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

 

Expressions of Interest are open for Northern Territory Young Farming Champions

Are you an early career professional with a passion to lead and advocate for farming in the Northern Territory?

Do you want to become a confident communicator and trusted voice in the agriculture sector?

If so then Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA), in conjunction with NT Farmers, is seeking applications to join the prestigious Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Graduates of this program become Young Farming Champions – a network of globally connected young thought-leaders thriving in business and in life, who are inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture.

Young people aged between 18 and 35, who are studying or who have completed tertiary education, are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation.

2021 represents the first year of collaboration between PYiA and NT Farmers.

“NT Farmers want to encourage emerging leaders to promote the diverse farming industry, from cropping to horticulture, and lead the industry into the future,” NT Farmers Education Development Officer Anna Day said.  “NT Farmers chose the Young Farming Champions program as part of a range of initiatives to promote agriculture to future generations as well as highlight some of the fantastic work being done by young people in NT agriculture.  NT Farmers are investing in educating and engaging young people to develop and enhance a vital industry with fantastic future opportunities. The Young Farming Champions program is a great opportunity for young NT farmers to receive coaching and mentoring as well as networking opportunities and intergenerational expertise.” 

Alumni of this prestigious program include climate change thought-leader Anika Molesworth, winner of the Leadership category of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards Dr Jo Newton OAM and 2019 wool-broker of the year Samantha Wan.

Download the EOI brochure here

Submit your EOI here

For more information contact Picture You in Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong at lynnestrong@pyia.com.au

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

 

Emma Ayliffe says there is an urgent need for industry to take a whole of farm approach to careers in agriculture.

We are very excited to be launching our Crafting Career series which is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for the agriculture sector to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to jobs in agriculture whilst they are at school
  • ensure there are multiple touch points to agriculture along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources into agricultural career pathways and jobs
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements
  • inspire the agriculture sector to take a whole of supply chain approach to being the image we want the world to see

The series begins with an opinion piece by the 2020 Chair of the YVLT Emma Ayliffe which appeared in print and online media this week and is reprinted below

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Tony Mahar(National Farmers Federation) Lesley Leyland (Austral Fisheries)  Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach

“We are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with”

Emma Ayliffe (right) with Summit Ag director Heath McWhirter and consultants Ben, Chelsea and Sam.

Opinion

As an agronomist, farmer, business owner and Young Farming Champion sharing my career journey in schools I know agriculture is providing me with an amazing career.

 

I work in agriculture. One day I might be out in the field advising a cotton grower about how to control whitefly, another day I will be managing my business, Summit Ag Agricultural Consulting, where we have six team members. I’m also a farmer producing wool, first cross lambs and growing wheat, oats, barley and canola. As a Young Farming Champion, I share my agricultural experiences with school kids in the city and the country.

 

I am continually discovering that many students are interested and passionate about agriculture, but they don’t know the breadth and depth of opportunities.

 

Yet we hear every day about on-farm staff shortages, and the consequences of this for increasing food prices. As people involved in agriculture, we need to become far more proactive and strategic in the way we promote agriculture as a career of first choice.

 

The statistics are in our favour. Research tells us there are six jobs for every graduate from an agriculture-related degree. For those not looking for an on-farm job,  82% of those jobs are beyond the farm gate and 40% are in cities. In the next ten years there will be a 15% growth in scientific, research and information technology jobs which support the production of food and fibre. There is also expected to be a 10% increase in jobs behind the farm gate and a 9% increase in jobs that provide agricultural education and training. Agriculture really has got it all.

Research also tells us that young people going from primary to secondary schools have closed their minds to 70% of the careers that are available. We also know 46% of Australians have at least one parent who wasn’t born here.

 

Reaching the hearts and minds of the next generation of agriculturists requires us to reach the hearts and minds of their parents. This starts in our schools. Going into schools and speaking with students, as I do with my role as a Young Farming Champion, means the potential future workforce can see what a career in agriculture looks like. It gives them role models and expands their view of agriculture behind and beyond the farm gate.

 

But if we are going to have real impact promoting agriculture to the next generation, we must move beyond sharing statistics and become specific. We must be able to show future employees (and their parents) what the jobs are and where they are.

 

This means our industry bodies need to provide clarity about predicting and planning for our future workforce needs. If we are to evolve and keep pace with our changing world and respond quickly and positively to unexpected events, we must have strategies for recruiting, training and developing capability, and mobility.

 

Students need to understand that a dairy herd manager can earn $150,000 a year and work internationally. They need to know  that you don’t need the HSC or tertiary education qualifications to earn $2000 for a four-day week as a shearer. Students need to be aware of the career opportunities available – from  modifying cutting edge technology to produce automated vehicles for the cropping industry to contributing to healthy oceans through working within aquaculture.

 

Then students can go home and influence the views of their parents and their communities – our consumers.

 

We also need industry to step up and provide an attractive workplace for future employees; workplaces that embrace diversity and gender balance, workplaces that offer flexible ways of doing business and workplaces that use high-end technology.

 

We need to showcase agriculture as providing food and fibre as well as delivering on strong consumer-driven ethics around issues such as climate change and sustainability.

 

To ensure agriculture attracts the best and brightest employees of the future we need to start now. We must identify skills gaps, conduct workplace forecasting, invest in our young leaders, promote positive stories, and listen to the consumer who is often the parent of tomorrow’s agriculturist.

 

I have an extraordinary career in agriculture. I want others to know they can too.

Seen first at Grain Central  

 

Technology helping farmers get better outcomes for the planet

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

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

Farm Overview

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

Business partners: Emma Ayliffe and partner Craig and his family

Farm size: 1700 acres (688 hectares)

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

Topography: rolling hills, red loam

Rainfall: 360mm per year

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

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

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

Tristan Stevenson from StevTech launching the surveillance drone.

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to SteveTech for image

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

Thank you to SteveTech for the image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the movement and Fight Food Waste 

#NetZeroFarming #TogetherWeCan #YouthinAg

 

Australian Farmers on a Mission to Achieve #NetZeroFarming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm Overview:

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

Business partners: Emma Ayliffe and partner Craig and his family

Farm size: 1700 acres (688 hectares)

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

Topography: rolling hills, red loam

Rainfall: 360mm per year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The photo below shows a moment during the 2020 harvest.

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

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

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

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

Join the movement and Fight Food Waste 

#TogetherWeCan #NetZeroFarming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expressions of Interest to participate are now open here

#GlobalGoals #SDGs #ArchieAction2021  #YouthVoices2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole’s interviews with team members elicited responses including:

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

#YouthinAg #LeadershipDevelopment #DailyHabits #YouthVoices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#Zerohunger #Zerowaste #GlobalGoals

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

 

2020 – what a year it has been.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Emma Ayliffe (Chair):

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

Dione Howard (Vice-Chair):

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

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

Jo Newton (Returning Officer):

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

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

Samantha Wan (Innovation Hub Representative):

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

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

Anika Molesworth (Partnerships Ambassador):

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

Jess Fearnley (Intern):

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

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

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

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