Corteva announces agricultural scholarship winners

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Emily here 

 

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

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

 

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2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING STEPHANIE TABONE

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

In 2017 Stephanie Tabone had a light-bulb moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING CONNIE MORT

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

Connie is a Territory Account Manager for the Riverina.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the program Connie and Corteva.

2021 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS – INTRODUCING SHANNON CHATFIELD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#YouthinAg

 

2021 Young Farming Champions – Introducing Bryan Van Wyk

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

Let’s meet him.

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

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

Bryan’s happy place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

In this blog post Dylan shares what drives him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read what drives Dylan here

#YouthinAg #IndigineousGrains #IndigenousFarmingPractices

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

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

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

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

Calum shares with us:

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

This is Calum’s story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and read more in this recent Farm Weekly Young Guns article

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet Emily May an agronomist in training advocating for urban agriculture

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

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

Emily shares with us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet Alice Burwell who shares a passion to make a difference and fight for gender equity

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

Our guest post today comes from vet in training Alice Burwell. Alice shares a passion to make a difference and fight for gender equity that has been a consistent theme in our 2020 stories

“Wow, you want to be a vet. You must really love animals”.

Yes, this is partly true. But this is only part of my story. I would always make it very clear that I wanted to be a preventive healthcare vet for large farm animals and help livestock farmers set up their businesses in a way that keeps animals healthy and prevent health problems in herds whenever anyone asked, even as a seven-year-old.

Yet as I grew up I found myself having to justify my potential value to the industry because I am a young female?

I  was determined to show female vets are just as enthusiastic about working outdoors with large animals as male vets.

Why should this matter?

If people work hard to gain knowledge they can contribute to industry, they deserve to be treated with respect for their knowledge and contributions regardless of their background, degree or gender.

What do the girls in the pink vests in this image have in common?

Passion is the common denominator, not gender here.  Yes, we are all female. Yes, we are all aspiring rural veterinarians. And the reason we were selected as the student delegates for the Australian Cattle Vets conference in 2020 is because of our burning passion for the livestock industry.

Veterinary science used to be a male dominated sector and I am proud to be part of the generation that is changing this.

Where did this burning passion for the livestock industries stem from? For me, it was the days I would spend growing up helping my father and grandfather in the lambing sheds or feeding calves like these ones

I have always been so determined to make my mark on the livestock industries as a professional and have always had an interest in the wider agricultural sector. The management from paddock to plate and from calf to cow is what excites me. I am becoming a veterinarian so that I can help improve the health, welfare and productivity of our livestock industries through producer education and adoption of new research, at herd levels.

Today veterinarians provide holistic farm services and have broad skills in farm consultancy and management as well as providing technical skills and advice on animal health and welfare.

As a vet I aspire to provide the farmers I work with exceptional value from improvements in animal health and management behind the farm gate as well as support them to optimise the value they get from their farming production systems.

The challenge of showing farmers my  worth is a both a daunting and  exhilarating task. I have studied veterinary science and participated in many extra-curricular activities so that I can play my part in making the agricultural industry sustainable for generations to come. There is nothing more exciting for me than helping producers turn calves into productive, healthy cows that are the building blocks for a producer’s successful business. Regardless of the species, it is the full circle of producing profitable, healthy beef/dairy cattle and sheep in a sustainable and welfare conscious manner that excites me.

As an industry we have many opportunities to showcase our industry is gender inclusive and ensure veterinarians are valued for the diverse skills and knowledge they bring to the farm team.

“As a rural vet you feel connected with the people you work with on farm and you are also an essential part of rural communities. Its a career where you have a strong sense of purpose and you get up everyday knowing you are making a difference”