Leadership is Language – meet rural women Rebel Black and Kirsty White

At Picture You in Agriculture we are big fans of project based learning and are putting it into action. We work with young people in agriculture and young people in schools supporting them to be partners in their learning through co-leading change with their peers, leaders, students  and teachers. We are supporting them to have the capacity to set goals, reflect and act responsibly to effect change. We are supporting them to take others on a journey that sees leadership is about:

  • acting rather than being acted upon;
  • shaping rather than being shaped; and
  • making responsible decisions and choices rather than accepting those determined by others.

We are piloting this model within our organisation through the Youth Voices Leadership team 

As an example of the creativity and leadership within the team the Youth Voices Leadership Team  sub commitee the Innovation Hub kick-started a new initiative in June with the launch of Leadership is Language

 

This series wll see our Young Farming Champions exposed to some of Australia’s foremost thought leaders on communicating how we can show leadership by the language and communication styles we use.

The series opened with YFC Lucy Collingridge sitting down for a chat with Dr Nicole McDonald, a social science researcher using vocational psychology to investigate the future workforce requirements of the Australian cotton industry. Lucy and Nicole discussed the difference between “we need to talk” and “let’s talk”. If you missed out on the live show, you can view a recording here. Nicole followed her presentation with an online webinar for YFCs asking them to take a reflective look at their communication, through both their own lens and through the lens of their audience.

Nicole invited the interactive webinar participants to:

Next up in the series will be Kirsty White interviewing Rebel Black .

Rebel is a successful global business woman operating from her home at Lightning Ridge in Outback NSW. In 2015 she founded THE Rural Woman, an online community for rural woman around the world encouraging them to #thrive, #heal and #evolve. Rebel describes herself as a human agronomist and syntropic entrepreneur.

Kirsty lives and works on a family farm called Bald Blair on the Northern Tablelands of NSW with her husband Sam and two sons Abbott and Arthur. Together their vision is to build a happy and healthy family business, which includes running an angus stud, Kelly’s Cottage farm stay and farm tours.  Kirsty regularly participates in the Ladies in Livestock program run by the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and is a lifetime member of THE Rural Woman. You can read more about Kirsty in this blog post from Lynne Strong.

During their discussion for Leadership is Language Kirsty and Rebel will share insights such as:

  • lifelong learning and leadership development and prioritising your personal growth
  • take every opportunity, even when it scares you
  • great leadership is not a position or authority, it is a mindset
  • your work matters and it has a ripple effect, so nurture and grow yourself as a matter of priority
  • ‘you don’t even have to climb, you just have to stop holding onto the bottom’ A. Hicks – you will lead if you learn how to be fully realised as you

and as a speical treat we are shaing Kirsty and Rebel’s interview with you

Excting times for our Young Farming Champions – what a wonderful opportunity to see and hear from thought leaders, coaches and mentors in our not-to-missed Leadership is Language series. and

Speaking of  inspirational people catch this episode of Wellbeing Wednesday with host Cynthia Mahoney and Louise Thomson and special guest our very own Dr  Jo Newton OAM.

Australian Agriculture beams live into New York City

Through The Archibull Prize we shine a spotlight on the wondrous range of careers available within Australia agriculture. We do this by pairing schools with Young Farming Champions, facilitating career competitions which teach young people how to hone their employability skills and wirte a resume that helps them stand out from the crowd

We also identify others doing great stuff highlighting the diversity of careers in agriculture and the diversity of people chosing those careers.

One of these partners is the Visible Farmer Project, a series of short-films telling the stories of women working in agriculture and promoting the fact that 49% of all food in Australia is produced by women. So successful has this project been that yesterday it was selected to feature at World Webfest Mania, an innovative film festival right in the heart of New York City!

Gisela Kaufmann and Carsten Orlt the dynamic duo behind Visible Farmer 

Check out this Facebook feed to find out more about the live streaming event and the Q&A session.

Our extensive monitoring and evaluation programs tell us it is absolutely pivotal for agriculture to show people who they can be.

We know that when young people first consider the idea of a career in agriculture their thoughts run to farmers, shearers and old blokes with dogs but after participating in The Archibull Prize, where they learn from our partners such as Visible Farmer, they expand this vision to include scientists, agronomists, biosecurity officers and veterinarians.  In fact they learn that in agriculture is the place they want to be.

We are proud to showcase Visible Farmer on the Archie website and in doing so, beleive the message reaches even more young minds in rural and urban Australia.

