Here’s a good yarn -we’re raising the baa

For the second year in a row Wool Producers Australia is conducting their Raising the Baa Leadership Program, and for the second year in a row our Young Farming Champions are right in the spotlight.

The leadership course has two components, the first of which is the Youth Ambassador role. “The Youth Ambassador position exposes people aged 18 -35 years to policy within Wool Producers and gives them the opportunity to learn and understand the policy cycle and how a board works so they understand how many decisions that affect the wool industry are handled by Wool Producers,” Wool Producers Australia President, Mr Ed Storey says.

Dione Howard was the inaugural Wool Producers Youth Ambassador in 2018 and part of her role was to attend Wool Producers’ board meetings. “I had very little experience with policy prior to the Youth Ambassador role,” Dione says. “It has opened up a whole new world in the agricultural space and I feel that I now have a much clearer idea of how decisions are made that affect farmers and people like myself as a veterinarian.”

In 2019 Wool Producers has nominated two Youth Ambassadors, one of who is Sam Wan

” I saw this as an opportunity to gain insight into the organisation and actively learn in the role,  have a strong interest in learning the intricacies of identifying needs and key stages for policy development and to gain a working understanding of industry governance, achieving objectives and driving improvement within the bounds of shareholders, regulators and the wider community. I see an understanding of the processes behind regulations being able to positively impact my role and scope as a wool broker and day to day dealings with wool growers.” say Sam

There is no denying Sam’s enthusiasm for sharing the wool story far and wide as this video of her engaging with students at the 2019 Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day shows

Dione will be continuing the program in 2019 with its second component – a fully-funded Company Directors Course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

“The Company Directors Course is a fantastic opportunity for future leaders from all sectors of the wool industry to develop and refine their leadership skills for positions on industry Boards,” Ed says. “The skills are very important to ensure good governance and leadership is understood before people contribute to a Board.”

“It is an awesome opportunity to finish the Wool Producers Youth Ambassadorship with the AICD Company Directors Course,I believe it will assist me to take the next step in my leadership journey. I have been fortunate enough to receive the benefit of immersive workshops through the Young Farming Champions program sponsored by AWI and these have enabled me to develop my skills for delivering outcomes for the wool industry on the ground, in schools and at industry events. I believe that by completing the Company Directors course I will expand my skill set to be able to deliver for the wool industry from a governance perspective.” ” Dione says.

Can you guess what our Woollies are up to for Woolmark’s Wool Week

The Woolmark Company’s Wool Week runs from May 20 to 26, championing the best wool and wool-rich apparel and home textiles in time for winter. So with all this woolly attention we wanted to know what our Wool Young Farming Champions were up to for Wool Week.

For Sam Wan wool has taken her around Australia and around the world. This time last year she was in Hong Kong as part of the International Wool Textile Organisation’s (IWTO) Young Professionals Program and this week she flies off to Italy for a study tour in conjunction with her Elders Employee of the Year 2018 award. But before she jumps on a plane this is what Sam is doing for wool:

  • Preparing for this (and next) week’s wool sale
  • Zooming in with the Western Sydney University team who are participating in this weekend’s National Merino Challenge
  • Organising presentations for her three Archibull Schools – Irrawang High School, Northern Beaches Secondary College and Burwood Girls High School
  • Attending an interview with WoolProducers for their Wool Ambassador Program
  • Wool sale day on Thursday
  • Promoting wool everyday through her blog: Wool for Every Day

Phew! This girl really loves her wool.

But Sam in not our only woolly.  Another YFC gearing up for a year of spreading the wool love into schools with The Archibull Prize is Lucy Collingridge. This week Lucy is organising google hang-outs and school visits for Greystanes High School and St Johns Park High School. That’s in her spare time. At work as a biosecurity officer with Local Land Services Lucy will be meeting with a wild dog baiting group to help wool producers to sustainably improve on-farm productivity and profitability.

