Technology helping farmers get better outcomes for the planet

This is the second in a two part series journalist Matt Da Silva has created with Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe to share how Australian farmers are using information and technology gains to move toward #NetZeroFarming.

“We are proud to be adopting new practices that are better for our environment and helping to demonstrate that there are other ways of doing things; and, in my role as an agronomist, sharing this knowledge and learning.”

Farm Overview

Business and/or property name: C & E Pastoral, Gleeson’s

Business partners: Emma Ayliffe and partner Craig and his family

Farm size: 1700 acres (688 hectares)

Farm locality/region: Burgooney, Lake Cargelligo (roughly northwest of Wagga Wagga, in the central west of New South Wales, about 550km from Sydney)

Topography: rolling hills, red loam

Rainfall: 360mm per year

Primary outputs: Wool, first cross lambs, grains (mainly wheat but also some oats, barley and canola)

Secondary outputs: If above average rainfall, may plant canola, chickpeas, mungbeans.

Drone technology allows Emma to map the weeds on the farm. A drone is sent up to find green areas indicating that weeds have started to grow.

Tristan Stevenson from StevTech launching the surveillance drone.

Weeds use moisture that might otherwise be used by crops, and they also harbour insects and disease, so it is important to minimise their occurrence. Sending a drone out with a camera attached that transmits a video of the fields lets us pinpoint the areas that need spraying and reduces the use of chemical sprays. The resulting data maps the weed population and allows us to turn it into a green area map.

This allows us to maintain the best ground cover, control our weeds, and reduce resistance risk.

The StevTech ute with the drone on the ground in front of it.

Weed mapping allows us to minimise our chemical costs by targeting the only areas in the paddock that have weeds. We can often look at using higher value chemistries that may be cost prohibitive if we had to spray it all. Only spraying when we have too also helps avoid chemical resistance.

The following two images shows weed cover of paddocks. In the first image, drone mapping produces a 95 percent saving of chemicals.

Thank you to SteveTech for image

In the second image, drone mapping produces an 83 percent saving of chemicals.

Thank you to SteveTech for the image

Data from the drone mapping is  sent to a computer in the spray rig allowing the rig operator to target chemicals to conform precisely to hotspots where weeds are specifically concentrated. The following image shows what is displayed in the spray rig during application of chemicals, the olive green circles on the screen are the weeds being sprayed. Learn more about broadacre cropping weed detection here

The great thing about this technology is that we can utilise the machinery and systems that we already have, so don’t have to spend a lot of money on new equipment.

Thank you Matt and Emma for these insights on how modern farmers are minimising their use of herbicides to get better outcomes for farmers, consumer and the planet. Read how Matt blogged Emma’s story here

Improving farming’s productive efficiency will enable farmers to produce the same quantity of food, or more, with less
inputs, in smarter ways. This, in turn, will enable the sector to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

We can all be part of the solution. The cost of food waste to the Australian economy is estimated to be around $20 billion each year. Australian consumers throw away around 3.1 million tonnes of food—that’s close to 17,000 grounded 747 jumbo jets.

The impact of food waste also includes the energy, fuel and water used to grow food that may not be used. When food waste is sent to landfill, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

To help address this important issue, the Australian Government committed in 2016 to develop a National Food Waste Strategy to establish a framework to support actions that work towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030. This ambitious goal aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 for sustainable consumption and production patterns

Join the movement and Fight Food Waste 

#NetZeroFarming #TogetherWeCan #YouthinAg

 

Australian Farmers on a Mission to Achieve #NetZeroFarming

With advances in access to information and technology, knowledge isn’t just increasing. It’s increasing at an increasing rate. In 2011, you consumed about five times as much information per day as you would have just a quarter century earlier.

As of 1950, it took about fifty years for knowledge in medicine to double. By 1980, medical knowledge was doubling every seven years, 5 and by 2010, it was doubling in half that time. The accelerating pace of change means that we need to question our beliefs more readily than ever before. Source Adam Grant ‘Think Again”

Australian farmers are excited about the possibility of using the information and technology gains in the agriculture sector in the last 50 years to see if we can progress towards #NetZeroFarming. Agriculture is uniquely placed to be part of the climate solution, as both
an emissions source and a sink. As farmers we have a special responsibility to protect carbon reserves already in our soils
and vegetation. But we must and we can do more.

