2021 Young Farming Champions – Introducing Olivia Borden

Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) is excited to be working with new partners this year and we welcome the Northern Territory Farmers Association to the fold. NT Farmers sent the call out for local early-career professionals with a passion to lead and advocate for NT agriculture. Here we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Borden who NT Farmers have selected to participate in the 2021 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

If you can picture a female incarnation of John Williamson’s Mallee Boy crossed with Crocodile Dundee then you may have a notion of the adventurous soul that is Olivia Borden. One can just imagine her barefoot and racing through paddocks on her family’s farm on the Wimmera/ Mallee Border in north-western Victoria. Her family are fifth generation farmers with an intensive piggery, crops of wheat and barley and a contracting business.

“I started working on the farm as soon as I was old enough to lift a bucket, and I went up north to Queensland with my father contract harvesting. It was there I fell in love with large northern properties.” Olivia says

Olivia attended a 12-student primary school before transferring to Donald for the rest of her schooling.

“On the school bus I used to read the country newspapers and I’d flick straight to the job section, reading the station hand advertisements over and over again.”

Post high school she studied at Longerenong Agricultural College.

“The day after I turned 21 I fed the pigs for the last time, packed my ute and headed north. I rang a phone number off the back of a shearing singlet I’d been given and got a job just south of Ivanhoe the very next day. I threw fleeces, crutched sheep, lamb marked and occasionally, when we were down a shearer, got on a stand.  I loved the back country – I still think they are the best sunrises I’ve ever seen – but I was hungry for the real north.”

So to the north she went and landed her first job on the live-cattle export cattle-yards in the Territory.

“I vomited every day chasing cattle through the hot mud, in torrential rain and intense humidity loading road train after road train. Working in 45 degree shearing sheds was nothing compared to the heat and intensity of the export yards.”

From the export yards she moved onto stations,

“Where I found what I had been looking for; living out of a swag and off a fire for months at a time, aboriginal stock crews, buffalo, scrub bulls, helicopters, motorbikes and horses, rocky escarpments and flood fencing and untamed country.”

It wasn’t until Olivia spent wet seasons working in Katherine that she was exposed to the horticultural industry and realised the opportunity to make real agricultural change through agronomy.

“I didn’t think I would be capable of being an agronomist but my bosses believed in me enough to convince me to try. Then they threw me in the car and introduced me to the world of tropical pastures, watermelon and mango growers but it was the developing the northern cotton industry that won my heart over. I found every day incredibly challenging and stimulating I signed on as a trainee agronomist. I haven’t looked back.”

Olivia’s love of the diversity of Australian food and fibre production has seen her experience many of agriculture’s facets, an experience she sees as both a blessing and a curse and she has turned to PYiA to address this.

“It’s taken me a long time to settle into a career and being out bush for a lot of years has set me back in terms of professional development. I am looking to the YFC program to cultivate skills and attributes that will help me go from being an average employee at the risk of getting lost in the business world, to being a humbly confident, supportive agronomist and business woman, who can advocate for NT agriculture, build strong community rapport and encourage other young people to join agriculture and be part of the fast pace of its future development.”

Welcome to the Young Farming Champions family Olivia

#YouthinAg #agronomist #AGSTEMCareers

 

 

Wild catch fishing – meet the people who catch the prawns for your plate

One of key learnings from the Young Farming Champions cross agriculture sector network is whilst farmers from different industry sectors are experts in their field, they often know very little about other sectors and are hungry to learn. So you can imagine how excited the team is to have Bryan Van Wyk join us from Austral Fisheries so we can learn about carbon neutral wild catching fishing

Bryan Van Wyk’s office – does it get better than this 

Banana Prawn season is underway and we invited Bryan to share with us what the 2021 season is looking like.

the inside story …….

