The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
In this episode of Leadership is Language- Conversations with Thought Leaders the founders of Black Box Co Emma Black and Shannon Speight talk to Young Farming Champion Dione Howard
Black Box Co is a cloud-based software program that manages and compares large datasets, presenting insights in graphical form on online dashboards. It is the brainchild of two northern Queensland women, Shannon Speight and Emma Black. “By simply uploading a file to Black Box, data can be tied together across the supply chain,” Shannon says. “It becomes a decision-making tool that you can execute and it gives maximum insight for minimum effort. It takes the grunt work out of data analysis from fertility to growth to carcass.”
In this interview Emma and Shannon share insights into their first year of business going from:
Emma and Shannon working part-time to now having a full time staff of 10 people
Zero cattle on their database to having 900,000
Zero data points to 15 million data points
Shannon and Emma also reflect on:
the value and experience they have gained from their mentors
tips for applying for awards
what a typical day looks for both of them as business women with 4 children under 6 between them – the negotiables and the non negotiables
Importance of self care and what that looks like for them personally
When the moons align make the most of it. Shannon and Emma have leveraged key moments in their lives and their strengths
Their drive and commitment to being solutions focused
Both living in Northern Queensland
Power of the bottom up approach
Success is identifying a gap and meeting the wants and needs of your customer.
Identify and work with the early adopters
“its not about balance – you are always juggling balls. You have to work out which balls are made of glass and which ones are made of rubber” Shannon
“awards are about taking a giant leap and making the most of the experience. Whilst the award initially recognises something you have done, the follow up and the opportunities are the best part that comes from awards” Emma
“the Zanda Award has been instrumental in changing both our lives. We both had people who tapped us on the shoulder and back us when we applied. On the other hand when you get knocked back for an award it can be just as important as a learning experience. Applying for awards multiple times can make you stronger each time” Shannon
‘do your research when applying for an award, find out what the judges are looking for, ring some-one who has applied before, really put the effort in” Emma
“a good mentor can really challenge you and your thinking” Emma
Shannon is passionate about the beef and livestock industry. Having graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Sydney Shannon has spent extensive time working within the beef industry in various roles. Shannon began as a vet working with live export in North Queensland and then mixed practice in Charters Towers and Longreach.
One of her most recent roles has seen her coordinate a large scale beef genomics project across Northern Australia. This project has involved over 50 properties from Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and ovarian scanning over 30,000 heifers to develop a DNA suitable for northern cattle with a focus on fertility traits. Shannon was integral in supporting producers with data collection, ovarian scanning and pregnancy testing and providing genomic and production feedback to producers.
Shannon was awarded the Zanda McDonald Award in 2019. The Zanda McDonald Award has been running for the past six years and seeks to highlight talented and passionate young individuals working in the agricultural sector. This highly prestigious Trans-Tasman award allowed Shannon an impressive personal development package that included a trans-Tasman mentoring trip and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group.
Shannon has since co-founded Black Box Co an innovative SaaS (Software as a Service) product that ingests raw data across the beef supply chain to inform prediction, forecasting and key production insights. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and this product is now being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.
Shannon is currently completing her Masters of Business Administration through James Cook University and is the chairperson of the Beef Australia Next Generation Committee.
Emma has always been passionate about the beef and livestock industry since growing up on a property in Western Queensland. Educated at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, Emma went on to work in livestock nutrition consulting followed by meat processing to gain a knowledge right along the beef supply chain. To apply this knowledge, Emma then worked in extension services taking a whole-of-business approach, working directly with beef producers and industry to assist in livestock nutrition, pasture/livestock management, meat quality, business/data analysis and general property management.
Emma has since co-founded Black Box Co, an innovative software that ingests raw production data from right along the beef supply chain, instantly turning it into key insights to inform production decisions, prediction and forecasting. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and is currently being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.
