Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Roundup

At Picture You in Agriculture we love the quote

‘There is no such thing as failure.

You either succeed or learn!’

and we love to share what we learn from our Young Farming Champions.

In recent years the initial training of the Young Farming Champions (YFC) has been formalised in a two-year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we talk to the Australian Wool Innovation sponsored YFC who completed the first half of the program in 2019 – Matt Cumming and Tom Squires.

In their first year Matt and Tom, both shearers, undertook media training, immersed themselves in the networking resources of other YFC and learnt how to tell their own stories to the world to promote shearing as an exciting career choice.

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“I’ve worked in shearing sheds, on and off, for 6 years. As shearers we strive to do the best job we possibly can, and we do so in a professional manner. It’s an industry that cares about people and cares about sheep and I wanted the opportunity to share that far and I wide.  I wanted to tell people about my life growing up on the land and how great it can be. I thought Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders would be a great stepping-stone in allowing me to do that.” Tom Squires

A career in wool lets Tom lead the lifestyle he has always dreamed of 

During the workshops Tom and Matt were given an insight to the workings of the media and got the chance to be interviewed by a journalist.

“One of the key skills I learnt from the training was how the media can help you get your message across and how it can get it all wrong if you don’t have the right facts and or haven’t done your research to ensure they receive the correct message,” Matt says.

For Matt shearing is a lifestyle that allows his family to work and play together 

“Being able to talk to leading journalist in the media industry was brilliant,” Tom says. “It challenged me to think from another angle. For example, the one-on-one interview I had with the journalist made me realise journalists wouldn’t run a story unless they know it has an interesting angle for their readers. Now, it may seem common sense, but I never sat back and thought about it. From there it made me think about what is it I really care about and how can I communicate that in a way that will inspire other young people to join me in a career in wool”

Tom and Matt also learnt that to able to effectively talk to the media required the polishing of their own stories; to reduce the use of jargon, to talk in descriptive and personal tones, to use real-life examples rather than facts and to tailor their presentations to a particular audience.

“The program has given me an insight into better crafting a presentation for an audience beyond the agricultural industry,” Tom says. “After presenting, the feedback given was focused around me making sure what was on the slides was able to be read and understood by anyone. This prompted me to shape my presentation more around myself and my own life experiences, rather than telling facts and figures about the industry.”

Adding to this story-telling skillset, Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders also delivered training in the often daunting arena of public speaking and introduced Matt and Tom to a network of young agricultural professionals who can support and encourage them in their own careers.

And so, one year into the program, what have been the highlights for these new YFC and how are they employing their new skills? For Tom, seeing other young leaders striving for success in agriculture has become a great driver.

“In some ways its like shearing,” he says. “In the shearing sheds you always want to be as good as the best shearer (referred to as the gun) in team. You look at the gun and think if he can do it why can’t I? This program was the same for me. I looked around at what the others had achieved and what they had done for the industry and it made me want to do the same.”

For Matt the program is providing continuation of his leadership journey.

“I now have the confidence to want to change and to make a difference within my industry by telling my story and achieving my goals,” he says. “The Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program has taught me that I can lead the way in my industry, and it has given me skills to develop myself and help others to achieve any outcome we are striving for.”

 

 

Sam Arnfield discovers agriculture is a place where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly

I’m not yet thirty but I’ve already worked in grains, viticulture, horticulture and now the wool industry. It’s been an unconventional path but that’s OK. I think its important people know that with a bit of enthusiasm, anyone will take you on and give you a chance. Looking forward I’m excited to continue to learn new skills, with a view to becoming a leader and a manager of people, in whatever corner of the industry I find myself. One thing is for sure, I’ll be doing work that makes me happy. says Sam Arnfield Project Officer with Australian Wool Innovation

At Picture You in Agriculture we get a buzz out of sharing stories about young people who grew up in the city and discover agriculture is an exciting industry where innovation, disruption and creativity are fostered and where careers with purpose can grow limitlessly

This blog post introduces you to  Sam Arnfield our man on the spot with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).  Sam’s career journey was first profiled as a 1st year university student. Ten years after leaving school Sam is a project officer working closely with Picture You in Agriculture to ensure our wonderful wool Young Farming Champions are well supported.

