Young Farming Champions November 2020 Muster

Headline Act

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

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

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

In The Field

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

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

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

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words Have Power Concept text on background

Prime Cuts

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

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

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

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

How is this for a fabulous wedding memory

Picture You in Agriculture is celebrating National Agriculture Day by thanking Next Gen Consumers

National Ag Day, on November 20, is usually a frantic time for the team at PYiA as we gear up for the Archies award ceremony but with COVID  postponing our celebrations we have found another way to showcase Australian agriculture – we are celebrating and thanking Next Gen through a series of online webinars!

On Friday, November 20, Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) will host three online webinars to engage students and teachers with Young Farming Champions (YFC) under the tutelage of two of Australia’s leading facilitators

The first webinar will be hosted by Josh Farr. In 2017, Josh founded his first company, Campus Consultancy, which has gone on to become a market leader in the training space for students. His team has taken more than 14,000 student leaders through their workshops on leadership, entrepreneurship & emotional intelligence.

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In Friday’s webinar Josh will run two workshops for school students ( in NSW and QLD) and our YFC to hone their 21st century employability and resume writing skills, with emphasis on the four Cs: communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. This workshop will put the cream of the crop in our schools and agriculture’s future – on the path to being work ready and ensuring they stand out from the crowd.

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The second workshop will be hosted by international facilitation guru Les Robinson who will sit down with teachers and YFC to design a sustainability action project through the lens of agriculture. This “Train the Trainer” workshop will provide teachers with techniques and a well laid step by step facilitation model that will help them  empower their students to design and deliver their own sustainability action projects in their schools and in the community.

This collaboration between teachers, students and our YFC  will give young people community action skills and ownership of the solutions with the capacity to inspire their communities to practice good social and environmental habits. Participants will be provided with tips and tricks on how to keep students engaged and enthusiastic about the project.

In addition to our students, teachers and YFC the webinars will also be an opportunity to celebrate and thank another cohort of future agricultural leaders – our Corteva scholarship finalists. The winners of the scholarship will join our Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program, which will enable them to take their stories to another generation of consumers.

National Ag Day, teachers and students and emerging leaders in agriculture – the perfect collaboration for a bright agricultural future.

#NationalAgDay #DesignaBrightFuture #ArchieAction #KreativeKoalasKids

Leadership is Language – Our Young Farming Champions channel the gurus to deal with their nerves

At Picture You in Agriculture we train emerging leaders initially through our Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program; graduates of which become our Young Farming Champions (YFC).

We encourage them to be life-long learners and provide them with ongoing opportunities to be critical and creative thinkers and informed and active citizens of the communities the work, live and play in.

They see everyday as a new opportunity to enhance those skills.

One way we did this during COVID was to develop the  Leadership is Language webinar series where Young Farming Champions have the opportunity to host a webinar and interview some of the world’s foremost thought leaders on communicating how we can show leadership by the language and communication styles we use.

Our guests challenge us to change the way we talk as leaders by learning the language of creativity, collaboration and commitment. They  illustrate the powerful intersection of communication and leadership and offer simple steps to transform your thinking, your influence and the lives in your span of care and how we can reinvent our leadership style to meet the evolving demands of the new marketplace.

In the first series our amazing guests were:

  • How to invoke reflective practice and bring your empathy, curiosity and openness, listening skills to the conversation with social science researcher Dr Nicole McDonald
  • Great leadership is not a position or authority, it is a mindset with human agronomist Rebel Black
  • Invest in yourself and learn to have the important conversations with succession planner Sally Murfett
  • Language is spoken language, body language and listening with Australian Rural Leadership program mentor Graham Smith
  • Put yourself in their shoes and support your audience to map out their own  journey with international agriculture researcher Francesca Earp  
  • Picking your fight “The ally fight” – who we are helping with leadership coach Dave Stachowiak
  • Leadership is about understanding your client or customer with Yacker co-founder Emma Ayliffe

The second series has kicked off in October with a similarly impressive line-up including:

  • Empowering to future consumers to tread lightly on the planet with  OzHarvest FEAST director Amelia Berner
  • Why we should embrace the art of being curious with leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Innovators and Changemakers taking the lead with Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter
  • Telling the Water Story with communication expert Monique White
  • How do we learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure everyone comes home – worker health and safety with Austral CEO  David Carter 
  • Anticipatory Leadership – How do we overcome the psychosocial barriers and be on the front foot with Catherine Marriott and Alison Penfold

With such a star-studded list of guests how did our YFC prepare for their interviews and how did they find the experience? What have they learnt that will help them (and others) in the future?