Emma was the inaugural winner of the prestigious Zanda McDonald Award which has provided her with ongoing mentoring and guidance from the biggest movers and shakers in the agricultural industries across Australia and New Zealand through the Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Group. To further her knowledge and skill set Emma is currently studying a Masters in Business Administration. She is extremely passionate about mentoring the next generation including young producers, university and high school students.
The addition of the past Impact 25 winner, to the charity, formerly Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA), brings to the unique organisation the ideal mix of youth, philanthropy, government, industry and grassroots knowledge and experience, said founder and director Lynne Strong.
“Highly respected with a background in philanthropy and tackling some of the major social issues facing Australia, Tanya is a fantastic and extraordinary new appointment for us.
Tanya will help us see how agriculture is part of a bigger picture that shares common issues with other sectors and identify opportunities where we can all collaborate on the challenges that the country faces.
In Tanya, we have someone who can show us how we can harness grass roots advocacy and achieve change beyond the traditional ways that agriculture has done in the past.”
Tanya is a former head of Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS) and a past AFR 100 Women of Influence Non-profit Sector winner. She joins youth representatives Dr Joanna Newton OAM as deputy chair, and Emma Ayliffe, recently announced as the 2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year recipient, and NSW RAS Rural Achiever winner Dr Dione Howard and non-executive director Dr Jenni Metcalfe
“Having young people in visible senior leadership roles provides role models for young people to look up to and sets an example for other organisations.
Young people may be 20% of the population, but they are 100% of our future so it’s important young people have seats at today’s decision-making tables.” said Jo.
A4A’s fresh new name and logo greater reflects the advocacy work that the dynamic not-for-profit is continuing to carry out to ensure that youth voices are amplified in all aspects of society, said Lynne.
“There is now a great opportunity to leverage the young people A4A have trained over the years, today viewed as role models and influencers, to ensure youth are heard and that their opinions truly valued, they have the capacity to take action on issues that are important to them and their communities”
A4A is taking a grassroots approach, venturing out and engaging with the wider community, discovering what is important to young people in schools, and acquiring an understanding of what’s important to today’s consumers” she said.
Lynne highlighted that the Agriculture industry was a growth industry increasing its GDP value to the economy by 7% in the last 20 years and now worth close to $67 billion. Agriculture is now seen as a progressive industry and a career with purpose with an increasing number of young people opting to study agriculture-related tertiary courses, and the sector has made a commitment to taking real action to address climate change.
In today’s review of our Leadership is Language webinar interviews Graham Smith, Australian Rural Leadership Program Manager, sits down with Young Farming Champion Hannah Hawker to discuss the importance of throwing out stereotypes and misconceptions when it comes to leadership and language.
Language is spoken language, body language and listening
Pay attention to how you feel when communicating
Think positively, think strategically and act in an adaptive, authentic way
“….leadership really is a series of processes. It’s not a product or an output or an outcome .. and if you dig down into that, more often than not, communication will come up as the most important process in leadership.”
Graham Smith coordinates the Australian Rural Leadership Program and his deep roots in the non-urban landscape of Australia stem from an upbringing in Barraba in northern NSW.
He has career has included positions with the Australian Public Service and CSIRO, General Manager of Questacon and secondary teaching. His public sector work has been recognised by an Australia Day Medallion and Australian Public Service departmental award for leadership.
Graham has a committed professional interest in Indonesia and its fast developing economic and cultural relationships with Australia. These relationships extend to his leadership development with ARLP.
Hannah is an enthusiastic farmer’s daughter from Central West NSW where she has returned to continue her teaching career, delighting in the opportunity to share knowledge with secondary students. These two passions are consolidated through her involvement in local and state level agricultural shows; behind the scenes organisation, as a competitor and on the microphone as an MC and ring announcer. Completing her term as President, Hannah is now sitting on the board as Executive Advisor for ASC of NSW Next Generation where she assists in the continuation of skill development opportunities for young agriculturalists. Hannah is a 2013 Young Farming Champion Alumni, who represented the red meat industry
The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1992 with the aim to develop leaders for rural, regional and remote Australia. The Foundation runs a series of leadership courses including the flagship Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP).
