect important scientific data for conservation, they remove illegal ghost nets, they are world leaders in bycatch reduction, and I am honoured to be part of their family.

Here’s to a safe and enjoyable season. May your seas be calm, your bags full of red gold and your crews happy.’ said Bryan on Instagram

https://youtu.be/pLufmDdA2K8

This video was created by Michael Pride to show what happens on board once the prawns are caught by the Austral Fisheries Team

From “Robin Hood” in Milbrulong Riverina NSW to the Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor in Melbourne, Wool YFC’s Dione Howard and Sam Wan discovered the world is a very small place when Sam found Dione’s family farm’s wool clip in her auctioneering catalogue

Unfortunately, with the volatility of the market — the Merino fleece wool was withdrawn from sale so Sam has no auction footage to round out the little video she created for Dione.

 

Sam was able to share some insights from the Selling Centre floor with Dione

Follow the footage:.
1. Internal catalogue cover – to show Dione when she could tune into the live video feed to watch her wool sell by open-cry auction in Melbourne. Dione’s wool was in the Wagga section.
2. Catalogue listing for Robin Hood wool – this is the hard copy of the finalised internal catalogue that I use to overview the wool sale, follow queries. It lists all the objective test results. A digital and hard copy version is available to wool buyers.
3. Copy of the classer’s specs – this is the paperwork that follows the farm bales to the wool store and tells the technical staff what number the bales are, what is in them and which bales go together. It also includes the wool classer details and the National Wool Declaration (NWD). Dione’s dad classed the wool clip, the paperwork was very tidy and properly completed!
4. Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor, Melbourne – where samples of the bales are set up for buyers to inspect and value prior to the auction. In this week, Elders Melbourne was offering 5270 bales.
5. Wagga section, Dione’s wool started at Lot 1310. Zoom to a floor sheet which accompanies each sample – this shows Lot 1310 was made up of 10 bales and is a line of AAAM – Merino Fleece.
6. Walk past the other merino fleece lines offered for sale.

Wool YFC Dione Howard and her partner Joe Fitzgerald were featured in a full page story in the Daily Telegraph.

Fingers crossed for another bumper season ahead, and that it’s business as usual for regional NSW farmers, were the key messages of the Telegraph story. Joe farms at Cootamundra where the crops are in and there’s been plenty of rain, setting the scene for another excellent harvest. All that’s needed is some sunshine and to keep those little mice away!

Corteva supported YFC and graduate agronomist Emily May was looking forward to sharing her career journey with students at AgVision

When COVID lockdown saw it postponed, always ready to make the most of every opportunity Emily took over Elders Instagram stories to share a Day in the Life of a Graduate Agronomist with their followers.

Out in the field

YFC Dylan Male made the most of his trip to the Northern Territory and took time out to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden

“During my recent travels to the Northern Territory, I was fortunate enough to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden in Katherine. As we got to know each other better, we quickly discovered that we had many shared interests and passions, most notably for all things agronomy. We both told stories about our pathway into agriculture and shared our excitement about embarking on the YFC journey. We left the catch-up feeling a greater sense of connectedness and look forward to staying in touch’.

COVID lockdowns also mean our YFC won’t have the opportunity to visit schools in person, so our agile team is connecting with facilitator Josh Farr and the Paddock Pen Pals team led by Sam Wan to get some tips and tricks on how facilitate highly engaging zoom workshops with school students

Participating in the 2021 Archibull Prize Riverstone High School is first out of the blocks to investigate SDG 14 Life in the Oceans making the most of Bryan Van Wyk’s expertise as manager of the Austral Fisheries Northern Fishing Trawlers

Students will be quizzing Bryan about:
• plastic in the ocean,
• overfishing,
• what the future looks like for our oceans and animals,
• sustainable fishing

Representing Riverina Local Land Services YFC Dione Howard and Megan Sinclair zoomed into Barellan Public School Year 4-6 class who are participating in Kreative Koalas on Wednesday 21July.

Dr Calum Watt has found himself in demand with schools students. After reading about Calum, Principal Kris Beazley from the Centre of Excellent in Agricultural Education sprang into action

 “The students will be touching on CRISPR 9 next week as part of their initial work and then taking a deeper dive in a couple of weeks, so we would love to hear about your passion and knowledge in this area and how it is being used in Australian agriculture.” says Kris in her email to Calum

 

Calum presented CRISPR 9 technologies to her students on 28th July.

“Calum was fantastic. He covered CRISPR science, genetics, career opportunities plus the skills and knowledge required to do a PhD. A session that was originally planned for 40 mins stretched to 90 mins with the students highly engaged for the entire time”  says Kris

Kris and her teachers are building on the success of the workshop with Calum and making the most of COVID lockdowns by initiating ” Wow Wednesdays” – a 60 minute masterclass with an industry expert. The students are super excited to have Wool YFC Dr Danila Marini zooming in this week and Australian Young Farmer of the Year YFC Emma Ayliffe the following week.