YFC Peta Bradley lives and works in Armidale and will be wearing wool, especially as the temperatures start to drop. Around her neck will be her favourite Merino Wool Scarf, which is a divine blend of wool and possum fur. On the weekend she will be stewarding in the wool shed at the Dubbo Show and as that means standing around on concrete floors she will have Woolmark woollen socks on her feet. During her working week with Merinolink Peta will be assisting wool producers breed the best sheep.

YFC Bessie Thomas from Burragan Station in western NSW is recovering from last week when she took on the position of shearer’s cook at Burragan, where pulled lamb and gravy rolls were on the menu (along with quiche, fruit and chocolate muffins). According to Bessie the lamb and gravy pan was nearly licked clean! Not that life is going to slow down for Bessie – there are still 5000 merinos who need crutching and plenty of ewes to be pregnancy tested. Then Bessie needs to prepare for her own school visit with The Archibull Prize to Hurlstone Agricultural High School.

Showing our woollies come from all backgrounds we have YFC Chloe Dutschke who hails from the wine regions of South Australia and who is this week mustering sheep around the Hay plains. She is moving ewes to sheltered paddocks in preparation for lambing and classing young rams. YFC Adele Offley was born and raised on a sheep property near Crookwell on the southern highlands and today wool is still in her blood. She will be spending wool week working with wool growers in her job as a wool technical officer. And she is promoting this fabulous fibre across social media.

Dr Danila Marini is enjoying a Pint of Science , a global event that began in the United Kingdom six years ago, featuring University of New England’s scientists talking about their latest research and findings.

YFC Dione Howard is a woolly working as a veterinarian with Local Land Services and on a daily basis conducts disease investigations for wool producers. But adding to Wool Week, in her position as WoolProducers Youth Ambassador, she will be travelling to Melbourne to attend the Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee and the WoolProducers board meeting.

Wow. It may be Woolmark’s Wool Week with an emphasis on fashion but our woolly YFCs are all contributing to ensuring this remarkable fibre is grown in the best of conditions on the happiest of sheep, and sharing their stories in schools and across social media.

Our favourite woolimation

Happy Wool Week Woollies.

#LoveWool #WearWool #Thisflockinglyfe

 

Applications are now open for a new flock of Wool Young Farming Champions

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Picture You in Agriculture in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is seeking applications from early career professionals in the Australian wool industry to join the prestigious Young Farming Champions program. The Young Farming Champions (YFC) are identified youth ambassadors and future influencers working within the agriculture sector who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.

Young people aged under 30 who currently work in the wool industry are invited to apply for the leadership development program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation.

In Year One, participants will attend three, two-day immersion workshops and The Archibull Prize Awards Ceremony. In Year Two of the program, participants visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers.

Wool broker, Samantha Wan, is a graduate of the AWI Young Farming Champions program and credits it with taking her career to new levels. Using skills developed during the program and as an alumna, Sam has the confidence to present at conferences such as the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and has been accepted into the International Wool Textile Organisation’s (IWTO) Young Professionals Program. In 2018, Sam was named the Elders Employee of the Year.

Sam continues her association with the Young Farming Champions by mentoring students participating in The Archibull Prize.

Sam Wan

Other graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2015 Young Australian Farmer of the Year and 2018 Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Anika Molesworth

Anika Molesworth Facebook post

2018 Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Alumna, Dr. Jo Newton also started her Young Farming Champions journey with the support of Australian Wool Innovation

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2018 Australian Innovation Farmer of the Year, Dan Fox has also benefited from being part of the Young Farming Champions network

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Through the ongoing support of AWI, costs are covered for the wool YFC participants including travel, accommodation, meals, workshop resources and mentoring. Expressions of interest for the 2019 AWI Young Farming Champions program can be made by contacting Picture You in Agriculture Program Director, Lynne Strong, at lynnestrong@pyia.com.au

 

Can you imagine hand feeding 20,000 mouths in a drought?