There is no single answer to this problem. To achieve our aim we will need a range of measures that fall under three broad
headings:
• Improving farming’s productive efficiency;
• Improving land management and changing land use to capture more carbon;
• Boosting renewable energy and the wider bio economy

Journalist Matt Da Silva is deeply interested in the journey our farmers are on and has reached out to our team to help them share their journey and help us explain it in a way that we can all understand

In this first part of a two part series Matt is working on with Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe we get an understanding of the knowledge and tools Emma and her partner Craig are using to progress to #NetZero on their farm

“Our vision involves capitalising on the resources we have in a marginal environment and finding the systems that best suit our landscape to ensure the farm is able to be productive and profitable well into the future.”

Farm Overview:

Business and/or property name: C & E Pastoral, Gleeson’s

Business partners: Emma Ayliffe and partner Craig and his family

Farm size: 1700 acres (688 hectares)

Farm locality/region: Burgooney, Lake Cargelligo (roughly northwest of Wagga Wagga, in the central west of New South Wales, about 550km from Sydney)

Topography: rolling hills, red loam

Rainfall: 360mm per year

Primary outputs: Wool, first cross lambs, grains (mainly wheat but also some oats, barley and canola)

Secondary outputs: If above average rainfall, may plant canola, chickpeas, mungbeans.

The farm is in a low rainfall production area with a tendency to have a “sharp” (i.e. hot and dry) finish to the year. Our growing season rainfall is only around 180mm, and to put that in perspective the average annual rainfall for NSW is 555mm/year and the high production areas of NSW such as Temora in North Eastern Riverina sit closer to 600mm/year.

Opportunity cropping (secondary outputs) depends on amount of moisture in the field, the market (some crops might have a higher price at any given time) as well as the time of year.

We’ve being making decisions around what we can do to improve the health of our soils. In our low rainfall environment ensuring that we have the soil structure to store moisture and support plant growth in the driest of times is critically important.

 Emma Ayliffe and Craig her partner, with dogs Millie and Dexter.

Everything we do is about trying new techniques and tools, based on research, in our environment so that we can always be improving, being better stewards for our environment and ensuring we can feed and clothe the world well into the future.

As a seed, a plant requires water, air, nutrients and heat for germination. Then to be able to maximise growth the plant needs a biologically active soil biota. This includes soil fungi and bacteria, which enables good soil structure and nutrient cycling, leading to optimum plant health. It is the interaction between all of these factors that determines how well plants and crops grow.

We are moving to a minimum till/strategic tillage system that means using knife-point press wheels. Minimum tillage means avoiding anything that causes major soil disturbance, hence the knife-point press wheel system. Strategic tillage is similar but allows for one significant soil disturbance pass no more than one year in eight. This strategy reduces erosion, conserves moisture, and maintains soil structure.

A knife point (see photo below) is narrower than a coulter but does the same job, only without disturbing the soil as much. The press wheel comes in behind the knife point and closes the furrow.

Research tells working the soil one year in eight is fine. It ensures that we are managing issues like compaction while maximising productivity and soil health. Compaction happens not only due to farming equipment but also due to cattle, which are brought into fields to feed on the stubble as well as on lost grain that has fallen on the earth during harvest. And soils are naturally hard setting.

In our environment ground cover is critical as we can never be sure if and when the next rain event is going to occur. Ground cover helps to reduce evaporation and erosion.

The photo below shows a moment during the 2020 harvest.

Thanks Matt for sharing Emma and Craig’s journey to #NetZeroFarming. Read how Matt blogged Emma’s story here

Like farmers we can all be part of the solution. The cost of food waste to the Australian economy is estimated to be around $20 billion each year. Australian consumers throw away around 3.1 million tonnes of food—that’s close to 17,000 grounded 747 jumbo jets.