This is Sam’s journey to our door and it’s a journey with lessons for us all.

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Sam Arnfield sharing the properties of wool with students at RAS of NSW Farm Day education experiences 

I grew up on a concrete farm five minutes north of the Adelaide CBD. While I have zero family background in agriculture my love of food, biology and geography made studying it a natural choice and I was very lucky to have a fantastic high school ag teacher, Chris Muirhead, who was buoyant about the prospects of careers in agriculture.

At that time, university enrolments were on the slide and the sentiment in the industry was poor. South Eastern Australia was in the midst of the Millennium Drought and the wool price was around a third or what it is today. However, with booming middle classes in Asia and the advent of e-commerce and smart technology, Mr. Muirhead saw changes on the horizon for our world and our industry. He recognised the importance of enticing people from non-traditional backgrounds into agriculture at a time when young people were leaving the family farm in droves, never to return. I ignored him and followed my school mates to law school.

I took some time off after school teaching English school kids how to play cricket. This was the perfect opportunity to take stock and work out what I really wanted to do with my life. Returning home, I ditched law school before even starting and embarked on a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Adelaide Uni. It was there I met my best friends. We drank together, played footy together and ended up working together for some time.

Without a farm to go back to, or any practical agricultural skills, I foolishly chose the graduate job I thought could earn me the most money. I took a job in grain marketing – not the smartest move for a kid who’d failed maths every year in high school. I sucked, badly, and lasted six weeks and one day.

It was a lesson in doing things for the right reasons and a reminder that you should always do things that make you happy. Maybe that’s a selfish outlook, but we spend more time at work than we do with friends, family and loved ones so we may as well be happy while we do it.

With a degree and no job, I sheepishly went back to a research organisation I’d done some work experience with and begged for a job. I began as a casual, doing all the things nobody else wanted to do – counting potatoes, counting weeds, washing cars and weighing grain. It was mundane but it was fun. At that time, the organisation was packed full of young people, most of whom I’d studied with. We had fun and we worked hard. I stuck around like a bad smell, eventually landing a full-time job where I could spread my time between horticulture, viticulture and the grains sector, conducting field trials for new agro-chemistry.

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Jobs in agriculture offer diverse opportunities 

The job allowed me to travel around South Australia, learn some practical skills and gain a knowledge in a raft of sectors but I eventually realised I was working because I loved the people and not the work itself. After five years it was time for a change, and time for some more skills.

As serendipity would have it, I met a girl while I was searching for my new job. She just happened to be moving to Sydney. I quickly changed my filter settings to ‘Ag jobs in Sydney’ and before too long we were off. I landed a job at Australian Wool Innovation, which was odd to my friends considering I’ve never worked in wool in my life.

I barely knew the front end from the back of a Merino. I must have bluffed my interviews well, but I think it goes to show that if you’re keen and passionate about ag it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done, or what you know, people will give you a chance.

I got learned up pretty quickly on the sheep front and I’m currently coordinating projects in the Leadership and Capacity Building portfolios. This group of projects aims to capture and retain the best and brightest people within the wool industry. I work with initiatives such as Young Farming Championsto foster the development of young wool industry participants and to encourage YFCs to become inspirations for young people. Other projects involve fostering careers through scholarships, educational resources and leadership programs. I get to work with passionate, smart and driven people from all around Australia every day.

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A typical day at the office can include sharing the properties of wool with school students

A typical day in our office at Circular Quay has me collaborating with colleagues, contacts and industry leaders about how to best present the wool industry to students, updating educational resources, planning events and of course all the boring backroom administration. Recently, I’ve been working with colleagues to coordinate a response and to collate information to assist woolgrowers impacted by the recent bushfires.

Although I’ve only been here a year, I’ve learned an incredible number of skills and have grown more confident in my abilities as a communicator. From people management and organisation as well as managing funds and writing legal contracts it’s been a steep learning curve. Stepping out of the paddock into an office was tough but it’s a step I needed to make. My colleagues have been so generous with their time, and I’m absolutely loving my role.

The history and camaraderie that exists within the wool industry is, I think, unique to wool. Everyone I speak to is hell-bent on improving and driving Australian wool forward. Everyone’s got lots of great ideas and with that comes some robust conversations.