 

Kylie Schuller – the journey so far which includes a move to America in March 2020!!!!

Kylie Schuller Photo Source RAS of NSW

March 2020. Coronavirus is reaching its tentacles around the world, spreading fear and causing unrest and uncertainty. Does this sound like the time to take on a new role in North America? Heck, yeah! Give Kylie Schuller a challenge and sit back and watch her meet it.

Kylie Schuller is one of our earliest Young Farming Champions, having joined the program seven years ago in 2013.

“The Young Farming Champions program taught me so much about how to communicate and get your messaging right, skills which apply every day in my job,” she says.

With her recent move to Atlanta, Georgia, USA we thought it was an ideal time to catch up with her journey so far and find out what advice she can give to current YFC and the new cohort embarking on the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.

Kylie grew up on a beef feedlot in rural NSW and her family established a Shorthorn stud in 2001 but she is the first to admit she was not enamoured with agriculture growing up.

“I won’t lie to you, when I was younger living on the farm wasn’t something I was proud of or even enjoyed,” she says. “There was lots of hard work to be done and it seemed to always need to be done when it was 40°C or bucketing down raining. I wish that I could tell you that there was a moment that changed my life, that made me realise how important beef production and agriculture is to our society, but there wasn’t! Somewhere between being obsessed with “Home and Away” in year 7 and travelling across America looking at cows on my “gap” year I found a passion for beef production, second to none!”

Kylie completed a Bachelor of Livestock Science at UNE in 2011 and soon after took a role with domestic foodservice supplier Andrews Meat Industries. Her role was initially involved with administration and support and over the years has grown as the company, too, has grown and expanded. She has been exposed to all aspects of premium beef brand supply chain management and in March accepted a new position with Andrews Meat Industries as their North American Sales Manager. Her role entails introducing high quality Australian Wagyu beef to distributors, chefs and restaurants.


Jacinta Geddes and Kylie Schuller (right) celebrate Andrew Meats winning the Dick Stone Perpetual Trophy in 2014. Photo source . Listen to Kylie on the Country Hour  here 

In today’s world young people may move through many different organisations in the quest for the perfect job but Kylie has remained loyal to the one company and is now seeing a myriad of benefits from this association. What are her key messages?

  • Invest in Lifelong Learning: “I find that the more I learn, the more I have to learn. I think this is important to consider in every aspect of life, but particularly when it comes to profession. You will always benefit from a new perspective.”
  • Give Back: “If there are organisations and opportunities from who you have benefited then a great way to support them is by giving back. I am very grateful for many of the opportunities I have been given over the years and aim to support those organisations with my time and energy wherever possible to ensure that the next generation gets the same opportunities.”
  • Be Customer Focussed: “For me relationships are everything. I find that the best way to achieve anything is through long term engagement and genuinely caring about the different stakeholders of your operation. In sales it’s really important to build that connection, but I think it is just as important to have those relationships across the entire supply chain so we are all engaged and working for the common goal.”
  • Value Networks: “The world becomes a much smaller place when we connect with people. Whether that be in person or online, I think, especially now, people want genuine connection and building up our networks and how we engage with them is a big benefit to us all.”
  • Loyalty: “Some people are so eager to climb the ladder, get the next achievement or accomplishment that they end up jumping around between positions and never really dig into a role. I think if you find a company that fits your mission and values, then you should stick it out, because yes opportunities take time to develop, but there is a lot to be learned in the process.”

Kylie recently shared these key messages and learnings with the UNE Agriculture Industry Connect podcast series, and spoke about the challenges of being in America one week before lockdown.

Her role with Andrews Meat also involves the screening of applicants for some roles and she looks for people with multiple interests and dedication to the agricultural industry, whether that be by attending conferences, listening to webinars or participating in programs such as Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders.

“There is so much information available that there is no excuse not to be engaging with industry and we want someone who goes beyond clocking in and clocking out.”

With that in mind what advice would Kylie give to our new cohort of Young Farming Champions?

“Be open minded – taking in the experiences and perspective of the people around you is so valuable and an incredible opportunity,” she says. “And use it – actually get out there and do the work. It’s all well and good to talk about something in the room, but it is getting out and doing the work of connecting with people about their food and fibre that is the most rewarding.”

