Young Farming Champions Muster August 2019 2nd Edition

This weeks top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the world. 

In the Field 

This month YFC Katherine Bain has swapped the snow for sunny Queensland. “Two weeks ago I drove out of Orange, NSW, with my general manager en route to one of Paraway Pastroal Co’s south west Queensland properties in the channel country, to visit our NSW cattle of agistment,” Katherine says. 

Katherine Bain in the snow.jpg

Because of the ongoing drought in NSW, the cattle properties I work with in Central West NSW had no grass and an ever rising feed bill. We were in a lucky position that our channel country properties had a bumper flood and some general rain over other parts of the property that grew a lot of grass! So we made the decision to truck most of pregnant Angus cows to Queensland to calve.”

 

“As a bit of a break for the managers, we decided to hold our regional meeting on the property. As a Victorian who has barely been north Warren, NSW,  this was a pretty cool experience! It was a 12 hr drive up and back through some beautiful and every changing countryside. The highlight of the trip for me was getting to go up in a helicopter to get the birds eye view of the channels. The view was just amazing!”

Katherine Bain helicopter

Cowra NSW cropping farmer Marlee Langfield has been popping up in our Facebook newsfeeds this week, profiled on the MSM Milling page in their “Meet the Growers” series. All four posts about Marlee are a great insight into her life on the farm and we especially loved the the birds eye view videography of this year’s canola crop. It’s definitely worth heading over to MSM Milling on Facebook to watch. 

 

Last week YVLT vice-chair and agronomist Emma Ayliffe enjoyed the opportunity to present some of her work on biological whitefly control in cotton crops at the Southern Cotton Research Update. “As part of this project we released a parasitic wasp into cotton fields in the aim to reduce the need for the use of chemicals to control the pest,” Emma says. “The work we did this year was able to show that where we release the wasps we got higher levels of parasitism than where we didn’t – as we expected.” Emma Ayliffe parasitised whitefly nymph

“But what was really cool was seeing fields near where we did the releases also have higher levels of releases, proving that the wasps were willing to move outside of the fields released in. It was also shown that the whitefly (pest) population ‘crashed’ in fields where the wasps were released, while whitefly continued to increase in fields which were untreated by wasps.”

 

Emma Ayliffe drone
The drone used to do the release parasitic wasps to reduce whitefly populations in cotton crops.

Out of the field 

This week YVLT chair and dairy geneticist Jo Newton’s research has hit Ireland’s largest farming news portal. Jo’s passion for science helped her secure a 2018 Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship to Ireland. She spent 6 months working as a visiting scientist at Teagasc Moorepark, where she explored the value of new DNA tools – known as genetic & genomic tools – for dairy, beef & sheep farmers. 

Now some of that research is being shared with the farming community through Agriland – Ireland’s largest farming news portal. “It’s so exciting being part of research which can deliver tangible benefits to farmers. It’s great that this work isn’t confined to a scientific journal it’s being shared in accessible forums for industry” 

See Jo’s research under the heading, “Value of Genotyping Females in the Herd” in the article ‘Possibility of improving the accuracy of genetic evaluations’ here.

 

YFC Emma Ayliffe stepped out in style as the MC and presenter at the Southern Valley Cotton Growers Association Dinner last Friday night. All reports say she did a marvelous job. Well done Emma! 

Emma Ayliffe MC

Emma’s tips to be a top MC are:

  • make sure you do your research
  • practice but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it “exact” on the night, you’re the only one who knows what you forgot
  • the first minute is the hardest
  • if you make a mistake laugh, with the audience
  • you might hear your voice shake, the audience won’t
  • enjoy the moment!

Emma is also pumped to be a guest speaker at the upcoming Chicks in the Sticks event in the Grampians region of Victoria this October. This annual event is run for rural and farming women and this year’s theme is “Cultivating pathways for women in agriculture and the environment.” As a young business owner and agriculturalist, we think Emma’s story will captivate and inspire all. More details of this event to come! 

YFC and The Food Farm farmer Tim Eyes travelled from his farm on the Central Coast to present at Icebergs Bondi last week as part of the Sydney Taste Festival. Tim spoke to a special audience of diners about red meat production in Australia, which he is hugely passionate about. 

Tim was also busy at AgVision at the Sydney Showgrounds recently, where more than 1,200 students were learning all about agricultural and agribusiness careers.