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The banana prawn season is one of the most wild and exciting commercial fishing seasons the world has to offer. Due to the rapid life cycle and boom-bust nature of prawns, it is one of the few fisheries in Australia that can’t be managed with quotas. This means skippers are able to go and catch as many prawns as they can in the short period which makes for a highly competitive, strategic and actioned packed fishing season. For the past 4-5 months the fishery has been closed to allow a newly spawned generation of banana prawns to have the chance to settle into the rivers, grow and recruit back into the fishing grounds after the wet season rainfall. Prior to the start of the fishing season on April 1st, the fishing grounds are re-populated and large mud boils (banana prawn masses which disturb the sediment on the sea floor to create mud plumes) can be seen from space. When the season commences, airplanes are used to direct vessels to banana prawn mud boils where crews can catch, pack and snap freeze between 5,000 and 10,000kgs of prawns per day (when things are going well).  Once a skipper fills their vessels freezer, the crew are required to unload the catch via a mothership or a nearby port.

The largest and most consistent banana catches are found during the first month of the season. Karumba is a small, remote fishing town situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is an attractive unloading point for vessels due to the close proximity to fishing grounds and the availability of fuel, supplies, repairs and product transport logistics. For the past 5 banana prawn seasons I have orchestrated and managed an unload operation in the heart of Karumba while attending to the vast day-to-day operational duties of managing 11 prawn trawlers.  Each year is a challenging and fulfilling journey and this year was no different.

In preparation to this season I put together a workforce of 20 people in Cairns (which was a real challenge with a noticeable shortage in available seasonal workers). After inductions and paperwork were finalised, we made our way to Karumba, set up camp and began training in preparation for our first round of customers. Always being prepared is at the heart of everything I do and worker health and safety is a priority at Austral Fisheries. As a group we practice setting up the unloading gear, stacking boxes and highlight potential safety hazards in our environment along the way.

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This year’s season started off with a bang with most vessels in the fishery filling up in the first week of the season. On the second day of the season there were over 30 banana prawn marks spotted with our plane near Karumba and in the first 10 days we unloaded a total of 380MT which was on par with some of our bigger seasons. This was one of the most exhausting 10 days I have experienced in Karumba. It’s hard to predict how long catches like this would last in a volatile fishery like this but if there is one thing I’ve learnt in this industry it’s that you have to prepare for the worst (or best depending which way you look at it) so I made the call to increase packaging productions, bring in reinforcements and more supplies to keep up with the catches. Sure enough, after making these decisions, catches began to drop rapidly and boats started moving out of the Karumba region. It’s not unusual for catches to suddenly drop like this, but predicting when this occurs is impossible. With a full team of staff, unloaders and engineers, and freezer trucks on standby, we made the call to end the operation for another year.

Goodbyes are never easy, but bringing a workforce together with completely different views and beliefs, watching them work as a team in a challenging environment and then seeing lifelong friendships developed by the end is one of the most rewarding parts of this journey.

Although starting off strong, we are now 3 weeks into this banana prawn season and early predictions are showing an average catch season outcome. There is still potentially more than 7 weeks of fishing to go and things may change as more prawns are found. These prawns will all be sold into the domestic market (supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers) for Australian’s to enjoy throughout the year.

Check out these amazing banana prawn recipes 

Thanks Bryan, Australians love their prawns and knowing what is involved in catching them and delivering them to our tables gives us more respect for our fishers

 

Dione Howard, realises her dream and is recognised for her commitment to agriculture in RAS Rural Achiever Awards

Dione Howard 2021 RAS of NSW Rural Achiever Photo Source The Land

A long-held dream was realised on Sunday April 11 when Dione Howard was named the 2021 RAS Rural Achiever at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The RAS Rural Achiever Award is a “state-wide leadership program run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to recognise future young leaders (20-29 years of age) who are committed to making a significant contribution to their community and to rural Australia.”

We are thrilled the rest of the world is finally seeing the brilliance we at Picture You in Agriculture have known for the last six years when Dione joined the Young Farming Champions program as a wool industry representative.

Dione is a sixth-generation sheep grazier who grew up on her family’s 80-year-old Merino stud at Milbrulong, near Wagga Wagga, and it is where her commitment to agriculture began. After completing a degree in veterinary science from Charles Sturt University Dione commenced work as a District Veterinarian for the Riverina Local Land Services, but this is but the tip of a very large ice-berg. Dione’s achievements as an advocate for the Australian wool industry include:

  • Young Farming Champion since 2015
  • Current Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team
  • Participant and volunteer for the AWI Merino Challenge
  • 2016 AWI Young Wool Growers Study Tour
  • Inaugural WoolProducers Australia Youth Ambassador in 2018
  • Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation student internship in 2017
  • 2017 address at Australian Farm Institute Round Table Conference
  • Host of Leadership is Language series 2020 and 2021

Dione believes it is imperative the voices of young people in agriculture be heard so the sector can acknowledge and work through its challenges, attract the best and brightest minds and contribute to the vibrancy of regional, rural and remote Australia.