Prime Cuts

YFC and Chair of our Youth Leadership Team Dione Howard was a very worthy finalist in the Lambition Awards. Check out her inspiring story here 

The ever multi talented Dr Anika Molesworth is the voice of latest Case tractor add. See the back story here 

“We need no thanks, rewards or dues, we love this land, it’s what we do. There’s not a day that the landscape doesn’t captivate me with its vast wonder, there’s not a day that I don’t feel honoured to work alongside farmers who produce food and fibre for our country, and beyond. Each day we rise to our challenges, are grateful for our opportunities, and strive to make tomorrow the best it possibly can be. I hold such deep admiration for the farming community. With all its highs and lows, the triumphs and turmoil – and recently I was invited to read a poem about this incredible community.” says Anika Molesworth – farmer, scientist and now voice of CASE IH Australia/New Zealand’s new advertising campaign.

YFC Meg Rice has recently completed the Graduate Program with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Throughout the program Meg worked on Murray-Darling Basin policy, trade and market access, live animal exports and the Future Drought Fund. Meg is excited to invited to take up a permanent role as a Senior Policy Officer within the Live Animal Export branch of the department.

Meg Rice pictured with the department Secretary, Andrew Metcalfe OAM.

A huge congratulations to friend of the YFC Hannah Wandel who was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Great story in HerCanberra here

July has been a huge month for the YFC and we will have more of their July adventures to share with you in our August Muster

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Dr Anika Molesworth book Our Sunburnt Country here 

And none of this could happen without our supporting partners investing in our YFC

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices

 

Young Farming Champions Muster June 2021

Emma Ayliffe 2020/2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year with her partner Craig Newham

Headline Act

Does it get any better than this? Our very own Emma Ayliffe has been announced as the 2021 Young Farmer of the Year!! Read all about it here.

One of the reasons Em won this prestigious award is that she is not afraid to advocate for agriculture on every stage. As an example, this month she also spoke with educators at a Cotton Australia Teach the Teacher event and waded into the fray as a speaker at the River Reflections conference for the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

We are so very excited for, and proud of, you Em – congratulations.

Listen to Emma on The Country Hour here

 

In The Field

Research has been the key word for our YFC in the field this month. Tegan Nock is exploring the ways fungi may be able to help with climate change (read about this exciting work in this ABC report) while Veronika Vicic, a PhD candidate at Charles Sturt University, is asking your opinion on euthanasia of non-replacement male calves and producer wellbeing in Australian dairy systems. Want to contribute? Complete her online survey here.

Veronika’s research work is one of the reasons she was awarded her YFC scholarship, sponsored by Corteva. She, and fellow recipients Emily May, Steph Tabone and Connie Mort, were recently featured in Rural Business magazine. See the Corteva write-up here.

Steph and Connie put their newly acquired YFC skills to the test at a Corteva birthday breakfast recently where they both spoke. It’s a great example of partners allowing our YFC to practice in safe places; just as the Riverina LLS does for Dylan Male. Read more here. Steph has also been attending trade days speaking with farmers and was part of The GreenCollar Think Tank, discussing ideas for dealing with climate change, environmental markets, and energy efficiency. What a month Steph! But wait – there’s more ……

Steph and Emily attended a field trial walk through at Corteva’s Breeza research station on June 2, which was attended by a diverse range of agronomists from across NSW and QLD. Here are the girls in action.

Emily continues to thrive in her position of graduate agronomist with Elders, having almost completed her first 6-month rotation in Forbes. In August she will transfer to Griffith where she will focus on horticultural production.

“I am super keen to begin the second transfer because not many places within the country offer such a range of cropping systems in as geographically close an area as that around Griffith.”

 

Out of the Field

While research and trade networking were the buzz words in the field, out of the field it was all about conferences and awards and spreading the YFC love.

Meg Rice, Adele Smith, Dione Howard, Dee George and Martin Murray attended the second annual Young Farmer Business Conference in Dubbo on May 28 where their takeaways were the importance of networking, thinking outside the box for raising capital, and not being afraid to take the first step and ask the important questions. Thanks for sharing Champs.

Young Farming Champions Dione Howard, Meg Rice and Adele Smith 

Bryan Van Wyk was on the other side of the conference table when he presented to QLD Marine Teachers to promote the stewardship of the ocean through education and collaboration. Watch a snap-shot of his presentation here or view his informative slides here.

Dylan Male shared his YFC experiences with the CWA Vic Virtual Branch and gave insights into how kangaroo grass can be used for food. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to hear both of these talks!