Over the next 6 months we will be sharing a series of articles showcasing the extraordinary work that is being done to engage young people in conversations about the production of the food they consume and the natural fibres they use and promote career pathways for young people into agriculture.
A significant body of this work is being done in our schools, inviting teachers to empower students to come up with their own solutions to agricultures images and perceptions challenges and opportunities .
We would like to thank Lorraine Chaffer from the NSW&ACT Geography Teacher’s Association for her support in providing context from a teacher’s perspective
What we know:
Surveys reveal that Australians, and Australian students, do not understand the importance or value of agriculture in the context of Australia, Asia and the world.
Most teachers and students have a general understanding of sustainability and over the course of time develop some understanding about the components or pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and social. This will vary between subjects and the focus of school teaching programs. Much of this understanding has a focus on environmental sustainability linked to subject specific topic content. Some of the subjects are electives and not studied by all students.
Many senior students (Years 11 and 12) do not choose to study agriculture for their HSC. The subject is perceived as being less valuable than others for ATAR calculations and link to future careers.
In K – 10 there are limited opportunities to develop deep, cross curricula knowledge and understanding about sustainability, the importance of agriculture in feeding Australia and the world (and issues of food security) and the application of sustainability considerations in the daily decisions made by farmers.
From an agriculture perspective there is a need to demonstrate:
that 82% of careers in the agriculture sector which enable farmers to produce food, fibre and affordable clean energy are in areas with predicted high growth in the future.
that the workplace opportunities and multiple career paths in food and fibre production and the study of agriculture presents an excellent prospect for capable students.
We look forward to showcasing the experimentation, the success stories, the learnings, the tweaks and opportunities to multiply the impact of the success stories
Today’s guest blog comes from Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who has been a very busy girl not only has she just returned from Antarctica she has also submitted her PhD thesis for review and appeared on The Project TV. We see big things happening for Anika in 2020
For over 12 months I have been part of a leadership program run by Homeward Boundfor women of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) who are working on ensuring the sustainability of our planet.
At the end of 2019 I traveled to Antarctica with this cohort of 100 women from around the world, from all different backgrounds and disciplines, but sharing a common purpose – to help create the best possible future for our planet.
We stepped aboard the Hebredium Sky in Ushuaia, southern Argentina, as talented individuals. Experts in our specific areas – be that marine ecology, molecular chemistry, astrophysics, agricultural science, or climate diplomacy – just to name a few. Each of us raised our hand to say ‘I’ want to be part of ‘us’ who change the trajectory.
I was immersed in an intensive program that covered four key components – leadership, strategy, visibility and science. The program consisted of lectures, personal coaching sessions, group action setting, and individual presentations. We dived into the greatest challenges facing our planet – tackling the complexities of these issues head-on in honest discussion – and brainstorming how to implement effective solutions.
Antarctica sets a unique backdrop of learning for working as a collective. The pages of history are decorated with the stories of individuals heading to uncertain futures at the end of the world. On arriving in the most challenging conditions on the planet, these individuals quickly learnt that the only way to survive was by pulling together. Ice sheets would not be crossed, studies would not be conducted, ships would not sail and buildings would not be built if the team didn’t come together as one in this ice-covered wilderness. Impossible to complete as one, possible to be achieved together. The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, is a prime example of nations across the globe committing together to something bigger than any one country could achieve alone. The preservation of Antarctica for peace and science epitomizes the spirit of international cooperation. It was quite fitting that as we sailed through this frozen landscape during the 60th anniversary of the signing of this treaty.
It was this spirit of teamwork, encouragement, respect and responsibility that bound the participants together – and has set them up to achieve something more than they ever could alone.
Antarctica was our teacher, and as students, we learnt a lot. The landscape showed us the importance of stillness and reflection, the fragility of our natural world, and the power and presence of our incredible planet. This iconic environment also showed us first-hand the influence of human activities on the environment and provided critical insights into the global-scale change required.