Tim Eyes at Agvision
Tim Eyes interviews Pittwater High students who competed in the #AgVision2019 Young Farmer Challenge. The Young Farmer Challenge is a competition involving teams of four, who compete against the clock to complete a series of activities which are seen on farm. There is a large focus on safety with unsafe practices attracting time penalties.
Tim Eyes AgVision 2
Tim Eyes is talking all things farming without a farm! Want to know more? Check out Tim’s page The Food Farm: Central Coast Produce

 

YFC Prue McCormack, YFC Lucy Collingridge and YFC Dee George all joined in the fun at AgVision too! 

Agronomist Dee George had a ball presenting to five groups over the day of AgVision. “I had my pasture plate metre, some games about guessing which grains are which and what they are made into, and then I did some soil pH testing,” Dee says. “It was a great day being able to speak to young enthusiastic kids who want to study and work in agriculture.”

Dee George Elders AgVision.jpg

Dee also made it to Sheepvention last week, as did three of our Woolly YFC Sam Wan, Emma Turner and Peta Bradley. 

Dee George Elders Agvision 2
Elders at Sheepvention with the Boehringer Ingelheim Fennec Fox as apart of a promotion of their new lice product.

Dee was busy talking to clients in the Elders tent, while Peta was working with MLA, talking sheep breeding programs. “Sheepvention is a great place to catch up as there are sheep there from NSW, Vic, SA and Tas as well as some breeders from WA venturing over to check out the sheep,” Peta says. 

Sam Wan’s main role was presenting the Elders Southern Clip of the Year awards. “Presenting the awards after a full selling season was a highlight for me, and seeing the next gen sires for the wool industry and catching up with clients,” Sam says. 

 

Our newest YFC Sally Downie is advocating for youth in drought as part of the UNICEF NSW Youth Drought Summit. Through her involvement with ABC Heywire, Sally was invited to be the over 18s chair for the steering committee, a group of young people of a range of ages and experiences from across NSW.  “Together we bring our own experiences, our passion and desire to help and our local connections to make this summit possible. I’m honoured to have this role as having worked so closely with people impacted by drought, often finding myself to be the youngest in the room and being impacted myself, I know how important this summit is,” Sally says. 

Sally Downie
Photo from the Forbes Advocate Online

October 9-11 October UNICEF are holding the first NSW Youth Drought Summit. 

“This is a vital event for regional/rural youth as it provides a platform for their voice to be heard and for them to connect with other young people affected by drought. 

Youth are often forgotten when it comes to drought, we don’t always recognise the impacts drought as of youth. The impacts range from everything from stress and worry about their parents impacting their wellbeing  to issues with education, extracurricular activities and social activities. 

Youth should not be forgotten as it is their future we are working towards. 

Youth also don’t get their voice heard, even youth working in agriculture are often not engaged in the conversation as they are intimidated by the older more experienced people in the room. Youth have a sense of hopelessness because they feel they can’t do anything to help. 

This role was something I could not say no to because it’s so close to my heart and I know how important this summit is. I’ve been involved with drought support but very rarely have I heard youth discussed or seen anything done to support youth. I’ve also been the youngest in the room and I want that to change because youth have a voice and they need to be heard.

We have meet once in Sydney for a meeting and development day which was also a chance for us to get to know each other. Since then we have regular online meetings. We give feedback to UNICEF on every step of the process including designing the application process to make sure we think youth will be encouraged to apply, to promotion and designing what will occur at the summit.

Personally I want this summit to be an event that empowers youth to speak about drought and know that their voices matter. It’ll also be a place for youth to get their voices heard by parliament which is very important. I hope it will create change for youth during this tough time now and in future droughts… maybe we could even foster some young agricultural advocates and politicians! 

Most importantly this is a chance for youth impacted by drought to have a break. A free trip away, possibly to somewhere they have never been, at a time most families can’t even think about going on a holiday. It will give these young people an experience of a lifetime, allow them to make friends and enjoy themselves for a few days. This is vital for their wellbeing and the outlook they have on life. – Sally Downie

What an important initiative! Well done Sally. Read this story in the Forbes Advocate to hear more from Sally. 

YFC and meat scientist Steph Fowler is back in Oz after a successful presentation at the  International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) conference. “It was interesting to note the European perspectives on meat grown from muscle biopsies in bioreactors,” Steph says. “There is a huge movement from research here to provide meat alternatives and hybrid meat products which we don’t see much of in Australia. While the arguments for their production are based on reducing the environmental impact of meat production, little is known about whether there is any impact of such products on human health or whether such products are going to be accepted by consumers and regulators. There’s lots to ponder.” Sounds fascinating Steph! 