The impact of food waste also includes the energy, fuel and water used to grow food that may not be used. When food waste is sent to landfill, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

To help address this important issue, the Australian Government committed in 2016 to develop a National Food Waste Strategy to establish a framework to support actions that work towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030. This ambitious goal aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 for sustainable consumption and production patterns

Join the movement and Fight Food Waste 

#TogetherWeCan #NetZeroFarming

The Archibull Prize supporting young people to solve tomorrow’s problems today by aligning agriculture and the Global GoalsGs

For over a decade The Archibull Prize and our Young Farming Champions have  been engaging teachers and students with Australian farmers and agriculture; providing the next generation with trusted voices and building long-lasting effective partnerships.

In 2021 this model is being extended to raise environmental awareness through the lens of agriculture by incorporating the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG). It is a win-win model that will secure the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and the planet.

In 2021 The Archibull Prize will mirror the highly successful Kreative Koalas program with a strong focus on supporting and motivating young people to be aware of the impact of their choices, empowered to make informed decisions and inspired to act to create the future they want to see. By participating in The Archibull Prize students will look at SDGs through the lens of agriculture and work with farmers to see how their local community can meet Australia’s commitment to the Global Goals.

Schools will be able to use the Sustainability Circle concept to understand the challenges for farmers and draw inspiration from the Australian agricultural industries who have developed Sustainability Frameworks 

As an added bonus secondary schools students will be highly inspired by the Community Action Projects designed and delivered by our Kreative Koalas Kids 

The 17 SDGs were developed by the United Nations to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” Recognising that sustainability is an interconnected circle, the goals address issues such as hunger, energy and water use, consumption and production, equality and the power of partnerships.

Work by international and Australian voices has identified eight goals as priorities for agriculture. These are:

  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Another three goals have been identified as aligned to the benefit of Australia’s rural sector. These are:

  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Utilising the theme “Connect, Collaborate, Communicate” schools participating in the 2021 Archibull Prize will be tasked with tackling one of these SDGs by working with farmers to break down global problems into realistic and achievable actions on a local level in their schools and communities.

The Archibull Prize is a perfect partnership to bring together the wants and needs of students with the wants and needs of the Global Goals and get the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and the planet.

Find out how The Archibull Prize is designed and delivered to meet the wants and needs of schools, teachers and students here

Expressions of Interest to participate are now open here

#GlobalGoals #SDGs #ArchieAction2021  #YouthVoices2021

Today’s Youth Voices Leadership Team – becoming tomorrow’s CEOs by turning leadership knowledge and skills into daily habits

If you are a Young Farming Champion (YFC) you already see yourself as an emerging leader for agriculture. If you also envision your future includes managerial positions, board appointments and CEO roles then the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) is the perfect training ground.

The YVLT is a group of committed YFC alumni who have stepped up to take responsibility for, and share ownership of, a vision to enable and empower young leaders in agriculture. The YVLT provides a youth perspective to  Picture You in Agriculture program development and management decisions,  representing a powerful personal and professional development path, giving participants the skills and daily habits needed to take on community and business leadership roles in the future.

The current team members are Emma Ayliffe (chair), Dione Howard (vice-chair), Marlee Langfield (social media coordinator), Meg Rice (Innovation Hub representative), Jo Newton (returning officer), Anika Molesworth (partnerships ambassador) and Jess Fearnley ( minute secretary and intern). In addition the Innovation Hub, a sub-committee tasked with exploring new ideas for real-world projects, is ably staffed by Katherine Bain, Samantha Wan, Tayla Field and Chloe Dutschke.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In a recent evaluation report by Dr Nicole McDonald several themes were identified as motivating factors for joining the YVLT:

  • intrinsic rewards for doing meaningful work for the future of agriculture,
  • continuing to develop skills and abilities that would help them be leaders,
  • being a part of a network of capable people that provide personal and professional support,
  • giving back to a program that had given them a launch pad towards other opportunities and industry wide recognition.