At the core of it, wool is a choice for growers and consumers. The challenge to encourage people to continue to grow and buy this fantastic fibre is one that the industry is tackling head on.  That discerning consumers around the world are attracted to the sustainable credentials of wool is encouraging and I think the current market value reflects this.

I  look forward to playing my role in encouraging young Australians to enter and remain within this vibrant industry.

I’m not yet thirty but I’ve already worked in grains, viticulture, horticulture and now the wool industry. It’s been an unconventional path but that’s OK. I think its important people know that with a bit of enthusiasm, anyone will take you on and give you a chance. Looking forward I’m excited to continue to learn new skills, with a view to becoming a leader and a manager of people, in whatever corner of the industry I find myself. One thing is for sure, I’ll be doing work that makes me happy.

Showcasing our 2019 Wool Archies Part Two

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The Archibull Prize connects school students with the people and the places behind the food we eat and the natural fibres we use. Since its inception over 300,000 students have been engaged in courageous conversations about how farmers and the community can work together to create a world with zero hunger and zero waste.

Five Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation partnered with 10 schools studying wool industry in The Archibull Prize and showed that issues such as drought, climate change and mental health are prominent in student minds. The Archie action continues and here we take a look at more schools studying the wool industry, starting with the always surprising Hurlstone Agricultural High School who delved into the world of magic.

Shambull the African Witch Doctor is the Archie designed by Year 10 Visual Arts at Hurlstone to represent drought and climate change. Made entirely from felt Shambull explores the theme of lush to dry.

The piece depicts an area of Broken Hill, the area of New South Wales most affected by the drought. It’s the ending of a day, which thematically represents a change. It also represents how we are running out of time to find a solution to the environmental problems facing the industry right now.”

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Hurlstone was assisted by YFC Wilcannia Merino farmer Bessie Thomas and and Broken Hill farmer Anika Molesworth who also inspired the African influence after telling the students of how her family uses African breeds of drought-tolerant sheep.

From this, we decided to delve further into the rich culture of Africa. We immediately felt drawn to the idea of traditional witch doctors masks. Witch doctors, in essence, are members of societies who aid others using magic and medicine. This concept of healing felt extremely appropriate as a message of hope in a tough, overwhelming time. They personify healing, representing our dreams for future positive environmental change.”

 

Over at Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School students continued with their pop-art theme from 2018 to create another DIVA with a social conscious. One side of DIVA 2.0 depicts the wool supply chain from paddock to garment; the other, inspired by veterinarian and YFC Dione Howard, shows internal organs of a cow – made from wool!

DIVA 2.0 sits on a bed of green woollen crocheted grass full of beautiful blooming daffodils and forget me nots, because we wouldn’t want to forget the iconic wool industry and should be promoting its quality and use throughout our lives.”

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DIVA 2.0 exerted her social conscious this year by collecting wool products for distribution to Sydney’s homeless.

“DIVA 2.0 is brightly coloured and literally sparkles but the most unique part about her is that she is giving back. She has not only promoted and encouraged the use of ethical practices and the welfare of animals through her design but she has literally collected woollen goods from our local community to give back to the wider community. DIVA is soft, generous and caring.”

Elizabeth Moo-Carthur (or Lizzie for short) is the name of the cow-now-sheep Archie from St Johns Park High School who are situated near the original farms owned by Australia’s wool pioneers, the Macarthurs.

Our Archie has metamorphosed into a merino sheep rather than keeping its original form of a cow. To achieve this change, Lizzie’s horns were removed, which taught us about the safety of working with fibreglass, learned from our Industrial Arts teacher. To construct the horns which are indicative of a merino sheep, we fashioned the curve from paper cups, recycled wire coat hangers, papier maché, and lots of masking tape. By the addition of real wool and painting the face to make her look like a sheep, Lizzie’s transformation was complete. Lizzie is trans-species, and we do not judge her – we accept her for who she is.”

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Using jigsaw-shaped pieces Lizzie takes the viewer on a journey through the wool industry, employment, climate change and biosecurity – the latter inspired by a visit from YFC Lucy Collingridge.