Steph Fowler Germany.jpg

Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is showcased on the Business Chicks website and newsletter this week: “The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

Anika Business Chicks
“People living and working in rural and regional Australia, particularly people in agriculture, are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to climate change, and they play an overwhelmingly important role in the protection of these natural systems. Currently, there is a serious lack of political leadership on this issue, a disregard for science, and woefully inadequate climate and energy policies. The impacts of climate change are being felt today. There is no longer room for apathy; there is no time for complacency. Farmers can’t tackle climate change alone, and I am driven to make sure they don’t have to.” – Anika Molesworth

YFC Sharna Holman attended the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative Symposium in Brisbane this week. #pbrisym2019 

Sharna Holman Biosecurity.jpg

Australia’s largest primary industry field days – AgQuip – is coming up this week and we’ve got YFC from across the country heading Gunnedah’s way! 

YVLT Social Media Communication Team Leader and Local Land Services (LLS) biosecurity officer Lucy Collingridge will be in the LLS shed with the invasive species display. “We will have a makeshift rabbit warren and smoker to demonstrate rabbit control. Frank (the fallow) and Richie (the wild dog) will be attending with us (it’s their first outing)! We will have a number of pig trap doors on display so landholders can see other ways of setting up their traps. And of course lots of best practice pest animal management information and advice available,” Lucy says. 

Our University of New England (UNE) YFC Becca George, Ruby Canning, Becca George, Emily May, Forbes Corby and Haylee Murrell will be found in the UNE tent. “We have a virtual reality poultry dissection, SMART farm demos and the ‘soil your undies’ cotton prac, plus a few more things happening!” Becca says. 

Keep your eye out for YFC Felicity Taylor on the Rabobank site, and YFC Marlee Langfield and friend of the program Greg Mills who are just heading along to check out all the action of AgQuip. Enjoy guys! 

Prime Cuts 

Huge congratulations to YFC Martin Murray and YFC Teagan Nock who have both been announced as participants in this year’s National Farmers Federation (NFF) 2030 Leaders Program. The program is part of NFF’s vision to be a $100 billion industry by 2030. We wish you both all the best! 

Teagan Nock and Martin Murray.jpg

Martin was also spotted in this recent story in Western Magazine, “Lifelong Interest in Agriculture Leaders Agronomist to being a voice for young farmers” after his recent election to the role of NSW Young Farmers deputy chair. 

Martin Murray Young Farmers Chair.jpg

We’re on the hunt for our next National Agriculture Day competition winner!

Picture You in Agriculture & Little Brick Pastoral are excited to announce our partnership with Sydney Science Park to bring you our third “Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture” competition, coinciding with National Agriculture Day on November 21. 

The competition encourages students in Years 5-12 to envisage their own career in STEM based agriculture. Get your dream career thinking caps on, let your school aged friends know and find out everything you need to enter here. 

Lego Characters

Lifetime Highlights 

Congratulations to YFC Marlee Langfield and her partner Andrew on their recent engagement. Wishing you both lots of happiness – and bumper crops too!  A talented photographer on top of her busy farm schedule, we love Marlee’s gorgeous pics celebrating their engagement in this year’s canola: 

 

And here’s a good news story to brighten even the dreariest drought stricken day… Do you remember last month when YFC Becca George tweeted a gorgeous pic of her Angus cattle into the Ten News #DailyBaileyNSW weather segment? Becca’s photo won her a holiday to the Cook Islands! We’re so excited for Becca to be swapping dry and dusty Nevertire, NSW, for palm tress in the South Pacific. Fingers crossed she comes home to rain and green grass. Watch Becca’s thank you video below: 

 

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #ArchieAction

Celebrating #YouthinAg Big Ideas – Who will you vote for? Will it be Matt Champness?

At Picture You in Agriculture we believe in collaborating and sharing stories showcasing exciting and innovative leaders in agriculture.

As promised in our previous blog giving our collaborating partners Guy Coleman and Matt Champness the opportunity to share their EvokeAG vision is a natural fit for us.

As it turns out Guy and Matt are great mates ( logical that exciting young people gravitate towards each other).

Please help us to help Matt or Guy to ptich their big idea at Asia Pacific’s biggesst agrifood tech event in February 2020 by voting for them here

This is why Matt thinks you should vote for his pitch

There will be more food eaten in the next 50 years than there has been in the whole of humanity, however, we only have the capacity to produce 30% of that. Currently, I believe it’s pretty shameful that world hunger has increased in recent years, with 820 million people suffering from hunger. This is 2019, we can do better!

Whilst there is much focus on environmental stewardship, conservation and restoration of natural environments, I believe we will never reach sustainable life until everyone has access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. Ending global hunger by 2030 is pillar 2.1 of the UN SDG’s and it’s looking unlikely, with a need to double the current rate of decline in global hunger if we are to reach this target by 2030.

