“Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass”.

Today’s guest blogger is Jack Piggott

Jack is currently at Bond University studying degrees in Law (LLB) and Biomedial Science (BBioMedSci).

Jack Piggott

I know it is an unusual combination, but it is more complementary that people think and I enjoy it.
I am a passionate voice of youth, and have been involved in many projects and initiatives to that effect.

For the last week the Art4agricultureChat has been showcasing the amazing youth initiative that is Heywire

I invited Jack to write a blog because not only is he a previous Heywire winner You can read his winning story here excitingly his team managed to get their “pitch” idea up and running – see footnote

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Jack shares his Heywire experience ……….

Wow. A year passes so quickly these days. Back in the good ‘ole days, I used to get a full twelve months, now I’m flat out getting 6 with no change! You see it was this time last year I was hopping on a plane Canberra bound, full of anticipation (and trepidation I must admit) for Heywire. If you’re not familiar with Heywire, go and have a look at their website now. I’m serious, go now!

You’re back! Did you spend the better part of an hour reading, watching and listening to the winner’s stories? I know I did. Why? It’s because Heywire attracts some of the most engaging young storytellers from across the country. And because they are from regional and rural areas, they’re telling stories that we don’t seem to hear a lot of these days. Stories about emergency landings while flying with your father, or about homesickness that you get at boarding school 1000km away from your family and culture, and the quirks of donating blood, real stories by real young people living “outside of capital cities” who don’t often get heard.

But the brilliant thing about Heywire is that it doesn’t just stop there. It gives you the skills and contacts to put ideas into action, and to take that action to the people. And that is something rural youth need; because often we have good ideas, only for them to disappear because we’re too far away from where all the action is.

And it’s that, a disconnect, that lies at the heart of the city – country divide, and alleviating it goes a long way to solving the ‘people’ problems that we face in the sticks. I say ‘people’ problems; what I mean is problems with industry perception, recruitment and political issues.

And why do I think that young people are the best to solve these problems? It’s not merely the fact that the average age of famers (of all breeds) has risen from 44 in 1981 to 53 years in 2011 (and to 60 if you’re a Qld. beef producer!). It’s because youth have the most creative approaches to solving some of the big issues in farming and then they ask the question “why not?” I’m not suggesting that we have all the answers, and we have much to learn from the generations who have done a lot of the hard work.

But we need to be involved in the big decisions that are made in the industry. After all we’re the ones who are going to have to live with it. That’s why we need Heywire and programs like it. To shake things up and take a fresh look! It’s as Noble prize winning poet Maya Angelou observed: I love to see the young go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Footnote

Ideas developed at the 2011 Heywire Youth Issues Forum including Jack’s team were presented to the then Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon as part of the recommendations of a major health conference.
Jack and his team’s Heywire proposal called on the federal government to fund a telephone psychology clinic that would allow people in remote areas to have regular appointments with a qualified mental health provider over the telephone; and access the same provider each time.
“It’s great to see that this conference believes that our idea has merit and that young people can a driving force in health service innovation,” says Jack
The idea was chosen as one of 13 priority recommendations out of nearly 250 submitted to the conference, where mental health was a prominent issue.
“This recommendation presumably stood out because it deals with an issue of undoubted current importance and is detailed and practical,” says Gordon Gregory, Executive Director of the National Rural Health Alliance, which ran the event. “It would provide better continuity of care and confidentiality to people suffering from mental illness in remote areas.”
The conference recommendation reads:
“To increase access to mental health services in rural areas the government should fund a telephone psychology clinic through Medicare. Clients would be referred through pathways that enable them to access existing Medicare rebates (mental health packages). To ensure continuity of care, the patient would be treated by the same qualified mental health professional each time, who would know the particulars of their client, and offer ongoing treatment (as opposed to current telephone services which focus on intervention).”

More details about the Heywirer’s telephone psychology clinic proposal can be found here. And the group’s ‘How to Change a Life’ website can be found here.

Like Jack you too can make a real difference it just requires “two hands, two eyes and a heart.”