Lucy Collingridge was thrown in the deep end as the opening act for Leadership is Language when she spoke with Nicole McDonald, and she followed this up with the internationally acclaimed Michael Bungay Stanier in Series 2.

“I have done a bit of microphone commentary/interview work at shows and our Cootamundra Hereford Heifer Show but this rewarding experience threw me well out of my comfort zone.

Before my interview I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast about FFT’s (effing first times). She speaks about naming the new thing, normalising it and embracing the suck – that it will be hard, I will feel nervous and intimidated but it won’t last forever. I needed to deal with the nerves to get to the good part.

In my first interview with Nicole I was able to catch up with her prior to our interview however I didn’t have this with Michael. I honestly didn’t know who he was so I did my research and learnt who he is and what he has accomplished. Speaking to such an amazing human with so much knowledge was daunting but Michael is such an engaging and open person.

I thoroughly enjoyed our chat, especially as he has no background in agriculture so he was a set of fresh eyes to the issues we face in the industry. I can’t wait to listen back to our chat another 10 times to keep getting things from it!”

Anika Molesworth, already an accomplished speaker, presenter and interviewer, sat down for a chat with Francesca Earl and found you can learn something from every experience.

“It was fantastic to have a chat with the inspiring Franny Earp, who has such depth of knowledge on communicating in different socio-cultural settings. It was hard not to get lost in her adventurous stories from working in South Africa to Laos. I was excited to learn from her and hear how she overcame challenges in communication that comes with doing international agricultural work. My questions came from a personal curiosity and that helped the conversation to flow seamlessly… it was difficult to end it because I was enjoying our chat so much!”

Emma Ayliffe was both interviewer (when she spoke with succession planner Sally Murfett) and interviewee (when she spoke about her new app Yacker).

“The Leadership is Language series has been exciting, fun, inspiring and challenging, but also a great opportunity to gain confidence and practices skills in interviewing, questioning and recording.

It was quite daunting to be at the helm of creating a conversation with Sally that was going to be interesting and relevant for a topic that can be controversial and difficult to breach (succession planning) but tapping into her expertise was phenomenal.

Preparation for the interview took the form of reading and researching Sally and her role in agriculture and talking to my partner and his family about their burning succession questions. From there Sally and I had a quick zoom to meeting to discuss what we were going to go through and I watched a few interviews on YouTube to see what I liked in an interviewer.

The bigger concerns I had were ensuring we captured the key points and ideas …. and hoping that the internet held up! I felt the nerves when we started but being a recording we reminded ourselves we had the ability to cut and change where needed.

The best part for me was talking to an amazing person about a topic that was extremely relevant to me.”

Here is a wrap of Leadership is Language – Series 1.

Our very first Leadership is Language conversation opened with YFC Lucy Collingridge talking with social science researcher Dr Nicole McDonald. Nicole spoke about how she found agriculture through psychology and how communication is a key tool to uniting this diverse industry.

“…..communication is how we connect and understand each other. Words are absolutely important, but then it’s also your tone of voice, it’s your volume, it’s your self-expression; it’s what you’re wearing. All of these things send messages about who you are, what you’re trying to convey. Communication is much bigger than just text or words…”

For the second conversation we engaged friends of the YFC Kirsty White and Rebel Black. Human agronomist Rebel spoke about what leadership means to her and why she thinks, at the end of the day, life is a game to be played.

“…..I think leadership, great leadership requires a high level of personal responsibility, and that’s a very challenging thing to do. It’s much easier for us to blame the outside world for the things that are going on in our lives or in the lives of the people that we care about. True leadership, I believe is a hundred percent self-responsibility, which then enables you to navigate through life in a more easeful way,….”