If fortunate enough to be selected as an evokeAg Future Young Leader I will discuss the need for greater collaboration from those within the agriculture sector and afar, to build a sustainable future for us all. I want to encourage the youth of today to look holistically at agriculture and how they can work grow the Australian Ag industry and help to build a world free of hunger. The current single disciplinary research approach is not working on a global or national level. Transformational food system change has to start at the farm and community level. Top down global policy is meaningless if ‘on the ground’ capacity is lacking. Therefore, the solutions to decrease food waste and increase sustainable farm production and profit must be developed on farm.

There will be a day when we live in a world free of hunger, but the time it takes until we get there depends on when we start working together as an agri-food industry, as a nation, and as a global society. I want to help foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the future leaders of the world to ensure I see the day we do live in a world free of hunger.

#ZeroHunger #ZeroWaste #StrongerTogether #YouthinAg #YouthVoices

Young Farming Champion Muster July 2019 First Edition

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

In the Field

In Central NSW this week Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien’s family are getting creative with their contract harvesting business, due to ongoing drought. “This week we have trucked our windrower and large square baler 650km south, from Narromine to Balranald, to take advantage of a silage job offered to us through friends. This is the furtherest we have ever travelled for work, by a good 400km, and unless we get rain in the next couple of weeks our machinery will probably be staying down there, as we won’t have a hay season in our area – not many crops have been put in, or have come up, or have the outlook of making it to harvest without rain. The crop we are cutting is Balranald is a very impressive height!”

Keiley OBrien
Oats sown into a dried up lake bed which Keiley’s partner Ross is making into silage now, is hoping to cut some for hay and harvest some for seed later.

It’s a huge contrast to the world of Cattle and Cotton YFC Kirsty McCormack who is this week walking cattle up into the mountains of western Canada, into summer lease lands to graze. “These are public leases that are brought and controlled to reduce the risk of fire and overflowing vegetation,” says Kirsty, “It was an amazing cultural experience to be part of.”

Kirsty McC Canada 1 (2)

YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah are in the media spotlight again this week with this fabulous magazine spread of their Central Coast farm on the front page of the New Strait Times in Malaysia.  “A few weeks ago we were fortunate to have journalists from all over the world come and check out the way we farm right here on the Central Coast ❤️@chefsamuelburke and @jabfood were superstars cooking the meat up to perfection 🙏 thank you @meatandlivestockaustralia for making this happen!” – The Food Farm: Central Coast Produce

food farm 1

food farm 2

food farm 3

Out of the Field

If you haven’t been following our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page, now is the time to pop over! This week we’re following the ag-venture of UNE YFC Becca George who is touring China and Vietnam. Becca attended the International Food & Agribusiness Management Association 2019 Conference in Hangzhou, China and is now sharing videos and photos of her ag tour through Vietnam.

YFC Meg Rice recently attended Country to Canberra’s “Overcoming the Odds: power, equality and life’s toughest moments” event. Meg says, “There were laughs and tears, mixed with heartfelt advice about how to push past barriers and drive change. The panellists all shared stories about learning from their mistakes and being the best they can be. It was an incredibly inspiring evening!”

Meg Rice Country to Canberra
The “Overcoming the odds: power, equality and life’s toughest moments” event featured an incredible line up, including:
 Virginia Haussegger AM – 2019 ACT Australian of the Year, Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation & Journalist;
 Catherine McGregor AM – Freelance Writer, Broadcaster and Author
Alpha Cheng – Diversity and Countering Violent Extremism Advocate
Mary Wiley-Smith – Deputy Australian Public Service Commissioner
Amanda McIntyre, PwC Partner and former head of the Office for Women

Picture You in Agriculture YFC Alana Black, who is currently working with Rural Youth Project in Scotland, this week attended her first Highland Show and interviewed Scotland’s first minister.

Alana Black Highland Show

Wool YFC and Peter Westblade Scholarship winner Chloe Dutschke attended MerinoLink conference and field day last week in Armidale, NSW.

Chloe Dutschke

Congratulations to Youth Voices Leadership Team chair Jo Newton who has returned from Ireland and is this week returning to Agriculture Victoria as a research scientist in dairy genetics. Jo says she is looking forward to applying the skills and knowledge she learnt on her Endeavour post-doctoral fellowship in Ireland into her new role. Good luck Jo!

jo vertical

Best of luck also to Eggs Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten who is starting her new role with AgriPath in Tamworth this week. It’s straight in the deep end for Jas who will be travelling to Collie, NSW, with AgriPath on Tuesday while the team presents the 2018 profit focus results to landholders. Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain is also attending. Say hi if you see them!