We did not know very much about the need for, or importance of, biosecurity before meeting Lucy. A range of microscopic images of bacteria, such as Dermatophilus congolensis that effect sheep and wool are represented symbolically in jigsaw pieces by brightly painted styrofoam balls, some with pipe-cleaner filaments and some without. Red and white twisted pipe cleaners represent the blood sucking parasite Barber Pole Worms (Haemonchus contortus), which can be fatal for all types of sheep.”

When the blank Archie turned up at Skillset Senior College in Bathurst it had a broken ear so, rather than fix it, students drew inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh (who cut off part of his own ear) and combined this with indigenous influences.

Our students were given the chance to work with a local Wiradjuri artist Kantandra Mackay. She helped teach the students how to create works that allowed them to express themselves in a range of ways. Exploring indigenous, modernist and personal approaches to artmaking and personal expression was one of the key features of our project.”

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YFC Peta Bradley was also instrumental in guiding the creation of the Archie, named Interknitted Communities.

Our Young Farming Champions visit was amazing! As part of an initial ZOOM visit Peta Bradley gave the students inspiration through her use of google maps, the students really wanted to explore the idea of an aerial view, creating ‘paddocks’ that were joined together. When Peta came to our school, the students were so proud to show her their progress and to get to ask her more questions about the wool industry. Each square on our entry was created by an individual student who created a design based on country, the wool industry or agriculture more broadly.”

Irrawang High School explored wool by focussing on the important, but sometimes overlooked, profession of shearing. Inspired by world-champion shearer Hilton Barrett their Archie (named Hilton) looks at traditional shearing and a future where sheep are shorn by robotics.

The front half of the cow is highlighting the process of how a traditional sheep shearer needs to approach a sheep and what cuts should be done in order for the sheep to be as relaxed as they can, but also for the shearer not to strain themselves too much. The red lines across the back at the front are symbolic of how the machine being developed would try and cut from research images.”

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LED lighting leads the viewer across Hilton to show a shearing shed, the Help ‘em shearing logo (an initiative started by Barrett), the direction of shearing cuts and a robotic arm. Pops of blue though out represent the shearer’s singlet.

The final part of our cow is the small robot arm, which is a symbol of the larger concept of robotics, and it can perform a simple task like pick up some fleece from the shearing shed floor.”

 

Mega shoutout to our supporting partners as you can see all the schools and students involved in 2019 Archibull Prize experience found it an invaluable learning tool on so many levels

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Showcasing our 2019 Archibull Prize Wool Archies – Part One

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The Archibull Prize connects school students with the people and the places behind the food we eat and the natural fibres we use. Since its inception over 300,000 students have been engaged in courageous conversations about how farmers and the community can work together to create a world with zero hunger and zero waste.

Five Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation partnered with 10 schools studying wool industry in The Archibull Prize and showed that issues such as drought, climate change and mental health are prominent in student minds. Let’s meet the first five Archies from our wool schools.

In an imaginative and interactive expression of the wool industry Merrylands High School highlighted mental health on their Archie.

“Our Archibull sculpture explores the importance of mental health support networks for Australian farmers and the ripple effect that climate change, bio-security, employment and healthy communities bring to Australian farmers that increases their mental health diagnosis and suicide rates.”

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In a nod to the ironic, students have painted sheep jumping over fences as a renowned method of relaxation, pointing out that for wool farmers this is not necessarily a break from work. They have also included a replica brain scan on their Archie’s back to show that mental health is not always visible.

Outlining the brain scan is a dotted line of light projecting from within the cow. The light pulsates blue and white in an irregular sequence which symbolises the lights in medical practices when undergoing Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans – a form of neuroimaging. The audience unconsciously alter their breathing rhythm as a physical response to the lights. This reaction draws a link to breathing as a form of meditation, a technique for resting the mind and promoting a positive wellbeing.”

From farming to fashion was the theme for Sean the Cow from Crestwood High School, who illustrated the wool supply chain from paddock to processing to garments.

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With guidance from YFC Katherine Bain students charted their own learnings about the wool industry on Sean, and the effects of climate change on farming. As their knowledge progressed so did their Archie until it ended up with a manufacturing sculpture inserted into its belly.