Nicole’s interviews with team members elicited responses including:

“[The YVLT provides] the opportunity to upskill around committees; getting your head around corporate governance, running subcommittees, supporting a chair, setting agendas, and running meetings. All of this puts me in better stead to manage my own business. There are also a lot of non-tangible skills; for example it’s forced me to set deadlines and expectations for myself, for the people trying to contact me and for my team. I’ve been upskilled in social media and communication skills particularly around formalising of emails and proposals and pitching for funding. Those skills are invaluable.”

 

“It’s more than a committee it’s a learning opportunity. In a short amount of time I’ve already taken on feedback and learnt more than I anticipated; I’ve learnt skills that I didn’t even think of when I signed up for the Youth Voices Leadership Team.”

 

“The professionalism is really of a high standard on the YVLT, as well as the consideration of personal and professional outcomes; not only looking at what the organisation is looking to achieve, but also what everybody personally is looking to achieve. Looking at what drives each individual person to get the best outcome has been really impressive and something I haven’t seen in other committees.”

 The YVLT is a valuable opportunity for YFC alumni to learn and practice professional and corporate skills in a safe environment. These skills include:

  • leading innovative and forward-thinking purpose-driven teams,
  • sitting on effective boards and committees
  • creating and developing and growing start-ups
  • program design and delivery
  • event management,
  • messaging and communications
  • building partnerships for collective action for collective impact,
  • time management
  • Problem solving and strategic thinking
  • negotiation and conflict skills
  • become a better listener, build empathy and rapport and use your influence to inspire behaviour change for the greater good

Or, as one of our YVLT so aptly sums up:

“It is a great environment to fail miserably safely, to get some really blunt and honest feedback, to improve on yourself and to improve on your general skills.”

The YVLT holds their annual general meeting in March with all positions open. This is your chance to turn your leadership  knowledge and skills into daily habits and create the future you envision.

#YouthinAg #LeadershipDevelopment #DailyHabits #YouthVoices

Anika Molesworth and Ronni Kahn walking the talk – courageous conversations lead to bold actions

Today’s guest blog post is by Young Farming Champion. agroecologist, farmer, author, keynote speaker, climate warrior and Climate Wise Agriculture founder Anika Molesworth 

Being involved in the agricultural sector has given me a front row seat to food production. I have stood in fields surrounded by millions of tiny corn plants, filled with awe at the fragility and possibility of this new life. I have seen hour-old lambs wobble to their feet for the first time, cheering on those first steps as it finds its mothers teat. I have felt the sense of pride of being a farmer and growing food with the knowledge that this is going to be enjoyed by someone and nourish them.

So, nothing saddens me more when I read the global stats on food waste.

One third of all food produced is lost or wasted –around 1.3 billion tonnes of food –costing the global economy close to $940 billion each year.

8% of greenhouse gases heating the planet are caused by food waste.

If one quarter of the food currently lost or wasted could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people.

It was with these stats in mind and determination to help address this issue that I caught up with Ronni Kahn with the Young Farming Champions Leadership is Language series.

The Leadership is Language series is part of the Young Farming Champions program, and it exposes some of Australia’s foremost thought-leaders on how we show leadership by the language and communication styles we use.

Ronni is CEO and Founder of OzHarvest. She is the yellow truck driving, dumpster-diving, food waste fighter who has recently released her memoir, “A Repurposed Life.”

Ronni and the incredible team at OzHarvest Education are doing fantastic work on stopping society’s dysfunctional food waste behaviour. Their goal is to adhttps://ozharvest.org/vocate, inspire and influence the community in order to halve food waste by 2030. It is so fantastic to see this work being done because no farmer wants to see their food end up in landfill. This is because it’s not only the food that gets wasted – it’s also all the time, labour, water, nutrients that went into producing it. Precious human and natural resources that need to be cherished, not dumped.

One of the most exciting questions to ask regarding food waste, I think, is

“How do we design waste out of the system?”

This is one of the principles of a circular economy – not just how do we recycle better – but how do we actually create systems where waste doesn’t exist?

Where can we put processes and technologies in place, that an output from one user/sector is immediately utilised as a valuable resource by another.