Heywire is open for your entries right now – upload them directly to the site. The Heywire competition calls for stories about you and the community where you live.
To enter, visit abc.net.au/heywire

Follow Jack on Twitter  @jackpiggott

Visit his website here http://www.jackpiggott.com/

Agriculture can take you anywhere you chose

Recently Victoria Taylor asked in the Flourish Files AgScience and the Shrinking Work Force  “Why can’t we retain students in Agricultural Science courses?” Victoria suggested that one of the reasons was the lack of clarity about the highly diverse careers in agriculture and if a student decides at the end of first year that they don’t want to be an agronomist or farmer anymore, how do we let them know there are a number of other career options open to Agriculture Science graduates?

Art4agriculuture have taken up this challenge and will be posting a number of blogs written by exciting young people who have completed agriculture degrees and now work in the agrifood sector or are doing exciting things whilst completing their agriculture related degree

We recently featured Melissa Henry – Life in a country town and today we hear Hollie Baillieu’s story

This blog post has been adapted from the presentation Hollie gave at the Careers Advisors Conference in Liverpool, Sydney in November 2011.

Where can an agricultural degree take you?  by Hollie Baillieu

The answer is – anywhere you chose!

I couldn’t be happier knowing that I have a strong future in agriculture.

I think that most people have the perception of agriculture as being a male dominated industry. To put it simply, the Agricultural sector wants females, they are encouraging us and they are employing us and more and more I see no hesitation when a woman enters a room looking for a job in agriculture.

This is my story.

I am currently working in Sydney for the Australian Year of the Farmer, I am the Chair person of the NSW Young Farmer Council, I am an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and I am a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Agriculture school programs.

I grew up on a small property in Exeter, in the Southern Highlands only a couple of hours south of Sydney. Here we had cattle, sheep, goats and for a time – meat rabbits. I have always been surrounded by dogs, horses, ducks and geese, chickens, and more often than not I would have a lamb or kid close on my heels thinking I was its mum.

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I went on to study Agriculture at high school by correspondence as one of my subjects for the HSC which gave me just a taste for what was to come.

After school I took a year off from study so after travelling to India, the UK and parts of America I started the season in the Northern Territory on a cattle station called Newcastle Waters.

The station is 3.5 million acres, holding 50,000 commercial cattle and 5000 stud cattle. Newcastle Waters was special to me because my grandfather had once owned it. The fact that I was there, where my grandfather had been meant a lot to me, however it didn’t really help me adjust to the work ahead.

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Dare I say it but most of the men had more ego than brain. This gave me a challenge. I didn’t know what I was doing, I wasn’t rough and blokey, I was tentative, shy, and most of the time I was just nervous I was going to mess it up.

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During the day we were on horse back mustering the cattle from their paddocks to the yards. This was a full days ride and at the start of the season we were up at 3.30am, in the saddle by daylight and walking the cattle in until 10 or 11pm at night.

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It was blistering hot, my lips doubled in size and my hands peeled from sunburn. We were tired, thirsty and so too were the cattle. The next day would be a day in the yards, sorting, culling, weaning and pregnancy testing. Another long dusty dry day and then we would turn around and do it all again the next day.

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I don’t think words could explain exactly what it was like. As I said it was a challenge. I had one thing on my side in that I could ride. There were some jackaroos who had never ridden a horse and I’ll tell you they learnt pretty quickly.

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In this environment particularly, a purely physical environment, as a girl you have to prove yourself. A couple of months in I was gradually doing that. At one point I was the only girl in a camp of 10 guys; once again it was a challenge. But I persisted, there was no way I was quitting and by the end of the year, I had gained lifelong friends and I didn’t want to leave.

However it was time to move on and I started a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Sydney University and later transferred to the same course in Wagga. Hollie 4 Blog 0007

When I started uni I gave myself choices. I also signed up for the Army Reserve. I knew I loved agriculture but I didn’t know where I could really go with it and I had always been interested in the Army so I thought if I do this and if one doesn’t work out, I have options.