 

 

 

Young Farming Champions Muster June 2020

Headline Act

Oh wow, wow, WOW. Our very own Jo Newton has been awarded an OAM! We are so very proud of this young woman whose has contributed to scientific research, inspired countless young people to consider a career in agriculture, volunteered hours of her time and overcome some major life-hurdles along the way. And even with an OAM she remains humble, respects her contemporaries and continues to give back. Read all about it in her own words here and read Beef Central’s celebration of rural OAMs (including Jo) here.

In The Field

Even though restrictions are easing COVID-19 remains a big part of our lives and affects how we do business. YFC Chloe Dutschke recently shared her experiences of mustering and shearing in these socially distanced times with the National Farmers Federation, who published her story here. In these days when most people take to social media to express an opinion it is refreshing to see Chloe’s story and photos in long form. Well done Chloe.

Speaking of COVID Kylie Schuller chose a pandemic to move to America to take up a position as North American Sales Manager for Andrews Meat Industries. She spent one week in the office before lockdown, which has certainly been an interesting way to start a promotion! You can listen to Kylie’s American experiences in a podcast series from UNE. The series, which looks at the opportunities for work placements for students, also features Emma Ayliffe and Jo Newton.

Speaking of podcasts, friend of the YFC Matt Champness (who has commenced a PhD on irrigation in rice production with Deakin University) joined Sam Wan recently speaking with Generation Ag.  Matt spoke about small holder farming and food security, while Sam did what she does best – talk about wool!

Another of our woolly YFCs, Deanna Johnston, is creating beautiful lanolin soaps and creams and marketing them as The Peeping Sheep.

“I’m a country girl who loves to shear and I have a passion for sheep and wool from the paddock to the final product. Making my own soaps started because I have sensitive skin and I couldn’t use most soaps I bought. So, The Peeping Sheep was born! I make everything in my very own kitchen with care and love.”

Get in quick – you definitely don’t want to miss these products! Sam Wan is even using them on her eight-year-old dog Charlie.

“With winter, wet weather and walks her feet needed some TLC so I’ve bought The Peeping Sheep gift pack and will use the 100% lanolin on her paws.”

Out of the Field

June also saw the unveiling of our 2020 Youth Voices Leadership Team . This diverse collection of young leaders in agriculture are selected from our Young Farming Champions Alumni. Together, they identify gaps and opportunities to move the Young Farming Champion programs forward including suggesting program enhancements, providing recommendations and proposals to the board and developing, implementing and evaluating action plans.
Congratulations to our 2020 team…. 
Chair Emma Ayliffe
Vice Chair Dione Howard
Social Media Coordinator Marlee Langfield
Innovation Hub Rep. Meg Rice
Returning Officer Jo Newton 
Partnerships Ambassador Anika Molesworth 
Cultivate Intern Jess Fearnley

Read all about the team here

It’s also been out of the field and into the limelight for a number of our YFCs. Marlee Langfield’s beautiful photography graces the cover of the June edition of quarterly magazine Grain Grower

Meg Rice is the poster girl for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders advertisements appearing in the May/June edition of the AFI newsletter. Thanks to Corteva AgriScience two emerging leaders will be selected from a field of 60 applicants to join our Growing Young Leaders program

Martin Murray has been paying it forward mentoring school students at Gilgandra (read about it here in The Land) and there are rumours another YFC is taking up calendar modelling – stay tuned for an update.


Students Madison Hourigan, Amelia Murray and Thomas Eason with Teresa Standing, Gilgandra High School agriculture teacher, and Martin Murray, AMPS Commercial agronomist, Armatree. Photo. Gabrielle Johnston.

Also in the limelight are Jo Newton and Emma Ayliffe who will feature in Well-Being Wednesday in upcoming weeks. Well-Being Wednesday is a free webinar hosted by Cynthia Mahoney and Louise Thomson discussing the wisdom and stories of rural woman. Jo will share her challenges and opportunities on June 24, Emma on July 1.

Congratulations to Tim Eyes who has joined the board of BBM as a Director.  Like PYiA, BBM exists “to develop Australia’s talent base in agriculture” and Tim will use his experience to further his commitment of mentoring young farmers.

Congratulations also to one of our inagural YFC cohort Alison Hamilton who has been announced as one of NFF’s 2020 Diversity Leaders. Alison is an agricultural powerhouse. She and her family run a small beef trading business, Alison owns and operates AJM Livestock Solutions, she is a Councillor of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership program (ARLP), was the 2010 NSW RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Runner Up and was recently appointed to the board of Riverina Local Land Services. Way to go Alison!