Continuing our Lessons Learnt from the Drought series with Young Farming Champions Peta Bradley and Bessie Thomas

Firstly some background for this story.  In Australia, a large land holding used for livestock production is known as a ‘station’. Most stations are livestock specific – classed as either sheep stations or cattle stations depending upon the type of stock raised – which is, in turn, dependent upon the suitability of the country and the rainfall. The owner of a station is known as a grazier, or pastoralist and, in many cases, Australian stations are operated on a pastoral lease. Australian sheep and cattle stations can be thousands of square kilometres in area, with the nearest neighbour hundreds of kilometres away. Some stations have over 20,000 sheep in their care.

All stock workers need to be interested in animals and handle them with patience and confidence. They need the skills to make accurate observations about livestock like judging an animal’s age by examining its teeth, and experience in treating injuries and illnesses as well as routine care requirements such as feeding, watering, mustering, droving, branding, castrating, ear tagging, weighing, vaccination and dealing with predators.

Those caring for sheep must also deal with flystrike treatments, worm control and lamb marking. Pregnant livestock need special care in late pregnancy and stockmen may have to deal with difficult births.

Apart from livestock duties, a stock person will also to inspect, maintain and repair fences, gates and yards damaged by storms, fallen trees, livestock and wildlife. Source

In the first two instalments of our drought series we talked to Young Farming Champions predominantly involved in cropping operations. Today we speak to Bessie Thomas and Peta Bradley who represent sheep and wool, and discover the strategies they have employed to survive, the changes drought has enabled and the importance of mental health and family.  Bessie and Peta’s family farms are both in NSW but very different in terms of topography , sheep carrying capacity (10:1)  and acreage  (20:1)

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The last two years have reminded both urban and rural Australia that drought is an inevitable part of the Australian landscape and its impacts are wide reaching.  Both Bessie and Peta’s families know their first priority is their families and the animals in their care and its imperative to access drought response resources promptly and maintain wellbeing.

Team Thomas

Bessie and husband Shannan from Burragan Station, 100km east of Wilcannia* in western New South Wales, run a merino operation in partnership with Shannan’s parents.

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Team Bradley 

Peta comes from Armatree, 100km northwest of Dubbo where her parents, Jenny and Craig, run a Border Leciester Stud and commercial merinos (with cereal and pulse cropping).

For both properties 2017 and 2018 were years of below average rainfall. “In 2018 we had 83mm for the year which is less than 30% of the annual average, and the year before was also only about 60% of the annual average,” Bessie says. “It has turned the countryside to dust and dried up dams, and the heat waves have cancelled any moisture from showers we have had.”

Dust storms

Feeding sheep at Burragan Station 

Similarly Armatree has been reduced to a 300mm annual rainfall (down from the average of 520mm). “This equates to our farm being relocated to Broken Hill,” Peta says. “2019 has commenced with January being the hottest on record and zero rainfall recorded on the chart.”

Strategies common to both operations are reducing sheep numbers and feeding stock they have identified as drought resilient. At Burragan they have de-stocked by 50% and sold all of their 500 cattle, while at Armatree stock have been reduced by over a third.

“We’ve been feeding for more than 18 months which affects finances, creates time pressures and puts pressure on vehicles and trailers. It becomes mentally and physically exhausting,” Bessie says. “Feeding out hay in heat, wind and dust is some kind of torture.”

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The Bradleys ( Jenny and Craig pictured here in 2014 ) are looking forward to seeing barley crops like this one when the rains return Source

“Our farm stores enough fodder to feed all stock including finishing lambs for a full twelve month period, well beyond a normal drought,” Peta says, “but we used all stored fodder in 2017 and have had to purchase fodder for 2018. To accommodate this cost we have maintained selected breeding stock only. We have also sold lambs as early as possible after weaning, undertaken measurements on stud stock lambs as early as permissible and selected the stock we want to keep  well ahead of normal time frames.

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Some lambs getting ready to be weighed through the automatic drafter/scales at the Bradley’s farm.