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General Manager of Riverina Local Land Services Ray Willis said the award demonstrates her outstanding achievements.

“We are very proud of Dione and her dedication to rural communities and championing rural youth leadership programs such as the Picture You in Agriculture program. Dione is an outstanding young professional and a real asset to our region and Riverina Local Land Services — she thoroughly deserves this award.” Ray Willis

This was not the first time Dione had applied for the Rural Achiever Award but she has mindfully cultivated persistence throughout her leadership journey.

“I’ve put my had up for opportunities, got knocked back and tried again or tried other avenues. It’s about finding ways to complete tasks, cope when things are tough and look at the bigger picture and the outcome at the other end. When I first applied and missed out on a Rural Achiever spot I thought that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be for me. However, I attended the show in 2019 and had the BEST couple of days, and thought ‘I’d better give this another go!’ I had also finished university by this time and felt more grounded with where I was in my career and life’” she says.

This persistence held Dione in good stead when named as a Rural Achiever in 2020 only to have COVID cancel the Sydney Royal Easter Show. But patience once again had its rewards.

“We were treated to an absolutely jam-packed program in 2021 complete with crowds at capacity for a meticulously planned COVID-safe event. The eyes of the world were on Sydney for the duration of the show, and it was wonderful to be involved in such a successful event,” she says.

Dione was in competition for the Rural Achiever title with some of NSW’s brightest young agricultural minds including Ryan McParland from Jamberoo, Kory Graham from Sutton Forrest, Sally Gavin from Cumnock, Mitchell Dwyer from Cowra, Josie Clarke from Bellimbopinni and Allister Clarke from Finley. Read the full story here in The Land.

As part of her Rural Achiever experience Dione led the affirmative team in a debate on the topic of “Are the best of Australia’s rural days ahead of it?” To Dione this topic may have seemed like a no-brainer as each day she and her fellow Young Farming Champions share the positive stories of our agricultural industry. Read about the debate here in another story from The Land.

Dione will represent NSW in the national Rural Achiever finals (including New Zealand) to be held at the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show and she foresees a busy year ahead.

“I can’t wait to showcase all that it means to be a part of rural and regional communities, and to have a career as a young woman in agriculture. The Rural Achiever program has inspired me to continue to build my networks and to make the most of opportunities as they come along. Who would have thought I’d have led an alpaca in the Grand Parade, or been interviewed by the announcer for the main arena? Two things to tick off the bucket list!”

Congratulations Dione. The world is just beginning to realise the brilliance we have known for years. We are honoured to be a part of your success and look forward to watching your ever-evolving story.

and you can watch the 2021 RAS Rural Achievers Debate here

 

Corteva announces agricultural scholarship winners

We are very excited to share with you that Corteva Agriscience has announced Emily May and Veronika Vicic as their scholarship winners to participate in the two-year Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Veronika will join the program in the initial year where she will develop skills to advocate for agriculture while being mentored by a Young Farming Champion.

“ As part of the Young Farming Champions network I will have the opportunity to share my story to a wide audience, have greater impact and enable change. To do this I require confidence and skills to communicate, and the program will give me that. I want to be able to give back to the community by sharing the knowledge and experiences I have had with a younger audience and to encourage and excite the next generation about how food is produced, and the technological and environmental advancements agriculture has made.” Veronika said

Emily has already completed her initial year with the program and is aiming to widen her agricultural horizons and take on a mentoring role for the next generation.

“I am looking forward to increasing my network of like-minded agriculturists and to share the good news stories of agriculture to showcase the opportunities the sector can provide. This program will help me craft these stories and, in doing so, help champion our young people, particularly young women, who will be part of the changing face of Australian agriculture.” Emily said

Read more about Emily here 

 

In addition to the scholarship winners, Corteva will put two of their own– Connie Mort and Steph Tabone – through the program.