Prime Cuts

Only an OAM could pip Emma Ayliffe’s Yacker as our headline act this month. Realising that a lot of farmers hate texting or don’t use social media, Emma and her Summit Ag business partner Heath McWhirter have developed the app Yacker. Yacker uses modern technology to connect people though the old-fashioned telephone, creating conversations rather than keyboard wars. Download your own version of Yacker and join the community today.

The YFC introduced a new initiative in June with the launch of the Leadership is Language series. First cab off the rank was Lucy Collingridge interviewing Dr Nicole McDonald. See a replay of the conversation here and stay tuned for upcoming episodes.

Lucy has also been putting her media skills to use with a Q & A session for Local Land Services on protecting lambs through fox control.

Climate Action Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth had a dream come true signing a book deal with Pan MacMillan

Anika says she is loving writing and has been spending her days researching content for her book and planning its structure. “Progress is going really well and I am enjoying the experience” says Anika whose book is on climate change and food security issues as well as the topic of leadership.

Lifetime Achievements

PYiA recognises the importance of the work-life balance, which is why we love to celebrate those big life moments in our Muster, alongside our career ones. So big congratulations to YFC James Kanaley and his wife Jess who welcomed their first child, Isla Lucy Kanaley, on May 17.


We are very proud of our Young Farming Champions who are turning their passion into persuasion, through our school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, sharing with teachers and students that agriculture is the place to be in the 21st century

 

Celebrating Partnerships with Jane Lloyd-Jones from Hunter Local Land Services

At Picture You in Agriculture we identify emerging leaders in the agriculture sector who want to share their story and pride in the sector they have chosen for their career journey far and wide.

We provide them access to a cohort of experts who give them  communication and presentation skills training and consumer insights

The key to all training success is applying what you learn.  What a powerful experience it is for them to facilitate our  inschool programs The  Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas that have collectively reached 400 schools and 300,000 students in the last 10 years.

This innovative and impactful program model also surrounds them and the teachers and students with intergenerational community expertise

During the last few years (and continuing during 2020’s challenging times) the Kreative Koalas program has been blessed to work with organisations who support each other and the people we work with to be part of life changing opportunities for their communities. An organisation that shares this ethos is Hunter Local Land Services and driving our partnerhsip with them and the Kreative Koalas schools is school engagement officer Jane Lloyd-Jones. Jane has made many visits to schools, coordinated excursions and starred in videos and today we sit down to discover how Jane came into this role.

Jane Lloyd Jones with students at Kreative Koalas Awards

“My appreciation for the environment started at a young age when I spent many weekends going for walks through the local bushland with my family. This love for the environment led me to complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in Resource and Environmental Management at Macquarie University.”  Jane says.

Upon graduating Jane went to work with Sydney Water where she was involved with the preparation of Reviews of Environmental Factors and Environmental Impact Statements. It was also where she got her first taste for working with schools when she developed presentations for young students about saving water.

“This was really my favourite part of my role, as I was out in the community interacting with school students and I really felt like I was making a difference,” she says.

With a fire for working with young people and the community lit, Jane moved onto Gosford Council. In this role she was responsible for the writing and implementation of the Stormwater Quality Management Plan.

“Implementation of this plan included many very successful community education and engagement programs, including starting up the Waterwatch program in the Gosford area,” she says.

Jane continued to build and consolidate her experience in community engagement when she worked as Coastcare Facilitator for the Mid North Region, assisting local groups to gain grant funding for coastal environmental rehabilitation projects. Then is was time to start a family.

At PYiA we realise and value the importance of finding a work-life balance. It is not all about career but being able to be flexible in our professional lives. As YFC Bessie Thomas once told us: “I can have it all but I might not be able to have it all at the same time!” So, Jane took a break to raise her children and when the time was right she returned to the career pathway she had cultivated.

“I decided to return to work and I started the part time role of Waterwatch assistant at the Hunter Central Rivers CMA,” she says. “This role has developed and broadened over the years, particularly when the CMA became LLS and our business outcomes broadened.

As school engagement officer, I really enjoy interacting with and helping school students to learn in a fun, engaging way.  I enjoy the close working relationship I have with a number of our partners, including local and state government, Landcare and not for profit organisations such as Picture You in Agriculture.”

In 2019 Jane and Hunter Local Land Services worked closely with Medowie Christian School in Kreative Koalas to develop a project around clean water and sanitation. This led the school to being named Grand Champion Community Project for Change. Catch a video of Jane and Medowie teacher Martha Atkins here.

