The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
Young Farming Champion Dr Calum Watt found himself in his happy place when he was recently asked to run a train the trainer workshop on CRISPR technology and wheat breeding at the recent WA PRIMED teacher workshop. Calum’s tutorial will support secondary school science teachers to bring agriculturally focused action learning into their classrooms.
Calum is our only Western Australia based Young Farming Champion and hasn’t had the opportunity to participate in our schools-based programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas and he found this opportunity an exciting milestone in his personal and professional development journey.
“I found the skills I learnt in my Young Farming Champions’ workshops gave me the confidence to say yes when I was invited. Having access to all the data collected from 10 years of Archibull Prize entry and exit surveys asking young people what they care about and want to learn about allowed me to tailor my tutorial to support teachers to teach agricultural themes in a way that I was confident will resonate with young people not much younger than me.
After the tutorial I received great feedback and I knew that it was a success when every teacher asked me where they could get wheat!”
Calum joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2015 as an undergraduate at Murdoch University and has been listening to the Young Farming Champions tell him for five years how much satisfaction they get from going into a classroom, sharing their passion and having students and teachers engage with you. He is thrilled to join the club.
“The flow on effect has led to one of the attending metropolitan-based teachers lining up a series of secondary school presentations for me .
I will say this though, first time in an educational setting had the nerves firing. It was a very different kettle of fish from my scientific seminars I have done before.”
Our Young Farming Champions are all cheering Calum on from their workplaces across the country
We thank our supporting partners for investing in young agriculturalists like Calum
Emma Ayliffe 2020/2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year with her partner Craig Newham
Does it get any better than this? Our very own Emma Ayliffe has been announced as the 2021 Young Farmer of the Year!! Read all about it here.
One of the reasons Em won this prestigious award is that she is not afraid to advocate for agriculture on every stage. As an example, this month she also spoke with educators at a Cotton Australia Teach the Teacher event and waded into the fray as a speaker at the River Reflections conference for the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
We are so very excited for, and proud of, you Em – congratulations.
Listen to Emma on The Country Hour here
In The Field
Research has been the key word for our YFC in the field this month. Tegan Nock is exploring the ways fungi may be able to help with climate change (read about this exciting work in this ABC report) while Veronika Vicic, a PhD candidate at Charles Sturt University, is asking your opinion on euthanasia of non-replacement male calves and producer wellbeing in Australian dairy systems. Want to contribute? Complete her online survey here.
Veronika’s research work is one of the reasons she was awarded her YFC scholarship, sponsored by Corteva. She, and fellow recipients Emily May, Steph Tabone and Connie Mort, were recently featured in Rural Business magazine. See the Corteva write-up here.
Steph and Connie put their newly acquired YFC skills to the test at a Corteva birthday breakfast recently where they both spoke. It’s a great example of partners allowing our YFC to practice in safe places; just as the Riverina LLS does for Dylan Male. Read more here. Steph has also been attending trade days speaking with farmers and was part of The GreenCollar Think Tank, discussing ideas for dealing with climate change, environmental markets, and energy efficiency. What a month Steph! But wait – there’s more ……
Steph and Emily attended a field trial walk through at Corteva’s Breeza research station on June 2, which was attended by a diverse range of agronomists from across NSW and QLD. Here are the girls in action.
Emily continues to thrive in her position of graduate agronomist with Elders, having almost completed her first 6-month rotation in Forbes. In August she will transfer to Griffith where she will focus on horticultural production.
“I am super keen to begin the second transfer because not many places within the country offer such a range of cropping systems in as geographically close an area as that around Griffith.”
Out of the Field
While research and trade networking were the buzz words in the field, out of the field it was all about conferences and awards and spreading the YFC love.
Meg Rice, Adele Smith, Dione Howard, Dee George and Martin Murray attended the second annual Young Farmer Business Conference in Dubbo on May 28 where their takeaways were the importance of networking, thinking outside the box for raising capital, and not being afraid to take the first step and ask the important questions. Thanks for sharing Champs.
Young Farming Champions Dione Howard, Meg Rice and Adele Smith
Bryan Van Wyk was on the other side of the conference table when he presented to QLD Marine Teachers to promote the stewardship of the ocean through education and collaboration. Watch a snap-shot of his presentation here or view his informative slides here.
Dylan Male shared his YFC experiences with the CWA Vic Virtual Branch and gave insights into how kangaroo grass can be used for food. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to hear both of these talks!