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I loved being involved in the reserves and I always felt proud when I put my uniform on, but in the end Agriculture has taken me on and it’s consumed my life really. I think that there are a lot of links between the sort of people that are in the army and those in agriculture. In fact during the interview process they loved that I had a rural background. They mentioned it couple of times that country people can often do very well in the army. Apparently it’s the practical nature and easy going personality that really works in the army.

My involvement in the wider agriculture industry really began when I signed up to the NSW Young Farmers Council late in 2009.

It started with just a phone call to see how I could be more involved in the NSW Farmers Association and from that I went along to the leadership forum. It was fantastic and in 3 months I became the vice chair and in March this year I was voted in as the Chair of the Young Farmer Council. It all happened very quickly and I have no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am and I would not have had the opportunities that I have had if it wasn’t for the NSW Farmers Association and our Young Farmer Council.

Which university?

You have those people who are perhaps more practically minded and hands on and those that are more management focused and perhaps corporate based. The great thing is that the agriculture industry can incorporate all of these people

We need practical people who want to be hands and the vocational educational training (VET) courses through TAFE are a fantastic system and can work very well. A few of my friends at university did VET courses while still at school and universities are recognising these qualifications and giving credit points towards a degree.

And the second group of students are those that are more corporate and management focused or just more suited to a university degree.

My experience tells me it is imperative that the correct educational institution is matched to the student. I fell into the trap of choosing a degree at a university that all my friends were going to. I didn’t look into what suited me and hence why I didn’t stay there very long.

When I started my agriculture degree off at Sydney University I did this for a number of reasons. It had the highest UAI acceptance, it had the best name, it was exciting and all my friends were there. I didn’t even look into other uni’s because I had made up my mind Sydney was the uni for me.

Sadly it didn’t work out for me. What I found was that Sydney unis course focused heavily on research. If I was into laboratory work and research I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It had an extremely high level of expectation and achievement and produces phenomenal graduates. What it lacks is the practical component that I love so much. The first year and some of the second I believe – we are put in classes with the med students and vet students. Us aggies didn’t get UAI’s of 99 so the standard was incredible and for me I wasn’t dedicated enough to really push myself and go through with it. And sadly there many who felt the same.

So I transferred to Charles Sturt Uni (CSU) in Wagga and I haven’t looked back since. At Sydney we wouldn’t have done the practical stuff until 4th year but in Wagga we were living within a working property so we were constantly surrounded by it, we lived and breathed it and loved it.

At CSU, they know every individual – you are not a number, you are a person. The courses are so relevant and the lecturers are so in tune with what the students want from the course

CSU have just started a really interesting element to the agriculture degree. It is now a four year course but in that 4thyear – half the year you are actually employed by an agribusiness. So you are out in the work force experiencing what its like. Which I think is really good especially if you don’t know what area you want to go into – its not so good for those people who do know where they want to be but it will be interesting to hear from the group for 2012 how it is and what they got out of it.

The other uni’s on the east coast are UNE in Armidale, Gatton in QLD and Marcus Oldham in Victoria. I have had friends at each of these with both UNE and Gatton and they say similar things to what it is like at CSU. The courses are called slightly different things but basically very similar and hands on. Marcus Oldham is a little different because it is a private university. It’s quite expensive but the courses tend to be shorter and they are jam packed rather than being so spread out like the other uni’s often do.

One thing that I have learnt over the past few years is the importance of being involved in the industry before you enter it. So at university get holiday work and jobs that fit your industry. Over the years I have worked in many areas of agriculture including an alpaca stud, a vineyard, cattle stud, a dairy and the cotton industry

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You must have an interest and want to get involved in it or when you start your first job – you are behind the eight ball.

I have found that my involvement with NSW Young Farmers Council has helped with my knowledge of the industry, I am more knowledgeable about the issues that are important to farmers in all primary industries and I have a broader understanding of agriculture and its politics in general. I used to get so frustrated at people in my own course who had no solid opinion about the live export ordeal or what was happening with grains, international trade, the price wars, competing against countries that have large subsidies – I could go on. It frustrated me because they had no interest and this was the industry they were entering into. It is so important to know your industry, to soak up all the info out there and grasp a really strong handle on what is happening and get involved.