Third up was Youth Voices Leadership Team chair Emma Ayliffe speaking with Sally Murfett about the power of positive communication in succession planning.

“…. nothing happens without relationship and communication. If you can’t get this part right, nothing else is going to happen along the way. So invest in this process. Invest in yourself so that you can sit at the table and have these conversations that are going to get great outcomes for yourself and great outcomes for the family.”

Then it was time for YFC Hannah Hawker to sit down with Graham Smith, the Australian Rural Leadership Program Mentor, who discussed the importance of throwing out stereotypes and misconceptions.

“….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.”

YFC Anika Molesworth chatted with Francesca Earp about her research work in Laos and why actively listening to your people it the most important tool to understanding them.

“…..have proper conversations with farmers about why they’re doing things and what’s influencing those decisions … tailor ag extensions to why farmers are making those decisions.”

Internationally acclaimed leadership coach Dave Stachowiak was the guest of YFC Dione Howard for the sixth instalment of the series. Together they spoke about how to build ally relationships between consumers and farmers.

“…..we can come back at look at ourselves and say, “Okay, now that we’ve figured out what’s important, or at least some indicators of what may be important, where do we have some common alignment?” That’s a great starting point then for that relationship.”

Rounding off Series 1 of Leadership is Language was PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick getting the lowdown on the new conversation app Yacker, developed by YFC Emma Ayliffe.

It’s particularly important to be empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”

Series 1 has been a remarkable success and we look forward to the next series with a diverse range of guests involved with coaching, communication, stakeholder engagement, collective impact and action, worker health and safety, fishing, water, food recycling and much more.

 

 

Leadership is Language – Emma Ayliffe co-Founder of Yacker sits down with Mandy McKeesick

We are excited to have our Youth Voices Leadership team chair Emma Ayliffe, co-founder of Summit Agriculture sits down with our wonderful journalist Mandy McKeesick to chat about the new conversation starting app Yacker, and why it is important to understand your audience.

Key Messages

  • Leadership is about understanding your client or customer
  • Being empathetic to the other person’s views
  • Never underestimating  who is watching or listening to you
  • Avoiding speaking in frustration or anger

Pull Quote

It’s particularly important to be sympathetic and empathetic in difficult conversations. It’s important to do the work before you go into those conversations, so that you can see things through their eyes and prepare yourself for what the potential reactions could be, and think about the best way to craft the conversation.”

About Emma

Emma Ayliffe is an award-winning agronomist and successful businesswoman. She is co-founder of agricultural consultancy Summit Ag, co-owner of a 1700-acre cropping property and an in-demand public speaker. In 2018 she was runner-up in the Adama Young Agronomist of the Year awards and has taken the stage at PIEFA Conference, the Australia Cotton Conference and the Australian Summer Grains Conference

Emma believes in the importance of agricultural sustainability and the role that young people play in the industry. She has been a Young Farming Champion since 2015,  is the current chair for the Youth Voices Leadership Team and established Tulli Young Farmers to better support young people in her region.

Connect with Emma: LinkedIn and Twitter 

About Mandy

Mandy is an Australian writer and photographer who shares stories for, and about, the bush. She has worked with the Picture You in Agriculture team for five years, sharing stories of Young Farming Champions far and wide, and regularly contributes to R.M Williams Outback magazine.

Connect with Mandy: LinkedIn 

 

 About Summit Ag & Yacker

Summit Ag delivers interdependent agronomic and farming systems advice for irrigated cropping with a strong focus on cotton agronomy and research. It covers all areas in the Southern Valleys working with established and dryland growers with the aim of increasing productivity, profitability and overcoming challenges and soil constraints. www.summitag.com.au

Yacker was initially developed to assist Summit Ag clients connect and share information, and has now expanded to service the entire agricultural industry.

 

Want to know more?

Visit the Yacker website (www.yacker.com.au) and download the app for free on any iPhone or android device.