Tayla Field, too, was presenting when she spoke in front of 1000 people at the 2021 Hort Connections Gala Dinner. Watch her glamming it up in pink here. Tayla was also part of our awards round-up this month when she was nominated for the Boomaroo Nurseries Women in Horticulture Award at the same conference.
Olivia Borden was awarded the Ausindustry Young Farmers Award for Business Excellence and Innovation at the Food Futures Conference on the 19th of May. The award recognises and promotes innovative new business practices and raises the importance of value adding by farmers, potentially via traceability systems, logistics improvements or promotional campaigns in the Northern Territory. Congrats Olivia.
And Emma Ayliffe had to share the limelight this month when both she and James Kanaley were recognised as finalists in the Australian Cotton Industry Awards. Both were nominated for the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever. Good luck team.
Sharing the love this month was Tim Eyes who spoke about his experiences with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s 2020 TRAIL program. Also sharing the love were Katherine Bain, Jo Newton, Dylan Male and Nicole McDonald who dined (pre-lockdown) in Melbourne in May. They are all on notice for not providing a photo for the Muster but are forgiven because it was this event that facilitated Dylan speaking with the CWA!
Prime Cuts celebrates our YFC as they are recognised for their work, kick their goals and give back to our community.
Kicking her goals was Jo Newton who was accepted into the Australian Rural Leadership Program to be held in the Kimberley in July.
“Participating in this course has been a goal of mine for quite some time. More than 5 years after I first applied, 3 applications and 2 interviews later I’ve achieved a long-held goal. Every year I didn’t get in I went away, debriefed with my mentors, sought feedback and worked out what I would do differently next time. Persistence pays off. To all of you brave & courageous individuals who put yourselves forward for awards and scholarships, if at first you don’t succeed, please regroup, reassess and try again!”
We sincerely hope the latest COVID restrictions don’t impact your Kimberley journey Jo.
And perhaps the greatest achievement an organisation such as Picture You in Agriculture, who trains the next agricultural leaders, can have is for one of its own to return to run workshops for the next generation. So, it gives us a great thrill to announce that Anika Molesworth will be running a “personal brand” workshop, especially for YFC. Anika will share her secrets on personal branding – why it is important, how it can help your career and how you can use it to influence how people think and act. “When the people we train start running the workshops my heart sings,” says Lynne Strong. Stay tuned for more details.
“31.5.21 The Flinders Ranges will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Joe Smart who surprised me with a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him 💍❤”
We can only assume you said yes Chloe Dutschke!
We believe leaders are made not born – Our Young Farming Champions are products of their environments, of the people surrounding them, nurturing them, and INVESTING IN THEM.
Thanks you to our supporting partners for investing in future
One of the guiding principles of Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) is to introduce students to the world of work and encourage the uptake of agricultural careers by presenting the industry as an exciting option for a career with purpose.
Together with our supporting partners PYiA delivers the in-school programs Kreative Koalas ( primary students) and The Archibull Prize (secondary students) to ensure career development begins on the first day of school.
This life-long learning journey is further strengthened by the engagement of Young Farming Champions, a cohort of young agricultural professionals who relate easily to students.
Align with the National Career Education Strategy using bottom-up tried and tested innovative localised approaches targeting wants and needs of teachers, students, parents and carers.
Support partnerships to thrive between schools, education and training providers, employers, parents and carers, and the broader community.
Ensure students have transferable skills that equip them for the future of work.
Our surveys and research over the last decade have proven this to be a highly effective model of keeping agriculture careers front of mind, improving agricultural career outcomes, creating educational pathways and catering for the needs of teachers and students and the future workforce and employers.
Kreative Koalas is an action learning program for primary school students that introduces them to the world of work through connection to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. Kreative Koalas embeds sustainability across multiple Key Learning Areas of the school curriculum and encourages students to develop external collaborations with professionals within their community; expanding their understanding of the world of work as they learn how people in different jobs contribute to a sustainable future.
We were lucky to have the opportunity to have a Zoom meeting with farmer and environmentalist Karin Stark, whose family uses renewable energy (solar) to power their cotton and wheat farm. This was an extremely valuable experience, as students were able to develop their knowledge and understanding of how renewable energy can be used in different communities for different purposes.
The Archibull Prize then consolidates this introduction by showing students career pathways to sustainability though the lens of agriculture and asking them to investigate innovative approaches to problem solving in an industry that requires multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills. Throughout The Archibull Prize students develop the transferable 21st century skills that underpin employability for the future.