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The way I see it we need to get a broader understanding of agriculture and how it’s related to our every day lives. I love hearing of people who combined degrees. Engineering with agriculture. Architecture with Agriculture. Agriculture with economics. All those people to feed and clothe and house. Innovation and technology – nano, GPS, VRT, GM. I could go on all day saying how I love this industry and how passionate I am – its not just some crazy whim – there is such huge potential, it is incredible and I love it.

Australian Year of the Farmer Roadshow puts the pedal to the metal

Exciting times:

Nine Roadshow units including a custom built Pantech for the Royal Shows and 8 4WD and a purpose built trailer are travelling to the majority of Royal Shows and local agricultural shows, agricultural field days, major cultural festivals and sporting event around Australia, throughout 2012 as part of the Australian Year of the Farmer showcase

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The AYOF National Roadshow will be a celebration of Australian farmers and produce. It will entertain and educate all Australians – metropolitan, rural and regional; delivering key messages supporting the Year’s objectives and tagline, “Our Farmers. Our Future.”

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The Roadshow exhibits will be attended by some of the AYOF Ambassadors, industry leaders, celebrities and local identities who will “meet and greet”, interacting with the general public about the Year of the Farmer.

These Roadshow units will be exhibited at 250 plus events including the V8 Supercars, travelling a combined distance of over 56,000 kilometres, within twelve months.

Art4agriculture Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton featured here

has signed on for the Roadshow team and is having the time of her life

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A feature of the Roadshow is the opportunity for kids to paint cow shaped money boxes Here is Stephanie overseeing some young Picassos

This is the Roadshow itinerary for February. Shout it from the rooftops if it is coming to a town near year. Introduce yourself to Stephanie and the team and maybe even paint a cow moneybox

Victoria:

9-10 February 2012 Hamilton Beef Expo
11 February 2012 Tyrendarra Show
15 -17/02/2012 Sungold Field Days, Allansford
24-25 February 2012 Rochester Show
25-26 February 2012 Berwick & District Show

South Australia

11th February 2012 Taste the Limestone Coast
18th February 2012 Uraidla and Summertown Show
25-26 February 2012 Angaston Show

NEW SOUTH WALES

10-11 February 2012 Nowra Show
11-12 February 2012 Crookwell Show
17-19 February 2012 Maitland & Hunter River Show
17-18 February 2012 Guyra Show
23-25 February 2012 Inverell Show
25 February 2012 Rylstone-Kandos Show

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3-4 February 2012 Stanthorpe Show
10-11 February 2012 Allora Show
10-12 February 2012 Glen Innes Show
17-19 February 2012 Clifton Show
24-25 February 2012 Killarney Show
25th February 2012 Cooyar Show

ROYAL UNIT

17-19 February 2012 Seymour Alternative Farming Expo
24-26 February 2012 Canberra Royal Show

Life in a country town – Young farming champion Melissa Henry shares her story

Today’s guest blog is by Ar4agriculture Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry who lives and works at Boorowa in Central NSW

As a Young Farming Champion going into Sydney schools for the Archibull Prizeand talking with others in the city community, a common question I am asked is “what is it like to like in a country town?” There are a lot of negative misconceptions about what life in a rural community is like. In this post, I will share with you my perspectives and what I love most about country living.

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Melissa with the students from St Michael’s Catholic Primary School, Baulkham Hills.

I grew up in the western Sydney suburbs of the Hawkesbury District. My first introduction to rural Australia was through my agricultural education – having the opportunity to show livestock and do project-based work in rural enterprises. I fell in love!

I moved to the Boorowa/ Harden area in November 2010. Boorowa is approx. 1.5hrs west of Canberra and 3.5hrs south west of Sydney.

I love the open spaces, the quiet, the birds, seeing wildlife almost daily, recognising people when you walk down the street, watching the weather fronts as they move across the landscape.

I admire the values of country people: genuine, friendly, open, family focussed, dedicated, innovative, passionate about what they do and their communities.