Tayla Field, too, was presenting when she spoke in front of 1000 people at the 2021 Hort Connections Gala Dinner. Watch her glamming it up in pink here. Tayla was also part of our awards round-up this month when she was nominated for the Boomaroo Nurseries Women in Horticulture Award at the same conference.

Olivia Borden was awarded the Ausindustry Young Farmers Award for Business Excellence and Innovation at the Food Futures Conference on the 19th of May. The award recognises and promotes innovative new business practices and raises the importance of value adding by farmers, potentially via traceability systems, logistics improvements or promotional campaigns in the Northern Territory. Congrats Olivia.

And Emma Ayliffe had to share the limelight this month when both she and James Kanaley were recognised as finalists in the Australian Cotton Industry Awards. Both were nominated for the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever. Good luck team.

Sharing the love this month was Tim Eyes who spoke about his experiences with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s 2020 TRAIL program. Also sharing the love were Katherine Bain, Jo Newton, Dylan Male and Nicole McDonald who dined (pre-lockdown) in Melbourne in May. They are all on notice for not providing a photo for the Muster but are forgiven because it was this event that facilitated Dylan speaking with the CWA!

Prime Cuts

Prime Cuts celebrates our YFC as they are recognised for their work, kick their goals and give back to our community.

Recognition came this month when The Land newspaper ran a feature on upcoming farmers under 35 – the ones to watch – and several of our YFC featured: Emma Turner, Jess Fearnley, Tim Eyes and Martin Murray.

Kicking her goals was Jo Newton who was accepted into the Australian Rural Leadership Program to be held in the Kimberley in July.

“Participating in this course has been a goal of mine for quite some time. More than 5 years after I first applied, 3 applications and 2 interviews later I’ve achieved a long-held goal. Every year I didn’t get in I went away, debriefed with my mentors, sought feedback and worked out what I would do differently next time. Persistence pays off. To all of you brave & courageous individuals who put yourselves forward for awards and scholarships, if at first you don’t succeed, please regroup, reassess and try again!”

We sincerely hope the latest COVID restrictions don’t impact your Kimberley journey Jo.

 

And perhaps the greatest achievement an organisation such as Picture You in Agriculture, who trains the next agricultural leaders, can have is for one of its own to return to run workshops for the next generation. So, it gives us a great thrill to announce that Anika Molesworth will be running a “personal brand” workshop, especially for YFC. Anika will share her secrets on personal branding – why it is important, how it can help your career and how you can use it to influence how people think and act. “When the people we train start running the workshops my heart sings,” says Lynne Strong. Stay tuned for more details.

Lifetime Achievements

“31.5.21 The Flinders Ranges will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Joe Smart who surprised me with a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him 💍❤”

We can only assume you said yes Chloe Dutschke!

We believe leaders are made not born – Our Young Farming Champions are products of their environments, of the people surrounding them, nurturing them, and INVESTING IN THEM.

Thanks you to our supporting partners for investing in future

Young Farming Champions Muster May 2021

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

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

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

Emma Ayliffe (Lake Cargelligo, Western NSW):

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

Dee George (Nyngan, Northern) NSW:

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

Marlee Langfield (Cowra, Central West NSW):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well done for putting your hand up Becca.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Cuts

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

 

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

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

Young Farming Champions Muster April 2021

Headline Act

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

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

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

 Dione and Graham Howard 

In The Field

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

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

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

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

Jess is establishing a grazing venture with her father:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Out of the Field

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

Dee and Becca George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Cuts

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

Welcome to the family everyone.

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

#YFCMuster #YouthinAg #YouthVoices

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2021

 

 

Headline Act

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

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

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

In The Field

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

Austral Fisheries Bryan Van Wyk in his favourite place

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations Laura and Calum.

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

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Prime Cuts

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

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Lifetime Achievements

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

Imogen Rose Brannan

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

Young Farming Champions Muster February 2021

Dr Jo Newton OAM

Headline Act

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

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

form 

Prime Cuts

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

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

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

 

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

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

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

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #BeTheChange

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

 

2020 – what a year it has been.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Emma Ayliffe (Chair):

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

Dione Howard (Vice-Chair):

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

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

Jo Newton (Returning Officer):

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

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

Samantha Wan (Innovation Hub Representative):

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

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

Anika Molesworth (Partnerships Ambassador):

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

Jess Fearnley (Intern):

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

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

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

#YouthinAg #CollectiveAction #CollectiveImpact #ConnectCollaborateCommunicate #EngageEmpower

 

Young Farming Champions November 2020 Muster

Headline Act

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

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

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

In The Field

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

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

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

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words Have Power Concept text on background

Prime Cuts

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

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

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

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

How is this for a fabulous wedding memory

Young Farming Champions Muster October 2020

Headline Act

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

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

In The Field

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

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

and in the dark

Night-time bailing at Narromine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

 

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

Prime Cuts

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

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

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

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

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

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

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