With one in five shopping bags in Australia ending up in the bin, there is huge room for improvement.

Ronni has a radiating smile as she talks about all the opportunities we have to fix the system and feed people properly. She definitely had me motivated to do more by the end of our conversation! Learning about their objective to collaborate with people right along the food system was particularly uplifting. The OzHarvest team is working with supermarkets, distributors, students and farmers to solve this problem.

We all need to play our part in reducing food waste – from the paddock to the plate – and by doing so, we will

#Zerohunger #Zerowaste #GlobalGoals

Young Farming Champions December Muster – A Reflection on 2020 the good the better and the best

 

2020 – what a year it has been.

2020 opened with drought, morphed into bushfires, was blessed with rain for what became a bumper harvest and then transcended into a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. Many of our YFCs were forced into hard lockdowns and COVID has impacted us all, challenging us to find new ways to do business and to connect or, as has been often quoted this year,

“life is not what happens to us, it is about how we handle what happens.”

However, Yong Farming Champions (YFCs)  are not called champions for nothing and they rose to all challenges that impacted their personal and professional lives.

In 2020 our YFCs have: taken on new jobs (and even overseas postings),  joined leadership programs and speaker forums, been guest speakers, produced podcasts (a lot of podcasts) and webcasts, committed to conferences (in person and then online as the year progressed), been awarded Nuffield Scholarships, donated hundreds of volunteer hours, written research papers, connected with schools doing The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, attended zoom meetings (lots and lots of zoom meetings), taken on committee and board positions, featured on well-being seminars, launched an app (Yacker – are you on board yet?), raised money for charity, won national fleece competitions, bought houses, supported each other in lockdown, joined the mental health and occupational safety conversations, launched websites, created videos, participated in international agricultural networks and completed degrees to become doctors and masters. Whew.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ve had a RAS Rural Achiever (Dione), a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards (Emma – who can forget that red dress) and even an OAM (Jo).

The Innovation Hub of the Youth Voices Leadership Team launched the highly successful Leadership is Language series with a range of Australian and international guests interviewed by Young Farming Champions.

We’ve adapted to our ever-changing COVID world with drive-through bait station, online wool auctions, social distancing in shearing sheds, online ag shows, lanolin cream production and online bull sales, just to name a few.

And life has gone on. Hannah Hawker, James Kanaley, Tom Tourle and Jasmine Green welcomed new babies.

 

Keiley O’Brien, Dwayne Schubert and Naomi Mulligan were married and Anika Molesworth and Melissa Henry postponed much-anticipated weddings.

As we near the end of this exceptionally challenging year we asked the Youth Voices Leadership committee what have been their highlights and what are they looking forward to in 2021.

Emma Ayliffe (Chair):

“I am looking forward to setting up the YVLT committee for a long and successful future through finalising what our future looks like and identifying the leaders of tomorrow. This year has been a fun challenge and to see how the committee responded and what we achieved has been amazing.”

Dione Howard (Vice-Chair):

“I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 – our team has learnt so much during this challenging year and I hope we can take those learnings out into the big wide world! I can’t wait to celebrate life events with those nearest and dearest, get on the dancefloor and give people a big hug!”

“last day of our family harvesting – it’s been a wonderful season and bring on the time for rest.” says Dione

Jo Newton (Returning Officer):

“After spending nearly half the year locked down in Melbourne, I look forward to partaking in life’s simple pleasures in 2021 like meals shared with friends, smiles not obscured by masks & the freedom to visit friends & explore Australia”.

 Photo by: Massimiliano Nardini @ Mt Oberon, Wilson’s Prom

Samantha Wan (Innovation Hub Representative):

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we all emerge from what has been a year like no other, how it has shaped our perspectives and appreciations and use the skills we’ve developed and honed to take on a new chapter in 2021.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Sam is also looking forward to some reading time with her dogs”

Anika Molesworth (Partnerships Ambassador):

“The absolute highlight for me was the Language is Leadership series, which has not only brought to my attention some incredible thought-leaders and change-makers – people who are not just talking the talk but walking the walk –but has allowed me the opportunity to connect with them. I could speak with them one-on-one, ask them questions, learn from them and then have a platform to share these learnings far and wide.”