I am inspired by the community spirit, particularly in times of extreme weather events such as floods and fire. Individuals pull together at the drop of a hat to help others in need, from moving stock to making sure that there is food in the fridge.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a location where I can fulfil my passion – owning a small sheep stud. I am also grateful for the lifestyle that I am now living.

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Flopsey and her twin lambs

So what is in the town of Boorowa with a shire population of 2500 people? Bakery, cafes, butcher, gift shop, a fibre & textile studio, newsagency, post office, IGA, chemist, small hospital, emergency services, rural supply stores, Ex-Services Club, pubs with great meals and accommodation, Chinese restaurant, real estate agents, banks, mechanic, hairdressers, hardware stores, library, schools, recreation park, sports fields, race course, golf course, swimming pool, showground, caravan park, Council, Tourism Information, and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority office (where I work). I find that it is everything that I need on a week to week basis.

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Boorowa’s main street – proud of its wool products

One of my favourite events in the year is Boorowa’s Irish Woolfest – a celebration of the town’s Irish heritage and the fine merino wool that is produced in the region. The event is made famous by the “running of the sheep” down the main street – Boorowa’s response to the Spanish running of the bulls!

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The town is a buzz for this October long weekend each year. In 2011 there was an estimated 18,000 people who came to see everything that Boorowa has to offer. Will I see you there this year?

For more information about Boorowa and the Irish Woolfest, visit http://www.irishwoolfest.boorowa.net/

For more information about the NSW Regional Relocation Grant, visit http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/benefits/rrg/

You can see the video (and her gorgeous sheep) Melissa created for her in school visits here

and access her PowerPoint Presentation Baa Baa Black Sheep here

Don’t miss this one St Michael’s Primary School share their appreciation of Australian farmers

and their excellent  video entry for Archibull Prize

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and their prize winning PowerPoint presentation

http://www.slideshare.net/art4agriculture/st-michaels-catholic-school-archibull-prize-2011-entry-wool

Attracting and retaining the best and the brightest to agriculture higher education

Art4agriculture Young Farming Champions are promoting agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry and sparking the next generations’ interest in an agricultural career.

Yet the retention rate in university agriculture based courses is far from ideal. Where are we going wrong? How do we fix this?  

Today’s post by guest blogger Art4agriculture’s communication manager Victoria Taylor who blogs at http://flourishfiles.typepad.com/flourishfiles/ reflects on this serious problem for future food security and our investment in young people

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AgSci and the Shrinking Workforce – by Victoria Taylor

 

This morning, @OzPIEF tweeted a statistic from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations stating that employment in Agriculture declined by 94,400 (24.9%) over the 10 years to November 2011.

This caused me to reflect on two other Twitter posts that caught my attention recently.

The first was an article from the Central Western Daily, posted by @SammileeTTT where Charles Sturt University’s new head of agriculture, Professor John Mawson said:

“The proportion of university-trained employees in the industry is not as high as it should be. We desperately need to attract more students into agricultural careers.”

That’s nothing new to those of us who work in or with agricultural industries and the statistics back him up. In 2005 the Productivity Commission in their research paper “Trends in Australian Agriculture” found that the proportion of people working in agriculture with a degree was around 7% whereas 22% of the community as a whole had a degree.

The other tweet was by @KondininGroup which referred to Victorian Farmers Federation concerns that the higher education base funding review has recommended raising the fees for agricultural courses at university by up to 25%.

It seems incongruous that these two pronouncements can co-exist. How can the answer to low enrolments in Agricultural Science (AgSci) be to increase fees?

But it made me think about what may be contributing to a low take up of AgSci degrees. I don’t think fees tell the whole story.

Why are some Agricultural Science degrees still four years long?

Agricultural Science is a complex and technical subject area but computer science, accounting, journalism and even many straight Science degrees are only three years. I don’t think it could be said that those students spending an extra year in Agricultural Science are rewarded financially for their efforts on graduation.

Why are so many Agricultural Science degrees inflexible?

