There’s a Rural/Rural Divide and it’s not doing Agriculture any favours

Food is our common ground, it creates communities, a universal language and experience

This week’s social media sensation (see Footnote) and Wool Young Farming Champion Bessie Thomas from Wilcannia in Far Western NSW who knows all about dry river beds and what its like to farm with very little water is very unhappy about the farmer versus farmer divide she is witnessing in the media and she wants it to stop

This is Bessie’s plea ……..

The environmental crisis of the Murray Darling river systems has hit headlines this week and copping most of the flack is Australia’s cotton farmers.

While temperatures soar, rivers dry up and fish die across New South Wales, bridges are burning in my social media feed too.

Water users, including farmers, downstream are blaming irrigators upstream and right now being a cotton farmer in Australia seems dirtier than the algal waters of the Menindee Lakes.

Murray-Darling debacle aside – read this great perspective from Mike Logan for more on that – this week’s online cross industry interaction has illuminated an ingrained problem that affects us all: there’s a rural/rural divide and it’s not doing agriculture any favours.

I have livestock farming friends downstream who’ve de-stocked and are showering with a single bucket of rainwater because the river water they would usually use is too putrid. And I’ve got irrigation farming friends upstream who’re being blamed for taking water they also don’t have. Verbally their stones are aimed at each other, though I’m sure they’d be friends if they met at a BBQ.

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I have a friend who lives in marginal livestock country, farming meat-sheep, working in agribusiness and completing PhD research with an end game of helping feed the world’s hungry. Her farm just happens to be smaller than average for the region.

Her research gives her access to a global audience, with invitations to speak at agricultural events world over. And while some locals throw verbal stones about “hobby farming,” everyone who hears her speak is enchanted by her passion for the industry and love of the outback landscape. Even if her external audiences only take away one positive message from her talks, that is an inspiring thing.  It could simply be, “I’ve always wanted to visit the outback and now I’m actually going to do it!” and that would would be invaluable to her region.

I have another friend who works in the city but farms in the country on weekends and during holidays. “Part-time farmers” get a bad rap from us “full-timers,” yet who’s to judge if part-time job is a full-time passion?

When her colleagues ask what she’s up to for the weekend and she tells them about her farm, she is building connections with consumers of our produce. Next time those work colleagues order dinner at a restaurant they’ll think of her and maybe they’ll choose the dish with locally grown ingredients over an imported product. That is an enormous benefit to all of us.

Every step of the agriculture cycle is vital to a healthy and wealthy nation. Every day, Australian farmers produce nutritious, safe and affordable food for 60 million people and are entrusted as stewards of 60 percent of the Australian landscape.

‘If we can’t respect each other as experts in what we do,

then we can’t expect consumers to.’

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion founder and mentor Lynne Strong recently told me,

“When our fellow farming industries are under the hammer it’s hard to know how to support them without making comment on the controversy. Yet, the best way for agriculture to build social licence, maintain it and be credible, is cross-commodity support.”

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We don’t have to agree with each other, but let’s ask questions, listen to the answers and respect each other enough to broaden our minds. It’s time to build cross-industry relationships and be each others advocates.

Let’s bridge our rural/rural divide and embrace the power of collaboration to build lasting connections with consumers.

#StrongerTogether  #YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #BreaktheDrought

Footnote:

Bessie volunteers ( in the little spare time she has ) as our social media manager and she created this fabulous video of life on her farm in 2018 Check it out it, its gone viral this week and will melt your heart. We cant wait to share with you the Random Acts of Kindness it has generated

 

 

 

Agriculturalist Anika Molesworth – joining a 1000 women in STEMM to invest in tomorrows leaders today

Agriculture needs its leaders. But leaders don’t just happen. To be effective a leader must have a vision that extends beyond their own backyard, have the skills to communicate that vision, a network of collaborative cohorts, the courage to engage in difficult conversations and the perseverance to see the vision transformed into action. So how do we support tomorrow’s leaders today?