Now, I am back home on my family’s farm in Far Western NSW, where again I am reminded on a daily basis of the climate challenges we face. We’ve had to truck in water – the first time in our family’s history on the farm – and summer has been defined by relentless dust-storms and 40+ degree days.
However, something has shifted in me. I am feeling more equipped and motivated than ever to stand-up to the big challenges and protect the incredible places we love and call home. I am feeling more optimistic about our future than I have in a long time. I have met incredible STEMM women working actively on the solutions and who are not shying-away from what needs to be done. I have returned home with new knowledge and networks. I have developed my communication skills and plan to use these to positively influence policy and decision-making on climate action. I plan to continue amplifying the voice of farmers who are grappling with the harsh realities of climate change today, so we can ensure the best possible tomorrow.
We asked the teachers at Bellbird Public School why they wanted to participate in Kreative Koalas
As a staff our main motivation to participate in this opportunity was to provide authentic opportunities for students so they could recognise problems, design solutions and be part of making a positive impact upon their own and everyone else’s future.
We know that children are our future and it is our role as educators to
Each of the initiatives we have undertaken through this project have continued, we are still working on and improving applications to embed them in all our practices and more importantly into the lives of our community members.
What was their big idea
Bellbird Public School designed their Term 2 K-6 learning programs around a whole school theme of War on Waste. This underpinned and supported all of the initiatives we undertook as part of our participation in the Kreative Koalas Create a Brighter Future Program.
All classes discussed what they felt were the main issues impacting upon the people and environment surrounding Bellbird and three major directions emerged;
the need to reduce the amount of rubbish we as consumers were contributing to the environment
the need to be proactive in improving and sustaining the quality of our immediate environment (Black Creek)
our responsibility as a group to aid people less fortunate than ourselves by utilising existing resources
Once these three challenges were posed, classes and stages began planning ways they could contribute to solving them.
We conducted a whole school rubbish audit. We sorted and weighed the rubbish collected from all bins in our school. We were amazed at many things; how much paper ended up in the rubbish, the amount of packaging and the amount of food being wasted.
Classes and our school parliament had many discussions about a plan of action. We bought individual coloured bins to sort rubbish, paper recycling and plastic recycling. These were implemented in both eating areas and the teacher’s staffroom. We access the Return and Earn program with our appropriate containers.
Classrooms had recycling bins and small rubbish bins added. Recycling bins are emptied regularly by our Environment Ministers.
Stage 2 set up worm farms and collect food scraps daily from classrooms and eating areas. These worm farms fertilise our gardens.
Each Wednesday is Waste Free Wednesday. Through this we encourage all families to making both cost effective choices and environmentally sustainable choices about the foods that are purchased and provided for daily consumption at school. It was highly evident from our rubbish audit the high percentage of pre-packaged food that was filling lunchboxes. Our community were offered alternate ideas and suggestions such as buying in bulk and dividing into portion sizes in reusable containers and cooking more nutritious options.
Awareness amongst students and staff has increased greatly about the amount of unnecessary waste we as consumers perpetuate. As our theme exposed us to information and facts about the Great Southern Garbage Patch, landfill required for extraordinary amounts of discarded clothing, coffee cups, water bottles and a wide range of reusable items, we have made changes to reduce our impact as a school and community. We have reduced the amount of rubbish being brought to school in lunch boxes, better reused resources such as paper that was going into landfill, utilised snippets from our community’s home gardens to create new potted plants to decorate our school but most importantly we have all started making conscious decisions about how our consumer choices impact upon the environment.
Initiative 2 – Improve and sustain health of our local creek and surrounding environment (SDG 15.1 Life on Land)
With the support of Cessnock City Council, Hunter Water and Bug Blitz, Stage 2 have participated in ongoing water testing, bug detecting, plant and animal species identification, weed identification and rubbish removal. Through these educational and awareness building opportunities, students have learnt about how local mines impact upon our waterways and the responsibility they have as residents to maintain their local environment.