Jasmine_0075

Next week Woolly YFCs Haylee Murrell and Katherine Bain will be attending the GrasslandsNSW conference in Gunnedah, where friend of the YFC program and ag consultant Greg Mills is speaking on one of our favourite topics: Social Licence.

greg mills

Youth Voices Leadership Team vice-chair and agronomist Emma Ayliffe and Cotton YFC and agronomist Casey Onus will both be attending the Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast on July 8. Good luck to Emma who is speaking on her journey in agriculture, career path and few “tips” from her experience. And congratulations to Casey who is nominated for the one of four finalists in the Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomy awards, with the winner to be announced at the conference.

Emma A

Casey -Zoe McInnes Mem Agronomy Finalist

YFC Sam Coggins is excited to be heading to Myanmar in August/September to live with rice farmers and iterate his smartphone-based fertilizer advisory tool with them: www.riseharvest.farm We can’t wait to hear more about this soon, Sam!

Wool YFC and Local Lands Service Biosecurity Officer Lucy Collingridge is in the Arctic! Lucy sent us this update from the Svalbard Seed Vault, a storage facility for seeds from around the world, approx 1200km from the North Pole. “Based on the structure of a coal mine, the facility is ideal for the storage of seeds as it maintains a constant temperature and humidity. With nearly 1 million samples, there are seeds from nearly every country in the Svalbard seed vault and include many plant species, eg cowpeas, lettuce, barley, sorghum, egg plant, potato and many more! To maintain a high standard of biosecurity, the vault is only opened once a year for the sole reason of introducing new samples in to storage. Visitors are able to attend the entrance of the vault but are unable to go inside. Unfortunately due to construction at the entrance I was unable to get any closer but you can see the entrance in the background of my picture!”

Lucy in the Arctic

Prime Cuts

Picture You in Agriculture, in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is pleased to announce Tom Squires from Tasmania and Matt Cumming from New South Wales as the 2019 Wool Young Farming Champions.

Tom Squires grew up around sheep in Tasmania, owned his first mob by age sixteen, completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce in New Zealand and is now living his dream job as a shearer and a farmer. Read Tom’s story here

Matt Cumming owns and operates a shearing contracting business in Inverell in northern NSW, a one-stop shop for all shearing needs from mustering to wool pressing. Read Matt’s story here

Tom and Matt will participate in the Young Farming Champions leadership development program, a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation. Welcome to the team!

Congratulations to our incredible and inspiring Youth Voices leader and Tintern Grammar School alumna Dr Jo Newton who has been chosen to be the face of Tintern’s latest fund raising campaign. Great work, Jo!

Jo Newton Tintern

Kreative Koalas

Our Primary School engagement program Kreative Koalas officially launched in Western Sydney at Penrith City Council and in the Hunter Valley at Tocal College last week. One hundred teachers, students and community champions attended. We’re excited to share this world class program with these new communities!kreative koalas

#YouthVoicesYFC #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #ArchieAction #KreativeKoalas

Young Farming Champions to shine at Summer Grains Conference

All eyes will be on the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference to be held on the Gold Coast from July 8 to 10, where two of our YFC stars will shine. Agronomist and co-owner of Summit Ag Emma Ayliffe will lead the Student Forum program while agronomist Casey Onus has been nominated for the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award.

As well as co-owning her own consultancy business Emma owns a farm with her partner, is Acting Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership team and was runner up in 2018 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year. With this depth of experience behind her at such a young age she was a natural choice to speak at the conference and on Monday (July 8) will share her personal journey in agriculture.

“A lot of university students attend the conference and I think it is important for young people to see other young people having a real crack in the world and that you don’t have to be 35-40 years old to be achieving great things,” Emma says. “I think it is also important that people coming into a career in ag hear a whole story, not just the successes and smiles, but the warts, the hard work and the literal tears that goes into being successful; not to scare them off but to ensure that they have realistic expectations of what they are getting themselves into and to see that it is okay to not fit the mould or stereotype that is portrayed.”

You can see a sneak peak of some of Emma’s life journey and her presenting style here

 

The conclusion of the Summer Grains Conference will be a gala dinner on July 10 where the prestigious Zoe McInnes Memorial Award will be presented to one of the country’s finest agronomists. Of the four finalists, three are senior agronomists with years of experience in the grains industry. The fourth is our very own Casey Onus.