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Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth is well regarded for her passion to see agriculture flourish in a changing climate. She has attended COP21 in Paris, conducted seminars at Broken Hill, presented at numerous conferences, spoken at TedX and is currently studying a PhD comparing Australian agriculture with that in South East Asia.

I am absolutely fascinated, intrigued and inspired by the natural world. Its systems are so incredibly complex and with such extraordinary interplay. But I also realise how extremely fragile it is. How precarious it is to mismanagement. People living and working in rural and regional Australia, particularly people in agriculture, play such an overwhelmingly important role in the management and protection of these systems, and in many instances give these landscapes and ecosystems a voice. They share the story of the land, of how it can be harnessed to feed and clothe people and nurtured to sustain vibrant biodiversity. I am driven to amplify that voice.

Anika is ready for the next leadership step: Homeward Bound.

Homeward Bound is a ground-breaking leadership initiative, set against the backdrop of Antarctica, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet.

The course will cover leadership training, environmental and research policy, career strategy, visibility, networking, fund raising, and presentation and communication skills, and will culminate in a journey to Antarctica over the 2019/2020 summer.


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Picture – Oli Sansom.

“Programs like Homeward Bound and the Young Farming Champions help to upskill and empower individuals,” Anika says. “Yet in doing so, the outcomes and impacts from these programs are so much further reaching. What they do is help individuals seeking greater clarity in their own personal skillsets, purpose and values, become clearer on their sense of self, what they believe and what’s important to them. It helps them focus their two most precious resources, time and energy, more effectively.”

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Christina Kirsch of ClearSky Solar with Anika Molesworth at the 2018 Green Globe Awards

Christina Kirsch of ClearSky Solar met with Anika at the 2018 Green Globe Awards. Christina participated in the initial Homeward Bound course in 2016 and still feels the reverberations.

” The goals are to create connectedness and networking among women where the collective is more important than the individual,” she says. “It is about women taking responsibility and ownership of ideals and to collaboratively develop programs going forward.”

Anika holds similar views:

“When you enable teams of highly energized, values-focused people, the enthusiasm and energy released can be formidable.”

One of the challenges Anika will face as a participant in Homeward Bound is to raise the funds required to travel to Antarctica. This on its own can be a daunting task. Although Homeward Bound will provide training and assistance on how to go about this, ultimately it is up to the individual to align with investors who want to be part of that shared collective.

Anika believes she has genuine reasons for asking people to invest.

“I have been through the YFC program and collected a treasure-trove of public speaking skills, industry knowledge, article writing experience and media training, and connected with the most inspiring group of young Australians and mentors. The Homeward Bound program builds on this and amplifies this with its global alumni network, teachers and mentors. It expands my networks to women across the globe working in STEMM.”

These are skills Anika will develop, to the benefit of all Australian agriculture.

As details are finalised we will share Anika’s fundraising initiatives including her Crowdfunding page . In the meantime if you would like a spectacular guest speaker for your event or would like to discuss other opportunities for collaboration please email Anika at anika.molesworth@gmail.com

This is what others are saying about Anika as a keynote speaker


“Anika shared her passion for a sustainable agriculture at the Ag to 2030 Brave New World Conference in 2018. She challenged thought leaders in mainstream Australian agriculture and gained their respect as a credible voice in how a changing climate is impacting Australian primary production systems.”
Ag Institute Australia

“It was a pleasure to engage Anika Molesworth as a presenter during the National Farmers’ Federation Towards 2030 Leadership Program in Canberra in 2018. Anika is a most engaging speaker; honest and reflective, open to feedback, happy to share her challenges and successes and very generous with her learning and advice.”
Australian Rural Leadership Foundation

“[We were] transfixed by Anika Molesworth and her passionate presentation. This wasn’t like any conference presentation, this was truly passionate and heatfelt. It was a privilege to listen. Walking away inspired.”
​Kelpie Ap

Visit her website to learn more here

If you would like to make a personal donation you will find Anika’s Crowdfunding page here 

Will you invest in tomorrow’s agricultural leader today?