“Picture You in Agriculture’s school-based programs support the establishment of school-industry partnerships, connecting young people with the world of work in agriculture. Delivered to students K-12, these programs were adapted by teachers to meet the developmental needs of students and used to integrate a range of subject interests and skills into project-based learning activities. Teachers were empowered to collaborate with local community groups, employers, and organisations which meant the program activities provide effective career guidance in ways that are meaningful for students. It is promising, that in a year where teachers reported significant challenges with student’s engagement at school due to COVID-19 restrictions, that both The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas programs successfully contributed to the development of participants 21st century skills and increased interest in careers in agriculture.” Dr Nicole McDonald PhD in Vocational Psychology of Agriculture, BSci. (Hons.) Psychology Program Evaluation
Underpinning the success of both Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize are the Young Farming Champions (YFC). Due to their age (often not much older than the students they connect with) YFC become role models. They are memorable, credible, passionate about their industries and they disrupt stereotypical images of what a farmer is.
See how 2020/2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year, Emma Ayliffe is sharing her journey to be a farmer with students here
Students learning from a YFC realise careers in agriculture can be high-level, STEM-based worlds of opportunity.
Value adding to the one-off engagement events like careers fairs offered by industry, YFC go into schools as part of a 12-week immersion process providing multiple touch points for learning and two way conversations. For these 12 weeks the YFC are basically on speed-dial for teachers and students.
YFC are trained by PYiA to be advocates for agriculture and positive role models for younger generations. Through their training they are given opportunities to practice in safe environments to become confident communicators and trusted voices in the communities in which they work and live. Horizontal development comes from online and in-person workshops where they build their skills and knowledge. Vertical development comes from the multiple opportunities to stretch themselves and interact with thought-leaders and strategists from around the world.
Our YFC represent a range of industries and professions in agriculture.
They firstly learn to lead themselves then, as alumni, they learn to lead others while being supported by mentors from their sponsor organisations or workplace and through the YFC alumni buddy system. This produces young people who understand the importance of listening to understand and are confident sharing their story with students and opening students (teachers, parents and influencers) minds to changing images and perceptions about careers. Our research shows that YFC as role models are the key to opening the door.
Through Kreative Koalas, The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions, PYiA is providing leadership and career development action learning opportunities for young people from Prep to early 30s; showcasing the world of work in agriculture and sustainability and providing pathways and skills for the workforce of tomorrow.
A little bit of trivia to show its working
Nationally, the most popular broad field of education (in terms of the number of applications) in 2020 was Health (74,780 applicants or 26.0 per cent of all applicants). This was followed by Society and Culture (69,036 applicants or 24.0 per cent) and Management and Commerce (32,516 applicants or 11.3 per cent).
Fields of education that recorded strongest growth in applications in 2020 were Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies (10.8 per cent), followed by Information Technology (9.8 per cent), Natural and Physical Sciences (3.1 per cent), Society and Culture (2.3 per cent), Education (2.0 per cent), Health (1.7 per cent), Engineering and Related Technologies (1.1 per cent) and Architecture and Building (0.7 per cent Source
At PYiA we believe leaders are made. They are products of their environments, of the people surrounding them, nurturing them, and INVESTING IN THEM.
The prestigious awards recognise outstanding achievements in Australian agriculture and Emma is a worthy winner of her category.
Emma Ayliffe is a trailblazer; an innovative young woman on a mission to lead Australian agriculture and rural communities into a bright, resilient and profitable future. At 29 she is a successful business owner, a nationally recognised agronomist, a fledgling farm owner, an in-demand public speaker and a role model to a cohort of young people looking to follow her into this future with optimism and confidence.
What sets Emma apart as a young farmer is her desire to share agricultural information both behind and beyond the farm gate. With financial and sweat equity in her own piece of land, Emma trials innovative ideas and shares these with her agronomy clients and wider farming community. She shares her agricultural story with all Australians.
“It is great to be able to show young people, and young women, that you can really be a big part of the agricultural industry,” Ms Ayliffe said. “My goal with this award is to use it to keep building the profiles and opportunities for young people in ag and, personally, to take on more leadership within the industry to ensure an inclusive, cohesive and prosperous future.”