“Corteva is excited to have two of our talented staff members as a part of this impressive program. The training and networking opportunities available will greatly enhance their skills and personal development, setting their professional careers up for the future. As a business we are looking to young agricultural professionals across all industries to help us tailor our solutions to address the challenges that growers, consumers and communities are facing now and how we can ensure progress for generations to come.  The PYiA Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program aligns extremely well with our goals and aspirations.” Dan Dixon, ANZ Marketing Director for Corteva Agriscience said.

 

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2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING STEPHANIE TABONE

Today we are excited to introduce you to Stephanie Tabone, the second of our Corteva Agriscience team participants in the 2021 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Steph is a Sydney girl who has fallen in love with agriculture and the opportunities it presents.

In 2017 Stephanie Tabone had a light-bulb moment.

“A couple of months after North Queensland was hit by Cyclone Debbie, I remember shopping for fruit and vegetables when I noticed a customer unsatisfied with the store for not having tomatoes. The customer was seemingly unaware many crops were badly affected by the cyclone and that North Queensland was a key region supplying produce at that time of year. As a fellow consumer I understood how she felt, because I too have grown up in this world where produce has always been readily available. It wasn’t until I became more involved in the industry that I learned of the challenges our farmers face and of the effort it takes to get produce on the shelves. It’s given me a real appreciation for the quality and reliability of Australian agriculture.”

Stephanie was on the cusp of her career in agriculture, working for vegetable grower Kalfresh in southern Queensland after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The University of Sydney. She’d already come a long way from the city streets of her childhood as she embraced her new world at university.

“I soon learnt that agriculture at the Uni was a small, close-knit faculty where everyone was like family. Through laboratory and field practicals, rural field trips and placements on-farm, I quickly learnt of the diverse opportunities the industry had to offer and it was here I developed my true passion for agriculture.”

Stephanie’s next lightbulb moment came in 2019 when she was nominated for the Young Grower of the Year award, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, and attended an industry dinner at the Melbourne Aquarium. Here she met Corteva’s Rob Kaan and Elizabeth Hernandez and had some of her agricultural preconceptions changed.

“I was surprised to learn that Corteva, an agricultural chemical company was promoting sustainable farming practices that could ultimately result in a reduction in the use of chemicals. Corteva had such strong values and were passionate about providing technologies for farmers that allow them to produce safe, affordable food, with minimal impact to the environment. They were also empowering women across the industry.”

Stephanie was impressed with Corteva, so when circumstances saw her return to Sydney, she approached the company for career opportunities. Corteva was also impressed and created a project-based role for her. Today Stephanie is both a territory sales representative and the Stewardship Manager for ANZ, a role where she oversees products from inception to discontinuation.

“Stewardship exists to ensure products are delivered successfully to customers and that those products perform, whilst remaining safe to end users and the environment.”

Now into her second year with Corteva, Stephanie is looking forward to joining the Young Farming Champions program to further her agricultural understanding.

“I would like to contribute positively to the industry by helping to find and implement solutions to agriculture’s major challenges. Through the YFC program I want to strengthen and polish my existing skills, learn new skills and ultimately gain confidence to continue to step outside of my comfort zone. I am also looking forward to engaging with young people about agriculture and sharing the diversity of careers in the sector.”

 

2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING CONNIE MORT

Today Picture You in Agriculture introduces you to Connie Mort who has been selected by her employer Corteva Agriscience to participant in our Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program

Connie is a Territory Account Manager for the Riverina.

Connie Mort grew up surrounded by sheep on a Merino property near Mudgee in central west NSW where her family have been farming for over 50 years, so it was only natural that holidays from boarding school were spent running her hands through fine wool and learning the finer points of stock husbandry. After high school she continued this education on a sheep and cattle station in the wilds of north-east South Australia for a gap year.

Then Connie changed tack completely. “During 2010 I spent time travelling overseas and then seven months teaching English to 12–21-year-olds at Ikwiriri Secondary School in Tanzania,” she says but a “steady passion and interest in agriculture” drew her back to Australia and The University of Sydney where she studied a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.