Jess Fearnley (Intern):

“I am looking forward to hopefully seeing each other’s faces in person and working towards some really good programs in the New  Year. This year has been a fantastic learning experience and I am super excited about our next workshop with Cathy McGowan in 2021

The last words on our summation of the year that has been 2020 go to Picture You in Agriculture director Lynne Strong:

“As a person who thrives on watching others grow and thrive I have found it very rewarding to watch how flexible and agile the team has been in this wild year. COVID has impacted both our personal and professional lives yet we have remained hopeful, collaborated, reimagined, innovated, stuck to our truth and delivered joy; all the things that get people through turmoil and change. I salute the Young Farming Champions”

#YouthinAg #CollectiveAction #CollectiveImpact #ConnectCollaborateCommunicate #EngageEmpower

 

If changing the world was easy we would all be doing it

Picture you in Agriculture sees itself as a vehicle to provide opportunities for others to engage and empower people who want to be changemakers.

We work with young people in the agriculture sector . We train, develop and teach them how to multiply their impact by working with the community. We call them Young Farming Champions. They represent the diversity of people who work in the agriculture sector.

Their hands on journey begins by facilitating our school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas 

Our schools and our Young Farming Champions have taken on the big hairy goals – the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or the SDGs for short

We are working with our schools to tackle the SDG targets Australia most needs to meet

We have all heard people say if changing the world was easy we would all be doing it. What we have found it is easy if WE believe it is and WE surround ourselves with enough people who share the vision and are committed to taking action and DO.

There is a formula.

  • Identify the outcome you want to achieve
  • Identify what success looks like
  • Start with a big idea – keep it as simple as possible
  • Identify the actors
  • Identify the actions the actors need to take
  • Identify the expertise you need to outsource
  • Identify the GO TO Person to access the experts
  • Design and Deliver your ACTION PLAN
  • Monitor, Evaluate, Report and Inform

There is important knowledge you need to have

We suggest you start with a basic understanding of psychology

What makes people tick and the theory of change 

Australia’s Guru of Changeology, Les Robinson, keeps it simple for us

You will also need resources and opportunities.

You need to be prepared to experiment, collect data, report on that data and share it with others

Most importantly you need people who genuinely care and understand that it takes a village.

We are identifying people who really care and have the expertise to support our schools and Young Farming Champions.

We are big fans of the Collective Action for Collective Impact model

In 2020 we paired with OzHarvest FEAST to tackle Zero Hunger, Responsible Production and Consumption and Climate Change.

We partnered with Corteva Agriscience to build a library of resources for teachers and students

We partnered with Australian Wool Innovation. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and Corteva Agriscience to identify, train and develop young agriculturalists

We partnered with  Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education, Changeologist Les Robinson, Science Communicator Jenni Metcalfe, 21st Century Learning Expert Josh Farr and John Holloway and the Murray Darling Basin Authority Education team to  deliver professional development workshops for teachers and students. These workshops were funded by NSW Local Land Services and NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We partnered with the Geography Teachers Association of NSW and ACT to deliver professional development workshops to teachers

Over the next week we are very excited to share with you a series of blogs that showcase the changemakers we have worked with in our Kreative Koalas schools. All of the students and teachers we work with are committed to leaving a legacy  we can all be proud of.

We can all be changemakers, we just need to care enough and surround ourselves with people who care as much as we do.

 

Sneak Peek you can check out the #KreativeKoalaKids artworks here

#ConnectCollaborateCommunicate #EngageEmpower #CollectiveAction #CollectiveImpact

 

Meet Dylan Male the winner of the inaugural Riverina Local Land Services Emerging Leaders Scholarship

Dylan Male is the winner of 2020 Riverina Local Land Services scholarship that will see him participate in a two year program an d graduate as a Young Farming Champion 

In this blog post Dylan shares what drives him

Hi everyone, my name is Dylan and I’m passionate about agricultural systems that produce enough healthy food for all and reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This passion has led me to commence my PhD studies investigating the agronomy and ecology of a native Australian grass species that was cultivated for its grain by Indigenous Australians. The project is in partnership with Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Latrobe University.