“Zoe was the kind of person we should all aspire to be as young agronomists, so it’s a huge honour to be nominated for her award,” Casey says. “I think often as young agronomists we don’t feel as though we have been around long enough to make an impact in our clients’ business and the greater agricultural industry. So to receive recognition through being nominated for an award like this is great feedback that perhaps we are on the right track and delivering real value.”

The award recognises the outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence and the winner receives a $5,000 bursary to allow them to expand their knowledge and assist in delivery of new information to growers.

“Casey was nominated for her commitment and enthusiasm for the agricultural industries,” Emma says, and this is a view shared by her employer Peter Birch of B&W Rural, Moree.

“She is a fantastic and vibrant young lady who is very, very good at IT and precision farming and all that entails,” Peter says. “She thrives on agronomy, does a great job, is very down to earth and gets on well with the farmers.”

Awesome stuff Emma and Casey – we are mega proud of everything you do

Breaking news Casey Onus wins Agronomist of the Year

Casey Onus

mega kudos Casey #YouthinAg #YouthVoices

 

 

Lessons Learnt Number Seven – We all rise when we lift each other up

Great leaders inspire.jpg

There’s a psychological anomaly called the Pygmalion Effect by which higher expectations actually result in an increase in performance. That is to say that if people, yourself included, believe in your abilities to accomplish something, you are more likely to succeed.

The reverse effect, by which low expectations lead to poorer performance, is dubbed the Golem Effect.

‘We can speak at 125 words per minute, but we can think at 900 words per minute. The likelihood that the first thing you say is actually the thing you mean is about 1 in 9 or 11 percent. ‘Oscar Trimbole

Today’s lesson learnt is inspired by a journal entry by Wool Young Farming Champion  and volunteer extraordinaire Lucy Collingridge. Lucy has some words of wisdom for young people starting their career and a reminder to us all we can all be leaders.

“Are you off a farm?” – This is a question that I hear more days than not as I work and live in Australian agriculture. When I reply with “No, I had no connection to agriculture until I was 15”, I receive a vast array of reactions. From the intrigue as to how I ended up with my life revolving around the Australian agricultural industry to the judgement that I have no place providing advice to our farmers, and everything in between. At the early stages of my career, as a new graduate with limited agricultural experience but a great passion to make a difference, I let these reactions affect my mood and approach to the industry. I let the doubt creep in and started to second guess myself.

That changed five years ago when I identified mentors to support my career and life journey .  We can all benefit from the advice and guidance of someone who has been there and done that.  My mentors have shown me that it is possible to become the person I want to be in spite of the inner and outer obstacles I face.

During my time at university, through my involvement at agricultural shows and as a result of the opportunities I have accessed, I have met countless people who were like me and had no connection to agriculture at a young age. So many of the successful, passionate and dedicated agriculturalists working in our industry today were not from a farm, yet they have just as much and if not more to give to the sustainability and longevity of our industry as those who were born on the land.

As an industry, we have a responsibility to welcome newcomers with full support and no judgement.  Outside-in thinking means having the courage to fling the window open to people who can offer new insights.  We may find these new agriculturalists could hold the secret to so many of our long running issues

To those who are only starting out in our industry, I encourage you to jump at every opportunity you are offered and take on board all positive and negative feedback and assess it through the lens of “Is the person giving me this advice or making this judgement the type of person I aspire to be?”.

People say a lot

I encourage you to not feel diminished by other people’s judgments. Instead use your passion, your actions and successes to speak for themselves.

I can I will.jpg

Looking for mentors. Here’s how to assemble your personal dream team

 

 

 

Young Farming Champions Muster June 2019 1st Edition

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

In the field

Wool YFC and Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer Lucy Collingridge has been coordinating a drone survey using thermal imaging to identify the density of wild horses and deer in an 18,000ha survey area. Following an increasing number of reports of wild horses and deer in the area, the North West LLS is using the emerging technology to assist landholders in a proactive approach to managing these feral species. It is Lucy’s role to coordinate the project by talking to landholders to receive reports of the species, getting consent for the contractor to fly over each property and to get the landholders together to learn more about what the project involves. Following the completion of the survey, Lucy will again get the landholders together to discuss the results of the survey and what it means for the group moving forward.

Lucy drone day1

 

YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah from the The Food Farm: Central Coast hosted some special guest chefs from Malaysia last week and the food looked as amazing as the dinner venue! Check out this location:

 

“Today we were so fortunate to have @chefsamuelburke, @jabfood and media from South East Asia come and join us on the farm 🌱 it was an awesome opportunity to showcase what we have happening here; with #australianbeefandlamb, #regenerativeagriculture and #soilhealth being some of the hot topics. It’s so humbling as farmers to have such talented chefs to showcase the nourishing produce ❤️” – The Food Farm: Central Coast

Tims pig
Tim is also the proud new owner of 11 pigs, adding pork to the amazing menu of farm fresh foods available from The Food Farm, Central Coast.