“From a young age I had gained a foundational understanding of farming and agriculture and at university I was able to learn more and explore different areas.” With the university she travelled to Laos and Timor Leste to study farming systems in developing countries and investigate international agricultural research initiatives. She did her honours project in soil capability and security and was awarded the USYD Faculty of Agriculture & Environment Brian G. Davey Memorial Scholarship in Soil Science in 2014.

“Leaving uni, I didn’t really know which direction I wanted to go with my career, so I kept my options open and applied for all sorts of jobs. I was keen to explore a different side to agriculture that I hadn’t experienced and landing the job with Corteva has given me exposure to broadacre cropping, horticulture, and summer irrigated cropping.”

In her role with Corteva Connie collaborates with many people to develop and distribute Corteva products and is continually learning as the industry itself evolves.

“It’s exciting to be part of the years-long process involved in bringing a new product to market and satisfying to see how these innovations can make growing a crop just a little bit easier or make farming more sustainable for the grower.”

Life-long learning and exploration of agriculture’s diversity is a strong theme in Connie’s work attitude, and she sees many challenges and opportunities in the future for agriculture; something she wishes to share with the wider community.

“I am passionate about people being provided with information backed by science and the latest research so they can draw their own conclusions and opinions from a position of fact,” she says and to this end she has joined the Young Farming Champions program to develop her communication skills and to build a network of colleagues from across agricultural industries.

Welcome to the program Connie and Corteva.

2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING SHANNON CHATFIELD

Outback by accident – that could describe Shannon Chatfield, Picture You in Agriculture’s newest participant in the 2021 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. So exactly how does someone from a hobby farm accidently find themselves on one of the Northern Territory’s largest cattle stations? Let’s meet Shannon and find out.

Shannon grew up on small acreage an hour south of Perth surrounded by horses, which led her to study and work as a veterinary nurse on the completion of high school in 2009, although she wasn’t sure what direction this would take her. She knew she wanted a career in a rural environment so five years later she went travelling and decided to work as a jillaroo in the Northern Territory for a month.

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“I was attracted to Kirkimbie Station [Consolidated Pastoral Company – CPC] because it was a remote cattle breeding property with a small station team,” she says. “It also ran a horse stud to top up camp horses for the rest of the CPC places. This was attractive to me coming from a horse background and was the only thing that felt familiar when moving into a completely foreign environment where I didn’t know anyone on the station, let alone in the industry.”

The fact she was not from a strong agricultural upbringing did not deter Shannon.

“I believe that coming from a different background you don’t take this kind of lifestyle for granted and it’s easy to appreciate how amazing and unique the agricultural industry really is.”

This attitude has taken her from a one month contract to an extraordinary career with northern Australia’s cattle industry. She has worked across various CPC stations, completed a Bachelor of Applied Science, expanded her knowledge of the industry through courses facilitated by CPC and the NTCA (Northern Territory Cattle Association) and now holds the role of Research Project Officer for CPC and Manager’s Assistant alongside her partner Jimmy on Newcastle Waters Station.

“What started out as a month contract on a station out of pure curiosity has turned into a new passion and a career with long-term goals.”

Those long-term goals include leadership in an industry Shannon has come to love. She sees social licence, research and technology and the retention of young people as important issues and would like to see the northern beef industry “lead in sustainability both economically and environmentally.

I want to be a leader people look up to; someone who can confidently promote the industry but also talk about the tough issues challenging agriculture and help the industry take steps to overcome these. I want to be part of the solution encouraging conversations between producers and consumers and help support young people within the industry to be future leaders.”

CPC also hosts Indonesian students  and as a testament to the opportunities open to young people in the industry Shannon had the opportunity to go to Indonesia in 2020 as part of the NTCA Indonesia Australia Pastoral Program (NIAPP).

“It was an amazing experience to be able to see the whole supply chain from station to Indonesian families buying meat at the wet markets”

With these ideals in mind Shannon is looking forward to embarking on her Young Farming Champions journey, sponsored by NTCA, where she hopes to learn from others, develop skills in communication and engagement, and promote the range of career opportunities in agriculture.

“When I first started out as a jillaroo on a station, I had no idea of the possibilities and career paths within the northern beef industry. All I could see at the time was the promotion to a leading hand, head stockman, then eventually to manager. I could have left the industry soon after, thinking there was not a place or career for me. I think we as an industry could be better at offering and promoting alternative career paths to retain people who may not fit within those specific station roles.”