I accept that AgSci provides graduates with a comprehensive understanding across a range of disciplines. I am continually reminded that a solid grounding in basic science is transferable across a number industries, which serves graduates and agriculture well. I wonder though, if a student is ultimately interested in animal nutrition, why do some degrees insist they study agronomy for three years before they can specialise?

What is the link between AgSci and Farming?

An AgSci degree doesn’t teach you how to farm, it teaches the science that underpins agricultural production.  So an industry leader told me recently when discussing this issue.  Some students are therefore disillusioned when they get to university and find the degree is focussed on science, not farming.  

Why can’t we retain students in Agricultural Science courses?

I guess some of the above points may contribute to low retention rates.  One farmer told me of the 100+ students in their first year only 4 graduated. Where did all those young people go? Well, some transferred to straight Science where they had more freedom to pursue their interests, some went home to the farm questioning the degree’s relevance to their family’s operations and some had just changed their minds about what they wanted to do…which is the right of all young people of course!

I’d like to add a lack of clarity about career paths to the list.

Many of you can think of at least a dozen people in highly diverse careers in agriculture – agronomists, bankers, PR people, scientists, advisers, lobbyists, farmers, machinery dealers, policy makers…etc

If a student decides at the end of first year that they don’t want to be an agronomist or farmer anymore, how do we let them know there are a number of other career options open to AgSci graduates?

Apart from encounters with family and friends, how often do we take the time to engage with young people to demonstrate how rewarding and diverse a career in agriculture can be? 

We owe it to ourselves, to protect the investment we’ve made in our businesses and industries and to secure the future of food and fibre production, to support and invest in our young people. 

A new group of school-leavers are about to start their AgSci degrees…what will YOU do to keep them there?

Giving…. Not just a once a year sport!

Guest Blog by Kirsty John – Art4Agriculture Program and Event Management

As we rapidly approach the end of 2011, we often find ourselves reflecting on our year, what have we achieved, what didn’t we tick of that to do list, who have we met and how have our lives changed. As I took a moment to think about that, I quickly realised that one of the highlights of my year was the working with Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture. So, I asked Lynne if I could do a guest blog post – little did she know that it would be about her J

In this age of tweeting, Facebooking, four walling, blogging, Youtubing and any other ‘ing’ you can add to that, life begins to move at an incredible speed, where reactions to issues, statements, achievements are immediate and if you don’t react immediately you sometimes feel like the moment is lost. A constant ‘lost moment’ I felt this year, was being able to say to Lynne ‘well done on what you have done for individuals and an industry in 2011!’

We have all seen the traffic and conversations created through the Archibull Prize Program and the Young Farming Champions Program. Some of the great ‘Agvocacy’ success stories have been Emma Visser (Heywire winner), Steph Tarlinton (profiled Young Farming Champion), Melissa Henry (Coloured sheep entrepreneur) and Hollie Baillieu (AYOF Ambassador), just to name a few. These amazing young women in agriculture have something in common – Lynne Strong and the time she has given to each of them to assist them reach their potential. It’s mentoring of the 21st century kind, where their individual talents have been exposed and nurtured and the modern day tools they need, like voice training, how to talk ‘consumer’ and video story telling have been given to them to get the message out there that agriculture is a great industry to be in.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

 

Lynne is one of those people who gives, and often does not realise the greatness of her giving on a daily basis – it is not a once a year sport, it’s a long and sometimes bloody tiring season, but I have seen the outcomes bring a smile to Lynne’s face and a tear to her eyes.

So as you consider your resolutions for 2012, think about how you can inspire, motivate, mentor, support and be the change that we need to see in the agricultural industry to ensure a strong future. It can be as simple as not losing the moment or the opportunity to congratulate the great work that your fellow farmers, your friends and family do on a daily basis (that’s my resolution!) to being open to sharing your stories and experiences with the current generation, to being not afraid of having a big idea and putting yourself out there with it. That’s exactly what Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture did and the proof from this giving is definitely in the Christmas pudding!!

 

Merry Christmas and here’s to a great 2012!