It is partnerships like this that make PYiA’s in-school programs so successful and ensures that vital community good messages are shared far and wide

We  look forward to many more years working with Jane and Hunter Local Land Services to build resilient communities in productive and healthy landscapes..

 

 

 

Keeping it in the (NSW Farmers) Family – Turning up can take you a lot of places

The Howard family carrying on a proud advocacy tradition 

Here at Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) we believe in fostering partnerships with others who share our values to promote Australian Agriculture. Many of our Young Farming Champions alumniare proud advocates who readily volunteer to amplify the voices of these organisations.  A perfect example is NSW Farmers which in it’s various incarnations has supported the agricultural industry in NSW since the 1800s, advocating for rural industries and country people in times of both peace and war.

Dione Howard is a veterinarian with Local Land Services in Wagga Wagga and has been a Young Farming Champion since 2015. She is particularly interested in agricultural policy development and was the inaugural WoolProducers Youth Ambassador, which saw her attend WoolProducers board meetings.

“I had very little experience with policy prior to the Youth Ambassador role. It has opened up a whole new world in the agricultural space and I feel that I now have a much clearer idea of how decisions are made that affect farmers and people like myself as a veterinarian.” say Dione

Dione is now a graduation of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is on the PYiA board and is the Vice-Chair for the Youth Voices Leadership Team. She is also  Secretary/Treasurer for her local NSW Farmer’s branch, following in the footsteps of her father Graeme who was a branch and district chairman for 15 years from the late 1980s.

Graham Howard and Dione share a love of sheep and advocacy 

“My family has always shown me what being part of a community is about, whether it is volunteering for local sporting clubs, P&C committees or being a member of the local show society.  When we’d take Dad to the plane to head to Sydney for the NSW Farmers annual conference I had an understanding, even from an early age, that he was off to help make decisions that were for the benefit of farmers. We’d stand there at the airport in our flannelette pyjamas and dressing gowns in the middle of July waving him off to the big smoke. It takes a lot to leave the family and the farm. It was a family ritual that left a last impression. ”

In his years with NSW Farmers Graeme was involved with the big issues of the day, namely water rights, native vegetation management and Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD).

“It’s important for farmers to have a voice and seat of power about the issues that affect them and they look to NSW Farmers to address these concerns. Being a part of NSW Farmers also allowed me to understand a range of issues beyond my own industry, to build networks and to see the key players in the agri-political arena in action.” Graham says

Graeme’s grandfather was involved with early farming advocacy organisations in the 1950s and 60s, which has instilled a legacy in Dione and her siblings.

“I’ve always told them the world is run by those who turn up, and to take advantage of any opportunity. Turning up can take you a lot of places.” says Graham

Dione sees her role with NSW Farmers as the next step in her own advocacy journey, being a voice for primary producers and the rural communities they live and work in.

“I felt that becoming a member of my local NSW Young Farmers branch is a way to give back to my local community. Rural and regional Australia has been hit with drought, bushfires and now COVID-19, and Eastern Riverina (where our Young Farmer branch extends) has unfortunately felt the force of each. In the ‘old’ days (aka pre COVID) the face to face branch meetings provided a forum for young motivated agriculturalists to catch up over a beverage and discuss issues they face. We might not be meeting face to face at the moment, but we are tackling the challenges of late head-on. This includes making the most of being ‘tech natives’, providing virtual support to agriculturalists in our region through online meetings – as well as making sure valued positions in our community (eg Farm Counsellors) are here to stay.”

We applaud the Howard family for their contribution to agricultural policy development and their commitment to NSW Farmers and we look forward to watching Dione’s career flourish as she follows her father’s advice to grab any opportunity.

 

Investing in young people has an extraordinary multiplier effect – Welcome to Yacker

As the founder of Picture You in Agriculture with a life long goal of seeing young people thrive in business and life this week has been highly rewarding.

Young people can find themselves in life threatening situations overnight. Having the strength, courage and confidence to move forward optimistically is more probable if they are surrounded by a tribe of people lifting them up.  Kudos to Dr Jo Newton OAM who has faced so much and given so much back in her short life.

Another Young Farming Champion dedicated to supporting people in rural and regional Australia to thrive is our YVLT Chair Emma Ayliffe who has an extraodinary capacity to identify and fill unmet needs for farmers everywhere. Today we are excited to share with you Emma’s latest offering. Join us in downloading YACKER  a new app created by Emma and her business partner Heath McWhirter to encourages conversations, not keyboard wars

The concept allows farmers to bypass the often impersonal world of social media and texting and connect to others in the sector via the good old fashioned telephone – at a time that suits them.