Watch Emma being interviewed by Warwick Long for The Country Hour
Emma was nominated for the awards by Lynne Strong from Picture You in Agriculture, who also nominated the winner of 2020/2021 Rural Consultant of the Year award Dr Neil Moss.
Dr Moss is a respected veterinarian and director of agricultural consultancy Scibus who has been supporting Australian agriculture for over 25 years.
Dr Neil Moss with Karen Deane (L) and Dan Dixon (R) from Corteva AgriScience and Sally Murfet (Rural Consultant of the Year in 2019)
Neil’s skills and experience came to the fore in 2020 when was appointed as the Dairy Liaison Officer to head up the crisis response to the dairy industry in South East NSW following the devastating bushfires. This appointment required Neil to draw both on his deep knowledge of dairy farming as well as his compassion and empathy of the community. At the same time, Neil was able to draw on his deep connections and respect across the greater industry to pull together a cohesive and effective response.
“It is a deeply humbling honour to win this award and it is an accolade I would never have expected or sought.” Dr Moss said. “I am thrilled that the work I have done with farmers and the dairy and beef industry over time has been so appreciated and well received. I am looking forward to further building the “extension bridge” between research and implementation and continuing to provide practical, integrated and evidence-based advice to farmers and the broader livestock industry. I will use the award to continue to strive for excellence in client care and empowerment and to promote collaboration in effective service-delivery to produce best outcomes for dairy and beef business regardless of their scale, level of production intensity or stage in their journey of growth and development. I would like to thank the Kondinin Group, ABC Rural, Corteva and most importantly, the many farmers and other industry professionals and mentors whom I have had had the pleasure to learn from and work with over the years.”
Watch Neil being interviewed by ABC journalist Kath Sullivan
Both Emma and Neil participated in a leadership development workshop and networking event as part of their awards.
Congratulations Neil and Emma. Picture You in Agriculture is proud to be working with the best humans
Watch Emma being interviewed by ABC journalist Kath Sullivan
Listen to Neil talk to David Claughton on the Country Hour here
“In a world full of noise it can be overwhelming for school students to decide on a career and it’s hard to be what you can’t see.”
With research showing young people moving from primary school to secondary school have closed their minds to 70% of the careers available agriculture is excited that Picture You in Agriculture has found a successful tried and tested model to open young people eyes to the exciting and diverse world of work in agriculture.
Every school participating in The Archibull Prize competition is partnered with a Young Farming Champion (YFC) to assist them in their agricultural learning journeys. But did you know a YFC represents more than a friendly face in your classroom? A YFC can open the door to brand new worlds for your students and introduce them to the diversity of knowledge and careers available that align with the issues most important to them. A YFC can show your students careers within agriculture that have social and environmental purpose.
A recent Picture You in Agriculture survey has shown the following issues are what young people care about and want to learn how they can play a role in addressing
Further research shows how YFC can successfully engage with teachers and students to change agricultural preconceptions.
Our YFC champion these issues every day in their jobs within agriculture and fishing; YFC such as Tayla Field and Bryan Van Wyk.
Tayla is a business manager for salad producer One Harvest and knows the importance of food security and the impact of consumer expectations in the provision of safe and nutritious food, and of good food produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. At the 2021 Hort Connections Gala dinner Tayla spoke of these issues and you can watch the video here.
From the table above Tayla cites “Knowing what food is good for you” and “Making less waste” as issues she can directly address within her job.
“We have been seeing consumers becoming more aware of their health during COVID, with freshness, taste, provenance and nutritional value being key purchasing drivers. Luckily, the fresh produce industry has a range of options from fresh fruit and vegetables to nuts and herbs, that can form a part of a healthy diet for shoppers of all ages. Our business uses plastic to deliver our products to the consumer in a safe way, while maintaining the integrity and freshness of the raw material, but we are working on a number of operational projects to reduce plastic throughout our supply chain. This includes the introduction of new ways of working and new machinery to help facilitate these changes. I am loving being able to see these projects come to life and the business focusing on, and actively investing in, improving our environmental footprint,” Tayla says.
Tayla works with the vegetable farms of Australia’s east coast and further north, on the seas out from Cairns and Karumba, Bryan Van Wyk is managing the prawn trawler fleet for Austral Fisheries. Life in the oceans has been identified as one of the top issues of interest to secondary students and Bryan takes this part of his job incredibly seriously. He recently zoomed in to speak with QLD Marine teachers.