Students have claimed responsibility for this part of their environment. Small groups of volunteers spend their lunch play time over at the creek with a teacher ensuring that it is clean, clear of rubbish, and conducting testing that is recorded directly onto an app. and uploaded onto the net. Classes visit as whole groups to undertake more thorough data collection. Our General Assistant keeps the area directly adjacent to our school mown for easy access. It is an enjoyable place to be and a lunch time opportunity students line up to participate in. Pride in and group responsibility for the area have increased.
Initiative 3: To provide assistance to those in need through utilising existing resources
(SDG 12.3 Responsible Production & Consumption)
Kindergarten sort a local charity that they could support and found Hunter Hands of Hope. This service provides daily meals and other services to the homeless in our local area. Blanchies Café in Cessnock kindly donated their left over food items that our Kinder classes cooked up into hearty nutritious meals that were delivered to the drop in centre each week by Kinder students with their parents and teachers.
As a school we have participated in terracycling of dental hygiene items, plastic lids to be made into prosthetics and reading glasses to be distributed in third world countries.
This initiative was very well received by both the charity and the people who gratefully received these meals. Both the Kinder students and their parents benefitted from this opportunity to support those in our community who are in need of a helping hand. It too provided a waste reduction of valuable food from the business. Instilling the mindset that we can all help others has been a wonderful trait to nurture.
The collection of the other items was well supported and continues.
What Did they Notice Along the Way?
*All students K-6 have had the opportunity to be involved.
*Knowledge of environmental facts has increased.
*Desire to devise plans to take action for change have developed.
*Students have included their parents and family members in their learning journey.
*Everybody has made some impact upon positive choices for a sustainable environment both at school and home.
*All of the initiatives we have implemented continue to develop and enhance our students’ lives and those of our community.
The whole process has been incredibly rewarding, eye opening and life changing! We feel that it has completely changed the culture of the school. The conversations and research at the beginning of the year really led our environmental team to make changes. We were concerned that the changes might not last very long, but letting the students lead the change has been the key to its success. It’s excellent to see the conversations around the playground everyday. The students (and staff!) love checking with a Nature Ninja to confirm they are putting their rubbish in the correct place.
We were surprised how easy it was to get other schools and community businesses involved. With TV shows like “War on Waste” from ABC the community is aware of the effect humans are having on the environment, therefore they are keen to make changes.
On our recent year 3/4 excursion to Sydney it was lovely to see students pick up rubbish without being asked while we were at Taronga Zoo, then they even made an effort to put it in the correct bin. Many students found bread tags, lids and ring pulls on the ground which they took to a teacher to take back to our Recycling Zone…every little bit counts! A Nature Ninja also asked the zoo staff if we could take the lids from breakfast back to school. It was lovely to see our recycling efforts don’t just happen on school grounds, which confirms this whole process has been worth the effort!
The fact that Maitland’s landfill area, known as Mt Vincent Road Waste Management Centre, sits on Wonnarua country only about 30 kilometres from our school is very disturbing to us. It has built a desire to respect, reduce, reuse and recycle.
We are delighted how many conversations we are having with staff and parents about how they are changing their buying, recycling and reusing practices at home too.
Where to next?
With the end of the year drawing near, our Nature Ninjas are planning ahead for next year. We have the following ideas in the pipeline.
• Introduce nude food/zero waste days
• Plan lessons around wants and needs to reduce general consumption
• Build a yarning circle to complement our existing gardens and show respect to our Aboriginal community, as it would be a community space for all people to use.
Our most exciting news is that we are working with Lower Hunter Landcare at the moment and they are seeking grants on our behalf to run a community project for Lochinvar Creek. Lochinvar Creek runs under the New England Highway not far from the front of our school, then bends around and flows along our back fence. The project aims to clear the area of introduced species and weeds. Our students, plus invited community members, will then plant natives to encourage the local wildlife to return to our area. This project is expected to start in February.