Developed by Emma and Heath from Summit Ag in Griffith, Yacker is an app that allows farmers to utilise their free time, ask questions and chat to those in the know.

“There’s nothing worse than calling people at inconvenient times and playing phone tag, or relying on texting, which doesn’t always suit farmers.

We know often one of our clients has knowledge that would benefit another, and we’ve developed Yacker to establish that connection. With Yacker you can communicate over the phone to people that you know in your network or search the Yacker community for a topic of discussion and reach out to someone new.”
Joining Yacker is as simple as downloading the free app onto either an iPhone or Android phone, setting up a profile, asking a question and setting your status as “Free for a Yack.” Time spent in the tractor or on the road can now be spent catching up and connecting with your agricultural community, getting answers to your questions or even organising a farm tour as part of your next holiday.
Yacker is all about identifying when people have free time for a chat, It uses visual cues such as online functionality to indicate when people have time for a meaningful conversation, a flagging function that allows you to be notified when people come online, and a discussion point you can use to generate conversation with other users you may not know so well or ask a question of your wider community.” says Emma and Heath


Yacker was released on June 8 and is attracting a growing number of subscribers including Scott Leslie, a grazier and farmer from “Gulthul Station” at Euston NSW. “Yacker allows me to connect with people when I know they are free to talk. I’m often driving long distances and it’s good to be able to talk with others doing the same,” he says. “Yacker has also helped me connect with another grower in Carrathool and discuss my question of how to bury barely and store it in the ground for tight seasons.”

Download Yacker today for free and start creating conversations.

The Picture You in Agriculture team want to thank Yacker’s supporting partners for investing in capacity building for people in rural and regional Australia.

Contact: Summit Ag

Emma Ayliffe M: 0458 307 347  E: emma.ayliffe@summitag.com.au

Heath McWhirter M: 0428 386 393 E: heath.mcwhirter@summitag.com.au

Yacker website

 

Young Farming Champion Dr Jo Newton awarded OAM in Queens Birthday Honours

At Picture You in Agriculture our greatest joy comes from watching others grow and develop. We are particularly proud of our Young Farming Champions; the dedication they show to agriculture, their willingness to share their stories and inspire the next generation, the heights they have achieved in their fledgling careers and the committment they show to ensuring other young people have the same opportunities to grow and learn and pay it forward

Today we are thrilled to share the news that Dr Jo Newton has been awarded one of the country’s top acknowledgments – a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contribution to agriculture through her advocacy and support of young people, volunteering and contribution to dairy science.

The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement and the OAM is awarded for service worthy of particular recognition.

The OAM comes on top of a raft of awards for Jo in recent years including being named on the 2018 Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence List, winning the Dairy Research Foundation’s Emerging Scientists Award in 2017, winning the Leadership category of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards and the Royal Agriculture Society of Victoria’s Emerging Leaders in Victorian Agriculture Award.

We invited Jo to blog how she felt to have achieved so much in such a short time and how it felt to know so many people where supporting her shine

This is what she had to say…….

From today I can add the letters OAM after my name if I wish.

A fair bit of time has been spent in a speechless daze trying to sort through my thoughts on this unexpected and overwhelming honour. It still feels surreal. When PYiA approached me for a story I thought it was the ideal place to share some thoughts I’ve collected in the last few weeks.

Two months ago an OAM was something I viewed as an acknowledgement for people with many decades more experience than I – but granted I knew little about the award.

As a female who’s just turned 31, I don’t resemble many past OAM awardees which has led to a few moments of imposter syndrome. However, letting self-doubt takeover would be a disservice to those who deemed me worthy of nomination and invested their time in writing applications and referee reports. With awards like this I think there is a certain element of right place/right time to being nominated – there are worthy people whose names are never put forward. I am indebted to those who put forth and supported my nomination. I feel truly overwhelmed, humbled and honoured, to be an OAM recipient.

To me, leadership is a journey of lifelong learning and I will continue to strive to be worthy of the honour I have been granted. I am incredibly grateful to the agricultural sector who has invested in me through providing access to professional and personal development opportunities. I will pay it forward through continued advocacy and support of young people.

Every interaction I have with the volunteer team at Picture You in Agriculture reinforces the breadth and depth of talent, skills, and capacity for innovation young people can bring to the table. I will use the platform afforded to me to shine a light on innovative young people whose stories and ideas deserve to be heard.