Welcome aboard Shannon. We recognise your passion for the northern beef industry and look forward to learning from you as you learn from us.

#YouthinAg

 

Expressions of Interest are open for Northern Territory Young Farming Champions

Are you an early career professional with a passion to lead and advocate for farming in the Northern Territory?

Do you want to become a confident communicator and trusted voice in the agriculture sector?

If so then Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA), in conjunction with NT Farmers, is seeking applications to join the prestigious Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Graduates of this program become Young Farming Champions – a network of globally connected young thought-leaders thriving in business and in life, who are inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture.

Young people aged between 18 and 35, who are studying or who have completed tertiary education, are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders 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.

2021 represents the first year of collaboration between PYiA and NT Farmers.

“NT Farmers want to encourage emerging leaders to promote the diverse farming industry, from cropping to horticulture, and lead the industry into the future,” NT Farmers Education Development Officer Anna Day said.  “NT Farmers chose the Young Farming Champions program as part of a range of initiatives to promote agriculture to future generations as well as highlight some of the fantastic work being done by young people in NT agriculture.  NT Farmers are investing in educating and engaging young people to develop and enhance a vital industry with fantastic future opportunities. The Young Farming Champions program is a great opportunity for young NT farmers to receive coaching and mentoring as well as networking opportunities and intergenerational expertise.” 

Alumni of this prestigious program include climate change thought-leader Anika Molesworth, winner of the Leadership category of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards Dr Jo Newton OAM and 2019 wool-broker of the year Samantha Wan.

Download the EOI brochure here

Submit your EOI here

For more information contact Picture You in Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong at lynnestrong@pyia.com.au

2021 Young Farming Champions – Introducing Bryan Van Wyk

Picture You in Agriculture is thrilled to welcome the fishing industry into our fold and our very first fishing YFC Bryan Van Wyk. Bryan is a shining example of one who is living his best life, working in a career he loves.

Let’s meet him.

Bryan can currently be found in Cairns or on the ocean in his role managing prawn trawlers for Austral Fisheries, but his story begins on the northern coast of Tasmania in Burnie where rock pools inspired a life-long appreciation for the marine environment.

“None of my family fished or had strong connections with the ocean but as a child I was fascinated with rock pools and would spend hours discovering all the different sea animals that lived in them. As I grew older, I found myself spending all my free time either fishing, spearfishing, or diving. The ocean was my happy place and I wanted to find ways to spend more time on the water and expand my knowledge of all creatures living beneath the surface,” he says.

Bryan’s happy place

Bryan attended Burnie High School and Hellyer College (also in Burnie).

“I remember a critical moment at school where all students were asked to think about what they wanted to do when they grew up. At the time I was not exactly sure what to pick but I remember being told that if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. I knew that I loved the ocean, so I began a journey towards studying marine science and tailored my schooling towards that goal.”

Post school Bryan continued to work towards his goal, completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Marine Environment) with first class honours at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston. Following a similar career path to Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter, Bryan was offered a job with Austral in his final year and in 2015 relocated to Cairns.

“It is rare for a graduate fresh out of university and with no experience to be offered a job with such a reputable company so I jumped at the opportunity.”

Bryan is now living the life he loves in Australia’s northern climes, as head of operations for Austral’s northern prawn fishing fleet. In this varied job he manages 11 trawlers, which involves monitoring the catch, product logistics, packaging distribution, equipment and ship maintenance, vessel surveys and liaison with industry bodies. He is also involved with bycatch reduction, product quality improvement and new innovations.

But beyond the job Bryan has high aspirations for fishing and the marine world he so cherishes.

“I would like to become a respected influencer and leader with a positive impact for the industry I work in. I believe that one day I will be leading my organisation in the Northern Prawn Fishery and hope to maintain a profitable operation while staying true to important values such as environmental sustainability and crew wellbeing. I would also like to empower others around me to think about the bigger picture and work collectively to tackle common threats such as climate change, pollution, bycatch and water development.”

With these goals in mind Bryan and Austral have turned to the Young Farming Champions program.

“I hope to learn from other people and their experiences in different industries. I want to compare issues and stories and discover strategies taken to overcome problems. I am keen to grow my personal development and network with like-minded people along the way and to sharpen my public speaking and communication skills.”