“Sean the Cow is unique because it can be used as a visual resource to educate others on the wool industry in Australia. We explored the main components that make up the industry and applied our individual strengths to portray these on the different sections of the cow. Some of us were knitters and made accessories for Sean to wear, some are painters and represented different components of the wool industry through images. Others explored sculpture and created an intricate sculpture representing the manufacturing process for inside the cow; and others used different materials to create texture and design.”

Greystanes High School enlisted the help of YFC Lucy Collingridge to guide them through their wool journey and they came up with an Archie divided in two.

“On one side we focused on the land or the farm and tried to show the effects of climate change. On the other side of our cow we wanted to tell the story of wool products and celebrate it being one of the most common fibres. We wanted this side of the sculpture to be filled with wool”.

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The Greystanes students obviously enjoyed making their eye-catching and brightly coloured Archie using wool and really encapsulated the 2019 Archibull theme.

Throughout this wonderful experience we have enhanced our creative skills and ideas, learnt about the wool industry and much more from our Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge and become closer as a team by working together on our unique Archibull. Our Archibull demonstrates that feeding, clothing and powering a hungry nation is a shared responsibility and that everyone should do their part to help each other.”

Over at the Manly Selective Campus of Northern Beaches Secondary College students participated in the 2019 Archibull as part of an extra-curricular enrichment program. Volunteering their time they created Moorino to help everyday Australians learn how to support the Australian wool industry and to show the connection between community and industry.

“This connection is clearly portrayed through the centrepiece of our artwork, the loom, with all the strands of wool coming together to symbolise collaboration and connection throughout Australia.”

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Moorino illustrates many aspects of the wool industry including drought, water usage, carbon footprint, farming charities, the Australian Made logo, woollen garments and a custom made wool stamp from YFC Sam Wan. Students also incorporated their recent actions of striking from school in climate change protests.

“Human footprints walk alongside sheep prints the same way Australia’s community and farming industry must work together to maintain a healthy community. Though there is a contrast between the dark grey and light green, the gradient between them shows that change will not be immediate and our community must take the time to become sustainable.”                                                                                                                                                                        

Keeping with the climate change theme Burwood Girls High School took a dark and foreboding look at the future with their creation of Apocalypse Cow.

Our Archie is unique because it is a direct call to action to address the climate emergency that our planet is currently facing. This is a threat that will only continue to progress unless action is taken straightaway. Our Archie is unique because it is not aiming to be polite or gentle about the issue.”

Drawing on the words of climate campaigner Greta Thunberg the head of Apocalypse Cow is vibrant blue representing health and the colours used gradually morph into darker shades representing an uncertain future. Bright pom poms scattered about represent hope. All over the cow are climate change messages.

Multi layered materials covering the Archie’s eyes symbolise the aimlessness and blindness a large population of the world holds in regards to the climate emergency. Finally, our Archie is adorned with a vibrant crown consisting of woollen pom poms as well as an array of native Australian flora. This aims to offer a glimmer of hope. We as a species can still hold onto the beauty of our world, we just need to embraces new changes.”

 

Mega shoutout to our supporting partners as you can see all the schools and students involved in 2019 Archibull Prize experience found it an invaluable learning tool on so many levels

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Young Farming Champion Sam Wan anounced as top wool broker for 2019

We are sooooooo proud of this fabulous young woman – Mega congratulations Sam.

The content for this blog was sourced from story by Terry Sim at Sheep Central

A YOUNG Australian wool broker who has made the industry her life by innovating to provide the best experience for service company staff and grower clients has won her sector’s most prestigious award.

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Elders wool technical co-ordinator and auctioneer Samantha Wan, 31, last night was announced the winner of the 2019 National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia Broker Award at the Wool Week Dinner in Melbourne.

In a hard-fought contest of live presentations, resumes and quizzing on industry issues, Sam was judged the award winner against Australian Wool Network wool and sheep specialist Russell Macgugan from Victoria and Western Australian Landmark broker Matthew Chambers.

Sam said she appreciated being part of the award alumni, especially among the several Elders brokers who have won the award and who she now looks up to.

“This is very much, as with anything I’ve ever done, a testament to all the people who have helped me get to where I am.