 

Young Farming Champions Muster October 2020

Headline Act

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

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

In The Field

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

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

and in the dark

Night-time bailing at Narromine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of the Field

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

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

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

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

 

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

Prime Cuts

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

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

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

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

Lifetime Achievements

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

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

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

#YouthinAg #CollectiveImpact #YouthVoicesYFC #ConnectCollaborate

Leadership is Language with best selling author and leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier

In this episode of Leadership is Language internationally-acclaimed leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier sits down with Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge to discuss drama triangles, sheep and the power of curiosity.

Key Messages

  • When you ask a question be genuinely interested in the answer
  • Beware of the dysfunctional Dreaded Drama Triangle
  • Narrow the problem down – you can’t boil the ocean

Pull Quote

“What happens with your expertise? It cloaks curiosity, ….. I know a whole bunch of stuff, but what if I didn’t, what if I was naïve to this, if I had to start again?”

 About Michael

Michael Bungay Stanier is an internationally recognised leadership coach with his book The Coaching Habit selling over 700,000 copies and receiving over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. In 2019, he was named the #1 thought leader in coaching, and was shortlisted for the coaching prize by Thinkers50, the “Oscars of management”.

Michael is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led. He left Australia nearly 30 years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

His latest book is The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

Connect with Michael:           LinkedIn and Twitter 

About Lucy

Lucy Collingridge is a biosecurity officer with the North West Local Land Services, based in Narrabri. She is primarily focused on vertebrate pest animal management and is involved in the implementation of the North West Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan, emergency management responses and assisting groups with funding applications.

Lucy is a passionate Young Farming Champion and has an extensive resume volunteering with community groups and agricultural shows.

Want to know more?

Box of Crayons: https://boxofcrayons.com

MBS Works:  https://www.mbs.works/

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Young Leaders meet Calum Watt a crop breeder for the future

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Today’s guest blog comes from PhD candidate and crop breeder Calum Watt

“ I get a lot of excitement from being involved in an industry that is everyday looking for ways to produce more, from less, in the most sustainable way possible. No day is same. There is never a dull moment on my career path.”

Calum shares with us:

  • Careers in agriculture extend beyond the farm gate. “Farmers” can be scientists
  • Crop scientists can improve the productivity, profitability, resilience and sustainability of Australia’s crops
  • Communication is critical to connecting science to the paddock

This is Calum’s story

Warming to the idea that a career in agriculture could or would be for me was somewhat of a slow burn at first.

This is a bit unusual given as I grew up surrounded by agriculture in a rural dairy community in the south of Western Australia. Whilst I loved the lifestyle, I never really considered agriculture from a career perspective because everyone involved in agriculture are farmers, aren’t they?

Or at least that is what I originally thought back in my wild youth. My lightbulb moment came one year into a botany degree that agriculture was where I was wanted to be and my role as an agricultural scientist, more precisely a crop breeder would see me join the 82% of careers in agriculture that support farmers to produce food

.At university I developed a keen interest in genetics and whilst I had always had a passion agriculture and plants I had no idea that there was a career that could marry them all together. This is when I discovered the important role of a crop breeder. An ability to recombine genes to improve the resilience, sustainability and productivity of crop production is something so satisfying; something so simple yet something so critically important to improving our local and global food security. The late Norman Borlaug, an inspiration of mine, stove off global food insecurity by manipulating only a handful of genes through breeding, effectively doubling global crop production in what is known as the Green Revolution.

Gene-editing, has the potential to address the concerns consumers care about most: nutritional health, climate change, food waste and the need for more natural production techniques.

Techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9, which cuts and ‘edits’ strands of DNA, may enable farmers to reduce their use of pesticides, while boosting the resilience of crops to fungi, extreme weather and enriching their nutrient content.

There set the stage for a further 8 years at university progressing me slowly, but surely towards a career as a crop breeder to play my role in supporting global food security and achieving  Global Goal 2 – Zero Hunger and Global Goal 12  Responsible Production and Global Goal 13 Climate Action    

Being a plant breeder allows me to combine my three main passions into one role where I can improve the productivity, profitability, climate resilience and sustainability of Australia’s crop production and help ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable, nutritious food as efficiently as possible. If we can manipulate one gene, improve disease resistance and reduce the need for fungicides this is a win for people and the planet.