Now how cool is this one – YFC and agronomist Casey Onus captured this video of a weed being sprayed in slow motion, at an Agrifac Machinery demonstration day at Beefwood, just north of Moree NSW. The company demonstrated their spot-spraying technology on the day – and whether you spray crops or not, everything looks great in slow motion!

 

From cool to freezing! Beef Young Farming Champion Kirsty McCormack is hosting our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week – live from snowy Canada! We are blown away seeing some of incredible conditions she is working in. Jump over to Facebook to follow along for the next week.

Kirsty Mc PYiA.jpg

 

Friend of the YFC team Matt Champness is currently spending time in Laos as a volunteer weeds agronomist, supported by the Crawford Fund. This week Matt started working on farm research sites demonstrating direct seeded rice weed control techniques. The control techniques include:

  1. Sowing fertiliser with rice, rather than broadcasting fertiliser, to overcome weeds
  2. Inter-row cultivation – this will require some machine engineering by Matt!
  3. Cutting the rice crop with a whipper snipper – not just useful in the garden!
  4. Hand weeding every day to stop seed set and achieve perfect weed control.

 

Matt is also off to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) youth workshop in Brazil next month – this workshop aims to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services. All the best for your work in Laos and trip to Brazil Matt – we look forward to sharing Matt’s insights with you all!

Out of the field

Australian Wool Innovation’s 2019 National Merino Challenge (NMC) was held in Sydney over 25-26th May – 161 participants from across the country descended upon Sydney Showgorunds for the competition. The first ever industry team entered this year, a team of young professionals from Australian Wool Network (AWN). This team included YFC Emma Turner, who hails from Ivanhoe NSW but is currently based in Launceston, Tasmania in her AWN role. The NMC brings young people with an interest in the wool industry together to develop their knowledge, skills and networks with demonstrations and presentations from industry professionals.

Emma Turner Wool.jpg

YFC and Local Landcare Coordinator Jasmine Whitten has been assisting with delivering vertebrate pest forums in the western district of NSW.

“This is a day where we take leading pest management experts Peter Fleming, Darren Marshall and Guy Ballard to talk directly to landholders about managing feral cats, pigs, and foxes. There will also be a large deal of time focusing on wild dogs, looking at pest collaring projects and should we have a similar project out west. We have had fantastic response with over 100 landholders across the region looking to attend. We also have attendees from government agencies including Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife and research and development organisation Meat & Livestock Australia,” says Jasmine. This sounds like an event not to be missed in western NSW!

Jasmine Whitten Landcare.jpg

Jasmine has also been busy coordinating the annual Light and Life Photo Competition, which is now in its 20th year. Last week she spoke to Western Magazine about this year’s comp and its theme “Beyond the Dust.” Read more here.

YFC and agronomist Alexandria Galea organised a fantastic WinCott (Women in Cotton) Ladies of the Land Luncheon on 23rd May in Emerald, Queensland. The luncheon was a sell out with 130 women from a 200 km radius coming together to network with ladies working in agriculture and listen to guest speakers! Alex also did a stellar job as master of ceremonies – congratulations on such a successful event.

Alexandria Galea Women in Cotton.jpg

2019 University of New England (UNE) YFC Becca George spent the 24th – 26th May at Dubbo Show where she is a member of the show society and cattle committee. The cattle section of the show was very successful, welcoming over 160 bovine entrants for the weekend. Considering the dry seasonal conditions that Dubbo and surrounds have been experiencing it was great to see so many animals on display.

Becca George Dubbo Show.jpg

Climate YFC and InStyle Magazine’s Farmer for Change Anika Molesworth spoke to Sarah Nolet on the Agtech – So What? podcast this week, sharing her passion for climate action and circular food systems. You can listen to it here.

Anika AgTech podcast

And if that’s up your alley, this is worth reading! Post last month’s Australian Federal Election, Anika penned this beautiful blog about climate optimism which has been liked and shared hundreds of times on Twitter. Anika writes: “We know how urgent the need for addressing climate change is. We know how critical the situation is. We know there are big steps to be taken, but we’ve got this.”

Keep reading here.

Anika Climate Blog

Wool YFC and Elders Employee of the Year Sam Wan is currently on a wool study tour in Italy. She has some exciting news and wooly tales to share next Muster, so watch this space! We can’t wait!