#YouthinAg

#YouthVoices19

#mothernatureneedsherdaughters

#HumanSynergistics

#Antarctica

#womeninSTEM

#womeninscience

#leadership

#womeninleadership

#HomewardBound

 

 

 

Wool Young Farming Champion Samantha Wan going beyond the awards

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Mega-congratulations go to Sam Wan, Wool Young Farming Champion  and Elders’ Wool Technical Coordinator at the National  Selling Centre in Melbourne, who was announced as the Elders Employee of the Year in 2018.

The ‘Thomas Elder’ Employee of the Year recognises and rewards an individual who is consistently a high performer, who demonstrates a commitment to safety, and who lives the One Elders values – integrity, accountability, team work, customer focus and innovation.

Sam was nominated by her managers for her work initiating the accessibility of auction footage as it takes place online, improving Elders’ end to end service to growers, training of next generation wool staff and representing Elders and agriculture at industry events and through programs such as Art4Agriculture.

As part of the award Sam now has $10,000 to put towards a study tour, and yes, she will be reinvesting in wool. Firstly she will attend EvokeAg in Melbourne in February and then she will be winging across the waters to Italy.

“I have chosen to go to Italy to further enrich my understanding of the wool supply chain in Europe,” Sam says. “I will visit mills dating back to the 16th century and have direct contact with iconic historical brands. I will see fabric being spun and weaved and get a feel for their passion when working with Australian merino wool; and I’ll be able to communicate that back in Australia to growers …. and to anyone else who will listen!”

Supported by Australian Wool Innovation, Sam often credits the Young Farming Champions Program as being of great benefit in her career and as part of paying it forward has joined the Picture You in Agriculture Sponsor Seeking Sub Committee.

“I would like to ensure that no school or student, who is genuinely interested in agriculture, is turned away,” she says, “and that future Young Farming Champions are fully resourced to develop the skills needed for tell their story and establish themselves in their chosen industry.”

Congratulations Sam and we look forward to hearing of your Italian adventures.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices19 #WearWool #LoveWool

 

A NEW WAY TO EMPOWER  RURAL AND REGIONAL WOMEN

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Chair of our Youth Voices Leadership Team Jo Newton recently penned a piece for Stock and Land on why agriculture doesn’t need another leadership program. And why not? Because we already have a tried, tested and proven one in the Young Farming Champions program that offers participants leadership pathways beyond the traditional intensive workshop model.

Jo has received plenty of positive feedback from the article and it has prompted us to reflect on the mentorships and partnerships that support our Young Farming Champions as they transition to leadership roles. Jo personally values being mentored by David Mailler

‘David is someone I look up to. He challenges my thinking, encouraging me to look at a problem from new angles’. says Jo 

Dione Howard, who works as a district veterinarian, has recently formed a professional alliance with chair of Hunter Local Land Services Lindy Hyam.

As some-one starting my career journey its very valuable to have a mentor who has had successful careers in multiple sectors beyond agriculture. Lindy can help guide me through both my career and leadership journey challenges, help me make difficult decisions and offer advice when I am not sure which direction to take.” says Dione.  Watch Lindy talk about her career journey here

It was also our own Lynne Strong who introduced Anika Molesworth to Farmers for Climate Action, where she now sits on the board of directors.

“The best way to harness the energy of our emerging leaders is to connect them to one-another and greatly improve our collective capacity to shape a bright agricultural future. Farmers for Climate Action, like the Young Farming Champions program, is a network of individuals from all walks of life, from all different regions and farming industries – who all share a common vision. We are taking the journey together – and the shared values, support and respect we have for one another is the reason we are successful.” says Anika 

In 2019 PYiA, in conjunction with Young Farming Champions, will launch an extension to their leadership development with the introduction of a unique inter-generational mentorship model to empower rural and regional young women. The program,  Cultivate- Empowering  Influencers will support experienced leaders, coaches and champions to support young rural leaders to support emerging leaders and aspiring leaders to transform agriculturists into advocates and changemakers by:

  1. Creating confident, independent thinkers and skilled communicators,
  2. Building capacity to be adaptable and resilient in complex and challenging times,
  3. Developing enthusiastic, knowledgeable and capable young people taking an active role in the decision-making processes.