I am so optimistic about the future of agriculture and my place within it . The recent awarding of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna  for the development of a method for genome editing  known as CRISPR-Cas9 is an exciting example of just one spanner in the toolbox which crop researchers and breeders can utilise to develop the climate resilient crops of the future.

My excitement at the level of science and technology I get to work with as a crop breeder inspires me to share my story and the research behind the work my fellow crop breeders do on podiums across the country.

I invite you to Join me in an industry that everyday is looking for ways to produce more, from less, in the most efficient, climate resilient way possible.

Calum has recently submitted his PhD and joined the crop breeding team at Intergrain

Listen to Calum share his story on the Generation Ag podcast here 

and read more in this recent Farm Weekly Young Guns article

Learn more about Calum’s work via his published journal articles

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2020.01273/full

https://www.publish.csiro.au/cp/CP20169

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-020-03579-z

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-018-3243-y

 

Leadership is Language with CEO of Austral Fisheries David Carter

In this episode of Leadership is Language global fisheries champion David Carter sits down with Dione Howard to talk about the lessons agriculture can learn from the fishing industry – and it’s perceived adversaries.

Key Messages

  • You can find common ground with perceived adversaries
  • In the next 30 years agriculture has got to step up – and that’s an exciting opportunity
  • Relentless curiosity will be one of the great gifts
  • Have courage to pursue goals, which might not necessarily be the norm for your industry.

 Pull Quote

“In the fiery furnace of that journey [transitioning fisheries], you learn the art of compromise, of respect for the other party, and a listening for their concerns; and then a capacity to recognize that it was all about progress and a shared vision.”

About David

David Carter has worked his entire career at Austral Fisheries and its predecessors. Graduating from Melbourne University in 1978 with a degree in Marine Science, David saw an opportunity to enter the fishing industry and began working as a deckhand on a prawn trawler off the coast of Darwin. This was the beginning of what has been a 40-year career in the fishing industry.

 

In 2016, David led Austral in taking the next step along its sustainability journey, with Austral Fisheries becoming the first seafood company in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification under the Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program.

 

David was inducted into the National Seafood Industry Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of his significant contribution to the Australian seafood industry, and in 2020 David received the Marine Stewardship Council’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Connect with David:   LinkedIn  and Twitter 

Connect with Austral Fisheries on the web on Twitter  On Instagram On  Facebook 

About Dione

Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader.  In 2020 she took the step in her leadership journey on the Executive of YVLT as Vice Chair.

Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.

Connect with Dione:   LinkedIn  and   Twitter 

Want to know more?

Read about the Sea Shepherd’s encounter with Thunder, a known illegal fishing vessel, on Dec. 17, 2014, in the Southern Ocean. The Thunder’s crew was using gill nets to catch Patagonian Toothfish in a protected marine area regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

 

 

Leadership is Language with Monique White sharing how farmers can share the water story with the wider community

In this episode of Leadership is Language  the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Monique White sits down with Young Farming Champion Dione Howard to discuss how best to share the water story.

Key Messages

  • Do your research before engaging, and then listen to your audience
  • Identify common ground and explain why there may be differences
  • Connect with hearts and minds, not just facts

 Pull Quote

“We have to try and identify our common ground, but also explain why there’s difference, and, particularly for the Murray-Darling Basin authority, that’s often about the greater good of the whole basin, and at times that means some areas of the community will have negative impacts. We need to acknowledge that.”

 

About Monique

Monique White is an agricultural scientist and consultant who has specialised in the implementation of change and environmental management and sustainability programs on farm, within industry and in the community. Monique works with people who want to make a profitable income from the land while also leaving it in a better condition for future generations. Monique is currently an assistant director in the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s engagement team based in Murray Bridge in South Australia.