“Those who have given me a chance and supported some of the strange things I’ve decided to do and been prepared to give it a go and see how it flies.”

Although not born into the sheep and wool industry, after starting with Elders about seven years as a trainee, Sam said she has built her life around wool through her support role, advocacy, community work and involvement in industry programs.

“It’s all been because of wool, all the opportunities have been because of wool.

“So it’s not just a wool family, but it’s building a life around it,” she said.

“But it is very much a family and (tonight) I’ve been able to see some faces I don’t see very often and to have that support network — I know they are all there.”

The award’s prize includes an economy airfare, accommodation and Congress fees to attend the IWTO Congress in Tongxiang, China in May 2020 and a tour of the Chinese wool textile industry. The Award recipient will be exposed to the wider wool industry beyond greasy wool auctions and the international trading rules system for wool.

Sam’s passion persisted from the first interview

Elders National Wool Selling Centre manager Simon Hogan said it was so satisfying to see Sam win the award, whose passion first stood out in a telephone interview for a wool technical support officer role.

“It was her passion and enthusiasm for agriculture and wool, and her desire to get into the industry.

“She had researched the role, she had researched Elders and it is still showing through now,” he said.

“Sam is so passionate, and her dedicated and her willingness to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to make sure everything is done has followed through from day one.

“Wool is Sam’s life, she wears wool, she knows all about the product…Sam is wool 24 hours. She is up against it not coming from a farming background with so many challenges to overcome.

But what she brings to our team is a point of difference, she brings a different skillset.

This included her IT, social media and marketing skills.  Sam’s role at Brooklyn includes completing all weekly sale operations, providing technical advice to clients, district wool managers and the branch network. She auctioneers weekly in Melbourne and as required in Sydney and she is an excellent auctioneer,” Mr Hogan said.

Sam also created an internal weekly wool market report podcast and is always looking for ways to expand the Elders Wool digital and social media footprint. Her IT skills helped develop, implement and support of Elders’ new wool-valuing system across all three wool selling centres. She is also studying a certificate on Blockchain technologies.

Mr Hogan said examples of innovations introduced at Elders by Sam included livestreaming of the wool catalogue.

“Without Sam we wouldn’t have thought of that and now the whole industry is doing it.

Sam brings a different dimension to our team — she breaks the mould.

Sam brings that diversity and that’s what makes a good team – she’s a brilliant asset and we all love her.”

Mr Hogan said every district wool manager has their grower clients.

“But Sam’s clients are everybody’s clients, she supports the whole lot and makes the district wool managers look good.

“Her attention to details and perfectionist manner makes it all comes together.”

Keep looking outside and to the future

Despite her achievements, Sam said there is still work to be done. The broker award and the Elders ‘Thomas Elder’ Employee of the Year award she won last year for improving end-to-end service to wool growers, helped set the bar for her.

“You just need to keep looking to the future.

“It’s a traditional industry which is what I love about it, but there are still things being used in different industries that we can bring in to make more money for the growers.”

Next week as part of her ongoing work in advocacy and educational work with youth as an Archibull Prize  Australian Wool Innovation Young Farming Champion she will talk about her wool career at three high schools in Sydney.

“There a whole bunch of us Young Farming Champions in different fields of agriculture out there sharing our stories.”

Calibre of broker award finalists was excellent

On behalf of fellow judges WoolProducers president Ed Storey and Sheep Central correspondent Murray Arnel, AWTA raw wool general manager Ian Ashman said the calibre of all three presentations was excellent.

He said the complexity of modern day wool broking and the detailed skill set needed to do the job effectively was clear from the finalists’ presentations.

“In a close run race, the panel believes that Samantha best met the assessment criteria.

“In particular, Sam impressed with her strong focus on communication, education and engagement, both within the wool industry and to the wider community in general.”

“Her innovative approach and ability to introduce new tools and techniques to assist both broker staff and clients to get the best possible financial returns is extremely impressive.”

Mr Ashman said it was extremely difficult to separate the finalists and all would be very worthy winners.

All finalists impressed the judges with their passion and dedication to the wool industry, commitment to providing outstanding service to grower clients, their work in educating the next generation of brokers and the extremely high quality of their written submissions and face-to-face presentations.