The measurements the Bradley’s take before they decide which animals they will keep include:

  • Body weights (weaning – 12 weeks of age, 5 months and 7 months)
  • Ultrasound fat and muscle measurements
  • Scrotal circumference on rams

In total an animal that is retained as a breeding ewe on the Bradley farm has in excess of 50 measurements recorded in her lifetime. These measurements are taken to be put into the genetic evaluation for sheep – allowing them to choose the animals that are genetically the best to breed from.

Weaning early, utilising confinement feeding and drought lots and always remaining flexible in our management decisions have been ways of dealing with this drought.

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The Bradley’s select their sheep for productivity. Every now and then you come across a special sheep. This ewe is having triplets again – for the fourth year in a row! She has reared 9 lambs in three years. 

Weaning early in drought is important as lambs are competing with their mothers for grain. This allows the ewes an opportunity to get back into condition faster and also removes the competition for grain and fodder from the breeding ewes on the lambs.

Even the wool clip has been negatively impacted. Heavy, dust-laden wool sells for fewer dollars per bale.

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But surprisingly the drought has had upsides. For years the Thomas’ had been discussing keeping Burragan purely as a merino property and transitioning Shannan’s parent’s property into dorpers, and that is a vision the drought has enabled/forced them to do. The drought has also highlighted the need for planning and flexibility in plans, and the critical need to put people first.

“Ensuring that we make time for ourselves and the family whether it is maintaining exercise routines, weekends away or taking family holidays are as important, if not more so, as practical farming,” Peta says, “as is the importance of networking to ensure we are operating at best practice.”

Bessie copes with the drought by downloading her thoughts and images through social media and this compilation of her 2018  year has led to the family being offered a week’s holiday at Port Stephens, courtesy of the huge generosity of Alloggio.com.au owners Will and Karen Creedon, the Port Stephens Council and Hon. Scot MacDonald MLC

And although the constant raised dust is destructive to the land – filling grids and yards, blocking gateways and covering fences – Bessie can still find joy.

Dust

“The dust storms are ominous and interesting, I quite enjoy the dramatic skies that come with them – as long as I am safely in the house!” Bessie says

*Think it’s hot at your place? A property near Wilcannia broke the record for Australia’s highest overnight temperature in mid-January, reaching a minimum of 35.9C.

Thanks Bessie and Peta we know that by you sharing your stories you will give hope to others facing similar challenges

#StrongerTogether #YouthVoices19 #ThisisAusAg #YouthinAg

See Andrea Davy’s wonderful story on Bessie in the Rural Weekly here 

Read Peta’s story in The Land here

Visit the NSW DPI Drought Hub here for more information

Wool Young Farming Champion Samantha Wan going beyond the awards

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Mega-congratulations go to Sam Wan, Wool Young Farming Champion  and Elders’ Wool Technical Coordinator at the National  Selling Centre in Melbourne, who was announced as the Elders Employee of the Year in 2018.

The ‘Thomas Elder’ Employee of the Year recognises and rewards an individual who is consistently a high performer, who demonstrates a commitment to safety, and who lives the One Elders values – integrity, accountability, team work, customer focus and innovation.

Sam was nominated by her managers for her work initiating the accessibility of auction footage as it takes place online, improving Elders’ end to end service to growers, training of next generation wool staff and representing Elders and agriculture at industry events and through programs such as Art4Agriculture.

As part of the award Sam now has $10,000 to put towards a study tour, and yes, she will be reinvesting in wool. Firstly she will attend EvokeAg in Melbourne in February and then she will be winging across the waters to Italy.

“I have chosen to go to Italy to further enrich my understanding of the wool supply chain in Europe,” Sam says. “I will visit mills dating back to the 16th century and have direct contact with iconic historical brands. I will see fabric being spun and weaved and get a feel for their passion when working with Australian merino wool; and I’ll be able to communicate that back in Australia to growers …. and to anyone else who will listen!”

Supported by Australian Wool Innovation, Sam often credits the Young Farming Champions Program as being of great benefit in her career and as part of paying it forward has joined the Picture You in Agriculture Sponsor Seeking Sub Committee.