Sam Wan Italy.jpg

Lifetime Highlights

Congratulations to one of our newest University of New England YFC Ruby Canning. Ruby was awarded the Max Wesbster Memorial Prize for her composition photography piece at the recent Robb College Art Show. “Being the highest award at the art show I was thrilled! I also sold a few pieces of art with a percentage of proceeds going to Angel Flight.” Well done Ruby!

Ruby Canning Art Prize

And mega Congrats to Cotton YFC Laura Bennet on her recent marriage. Best wishes for a happy life together, from the YFC team!

Laura Bennet married.JPG

Archie Action

The 2019 Archibull Prize is underway and this video of Archie arriving at Merrylands High School has absolutely made our week:

Good luck to all our YFC who start Google Hangout meets and school visits this month! We’re excited!

 

 

Lessons Learnt Number Four – Using Social Media to Amplify Youth Voices

Social media is all around us. Facebook pops up onto our screens with notifications, we spend hours admiring Instagram images and we check in with the twitter-verse. In the ten years since Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) was born we’ve used social media to share our stories, create conversations and build relationships over countless interactions. In this edition of our Lesson Learnt series we talk to Young Farming Champions Bessie Thomas and Anika Molesworth to find out how social media can be used to amplify youth voices.

Bessie Thomas uses Facebook as her social media platform of choice to share her life on Burragan Station in western NSW. “I like Facebook for its ability to be short or long form,” she says. “I’m primarily a long-form writer and enjoy Facebook’s ability to allow me to explore my thoughts thoroughly, use language as it pleases me (especially for writing with comedic affect) and then add visuals to suit.”

Bessie at Burragan.JPG

Bessie.JPG

Just as Bessie enjoys Facebook for its long-form option Anika prefers the brevity of Twitter. “Twitter demands less wordiness and is relatively easy to use,” she says, “and I can use short sentences and one link or a picture.”

Whatever the choice of platform both girls agree it is connecting to your audience that is most important. “Having a public Facebook page is like creating my own little community,” Bessie says of her audience who come to her to experience real-life on a sheep property. “The one aim of my Facebook page has always been to show the human side of farming, show that I/my husband/our family/farmers in general are real people with the same everyday hopes, dreams, problems, desires, challenges, illnesses, brain-farts, morals, ethics and ideals as everyone else. I want to show that we are individuals who care, not just mass production food factories. We are not perfect; we are just as human as everyone else.”

For Anika using social media is about connecting with people who can spread her environmental and climate change messages. “I think Twitter is well used by farmers, researchers and politicians who are connected to the topics I am talking about,” she says, “and I like you can tag anyone, no matter who they are. For example I sometimes engage in a Twitter conversation with policy makers and where else could I do this?”

Anika Twitter

Using images and video is a trademark of many social media platforms and both Bessie and Anika use these to great effect. Bessie recently created a video after drought-breaking rain fell at Burragan. The video reached over 20,000 people and was picked up by the Sky News Weather Channel. See footnote

Anika has recently compiled short videos to share on Twitter where she talks about such subjects as renewable energy and climate change. “I am really interested in amplifying the voice of rural Australia, so I asked myself, how can I project my story further and raise awareness of topics I believe are important? I decided to make a series of short videos of me on my family’s farm. Walking around my paddocks I try to give observation and insight on my life in Far West NSW around a central theme of climate change – both its impacts and how it can be addressed.”

Anika admits, that although she is familiar and comfortable with Twitter and has built up an engaged audience and has being identified as the most influential agriculturalist on Twitter , there is always more to learn. Bessie too, finds it a continuous learning process but has these tips for creating successful posts:

  • Create authentic content. Don’t use give-aways or ask for likes and don’t post just for the sake of posting. Amplify your voice in a curated way.
  • Respond to comments and private messages and, in doing so, build trusted relationships.
  • Know your purpose, or aim, and stick to it.
  • Create an emotional connection. My best posts are the honest ones where I am celebrating the highs and also admitting vulnerability. Whinging and complaining posts tend not to do so well.
  • Spell-check! See footnote

Picture You in Agriculture provides all Young Farming Champions with training in social media skills during their immersion workshops and encourages them to share their experiences. Young Farming Champion Alana Black has recently contributed to this by creating a social media strategy document, sharing with YFC how to create engaging content. Just like Bessie and Anika, Alana’s believes it is about connecting with an audience to start a conversation and deliver a positive message about agriculture.

Footnote

That moment when Sky News wants to put your video on national TV and your dad rings to remind you of the ” i” before “e” rule except after “c”

A reminder we should all aim for progress not perfection