The model recognises successful people surround themselves with a framework of empowerment including the five principles of connect, coach, inspire, champion and mentor.

Young people need to identify others who can assist them with these principles. The initiative will see experienced leaders, mentor intermediate leaders such as Jo, who will in turn work with new Young Farming Champions and potentially with students who show potential though The Archibull Prize.

Training of both mentors and mentees is critical to success and the program will begin with an intensive two-day program bringing together mentors and mentees.

“This is a Pay-it-forward model of mentoring. Experience is leveraged in a hand up model, across three generations of leaders. Seasoned leaders mentor leadership program graduates into the hands-on aspects of business leadership, while YFC program graduates work with new participants, smoothing the way to more visible roles. This way experience is shared and expanded upon.” says Zoe Routh from Inner Compass Leadership Development.

For more information on how your organisation can partner with us please contact Lynne Strong Partnerships Manager E: lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail

Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge shares her 28th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference experience

Picture this. It is snowing, the temperature is -12*C and it is October. You are wearing business clothes and heading to a conference, using a yellow school bus to get from your hotel to the conference venue. Over 70 young people, all under the age of 40, have congregated to discuss the future of agriculture, agriculture events and the challenges facing agricultural communities across the world. Where are you? You are at the 2018 Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada!

On the 27th October 2018 I flew out of Sydney on a 15 hour flight destined for Canada. As a recipient of a scholarship from the Agricultural Societies Council of New South Wales, I was heading to the 28th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference as an Australian delegate. But, first things first, I spent a few days traveling around Banff and Lake Louise taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the Rocky Mountains. For only the second time in my life, I was experiencing snow falling and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

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Peyto Lake. –  Can you see the dogs head? I had a stunning snow day to view Peyto Lake, Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon and the Bow Valley Parkway!

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Before the tour and conference started, I added a few extra days of sightseeing through the Rocky Mountains. I enjoyed a snow day and here I am on my way down the hill from viewing Peyto Lake.

After a 4 hour drive from Banff to Edmonton, it was time to meet the team that would make up the pre-conference tour contingent. A group of around 50 people of varying ages and backgrounds, from various countries and having various connections to agriculture made up the group of keen agriculturalists. We were privileged to visit some fantastic enterprises throughout the  tour and meet some innovating and exciting people. On the first day visited a beef farm that calves down around 500 cows in the height of the Canadian winter and utilises a barn to assist with their winter nights that can reach -40*C.

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The pre-conference tour contingent at Lewis Farms

Following our property visit, we were able to tour the only plant in Canada that produces beef patties for McDonald’s burgers. Over 3 million patties are made on site every day and they all contain 100% Canadian beef. Following this stop, we had lunch at McDonald’s to sample the burgers made from the patty’s we had just seen. A quick trip to Jasper for some tourist activities, including a swim in the hot springs, a private tour of on the Jasper Sky Tram, an evening with the Jasper Planetarium and lunch at the Fairmont Hotel with lake and mountain views.

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Some of the pre-conference tour contingent enjoying the snow at the top of the Jasper Skytram. For a few of the Aussies, it was the first time seeing snow. Although we couldn’t see the spectacular views, we made up for it with snow angels, snow ball fights and trying to slide down the hill!! Our snow day in Jasper was an awesome bonding experience for the group and helped to create some special friendships which not only lasted the length of the conference but for many years to come.

The second tour day included a trip to visit a $50 million, farmer owned, fruit and vegetable wholesaler who source produce from across North and Central America. The farmers who own the business receive market price for their produce sold through the business during the year, then a percentage of profit at the end of the year. Following this, we attended the Rock Ridge Dairy, where 900 goats are milked every day in a specialised milking barn. Along with the home grown milk, the family buys in local milk to produce a range of goats and cow’s milk and soft cheeses.