The judging panel this year gave equal weighting and consideration to applicants who were office or field-based, within criteria that including innovation, service delivery, business outcomes, performance standards, ethics, presentation, dedication, business relations and industry awareness.

The content for this blog was sourced from story by Terry Sim at Sheep Central

#youthinag #youthvoices19 #wool #wearwool #lovewool

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Chloe Dutschke is immersing herself in the world of wool

Young Farming Champion Chloe Dutschke who was recently named the joint winner of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship along with Brett Stockings of Dubbo is certainly becoming a dynamo in the wool industry.

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Picture taken by Forbes Corby

After completing a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Adelaide in 2014 Chloe began her career in wool as a jillaroo in the Flinders Ranges. Today she is a contract musterer working anywhere from southern NSW to northern SA but, along the way, Chloe has taken every opportunity to immerse herself in the world of wool. For example, in 2016 Flinders Merino, a South Australian woolgrowers group, sent Chloe to Hong Kong to learn all about the wool supply chain. So it should come as no surprise that Chloe was amongst the six finalists for this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship.

“The scholarship has a strong focus on young people and offers a large range of networking opportunities which I was drawn to,” Chloe says. “I self-nominated but was also nominated by David Rankin, manager of Tupra Station in NSW. I feel he nominated me because he can see the need to encourage and guide young people in agriculture and has seen first-hand the passion and dedication I have to the sheep and wool industry.”

For Chloe the win is not only recognition for her own dedication but recognition and thanks to people who have assisted her career and become her mentors. People such as David Rankin, Plant a Seed for Safety founder Alex Thomas, Peter Westblade committee members Georgie McGuiness and Craig Wilson, and our very own Picture You in Agriculture director Lynne Strong.

“I believe those who inspire you, giving you their time and leadership, are mentors. I try to surround myself with those types of people and hope to one day be a mentor for someone else.”

The Peter Westblade Scholarship comes with a $10,000 bursary, which Chloe is using to attend conferences such as MerinoLink, LambEx and EvokeAg, and to extend her corporate networks in order to promote her visions for the wool industry.

One of those visions is The Pastoral Network.

“I have developed The Pastoral Network for the pastoral areas of northern South Australia,” Chloe says. “I see it as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to share industry and community events and information, jobs, topical articles and general information.”

So committed is Chloe to her project that she has entered the ABC Trailblazer competition.

“I am hoping that being selected as an ABC Trailblazer means I can further develop this shared information idea into a website for other agricultural areas to use across South Australia and nationally as well.”

Congratulations on all you have achieved and all you aspire to Chloe. You are a credit to the wool industry and Australian agriculture.

 

Meet our new 2019 Wool Young Farming Champions

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. Young Farming Champions is a program that identifies youth ambassadors and future influencers working within agriculture who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.

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. “There’s an incredible feeling of excitement as you hear sheep hooves trotting down the ramp into your stockyards, knowing they’re your sheep” he says. “But the true thrill comes when you stencil your name onto your first bale of wool. There’s that sense of achievement in seeing a fleece being packed into a bale, knowing someone will benefit from what you produced.” Tom wants consumers to understand the entire wool supply chain and to realise the true pride farmers have for their produce. “It’s a long road to this destination but I want to be a part of the change: One voice, one education, one person at a time.”

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. He employees a core team of six under the age of thirty, and encourages them to reach for the stars. “I am very proud of my team for their workmanship and the pride they take in their work. I especially enjoy the moment when they reach personal milestones, which enables them build confidence in themselves and their work,” he says. Matt and his team compete in shearing and wool handling competitions and believe Australia’s reputation for high quality wool demands a high quality shearing and wool clip preparation. “I have been mentored by many Australian and World Champions and it is important I pass on my knowledge and experiences and continue to be an advocate for professional standards within the sheep and wool industry.”

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. In the first twelve months they will attend two immersion workshops and in their second year will visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers

Graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2017 Young Australian of the Year finalist Anika Molesworth and 2018 AFR 100 Women of Influence Dr Jo Newton.

Read Matt’s story here

Read Tom’s story here

Welcome to the team Matt and Tom

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