“I would like to ensure that no school or student, who is genuinely interested in agriculture, is turned away,” she says, “and that future Young Farming Champions are fully resourced to develop the skills needed for tell their story and establish themselves in their chosen industry.”

Congratulations Sam and we look forward to hearing of your Italian adventures.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #WearWool #LoveWool

 

Young Farming Champions Muster November 2018 2nd Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country.

Happy National Agriculture Day!

This week we’ve gone all out to celebrate National Agriculture Day in a BIG way, culminating in The Archibull Prize National Awards and Exhibition Day at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday.

School students, teachers, YFC and special guests travelled from across Australia to be part of the 2018 Archibull Prize. Mega congrats to everyone involved: all the winners, participants, movers-and-shakers behind the scenes and espeically to Hurlstone Agricultural High School whose Archie “Brahman” took out the Grand Champion Archibull award for 2018. For full coverage head to our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter and look for our hashtag #Archie18

But for YFC, our #AgDay celebrations started earlier in the week when 13 YFC travelled to Sydney for a brilliantly engaging professional development workshop…

Sydney Workshop

Current and alumnus Young Farming Champions gathered at the magnificent Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Headquarters in Sydney for a workshop. Admiring the wonderful view of the harbour and the bridge from the boardroom of AWI, the YFC attended sessions on understanding and working with different personalities, understanding how policy is developed and refining the elevator pitches. This workshop the YFC were lucky enough to be joined by the experienced management team of Gaye Steel, Greg Mills and Jenni Metcalfe that challenged and brought the workshop to life as well as experts in the policy writing and social media fields.

Workshop

This workshop also saw a YFC workshop first with 4 Alumni YFC joining via video conference on Sunday for a very special session with the incredible Paige Burton on the effective use and ins-and-outs of social media. This allowed some of our YFC to join from as far away as Wilcannia!  Paige shared with the group many of the techniques of ensuring that the reach of the YFC are heard far and wide. We can certainly see how this young lady was named by Impact 25 as on of the 25 Most Influential People in the Social Sector. There will be many products of this workshop on social media this week for the #Archie18 Archibull prize awards.

The products of the weekend were even more accomplished YFC (which is hard to believe considering the rest of the achievements in this weeks Muster) in the arts of social media, pitches, interviewees and #youthvoices of agriculture!

In the Field

Grains YFC, farmer and talented photographer Marlee Langfield has started canola harvest on her property in the NSW Riverina. “I have harvested more seeds than I planted, so I’ve already won!” Marlee jokes! “Very busy times right now, but I’m loving it.” Check out this gorgeous shot Marlee took of her crop earlier in the season:

Marlee's Canola

Did you catch Landline on Sunday? Cotton YFC Alexander Stephens is driver extraordinaire behind the wheel of the cotton harvester in this awesome story on the revival of cotton growing in the Kimberley Ord River region.

Out of the Field

Rice YFC Erika Heffer visited Parliament House in Sydney this week for the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare event, highlighting Local Landcare Coordinators who have run unique projects this year.  Erika says, “The highlight was meeting ministers that have an interest in Landcare and hearing Niall Blair, the Minister for Primary Industries, acknowledge Rob Dulhunty, the Landcare NSW outgoing chair.”

Erika Landcare
Murray region Local Landcare Coordinator Erika Heffer and Local Landcare Coordinator from Bland Temora in the Riverina Britt Turner

Cotton YFC and founding member of Farmers for Climate Action Anika Molesworth spoke with ABC Radio National this week, tackling the question “How can farmers adapt and innovate to ensure the future of farming and our agricultural land?” Listen to Anika’s interview here.

Beef YFC and our current Aussie-in-Canada correspondent Kirsty McCormack presented for a 4H group in Brandon, Manitoba last week. She shared her insights on Young Farming Champion and Archibull Prize programs as well as the Australian beef industry and its challenges. Well done Kirsty!

Kirsty McC

Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien has been featured in this week’s Allied Grain Systems “Mates in Grain.”