Bryan Van Wyk’s office
“Having enough food to feed everyone” and “Life in the oceans” are high on our list of priorities so its pretty cool to see that its equally as high on young people’s minds. With nearly 20% of the world’s animal protein coming from seafood, commercial fishing is an important way of feeding the world. However, if poorly managed or unregulated, it can result in widespread ecosystem declines. Australia is blessed with some of the healthiest oceans and best fisheries management practices in the world. The Northern Prawn Fishery is Australia’s largest and most valuable prawn fishery and is renowned for its robust ecosystem-based management and bycatch reduction work. With 11 vessels in this fishery, Austral Fisheries work closely with scientists, fisheries managers and industry to ensure the on-going health and sustainability of the oceans in Northern Australia,” Bryan says.
In a world full of noise it can be overwhelming for school students to decide on a career and, like us all, it’s hard to be what you can’t see. Young Farming Champions are role models for students; they are memorable, relatable, credible, passionate about their industries and they are disrupting the stereotypical images of what a farmer is. How many students would think as a ‘farmer’ they could be dressed in a stunning pink dress addressing a national conference, or working on fishing boats while raising the profile of Patagonian toothfish? There are new worlds to discover every day in agriculture and a YFC can be your personal, professional guide.
Riverina Local Land Services sponsors YFC Dylan Male and invited him to present to the Board and to join Board members on property tours. Dylan grew up in the Riverina (Wiradjuri Country) and although now studying in Melbourne he relishes the chance to return home. When general manager Ray Willis asked Dylan to present to the Board he took the opportunity to speak of this connection to the Riverina and how it sparked his interest in agriculture, which has led to a PhD researching the revival of an Aboriginal crop species. Following the Board meeting Dylan joined members for a networking dinner and then an agricultural tour of the Young Region.
“I am excited to not only be embarking on this learning journey [with YFC] but to also be joining such a great family of agricultural leaders motivated to achieve positive change. I look forward to future opportunities provided by RLLS that will continue to empower me on my journey to become a Young Farming Champion,” Dylan says.
Dylan Male with the Riverina Local Land Services Board
Ray, too, appreciates the partnership between PYiA and RLLS and the mentoring his organisation can provide Dylan.
“By providing Dylan with opportunities in our Board room, working alongside our staff and our individual one-on-one sessions, we hope to expose him to real world examples to show him how important building relationships and conveying your message is, no matter your situation. We plan on assisting Dylan build on his confidence, skills and abilities with a broad range of experiences with us,” Ray says.
Each year Corteva Day celebrates the launch of Corteva as an independent pureplay agriculture business and at an event held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney recently YFC Steph Tabone and Connie Mort were invited to present to the group on their YFC experiences.
“The environment that Connie and I were able to talk within was safe as we knew everyone in the room, but it gave us the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone as we got to speak in front of the group, when normally we would be the ones listening in the crowd,” Steph says.
Rob Kaan presenting at the Corteva Day breakfast
Following Corteva Day Steph has a range of opportunities coming up including attendance at a Think Tank event hosted by Green Collar and at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW AgVision event, where she will share Corteva’s agricultural career pathways with year’s 9-12 students. This combined with YFC workshops, the YFC buddy system (where she is partnered with Dr Jo Newton OAM ) and mentoring with ANZ Corteva managing director Rob Kaan means Steph is fast-tracking her road to confident leadership.
“I feel grateful to be involved in the YFC program as it has already led to many positive things for me personally and professionally, and I appreciate the support and safe places to learn and challenge myself.”
Steph Tabone, Lynne Strong and Greg Mitchell at the Corteva Day breakfast
Connie Mort was also invited by Rob Kaan to share her experiences with the Young Farming Champion program with Corteva team members at the organisation’s second birthday celebrations at the City of Sydney Botanic Gardens
“I really valued the chance to stand up along side Steph and share what we have been doing with PYiA, and also how our values at Corteva align so nicely with what we are aiming to achieve as part of the YFC journey. There was great enthusiasm from our colleagues about how they can support us over the course of the YFC program, and that they can support the industry in which they work through their own involvement with PYiA, which I’m truly excited about.
I am really looking forward to connecting with my fellow YFCs during the upcoming workshops and face-to-face events, and learning from those that have been a part of the program for many years already. It is encouraging to know that we have this safe space to communicate with our peers on this program when we are faced with challenges and need some feedback. I am enjoying being partnered with YFC alumni buddy Katherine Bain for the first part of my learning journey and looking forward to sharing my story with the Griffith Soroptimist club in July”
Rob Kaan is proud of the mentoring opportunities initiated by his company.