“Hidden Treasures” like Bessie, Dione and Lucy who give enormously to their communities – many since they were teenagers.

Young women like Emma and Marlee who balance running agricultural businesses with community leadership roles.

Inspiring women like Sam, Anika and Casey who are being recognised within and outside of agricultural circles for the contributions they are making.

I hope my recognition on this years Queen’s Birthday Honours List encourages organisational leaders to seriously consider the impact that young people are having and think about meaningful ways to give young people a voice within their organisations, boardrooms and conferences. Those seeking inspiration may like to look at AgriFutures Ignite Advisory Council.

Congratulations to all the recipients on the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honour List.

To the coaches, mentors, champions, colleagues, family and friends that have helped shaped me into the person I am today thank-you.

 

Congratulations Jo. We are honoured to call you one of us. A young person in agriculture who is proud of what they do, sharing the great stories of agriculture far and wide, grateful for the opportunities, the support networks and the doors that have been opened for them and paying it forward in bucketloads.

and paraphrasing the words of Charlene Li

There may have been times when the way forward was illuminated by what felt like a penlight in the dark night. There may have been times  when you doubted the course you had chosen. And there were times when it might have felt like the entire world was aligned against you. You used these setbacks as opportunities to learn. Your vision of the future will provide you with the solace, inspiration, and strength to continue.

How young people in rural Australia are coping with COVID19

Young Farming Champion Chloe Dutschke is a contract musterer. 

Our Young Farming Champions are seizing COVID19 opportunities to learn how to transform in a hibernating economy and are finding innovative ways to  re-align our relationships to one another, and to nature.

Young Farming Champion Chloe Dutschke is a contract musterer.  COVID19 has meant she currently bunkered down on a 280,000 acre merino station with 10 staff all isolated together in the Western Riverina NSW.

Working on a sheep station means Chloe role is an essential service. This is her story of how she has been coping with COVID-19 in the bush.

…….

In mid-march, before the pandemic really hit, my partner Joe and I moved from the Flinders Ranges SA to the Western Riverina NSW.

Who knew that only weeks later we would be faced with an ever growing global pandemic and a list of restrictions limiting us from heading back to SA any time soon. On arrival to the station we hit the ground running heading straight into mustering for shearing the following week.

Shearing is one of the highlights of working on merino properties. As musterers we bring the sheep into the shed, and take them away again and I love watching the shearers work and seeing fleeces fly. But this year that novelty was lost. With the restrictions that industry put on shearing teams, and the restrictions we imposed on station staff for safety, we were unable to mix with the shearing team or even enter the shed to watch our ewes being shorn. It was a somber reality.

Other than industry restrictions we felt the same pressures every household has faced with the dreaded toilet paper and essential food war. We worried for weeks where we would source enough toilet paper for an extra 25 shearing staff let alone food for the cook to feed the hungry workers. Added pressures included the continual fall in the wool market and the constant fear of shearing being cancelled. Although the virus has made shearing difficult it did not make it impossible. We worked within our restrictions to produce 500 bales of wool with no major dramas and we even received a bonus 40mm of rain.

Of the 10 station staff, four of us are new to the Riverina. We don’t know anyone in town and were really looking forward to being a part of a new community. In most country towns the best way to meet people is joining a sporting team or club but the virus this has completely cut us off. Our station staff have all together to make the best of the situation. Like many people we have got the board games and cards out and are hosting games night, and even hosted a pub night where we made schnitzels and chips and pretended they were just as good as a pub parmy.

The virus and moving to a new state meant that I could not go back to SA for Easter. Usually I would travel to see my family and we would spend Easter Sunday together; instead, this year my family had a zoom hookup and I spent two hours talking to my family from SA, NSW, NT and VIC. At the station we tried to make Easter Sunday special. We found a beautiful wooden table saved from the old shearers quarters in a falling down shed and restored it for the occasion, we cooked a roast lunch and played hours of trivia. As the afternoon drew on, 10 of us sat in the sunshine and toasted the end of shearing and to a prosperous year ahead.

Like many station workers, distance from the closest town makes it hard to attend a dawn service for Anzac Day and with the restrictions it meant it was impossible anyway. To show our respects we decided to host our own dawn service. We resurrected and restored the old flagpole and made wreaths and poppies to lay at the bottom.

We paid tribute to the people who served from the station in years gone by and we also remembered the family members of station staff by reading their names at the service. We listened to the last post echo through the trees and the birds sing during the minutes silence.