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Dueces Greenhouses. Here we have a new section of cucumbers that have been in the system a few small weeks.

The afternoon was spent at Deuces Greenhouses where 11ac of Greenhouses allow the family owned business to produce summer vegetables in the height of the Canadian winter, and therefore attract high premiums during periods of low supply and high demand. Our last day of the pre-tour featured the Canadian grains industry, with a trip to Galloway Seeds, a family owned seed cleaning business. Cleaning around 18t of grain per hour, and removing over 99% of impurities, the company has mastered the 4 step cleaning process.

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John Deere, the international symbol for anything green! This big rig was parked up at Galloway Seeds.  

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One bank of the silos used at Galloway Seeds for storing grain before cleaning.

After lunch we visited the Rig Hand Distillery, a small company who are specialising in local grown alcohol. They source most of their inputs from within 20 miles of the distillery, and utilise local season produce such as potatoes, garlic, raspberries, wheat and beeswax. Each night after the tour, we would find ourselves at different functions and mingling with the delegates from across the globe. These connections will last us a lifetime and have not only provided holiday destinations around the world, but also provided links between people who wish to make global agriculture better!

The conference started with some sessions dedicated to the Next Generation contingent. We had presentations from a range of experts and agriculturalists around the world that opened up our way of thinking and strengthened our passion from sustainable agricultural production. We were challenged and motivated, encouraged and grew as professionals. One of the most interesting presentations for me was from Professor David Hughes, or as he is better known Dr. Food. A thought-provoking presentation from Dr. Food has had me thinking about the future of agriculture for the last 4 weeks, and I have added some thoughts below.

  • An increase in population of over 2 billion people by 2050, where 1.6 billion will be of Muslim or Hindu faith. What will these consumers prefer? What will be their protein of choice? What does this mean for our current, and future, farmers?
  • Africa will double population by 2050 (1 billion to 2 billion), and India, Bangladesh and Pakistan will increase by 0.5b each. Most Eastern European countries will decrease, so what impacts will this have on dynamics in-country? Who will care for their ageing?
  • Population growth is expected to be concentrated to cities. The 10th most populated city in China has the same GDP as the whole of Norway, or double that of NZ!
  • By 2050, China will be importing 6 million tonnes of animal products and 30% of global soy production. What does this mean for the rest of the world’s consumers? What impact will this have on protein demand worldwide?
  • Asian families typically sit down to a 12 course meal whereas westernised families sit down to meat and 3 veg. What does this mean for exporter’s worldwide? Do we need to put more emphasis on how our end consumer cooks and eats? What do they value? Just because chicken breast is the preferred cut in Australia doesn’t mean it is in any Asia country.
  • Protein sources. As producers and scientists, we see fish and red meat as two separate items. However consumers see them as competing protein sources. Should we be considering fish as a competing source when we market it as producers?
  • The future of food and protein. Are we moving to an era that sees red meat and fish take a step back to insects, meatless meat or maggots? Or will we see an increase in these products being used as a protein source for the animals that we use as a protein source?

The main conference joined the Next Generation delegates with the more senior delegates from across the globe. We heard from Princess Anne, and participated in sessions including:

  • Bees, Berries, Bars and Beer – young entrepreneurs who are forging their way in the agricultural industry in Canada
  • Management Show Topic – Managing the complexity of agricultural events on a large scale.
  • Bud Mercer – the future of special events. A perspective gained through the planning for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • Jeffery Fitzpatrick-Stilwell – Sustainability in beef and what it means for McDonald’s from a sourcing and processing perspective.
  • Social License Agriculture – Advocacy for agriculture. Should we protect people from the unpleasant or show the whole agricultural industry as it stands?
  • Agritainment panel – From the Calgary Stampede in Canada to the Kranji Countryside Association in Singapore, we learned how different dynamics lead to different methods of keeping crowds engaged and entertained
  • Peterson Farm Brothers – How using parodies of well-known songs can create opportunities to educate the world on agriculture and farming