“At Corteva we are fortunate to have established some clear corporate values during the creation of the organization two years ago after our merger process. People management and talent development is one of our key pillars, supported by a strong sense of promoting diversity and inclusion. Within this, employee mentoring is a process we provide to employees seeking guidance, support and the opportunity to learn new skills and competencies from peers. It’s often not a supervisor to employee relationship; mentoring works best when two employees build an open and trusting relationship built on curiosity, sharing experiences and providing guidance in a “safe environment”. We help facilitate these employee connections and, in the case of young talented employees like Steph and Connie, YFC helps complement our mentoring programs very nicely,” he says.
PYiA’s vision to empower young people to reach their full potential through life-long learning and support is mirrored in organisations such as Riverina Local Land Services and Corteva Agriscience. When partnerships such as these, that invest in our young people, are formed and nurtured we will see agriculture and community thrive.
Often our headline act each month celebrates the awards and recognition our YFCs deservedly receive, but every now and again it is good to go back to basics and listen to the passion that draws them to agriculture in the first place. Marlee Langfield is a shining example of this and has commenced sowing her 2021 crops.
“We have been blessed with a full moisture profile and our canola crops have already received just shy of an inch of steady of rain. The soils are just beautiful this time of year – chocolate brown and full of worms! There are little plants just starting to emerge with these past few warm days.”
Marlee also expresses her love for the land in beautiful photos. Thank you Marlee for reminding us why we love agriculture.
In The Field
Of course, all of our YFC get out of bed every day to work passionately in agriculture and this passion was recognised on May 10 when The Weekly Times ran an article featuring 15 promising Australian farmers under the age of 30. Making the cut were Emma Ayliffe for her work as an agronomist, Tom Squires for his work with wool and shearing and Peta Bradley for her work with sheep genetics. Congratulations all round.
However passion can be tested and mice are this year’s big challenge. Here’s a round-up of how it is affecting our YFC:
Dan Fox (Marra, Riverina NSW): “We are fairing pretty well although there are mice in paddocks and sheds but nothing like what is happening north of us, and nothing like the 2011 plague. We are still baiting everything we are sowing whilst planting but no damage or losses to stored grain or sowed paddocks.”
Keiley Noble (Narromine, North West NSW):
“We’ve been using a drum of ‘Mouse Off’ a week since mid-January on with our hay stacks. The mice have come back strong mid-May.”
Emma Ayliffe (Lake Cargelligo, Western NSW):
“We have had a few isolated issues with certain paddocks that were sown dry and waiting for rain. Sheds and silos are foul. Defiantly north of us are having bigger issues.”
Dee George (Nyngan, Northern) NSW:
“Hit and miss where we are. They are horrible in patches and then only light on in others. Our family (Nevertire) are baiting everything, and I’ve personally bought at least $1000 worth of domestic bait for around our house and shed. They are starting to damage early crops to the west of Nyngan where I work, and earlier in the year east of us they were damaging cotton (chewing holes in the bolls) which I’d never seen or heard of before.”
Marlee Langfield (Cowra, Central West NSW):
“They are around, especially in sheds, we baited off the back of the seeder with our canola because we are fearful of the damage they may do to new crops. At the moment, touch wood, emerging canola is doing ok.”
It’s not even mouse-free underground. PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick mines for opal west of Lightning Ridge:
“Mice are falling down the shaft into our sump (hole below mining level), which has water in it from recent rains. So imagine a black festering, can’t-be-emptied, 44-sized bucket right at your working shaft and that’s what we’ve got. They are also chewing out the ceiling lining in the camp.”
Let’s hope the onset of winter puts the brakes on the mice!
Melissa Henry is focussing not on mice but on the continued success of her sheep. At the recent Hawkesbury Show Melissa’s Quebon Coloured Sheep Stud took out Reserve Champion Black and Coloured Ewe, Champion Black and Coloured Ram, Best Coloured Wether and Supreme Exhibit!
“What a cracker of a season we are having. The pastures, trees and sheep are looking amazing. Many thanks to all of our fleece and sheep buyers from across NSW and VIC for their continued support.” Melissa says.
Out of the Field
In more show news Becca George took to the microphone at the Dubbo Show to do her first ring announcing of the junior heifer section.