Read Keiley’s full story on the Allied Grain Systems Blog here.

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Prime Cuts

Well done to Cotton YFC Alexandria Galea who was named a finalist in the Queensland Ministers Emerging Leader Award for innovation leading to profitability and sustainability. Finaists and winners were celebrated at Wednesday’s AgFutures Innovation and Investment Forum in Brisbane.

Congratulations to YFC Anika Molesworth on her win in the NSW and ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards on Friday. Anika took out the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award. Well done!

Huge congrats to Wool YFC and Wool Technical Coordinator Sam Wan who is up for the title of Elders Employee of the Year. Kudos Sam!

Exciting international news for Beef YFC and stud Limousin cattle breeder Jasmine Green and husband Hayden from Summit Livestock. Jas and Hayden’s cow Summit Meadowgrass was named “Limousin Miss World” in the world Cattlemarket.net championships. While Jas stayed home to keep the stud cows fed and watered, Hayden travelled to Farmfair in Edmonton, Canada last week to receive the award. Summit Meadowgrass was nominated to represent Australia after winning supreme exhibit at Sydney Royal Show earlier this year. Incredible achievement, well done Jasmine!

Jasmine Greens Miss World cow win

Cotton YFC, agronomist and farmer Emma Ayliffe had a special visit from ADAMA Agricultural Solutions head office representatives (who’d just popped in from Israel!) and local managers last week to receive her Runner Up Young Agronomist of the Year award. Top job, Emma!

Emma with ADAMA rep

#ArchieAction #YouthinAg #YouthVoices18

2018 ARCHIBULL PRIZE ARTWORKS – Meet our Woolly Bulls

Seven schools across New South Wales and Queensland studied the story of wool for their 2018 Archibull Prize journey.

How do you turn a cow into a sheep? Come and meet our woolly bulls.

Beginning our journey in NSW heartland the students at the Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange created ‘Spinning a Yarn’ to illustrate the history and uses of wool.

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Our Young Farming Champions (Peta Bradley and Catlin Heppner) visit inspired the students to consider how wool can be used in many modern materials and also to think on, and consider, its proud history as a commodity that has played a huge part in the Australian success story.

A spinning wheel, a wool pack, and ugg boots were just some of the elements of this Archie with every Year 8 student knitting part of the thread that winds over the body. Students also made felted garments for the figures at the base of their brightly coloured Archie.

The bright colours of our Archibull are drawn from the student’s experiences of Pop Art. In Year 8 they study Pop Art and have made works that reflects the bold colour and imagery of that time. A number of features on the Bull have been painted in this style.

The Archibull entry also features more traditional approaches to painting and includes lots of colourful woollen and handmade elements. The rustic elements of the work, especially the wool shed inspired base, draw their style from an earlier time in our colonial and recent past where woolsheds were iconic images used in paintings by artists such as Tom Roberts.

Bombala High School were also first time entrants in The Archibull Prize and they drew heavily on the wool industry in their area to come up with the very unique ‘Shorn No-bull’.

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In our first team meeting, we knew we wanted to make our Archie unique and we knew we wanted to incorporate our small rural town into our project. Throughout the entire making of Shorn, we have come to understand how important the wool industry is, especially in our town. We soon came up with our main theme ‘Shearing hasn’t changed very much through the ages, in that the process still relies on a skilled person to remove the wool’, this is what we want every person who looks at him to think about.

Another addition to Shorn we wanted was the property names from around Bombala that make up our wool industry. Our first look for this idea was to connect the farms like puzzle pieces. After talking this idea through with our Young Farming Champion, Dione Howard, we soon realised that this design would not have that stand out appeal we were hoping for. So we decided the next best look would be actual property outlines which still interlock like puzzle pieces however they will give our Archibull a whole new look.

Dione Howard was also the YFC guiding Moss Vale High School through their Archibull Prize and the creation of ‘Lizzie’.