The opportunity to attend the RASC Agricultural Conference in Edmonton, Canada, has reinvigorated my passion for agriculture and agricultural events. It has provided me with networks across the globe, containing people from all backgrounds and all ages. The conference introduced me to a range of experts and entrepreneurs who are forging their own path in global agriculture, and they have encouraged me that I have the ability to achieve my aims in agriculture. I have established connections in Australia, and look forward to working with more young people across our country, for example strengthening the connection of the youth committees of the RAS of NSW and RASV.

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A group of Next Generation Delegates – including agriculturalists from Australia, England, Wales and New Zealand! “

If anyone would like to know any more on the RASC Agricultural Conference or my experiences in Canada, I am more than happy to have a chat.

Young Farming Champions Muster December Edition 2

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.  

In the Field

What would a December wrap up be in YFC world without some harvest photos? It’s been a tough year for many grain producers but fortunately some were able to get the headers out after some late rain to finish the season. Grains YFCs Keiley O’Brien and Marlee Langfield sent in some epic paddock shots, thanks ladies! Wishing those who are still yet to finish their harvest all the best.

Keiley Obrien Harvest

Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien – “Not everything we planted made it through this year due to the drought. We had to spray some oats out earlier as it was too moisture stressed, so we are extremely grateful that we are even using the header this year.”

 

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Grains YFC Marlee Langfield – “Team work makes the dream work. Harvest 2018, we did it!”

Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes and partner Hannah Greenshields are reaping the benefits of introducing bee hives at their  Food Farm on the Central Coast .

If there is one thing that is integral to a healthy ecosystem on a farm, it’s bees! These little guys are from our hive from Bee Yourself – they are native stingless bees who are the hardest workers on our farm doing a wonderful job of pollinating our chemical free produce.

Click on the video to watch the bees in action

Out of the Field

YFC and Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton had an opinion piece published in the Stock and Land. She called for a focus on creating pathways into leadership instead of the rollout of further intensive leadership development programs. Read the full article here.   She was very excited to get lots of great positive feedback and people/organisations reaching out

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Coinciding with National Soils Day, Grains YFC Sam Coggins featured on an episode of The AgVocate Podcast. ‘Soil is not dirty word’. You can catch Sam talking all things soil and why he’s so passionate about Ag here

Our YFCs not only get to share their stories with students as part of the Archibull Prize, they are also involved with Picture You in Agriculture’s recently launched Kreative Koalas program. This program encourages students and teachers to have courageous conversations around the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Wool YFC Adele Smith visited Young Public School in November to share wool’s sustainability story. Check out what the students from Young Public School learnt in the program in the video below!

You might have heard Wool YFC and Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dione Howard on the ABC NSW Country Hour a couple of weeks ago. Dione spoke about the risks of livestock grazing canola which has been an issue this year due to farmers using failed crops for grazing. You can hear her interview from 21:08 here.

Congratulations to one of our inaugural YFC Hollie Baillieu on her new position as Manager of Public Policy at Woolworths.

Hollie Baillieu

Formerly Senior Policy Office to Hon Niall Blair MP Minister for Agriculture in NSW Government, Hollie was the inaugural chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council. Passionate about upskilling young people in agriculture on policy and how to develop it we are looking forward to Hollie taking on a mentor role.

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It has been a very exciting week for wool YFC Sam Wan, who celebrated a birthday and was also named as Elders 2018 Employee of the Year at the One Elders Awards! Sam joined the Elders team in 2012 and is currently in a Wool Technical Coordinator role at Elders National Wool Selling Centre in Melbourne. Sam’s award recognised her innovative ideas, as Sam connected wool growers with the live auction room by live streaming wool auctions online. Well done Sam!

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Wool YFC Sam Wan was this week named as Elders 2018 Employer of the Year. Image courtesy of Elders.