Kirsty John

Artwork judge Wendy Taylor on the Archibull Prize 2011

This post has been written by the Archibull Prize artwork judge Wendy Taylor who visited Mt Druitt Tutorial and Alice Betteridge School for Deaf and Blind Children on day four of judging by herself whilst I presented at the Careers Advisor Conference in Liverpool.

Wendy’s reflection on her four days visiting the schools

The most remarkable thing that I have found with the Archibull Prize this year is that irrespective of the circumstance of the school, whether they are the most privileged private school, a catholic school, state or selective high school, the impact of the programme was consistent. It was irrelevant whether the children were handpicked from gifted and talented classes or had learning difficulties. Again they all benefited equally and learnt from the programme. It was also irrelevant whether the children were in Kindergarten, Year 11 and 12 students, Agriculture classes or Art classes or a combined effort. All students gained from being included in the programme.

This is a remarkable end result. It shows that whatever field of education you apply it to it will have an impact on the children involved. I think that it is as relevant for inner city areas, rural areas and indigenous communities. The appeal of the programme is that because it is outside the normal curriculum, it breeds enthusiasm among both students and teachers. This manifests itself in increased learning, attendance, school spirit and a cooperative experience between students and teachers.

It is undoubted that the programme increases an understanding, appreciation and knowledge of agriculture and demonstrates to children that a career in agriculture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit on a tractor. I am sure that when Art4Agriculture up with the concept of the programme that they didn’t envision a response on so many different levels, from the individual students to the school community as a whole.

Wendy on school visits on Day of judging

Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre– “Chickcow”

On Friday I was abandoned by Lynne and ventured out on my own to visit the final two schools on our mega roadtrip.

The first was Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre. This is a dedicated school for children at risk.

I walked into the classroom expecting a cow depicting one of the commodity groups which I had seen over the last three days. Imagine my surprise when confronted with our very first “Chickcow”!

This cow definitely shows off the poultry industry, with its sculptural head, tail and feet. It has both tactile and painted feathers as well as many ‘info-feathers’ showing facts about the industry. The best bit of this cow is underneath with its precious clutch of hatching ‘chickcowlets’.

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The programme was embraced by much of the school, with the art class making the ceramic eggs, the cooking classes focussing on poultry and egg recipes and many other students involved in the work on the cow itself.

This cow was so precious to the school that they couldn’t bring themselves to pierce its ear for the earrings they wanted it to have, so they had to come up with plan B (which you have to admit is great- made from clip-on egg rings!)

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From the teacher

Time is up, so I am off to the next school.

Alice Betteridge–“Betsy”

Lucky last school for our judging road trip is Alice Betteridge School for the Deaf and Blind run by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

This year, Alice Betteridge is participating for the second time in the Archibull Prize programme. Last year they won the primary school section and this year thought they would try the High School section.

Alice Betteridge 2010

Alice Betteridge students and teachers with their winning entry from 2010

Annie (from Year 7) and Kirsten (from Year 9) were there to tell me about their calf, called “Betsy”.

While last year their entry was very tactile, with differing textures, finishes and built out areas, this year they have completed a very simple and elegant collage of relevant pictures. They found that because the children couldn’t feel the difference in the components, they wanted to know what each picture was and its relevance. They therefore had a much more complete learning experience. It was fascinating what the children could tell me about the pictures without being able to see them.

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They have pictures at the head of the calf showing rural images with pictures at the rear showing urban images and products. In the centre, linking the two, there is the Harbour Bridge over water with images of the process from grain to product.

Annie and Kirsten tell you what they have learnt here

As this is the last school (whew!!) I would just like to thank all the schools for their time and dedication to this programme, and for the phenomenal effort they have all put in. The results are beyond expectation and have completely blown us away. Well done to all! Thank you.

BUDDING YOUNG ARTISTS LEARN ABOUT LIFE ON THE LAND

Our special guest at the 2011 Archibull Prize was the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Katrina Hodgkinson who recognised the efforts of budding young artists as part of the agricultural art award, the 2011 Archibull Prize.

The Minister spoke extensively with students from a number of schools as she viewed the finalist artworks which will be on display for six weeks at Woolworths Head Office at Bella Vista.