Prior to MBDA Monique worked with the South Australian dairy industry as a NRM (natural resource management) technical specialist and was the project manager for Dairy Australia’s Smarter Irrigation for Profit program.

Connect with Monique:          LinkedIn and  Twitter 

About Dione

Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader.  In 2020 she took the step in her leadership journey on the Executive of YVLT as Vice Chair.

Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.

Connect with Dione:   LinkedIn   and  Twitter 

Want to know more?

Read more about how the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is working towards healthy waterways here: 

 

 

 

Meet Emily May an agronomist in training advocating for urban agriculture

In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share with us what drives them. We also asked them to tells us if they had a magic wand what would they change in the agriculture sector.

Our guest post today comes from agronomist in training and peri -urban agriculturalist Emily May

Emily shares with us

  • Peri-urban environments are the agricultural frontier
  • Young farmers can help others adjust to changes and new technology
  • Engaging the consumer is a critical part of modern agriculture

I grew up in a non-farming family in the Hawkesbury district on the outskirts of Western Sydney, an area which has historically thrived as Sydney’s Food Bowl . In more recent years however, the extensive farmland dedicated to the production of fruit, vegetables, turf, flowers and a few smaller livestock holdings has progressively transitioned into urban develop. As the value of land continues to rise, along with the expenses of running a farming business many farmers have found it more profitable to sell to developers. This rapid change in the peri-urban agricultural scene  is something that has challenged me particularly as a young person who credits the community of peri urban agriculture for kickstarting my career.

My first introduction to a career in ag came from a weekend job I had during high school on my neighbour’s citrus orchard where I picked, packed and helped with the daily operations of the farm. This weekend job soon turned into an ongoing career working for numerous local growers in the Hawkesbury region including wineries, market gardens, hydroponic propagation and cut flower enterprises.

Whilst I enjoyed agriculture at school I didn’t initially see a long term future in the industry. It wasn’t until I left the industry when I finished school that I realised working in agriculture was something I was good at, I really enjoyed and wanted to be part of on my life journey.

This desire to be part of something bigger was also driven by witnessing the ever-changing dynamic of the agricultural scene in and around the Hawkesbury. I saw opportunities for farmer to embrace new technology and farming approaches and this inspired me to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE. Supporting farmers and growers adjust and uptake best  management practices, reducing reliance on chemicals, increasing their resilience and confidence to navigate the complex world around them, including participating in informed and influential conversations about land uses has become a key driver in my involvement in agriculture.

Today I now take a proactive role in being a voice for the industry and bringing the community on the journey with me to advocate for peri-urban agriculture. I volunteer with the Hawkesbury Harvest and their support has opened a door for me to have a regular spot on ABC Sydney radio sharing the good news stories and opportunities for people can get involved with their local producers in and around Sydney

I am grateful to the Hawkesbury Harvest for mentoring me and opening doors to use the voices of youth through the media to influence policy

I firmly believe our city plans can add value and better protect agriculture from urban sprawl. I believe planners can  make decisions based on evidence to balance competing land uses, taking into account the full suite of values and benefits we gain from Sydney farmers, not just the economic gains we stand to achieve by converting the land to houses.

Farmers in the basin deserve a fair price for what they produce, land security and support from other residents.

Sydneysiders also need access to affordable housing, jobs and infrastructure.

Equally we need access to nutritious and affordable food, reversing the high rate of obesity and diabetes, and “food deserts” without access to groceries particularly prevalent in Western Sydney.

Through increased awareness and accessibility, food shoppers can also support local food producers, increasing the resilience of Sydney’s food system and simultaneously reducing the environmental footprint of food.

I am proud to be part of a passionate team adapting to a changing world. I am  excited to be part of the movement to ensure that agriculture is valued and prioritised as an important land use and economic activity within our communities, that is ensuring buying local food is a choice that consumers can make in future.

I also work in rural sales with Ace Ohlsson, which allows me to meet  a wide range of customers who come through our retail shop along with providing agronomic and management advice to producers in the region who I work alongside.

I am very committed to learning how to effectively amplify the voices of youth, advocate for the industry I love and inspire the next generation to follow in my footsteps