Welcome Bryan. We look forward to working with you on your YFC journey and beyond.

We also look forward to sampling some of these fabulous Austral products

 

Emma Ayliffe says there is an urgent need for industry to take a whole of farm approach to careers in agriculture.

We are very excited to be launching our Crafting Career series which is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for the agriculture sector to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to jobs in agriculture whilst they are at school
  • ensure there are multiple touch points to agriculture along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources into agricultural career pathways and jobs
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements
  • inspire the agriculture sector to take a whole of supply chain approach to being the image we want the world to see

The series begins with an opinion piece by the 2020 Chair of the YVLT Emma Ayliffe which appeared in print and online media this week and is reprinted below

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Tony Mahar(National Farmers Federation) Lesley Leyland (Austral Fisheries)  Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach

“We are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with”

Emma Ayliffe (right) with Summit Ag director Heath McWhirter and consultants Ben, Chelsea and Sam.

Opinion

As an agronomist, farmer, business owner and Young Farming Champion sharing my career journey in schools I know agriculture is providing me with an amazing career.

 

I work in agriculture. One day I might be out in the field advising a cotton grower about how to control whitefly, another day I will be managing my business, Summit Ag Agricultural Consulting, where we have six team members. I’m also a farmer producing wool, first cross lambs and growing wheat, oats, barley and canola. As a Young Farming Champion, I share my agricultural experiences with school kids in the city and the country.

 

I am continually discovering that many students are interested and passionate about agriculture, but they don’t know the breadth and depth of opportunities.

 

Yet we hear every day about on-farm staff shortages, and the consequences of this for increasing food prices. As people involved in agriculture, we need to become far more proactive and strategic in the way we promote agriculture as a career of first choice.

 

The statistics are in our favour. Research tells us there are six jobs for every graduate from an agriculture-related degree. For those not looking for an on-farm job,  82% of those jobs are beyond the farm gate and 40% are in cities. In the next ten years there will be a 15% growth in scientific, research and information technology jobs which support the production of food and fibre. There is also expected to be a 10% increase in jobs behind the farm gate and a 9% increase in jobs that provide agricultural education and training. Agriculture really has got it all.

Research also tells us that young people going from primary to secondary schools have closed their minds to 70% of the careers that are available. We also know 46% of Australians have at least one parent who wasn’t born here.

 

Reaching the hearts and minds of the next generation of agriculturists requires us to reach the hearts and minds of their parents. This starts in our schools. Going into schools and speaking with students, as I do with my role as a Young Farming Champion, means the potential future workforce can see what a career in agriculture looks like. It gives them role models and expands their view of agriculture behind and beyond the farm gate.

 

But if we are going to have real impact promoting agriculture to the next generation, we must move beyond sharing statistics and become specific. We must be able to show future employees (and their parents) what the jobs are and where they are.

 

This means our industry bodies need to provide clarity about predicting and planning for our future workforce needs. If we are to evolve and keep pace with our changing world and respond quickly and positively to unexpected events, we must have strategies for recruiting, training and developing capability, and mobility.

 

Students need to understand that a dairy herd manager can earn $150,000 a year and work internationally. They need to know  that you don’t need the HSC or tertiary education qualifications to earn $2000 for a four-day week as a shearer. Students need to be aware of the career opportunities available – from  modifying cutting edge technology to produce automated vehicles for the cropping industry to contributing to healthy oceans through working within aquaculture.

 

Then students can go home and influence the views of their parents and their communities – our consumers.

 

We also need industry to step up and provide an attractive workplace for future employees; workplaces that embrace diversity and gender balance, workplaces that offer flexible ways of doing business and workplaces that use high-end technology.

 

We need to showcase agriculture as providing food and fibre as well as delivering on strong consumer-driven ethics around issues such as climate change and sustainability.

 

To ensure agriculture attracts the best and brightest employees of the future we need to start now. We must identify skills gaps, conduct workplace forecasting, invest in our young leaders, promote positive stories, and listen to the consumer who is often the parent of tomorrow’s agriculturist.

 

I have an extraordinary career in agriculture. I want others to know they can too.

Seen first at Grain Central