Although the COVID-19 virus has had a profound negative effect for many, I am thankful for the end of a stressful shearing and for the moments I have shared with my new station family over Easter and Anzac Day. We have found positives in this ever-changing world, and for that I am grateful.

COVID19 has given us all a chance to reflect on what matter most. It’s been a wonderful reminder of  the importance of taking care of yourself and those around you – in your community, your family, your workplace.

Some wise tips for Coping with Covid from the experts

  1. Coping during Corononavirus
  2. This Way Up Online Tools 

This story first appeared on Australian Farmer here

Its planting season – our Young Farming Champions have got their big toys out to grow the food that feeds us.

Three generations of Family Fox have been supplying Australians with nutritious delicious grains for decades

♫ ♫ There’s work to be done; You had a good go;

The tractor is ready; there is plenty to sow;

This year’s the year; With good looking ground;

And I’m feeling good; As I make my way round ♫♫

As Sara Storer tells us in her song Beautiful Circle this year’s the year. The drought that has plagued our cropping families for too long relinquished some its grip at the beginning of 2020 and our Young Farming Champions are rejoicing: It’s planting time!

“What an incredible start to the winter cropping program,” Emma Ayliffe says. “Talking to some of the older guys it is the best start they have seen in over ten years at Lake Cargelligo.”

“Planting 2020 has been a very welcome change to the past few seasons,” Dan Fox says, “with great opening rains allowing us to seed into great moisture and get very good herbicide knockdowns on all the weeds that have germinated.”

“Thanks to general rains that we received over March and April,” Marlee Langfield says, “and most recently just shy of 60mm in the last two days, we are embarking on the most confident start to the winter cropping season since Andrew and I have been ‘at it’ (farming)!”

Marlee has created a 4 day photo journal of planting in this series of beautiful photos of new life 

Working in conjunction with her partner’s family Emma will plant 5000 hectares of crop, with lupins, canola, oats and lucerne already in the ground. Their major crop, wheat, will be sown from ANZAC day, along with a smaller amount of barley. “We have 80-90% of our soil profile of moisture which is setting us up really well,” she says. “We will also be busy with weed and integrated pest management (a few bugs getting around already) and are hoping for good rain to allow us to push our crops and do some top dressing with nitrogen mid-winter. Then it will be all go for harvest in October/November.”

Further south Dan, and three generations of his family, are planting a multitude of crops. “We have finished sowing our faba bean/canola companion crop, which is designed to reduce our artificial inputs for both crops, as well as our early malt barley, which has been companioned with vetch, field peas and tillage radish for the beneficial interactions they bring,” he says. “We have also planted a paddock of multi species cover crop that we are hoping to put our lambs on next week, which will be a smorgasbord for them. Then it is fingers crossed for no breakdowns as we roll into the busy time of early May.” Phew, busy in May? What do you call April, Dan?

Its takes some serious machinery to keep this country food secure 

The air seeder (planter) is running hot outside Cowra where Marlee and Andrew are at it, planting 750ha of wheat, barley, canola and chickpeas. “Chickpeas do a wonderful job at fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere back in the soil,” she says, “which our other rotations will appreciate and make use of in future years.” The boom spray is also getting a work out applying pre and post-emergent sprays to control weeds and pests and it will be used later in the year for in-crop sprays. “If the season permits, fertiliser will be spread (topdressing) during the winter months to promote plant growth and in an effort to increase yield. Come October and the warmer weather the windrower will be ready to cut the canola and hot on the heels of this will be the header, busy harvesting all the different crops till about Christmas. We plan to make hay from some of the cereal crops and harvest the grains, oilseed and chickpeas for animal and human consumption.”

2020 rain is giving Young Farming Champion Marlee Langfield the perfect opportunity to use her new airseeder to grow safe, affordable, nutritous food for Australian families  

As always, our farmers will be keeping an eye on the weather. Marlee had no ‘moisture in the soil bank’ due to the dry summer and knows there is still a long way to go to harvest, even now that recent rain has interrupted sowing and kept her off the paddocks for a couple of days.

We wish all our cropping Young Farming Champions favourable weather, timely rain, low bug populations and bumper crops for 2020.

For those wanting to know about the technical side of cropping watch this extraordinary video from Onus Agronomy of the Zell Family’s 214ft Airseeder (worlds largest planter) in action

or if you’d rather kick back and listen to Sara Storer’s Beautiful Circle you can do so here.

Little bit of history on the development of planing machines can be found here and an Australian farmer’s story here