One question I often find myself being asked is ‘What has sparked your passion and driven you to do what you do today?’.

From an early age, growing up in the Riverina I witnessed firsthand some of the challenges facing our agricultural sector. I have the most vivid memories of the millennium drought from growing up on a farm on Wiradjuri Country in NSW. From seeing towering red walls of topsoil approaching over the horizon and enveloping the sky into darkness, to watching green crops wither away from a lack of rain and parched sheep gathering around dams dwindled to no more than a mere puddle. There were many times I wanted to do something to help. As a kid, I felt powerless to do anything. However, as I grew up, I soon realised that I could help contribute towards overcoming the challenges facing our farmers – even ones as big as tackling climate change and land degradation.

We are living through a time of rapid change and challenge, where our agricultural systems are increasingly vulnerable to fracturing. It is a time where the world population continues to rise, placing added pressure onto food security and our planet’s finite resources. It is a time where the health of our soils is poor and in need of repair. On top of this, we are seeing the high-risk nature of farming exacerbated by a changing climate. It is a time which demands adaptive thinking and innovation if we are to ensure future prosperity of our modern agricultural systems.

One crucial way to achieve this is through the incorporation of traditional agricultural knowledge into our modern systems. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and is renowned for its particularly harsh conditions. Yet, despite this, the continent has been successfully inhabited by humans for tens of thousands of years. Perhaps one of the most held misconceptions is that Indigenous Australians relied exclusively on a ‘hunter and gatherer’ approach to obtaining food. However, Indigenous Australians were incredibly innovative and sustainable when it came to food production. One must only read through Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’ to realise that food production systems in pre-European Australia were very well established and sustainably managed. One of these traditional food production systems consisted of domesticating, growing and harvesting grains from native grasses. The cultivation of grains for human consumption has played an important role in human survival and societal development around the world (think rice in Asia, wheat in the Middle East and maize in America). For Indigenous Australians, this was no different. In fact, evidence suggests that Indigenous Australians were the first people on Earth to use grain for food, with starch particles found on grinding stones in parts of Australia dating back many tens of thousands of years.

Since European colonisation, there has been great loss to these native grain production systems. Not only has environmental destruction led to native grasslands becoming one of the most threatened and degraded ecosystems in Australia, but highly relied upon traditional knowledge that had been developed and passed down over many generations was suddenly lost as a result of dispossession and genocide.

There is increasing recognition that the growing of Aboriginal food plants will contribute towards a more prosperous and sustainable modern Australian agricultural sector. It will also provide empowerment to Aboriginal communities and play an important role in healing Country. Additionally, the upscaling of native food crops could be an important tool to combat the effects of a changing climate on food production and to protect against losses to biodiversity.

These are just some of the reasons behind what drives me to pursue a career in agriculture and where I find myself today. I look forward to my continued learning journey and hope to do my part in ensuring Australia’s agricultural sector prospers into the future.

We are looking forward to working with Dylan and learning more about his research and providing him with opportunities to share it with next gen consumers and agriculturalists in our school programs 

Dylan Male is the winner of the Riverina Local Land Services Emerging Young Leaders Scholarship.

Riverina Local Land Services, in conjunction with Picture You in Agriculture, is pleased to announce that Riverina local Dylan Male is the winner of its inaugural Emerging Young Leaders Scholarship.

The scholarship will allow Dylan to participate in the prestigious Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program run by Picture You in Agriculture. This two-year training package will give Dylan exposure to some of the country’s top media and communication specialists and give him the skills to accelerate his journey in agricultural leadership.

“As someone passionate about agriculture and the role of youth in the sector, I am thrilled to be selected as a recipient of the Riverina Local Land Services/PYiA Growing Young Leaders Scholarship. Participation in this incredible scholarship program means I will be able to gain a range of skills that will develop my confidence and provide me with a greater sense of empowerment as an emerging leader in the agricultural sector.” Dylan said.