Staff and students have really enjoyed the Kreative Koala journey this year as it has given us the kick start we needed to make necessary changes to improve our environment for the future. Without this project we would still be guessing which bin to put or rubbish in and disrespecting the environment by sending unnecessary items to landfill.
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the globe.
In the Field
Spring is here and our young farmers are starting the season on a high. They’re planting trees, shearing sheep, hanging out with cute little lambs and stopping to smell the wildflowers along the way.
Wool YFC Melissa Henry, from Quebon Coloured Sheep, has been busy planting trees with her three year old daughter Ruby on their farm near Young, NSW. “ We’re planting Yellow Box, Apple Box, White Box and Blakley’s Red Gum,” Mel says. “These species are part of the threatened ecological community of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on the SW Slopes of NSW. We are planting paddock trees to provide connectivity across the landscape for the Superb Parrot and other woodland bird species as well as providing shade for our sheep. It’s a win win.”
Another Woolly YFC and YVLT Communications Creative Team Leader Bessie Thomas is enjoying the first season of wildflowers in three years on her sheep station in far west NSW. Bessie says good rain received in April and May has lead to the spring flourish at their Wilcannia property, while drought has made conditions too dry to grow wildflowers in the previous two years. With temperatures heating up quickly and bushfires across Australia’s eastern states we’ve got our fingers crossed for some spring and summer rain for all those who need it.
YFC, agronomist and director of Summit Agriculture Emma Ayliffe took a break from her usual work outside among the cotton and almond crops to rousey in the shearing shed on her farm near Lake Cargelligo, NSW. Emma and her partner Craig shore their 200 Dohne Merino ewes and crutched their remaining 100 lambs. “Considering how dry it has been we have managed to keep the stock in great condition,” Emma says. “The remaining 100 lambs will hopefully be sold in the next 4-6 weeks.”
In keeping with the wool theme, our resident Local Land Services (LLS) vet and Wool YFC Dione Howard has been hanging out with the cutest little lambs near her hometown of Lockhart, NSW, during lamb marking: “These little ones were too young to be marked so they were hanging out waiting.”
Dione has started a new Instagram account with the Riverina LLS vet team showcasing what’s happening in the field. Check out @locallivestockvets on Instagram to follow Dione and her colleagues, along with all their cool cases, seasonal warnings, animal health updates and more.
And check out these cuties hanging out with our newest Australian Wool Innovation YFC and shearer Tom Squires on the north coast of Tasmania! What a glorious start to spring!
Out of the Field
It’s been a huge fortnight on the ag social calendar for our YFC, as usual!
YFC Emma Ayliffe, Chloe Dutschke and Lucy Collingridge attended the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement at Parliament House, Canberra.
With over 500 people in attendance, the sell out event included a large number of agri-influencers and provided a range of networking opportunities. Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, NFF’s Fiona Simpson and Tony Maher and journalist Pip Courtney were among those present.
Our YFC also caught up with some friends of the program – NFF 2030 Leader Nicole McDonald and Country to Canberra’s Hannah Wandel were also enjoying the night.
The dinner was the announcement of the national winner of the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, with a big congratulations to Jo Palmer from The Rock, NSW for securing the national title.
YFC and YVLT Communication Social Media Coordinator Lucy Collindridge says, “Last night was an amazing opportunity to meet and be inspired by some of the leading female agriculturalists from across Australia. Passionate, hard working, resilient and humble. In the words of Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ The 2019 national finalists are a group of rural women showing the world exactly what you can achieve!”
Sue Middleton, 2010 Rural Women of the Year, FRRR board member and Twitter influencer with our wonderful Youth Voices Leadership Team vice chair and YFC Emma Ayliffe.