Congratulations to grains YFC Rebecca Thistlethwaite who was recently announced as one of the 2019 Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achievers. Rebecca will be involved in RAS and ASC activities during the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2019 and we look forward to following her journey!

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Grains YFC Rebecca Thistlewaite has recently been named as one of the 2019 RAS Rural Achievers

It’s been a big few weeks for Grains YFC Jess Kirkpatrick, she’s bought a little farm and in January is heading up to Tamworth to commence her dream job as a Grain Marketer with Graincorp.

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Grains YFC Jess Kirkpatrick has had a big month securing her dream job and buying a farm!

It is the week for graduations! University of New England celebrated YFCs Lucy Collingridge who has completed her Graduate Certificate in Agriculture and Keiley O’Brien who graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing. YFC Dione Howard graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and Bachelor of Veterinary Science. Congratulations ladies!

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YFC Lucy Collingridge (right) graduated from University of New England. She is pictured with YFC Jasmine Whitten (left) who is set to graduate from UNE in 2019.

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YFC Keiley O’Brien graduated from University of New England and is pictured with her gorgeous daughter Ruby.

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YFC Dione Howard graduated from Charles Sturt University.

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail

Young Farming Champions Muster December 2018 1st Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Grains YFC and farmer Dan Fox has been busy, along with a lot of the dryland farmers, getting crops harvested. Yields are down but generally the quality of crops this year has been really good!

Dan Fox Grain storage

Beef YFC Felicity Taylor has been in a field of a different kind for the past two months, working with Rabobank Food, Agri Mergers and Acquisitions in the Netherlands.

“It was mainly European and North American coverage but had a couple of Aussie companies in the mix also,” Felicity says. “It was very interesting working in a cross-cultural team, especially with people with a lifetime of corporate finance experience learnt across the globe. Overall it was very cool to be working in long term strategic moves for well known consumer food brands and important agriculture supply chain links.”

“It was a great opportunity to confirm where my passions lie, though for now I am keen to get back home and out with farmers again,” Felicity says.

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Felicity’s view on her way to work each day in the Netherlands.

Casey Onus and her fellow Cotton YFC are in the process of completing their audits on cotton producers farms. The aims of the audits are to ensure that growers are complying with the rules and regulations of growing cotton as well as adhering to the resistance management strategies that protect the amazing genetics that are bred into the plants.

Cotton Crop

A number of YFC have been celebrating National Ag Day with a snapshot from their lives. This beautiful message on the GrainCorp Facebook page from Grains YFC Jessica Kirkpatrick sparked a great response on social media:

Great shot from Kristy McCormack who’s currently working in Canada:

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…and this from friend of the YFC program Melissa Neal at #RedMeat2018 forum:

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Out of the Field

YVLT Chair and Dairy YFC Jo Newton has traded Melbourne’s summer for life in the village of Fermoy, Ireland. She’s there for 6 months as part of the Endeavour Research Fellowship Program. As part of her training she’s heading to a Genetics Conference hosted by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation & Sheep Ireland next week. She’ll be sharing all the action on twitter this Wednesday & Thursday.

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YFC Tayla Field spent three days in Tasmania this week finishing the ‘Masterclass of Horticultural Business’ with University of Tasmania, along with a great bunch of growers and business owners from across the country. The trip included a celebration dinner with the Governor of Tasmania as well as two days of touring farms from all areas of the industry. Watch Tayla share her thoughts on the Masterclass here

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Tayla is also celebrating big time that three of the schools she visited in 2018 were announced in the winners circle at The Archibull Prize Awards 

Wool YFC and veterinarian Dione Howard put her interview skills – following last month’s YFC workshop with Greg Mills – to good use last week and got a run on ABC Riverina talking dust storms and animal health on the radio. Listen here.

Wool YFC Samantha Wan ventured to Goulburn to share the positive story that is her career the Australian #wool industry at the city’s Regional Development Australia Southern Inland’s Ag Day barbeque.