Growing up on a Riverina farm during the Millennium Drought meant Dylan saw the challenging face of Australian agriculture from an early age, but rather than be discouraged, he realised he could be part of the solution for a better future. He studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) at Charles Sturt University and, with an increasing interest in the role of indigenous farmers in the modern landscape, is now undertaking a PhD with LaTrobe University. Dylan’s PhD project is a partnership  with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Coorperation investigating Australian native grain-producing grass species building on successful outcomes  growing  commercially viable indigenous grains in the Narrabri region.  

“One of the key skills that the program will help me to sharpen is influential communication. Improving this skill will allow me to more effectively story tell and share my experiences in agriculture with both young people and the wider community. Through storytelling, I hope to achieve not only increased awareness of the many diverse and rewarding opportunities that a career in the agricultural sector offers, but also help develop community understanding of how important the sector is to our functioning world.” Dylan said

The Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program will also give Dylan access to mentorship through Riverina Local Land Services.

“For Riverina LLS, this scholarship forms part of our region’s succession plan.  We are delighted to be supporting an emerging agricultural leader with a connection to our region to grow and develop their skills.

We look forward to working with Dylan over the next two years through the raft of opportunities available in this scholarship. Riverina LLS will provide Dylan with mentors from each area of our organisation to build upon his agricultural interest areas of sustainability and land management, indigenous agricultural systems and pest management. Dylan is a great example of the talented young people we have in the Riverina – our region has a bright future.” ” general manager Ray Willis said.

As part of the scholarship Dylan will hone his skills by engaging with school students as part of The Archibull Prize and the Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge.

You can read what drives Dylan here

#YouthinAg #IndigineousGrains #IndigenousFarmingPractices

Kwame Christian empowering emerging female leaders in Australian Agriculture to harness compassionate curiosity.  

 

As part of Picture You in Agriculture’s support of our Young Farming Champions and emerging leaders, a series of workshops was rolled out in October. Alongside our fabulous national facilitators Kris Beazley, Jenni Metcalfe, Les Robinson and Josh Farr, we were delighted to add internationally acclaimed Kwame Christian to our repertoire.

Kwame is the director of the American Negotiation Institute, a practising business lawyer, host of the world’s most popular negotiation podcast Negotiate Anything (downloaded over 1.5 million times), author of the Amazon best-seller Finding Confidence in Conflict, a negotiation and conflict resolution professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, a regular contributor to Forbes magazine, a LinkedIn trainer and a popular public speaker with his 2017 TEDx talk being named the most popular talk on the topic of conflict.

To secure a workshop facilitator of Kwame’s calibre PYiA partnered with Soroptimist International Griffith, who supported the workshop as part of their global position on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s leadership.  We are most thankful for Soroptimist International’s support.

Working with PYiA, Kwame presented a 90 minute webinar to 14 participants on negotiation and conflict resolution, or as he likes to say: “solving conflict with compassionate curiosity.” But rather than stand in a room and preach, Kwame made the workshop participant driven, asking the all-female attendees what they wanted to achieve, in a pre-workshop questionnaire. Most responses were of the fear/avoidance of conflict, inexperience (as young people) and lack of confidence in negotiation.

Kwame then taught participants that our instinctive conflict responses are fight, flight or freeze but that there was another way. He spoke of acknowledging and validating emotions of both parties and of seeking to understand not judge. He also spoke on:

  • How to see every interaction as a strategic, persuasive opportunity
  • How to persuade without being combative
  • How to develop the proper mindset for effective negotiation
  • How and when to use these skills for maximum impact

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Following Kwame’s workshop participants had the opportunity to put his skills into practice during a further 90 minute simulation exercise facilitated by Dr Nicole McDonald. Recognising all the young women participating in the workshop are negotiating on a daily basis and 60% of women say they’ve never negotiated their salary they identified contract negotiation as a priority.

This two-part conflict and negotiation workshop was a prime example of how PYiA is partnering with like minded organisations who are listening to our young people and delivering professional development based on their wants and needs.

#compassionateCuriosity #WinWin #EmergingLeaders