Last week Wool YFC Adele Smith was out and about at the 2019 SWS Stud Merino Breeders Field Day in Harden, NSW. Adele’s employer Moses & Son were sponsors of the event and Adele enjoyed the day chatting to producers and studs about the services they offer – including wool weighing, shown below:
Wool YFC and LLS Biosecutiry Officer Lucy Collingridge coordinated a landholder meeting to finalise a pig ecology and community engagement research project in her area. The project, which is part of a larger scale PhD project for Darren Marshall of SQ Landscapes, looked at the movement of pigs through the environment, the impact of coordinated management programs and the attitudes of farmers in the group to feral pig management.
ABC Landline was back again to film the project, with a segment coming up about the results of the project. If you’re interested to learn more about the project, check out the original Landline story here.
YFC and Local Land Services vet Dione Howard attended Farmers for Climate Action’s conference in Orange and she says it was unlike any conference she has attended before! “The theme of the conference was ‘Risks and rewards of farming in a changing climate’ and the line up of speakers presented just that – the facts of climate change and the effects which are already upon us, but also the opportunities and real solutions that exist to minimise agriculture’s contribution to climate change. It was empowering to take home strategies for land and animal management, resilience and wellbeing.”
University of New England (UNE) YFC Ruby Canning was at the recent Tamworth Show judging for the F002 Qualifying beef paraders. The top 12 from the class will go forward and represent at Sydney Royal Show next year.
Taking advantage of a recent uni holiday break, Ruby ran a workshop at Kempsey High School about parading, clipping and junior judging, which included tips on how to get over the fear of the microphone at judging competitions, show preparation, and beef showmanship.
“This was organised after I judged an outstanding group of students at Kempsey Show earlier this year and about 32 students attended the all-day workshop,” Ruby says. “It was great to be able to provide some guidance to a group of passionate young beef enthusiasts, and hear about some of their aspirations within the industry. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and insight about my experiences in junior judging and paraders and giving some tips. The feedback was positive, as students enjoyed the opportunity to participate and ask questions, and they were all very appreciative of my time which was lovely.”
Last week NFF 2030 Leader Matt Champness attended the Asia-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) Conference in Kuching, Malaysia. Matt is currently working with rice farmers in Laos and presented some of his work on week control at conference.
Matt sent us this recap from the event: Unsurprisingly due rice being the major crop grown in the region, controlling weeds in rice was the basis for many of the presentation – of high relevance to me. Herbicide resistance would appear to be a major issue in the region – as it is globally. I was therefore disappointed to see so much work on developing new chemistry or differing mixes to overcome this issue. As Einstein famously defined insanity “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I delivered a presentation on the work the Crawford Fund is doing to build capacity in weed identification and control weeds in direct seeded rice in the Lao PDR. The crux of the presentation was the inter-row cutter we have developed to control weeds. Fortunately there were some great presentations on biological control of weeds and physical and cultural controls – crop competitiveness, row spacing, clean seed etc (a bit more sophisticated than my whipper snipper presso!) I also learnt a great deal about successful methods of capacity building and extension in the region – something I am incredibly passionate about. The conference provided a great opportunity to learn and network with leaders in the region. I must thank the Crawford Fund for their continued support.
Congratulations to fellow NFF 2030 Leader and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon who was the keynote speaker at the gala dinner for the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) conference in Darwin. This year’s theme was Extending Horizons – fitting for Aimee’s first trip to the Northern Territory – and she also joined the other keynote speakers and conference organisers on a panel to wrap up the conference.
“I was really inspired by the sharing and collaboration of the delegates,” Aimee says. “The concurrent sessions showcased projects from right across the Australasia Pacific region and across industry. The passion and knowledge of our extension officers, and their drive to deliver improvements, efficiencies and technology for growers is impressive! As a collective they have an incredible story to tell, and make an invaluable contribution to our industry. It was a honour to share the LEGO Farmer with them.”
We’ve got fresh pics from Global Table where Climate YFC Anika Molesworth moderated a panel on Disrupting Climate Change. She also spoke with former US Secretary of State John Kerry about sharing the story of agriculture and how to engage others on climate action.