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Sam’s story was featured in the Goulburn Post. Read it here.

YFC Steph Fowler is back on Aussie soil after crossing the Pacific for the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth conference in Canada, thanks to a scholarship from RAS NSW. Steph posted this moving testimony about her trip:

“Starting the trip home and despite everyone else from the conference posting about it I still can’t find the words. Perhaps it is because the opportunity to be involved with the RASC has only just begun or maybe it is because I still struggle to put together how the girl from the suburbs who loved animals as a kid has gone this far.

“If you had told 14 year old me, nervous as hell at my first ag show in Newcastle, that all these years later I would head across the world to be part of this I would have said you were on something.

“Massive thank you to the Agricultural Societies Council for the scholarship but more importantly thank you to Cowra Show, particularly our secretary Christie. I would not have been here without your support. Now looking forward to seeing where this journey will take me. Fingers crossed for Norfolk in two years, at least!”

Steph Fowler RAS Conference

Picture Yourself In Agriculture YFC Alana Black spoke on ABC Country Hour last week. Take a listen to the last five minutes of the November 20th podcast and you’ll hear Alana speak about her project Fledgling Farmers,  succession on family farms and the need for education of young farmers on communications competence. Listen here.

YFC Anika Molesworth presented at the Brave New World conference on climate and by all reports gave a fabulous, from the heart speech about the future and risks to Australia agriculture. The feedback from those lucky enough to be there has been outstanding. Well done Anika!

Last week YFC Meg Rice and Jasmine Whitten travelled to the nation’s capital for the 2018 Country to Canberra Power Trip conference.

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Jasmine had the privilege of being a panel speaker at the Country to Canberra Power Trip with Alpha Cheng, Nip Wijewickrema and Lousie Burrows speaking on “Personal Perspectives: Navigating the Road to Equality.”

She shared her life experiences of being a woman working in agriculture and how people have told her she could not be something because she was young or female. A testament to her positivity, Jasmine sees these barriers as redirections because they push her to find different pathways or to create her own pathway to achieve her goals. Her experiences resonated with many women in the room and let them know they are not alone on their journey. Jasmine believes in the adage,  “We share our stories not for ourselves but to help other who are on the same journey.”

Meg attended Monday night’s panel session, saying, “ The evening was a wonderful opportunity to meet the brave young women from rural and remote communities who had put their hands up to be leaders as well as listen to the inspiring stories of those that are already leaders within our communities. I was very proud to listen to fellow YFC and friend, Jasmine Whitten, share her struggles and triumphs within the agricultural industry.”

The University of New England has featured a few of our wonderful YFC (and UNE alumni) on their blog this week. Congratulations to Casey Onus who recently graduated from UNE with her MBA, no mean feat while working full time: Read her story here.

Jo Newton, our YVLT chair has also been featured at UNE for all of her fabulous work both in and out of the field, championing young women’s careers and proving that there is no such thing as too smart for agriculture. Read her story here.

Cotton YFC Emma Ayliffe also began the first half of her adventure are in ADAMA’s Young Agronomist of the Year competition. Emma jetted to Sydney to join the winners and runners up of the competition, as well as the Cotton Industries Young Achievers winners and nominees for the last three years. It was an opportunity for networking, with a strong focus on Ag Tech and its fit into the future of farming. Emma, along with the winner Kirsty and rising star Michelle, will venture to Israel next year on a two week study tour.

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Prime Cuts

Congratulations to YFC Sam Coggins whose startup Rise Harvest has been selected for a Singapore based accelerator to develop and scale a smartphone app that will deliver site-specific fertiliser recommendations to smallholder rice growers in Myanmar using leaf photos and the farmer’s knowledge. Brilliant news Sam, well done!

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Well done to Cotton YFC Alexandria Galea who was recently nominated for the Ministers Emerging Leaders Award at the AgFutures Investment and Innovation Forum in Brisbane.

Alexandria Galea

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