“We needed someone on day 3 to ring announce so I put my hand up to give it a go. I actually really enjoyed it once the nerves wore off!”
Well done for putting your hand up Becca.
Away from the agricultural shows and agricultural conferences and courses are the big thing at the moment. Meg Rice, Dione Howard and Dee George will attend the Young Farmer Business Program conference in Dubbo on May 28, Meg is also participating in GROW with Tocal College, Emma Ayliffe is lined up to speak at the River Reflections Conference for the Murray Darling Basin Authority in June and Bryan Van Wyk presented at the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program recently.
ht to Jill Briggs for sharing the pix of Bryan presenting to her Seafood Leaders
Having recently participated in Dr Jenni Metcalfe’s Confident Communicators workshop Bryan relished the opportunity to put Jenni’s mnemonic MESSAGE into action
Bryan has also been appointed as an industry member on the Northern Prawn Fishery Resource Assessment Group (NPFRAG). This decision making group is made up of researchers, government and industry and provides advice to inform legislation on the fishery.
“I am the youngest member on the group and our first two-day meeting was held in Brisbane earlier this month. Big win for me personally and very humbled to be accepted with open arms into this amazing group of people but it has also taken me incredibly far outside my comfort zone. When you’re sitting on an important decision making table surrounded by very intelligent and experienced people and you are asked to voice your thoughts and opinions on behalf of an entire industry it can be extremely daunting. Definitely one of the most challenging experiences for me so far this year.”
Dr Anika Molesworth has joined the Visibility Co team and recently facilitated a workshop for Researchers in International Agricultural Development on climate change leadership and visibility. The workshops had participants from around the globe, including Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy and Australia.
However the biggest shindig during May was Beef Australia held at Rockhampton where Jasmine Whitten teamed up with Greg Mills to share their knowledge of the beef industry with school students as part of the AgForce School to Industry Partnership Program. They spoke with over 500 students, conducted mock cattle auctions, ran a teacher professional development session and attended the agricultural careers evening. Now they’re taking 3 years to gear up for the next Beef Week in 2024. Oh, and Jas and Greg wore the brightest shirts to prompt conversations on mental health!
Also spotted at Beef Week was friend of the YFC Aimee Snowden in her new role with CQUniversity Australia Agri-tech Education and Innovation.
Climate Change YFC Anika Molesworth is moving into the world of film to spread her climate messages. “I’ve had the pleasure of supporting two amazing filmmakers, Sanne – Eefje Suzanne – Kragten and Tim Arnold AV, as they travelled around Australia filming the stories of famers and their mission to overcome climate change. The Positive Alternative film series provides both dramatic yet uplifting stories about how little changes can create a big positive impact on our lives, on climate change and the world at large.
Another film project Anika has been working with (Harsh Climate Harsh Truth) featured in the Canberra Short Film Festival in March. See the previews for both films here
Closer to the PYiA core and the YVLT’s Leadership is Language Series 3 continues with a chat with Country to Canberra CEO Han Worsley. Han had both Meg Rice and Dione Howard as interviewers. Catch all the action here
YFC are also connecting with school students with the popular online Paddock to Pen Pals organised by the ever-enthusiastic Sam Wan. Katherine Bain, Emma Turner, Dione Howard, Tayla Field and Chloe Dutschke participated. These are some of the student comments from Chloe’s session:
“I loved asking her questions and hearing her answers. She explained all about her job. I was interested in how she got into being a farmer and completing a Bachelor of Animal Sciences. She wasn’t a farmer growing up but just loved animals. It was great to meet a real farmer. It’s not a job I had ever thought of before!”
And, because they are not busy enough already, our YFC are commencing their training workshops for the year – learning from the best in Josh Farr and Dr Jenni Metcalfe.
Check out Dr in waiting Francesca Earp, Dr Calum Watt and Dr Jo Newton’s wrap up in this video.
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 have selected Oliva Borden to participate in the 2021 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. When her YFC introduction begins with “a female incarnation of John Williamson’s Mallee Boy crossed with Crocodile Dundee” you know we’re going to have some fun. Welcome to the team Olivia.
Emma Ayliffe has been named as a finalist in the 2020/21 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards (Young Farmer category). The winner’s announcement ceremony will take place on 17 June at Parliament House in Canberra and will feature a live ABC Country Hour broadcast. Congratulations Emma, we can’t wait!
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
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 …….
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.
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.
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.”
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:
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.
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