In the last 30-days, we’ve had more than 6,400 people read about the stories of Young Farming Champions, the Youth Voices Leadership Team, Lynne Strong’s journey leading the organization and all of the support that our range of diverse partners provide us.
If you’d like to learn more about what our team is up to, please look us up, follow our page and let us know what you think.
Coming up Out of the Field…
Henty Machinery Field Days is this week! It runs from Tuesday 17th-Thursday 19th September and there’ll be tractors and trailers and big cultivators. YFC Dione Howard will be at the LLS shed on Wednesday and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon will be speaking at the Charles Sturt University Innovation Hub on Tuesday. Don’t forget to say hi if you see them!
What a week for YFC, InStyle Farmer for Change and founder of Climate Wise Agriculture Anika Molesworth! Anika has been named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 2019 100 Women of Influence. Congratulations Anika! She’s joined by an inspirational and diverse array of influential women, including friend of Picture You in Agriculture and founder of Farmers For Climate Action Anna Rose. Mega kudos to you both.
Congratulations to Grains YFC Calum Watt who has had a phenomenal week of wins. Calum won the Murdoch University’s 3 Minute Thesis competition where research students have to explain their doctoral thesis in less than 180 seconds. He’s is now heading to Brisbane in October for the Asia Pacific finals.
Also this week Calum won the Paul Johnston memorial award for best presentation for an under 35 year old at the National Barley Technical Symposium.
And last but not least, Calum has been accepted into the Fresh Science 2019 WA program, a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.
Calum’s PhD sees him using CRISPR technology to improve the productivity of barley crops and he has just submitted his second paper for publication. Huge, huge congrats on all Calum!
Huge congrats also to YFC Emma Ayliffe who has been nominated in the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Awards! Good luck Emma!
UNE YFC Becca George has just been just announced as one of the ALFA SMARTBEEF Conference scholarship recipients from Angus Australia. She’ll be heading to Dalby, Qld, to attend the conference in the first week of October. Well done Becca, we can’t wait to hear more!
Beef researcher and YFC Steph Fowler (pictured center) attended the the NSW DPI Central West Cluster Regional Research Roundup and won best early career research presentation. Congratulations Steph!
Dairy YFC Sally Downie is also in The Land this week, after telling her story of mental health battles and triumphs in the Hear Them Raw podcast. This is a truly touching story about one incredibly strong woman, who used her personal experiences to launch the Grassroots Blueprint initiative for better rural and regional mental health at a grassroots level. Read Sally’s story here and listen to the podcast Hear Them Raw here.
In conjunction with Sydney Science Park and Little Brick Pastoral, Picture You in Agriculture has launched our third “Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture” competition to coincide with National Agriculture Day on November 21. The competition is open to school students Years 5 to 12 and we want them envisage their own career in STEM based agriculture. National Farmers Federation blogged about our comp on Australian Farmers this week: Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture
Or head straight to the competition link on our website HERE.
Congratulations to Little Brick Pastoral (aka LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon) on your 5th Birthday!
We loved this blog entry from superstar YFC, auctioneer and wool technician Sam Wan, which we’re sure must have been a lifetime highlight! Did you know Icebreaker has a lifetime sock guarantee on its merino socks? We didn’t! Read Sam’s blog Wool For Every Day to find out how she went about returning and replacing her worn out merino socks for FREE! What more incentive do you need for buying wonderful wool?
Anika Molesworth loved her Google Hangout with James Erskine Public School students, who were super excited about their Kreative Koalas learning and loving doing composting and recycling in their school. Anika says they asked awesome questions and they are planning to give a presentation to their 500 peers on climate change.
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.
“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!”
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.”
“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.”
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”
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’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 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 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 also made it to Sheepvention last week, as did three of our Woolly YFC Sam Wan, Emma Turner and Peta Bradley.
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.
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!
“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
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.