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Using patterns to elaborate on the theme that the production of wool is a shared responsibility, Lizzie shows how many people are involved with the story of wool:

The shared responsibility is expressed by moving through the process from growing the wool involving the producer, then to the shearers who harvest the wool and the roustabouts who fill the bales. The bales need to be transported by road and rail. More people share in the production as the fibre is processed and manufactured into yarn, cloth and garments

Lizzie also shared concepts on the importance of the environment in wool production:

The inclusion of a wind turbine in the paddock and water tank next to the shearing shed signify the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect the environment that provides the materials that create wool. The cattle egret, woollen bird and bee represent the importance of biodiversity in maintaining a healthy ecosystem that supports the growth of plants and animals that we need for our food and fibre.

 

Taking the theme literally are first time Archibull entrants: the combined primary schools of the Moree district in northern NSW who put in a mighty effort with their schools spread across 150km!

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Under guidance from YFC Emma Turner students from Croppa Creek Public School, Bullarah Public School, Bellata Public School and Pallamallawa Public School created ‘Woolly Bully’. Complete with woolly face and ram’s horns the theme of their Archibull was From Paddock to Prada as they researched the journey of wool from the sheep’s back to clothing.

Here is some of that journey:

The students’ discovery that Australia is the largest producer of premium quality fine wool, bringing in $2.96 billion every year, had them hooked and caught their attention. The agreement on the idea for this artwork was finalised after the students visited a shearing shed and became intrigued about where the fleece goes next.

Local produce is a key feature of our Archie. The wool attached to Woolly Bully’s head and body were sourced from our excursion to the farm owned by one of the students. This wool was shorn in front of the students and collected from the classing table. This provided students with an authentic sense of understanding and ownership of the artworks elements.

 Also adorning their Archie with wool were the students of Barraba Central School who created ‘Shcow’ with the help of YFC Lucy Collingridge.

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Showcasing world hunger and the wool industry, Shcow comes complete with a barbeque! And why else do the students think Shcow is unique?

Shcow is 100% hand drawn and it’s got art on all faces of the bull. We used previous Barraba Central School’s metal ideas and projects to make main points on our Archie. We think these help pull together our Archie and give it a real BCS vibe and helps people understand how kids in the Barraba region grew up living on farms and how these concepts are true to us.

 Picnic Point High School also explored environmental sustainability with a cheeky Archie called ‘Moolcolm Turnwool’.

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With guidance from their YFC Sam Wan, the students in the Year 7 Extension Class incorporated several different elements to highlight the effects of climate change:

The eyes display contrast between the opposite sides to do with climate change. We have painted one side of the head dark and red to showcase the life for farmers in our drought. The second side shows your typical green and bright sun. It is meant to replicate what it would look like without climate change.

There is a tree painted on Archie’s front left leg. This is reflecting climate change and biodiversity. It represents an article we read about the planting of trees in Sheep Farms in Northern NSW, Armidale and Tamworth area. It is just one of the science research studies that has been happening to support our agriculture industry. It is a Target 100 project. We also have the Target 100 logo here.

The last school to study the wool industry was the ever-inventive Beaudesert State High School from Queensland who enlisted students and KLAs from the entire school to create ‘Woolinda’.

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Supported by YFC Deanna Johnston, and following on from their entry in last year’s Archibull, the Beaudesert students have made Woolinda an interactive Archie and she is even solar powered!

The music notes and words to “Click go the Shears” are wrapped and entwined around the front legs of Woolinda. When you press the button near the music, you are able to hear our school choir sing this iconic Australian song.

The little sheep dog (Alex is his name) next to the pond is there to muster a wayward ram that has not yet been penned up. At the press of a button, the little dog barks; he then chases the sheep

Woolinda, is able to chew. Woolinda’s teeth are also real.

The shearing shed that is featured inside of Woolinda is operational. We wanted to make a miniature shed inside of her where the little shearers shore their little sheep. The shearing starts at the press of a button.

Woolinda has one ear that twitches. Her ear twitches when the blowfly sound gets closer.

Watch this space. Cotton, Grains and Sheep and Cattle Archies still to come