“The Archibulls provide a unique opportunity for our city kids to learn all about farming, agriculture, and where our food comes from,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Using videos, artwork, blogs and multimedia, school kids from Western Sydney this year tackled the theme, what it takes to sustainably feed and clothe Sydney for a day. The students had the opportunity to express their thoughts on agriculture and rural Australia by designing and decorating an iconic life-sized fibreglass cow. As part of the Art4Agriculture awards, each school researched and showcased a key agricultural commodity, including dairy, beef, sheep, wool, cotton, grains and poultry. It was my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2011 Archibull Prize as Caroline Chisholm College of Glenmore Park who turned their blank cow into a Rubik’s Cube to tell the story of beef,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the Art4Agriculture initiative is a great way for students growing up in the city to get a real insight into life on the land.

“Each school was mentored by a Young Farming Champion who worked with the students through the project and shared their experiences of life on the land. By rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, the program is an innovative way of bridging the rural-urban divide and helping tomorrow’s leaders understand the challenges of feeding the world.”

More than 20 urban Sydney schools took part in the Archibull Prize this year.
The Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize was developed with the support of the NSW Department of Primary Industries LandLearn initiative, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Woolworths and RIRDC.

More photos can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/art4agriculture/

See the winning Powerpoints here

Secondary Schools

Model Farms

Colo High School

Primary Schools

St Michael’s Catholic School

Hollie Baillieu talks leadership

Art4Agriculture team members Lynne Strong, Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu all recently presented at the Future Focused Ag Oz forum in Sydney on November 26th/27th on the topic of Leadership

Hollie Baillieu and Art4Ag team members Kirsty John and Heidi Cheney and AgChatOz founder Danical Leys
Hollie Baillieu and Art4Ag team members Kirsty John and Heidi Cheney and #AgChatOz co-founder Danica Leys

Hollie has kindly agreed to share her presentation with you

Everyone in this room is a leader – the fact that you came here today makes you one. You don’t wake up and think – today is the day I will be a leader. Its gradual, it evolves and sometimes you don’t even know its happened and perhaps it takes you a while to accept that you are one. Its only when you get ownership of something that that sense of pride sets in. When you are in part responsible for the success of something, you are responsible for the direction of a group and you are responsible for people other than yourself – that’s when you realise that hey maybe I do have leadership qualities.


Being the age I am and the age most of you are in this room – I think we are becoming leaders, – we have a long way to go however, we are evolving into those sorts of people that have leadership qualities and those that have influence over others.

I would like you to have a think for me – I would like you to think of someone that you would do anything for, perhaps someone you would trust your life with.

While you are thinking of that person or maybe there are a few people that spring to mind, I would like to put something to you. I mentioned the word influence before. I believe that leadership is about influence, how you influence those around you.

True leadership is there regardless of position within a business, group. They hold a high degree of influence, Those around them choose to serve them. I don’t see someone who uses their position to influence necessarily shows leadership.

Hopefully you have all thought of that person you would do anything for, you would trust your life with. What do they do or what attributes do they have that make them that person.

When I thought of the people that have the highest degree of influence over me I thought of a few things.

  • They are authentic – they are real, they are genuine, they are not those people that look over your shoulder at a party searching for someone else they would rather talk to.
  • They are committed to what they have said they will do, They are loyal to a cause and they are loyal to you and your team.
  • They share a vision and therefore empower the rest of the group.
  • They are inclusive and understand that when their team feels good and feels needed – it will work more easily as one.
  • They show integrity – their behaviour serves as a role model for everyone else.

There are many more attributes but you know what makes those people in your life special.

I want you to take a step back and look at yourself, I have no doubt that you all hold some or all of those attributes and I have no doubt that someone holds you in that light, that you have that degree of influence.

So, Greg asked me to talk about some of those things that have helped me in the positions that I now have. The reason I introduced the term leadership so broadly was basically for you to understand how I see that level and degree of influence as a key driver to effective leadership.

The roles I now have as Chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council, an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Ag schools program – I guess I show some attributes of leadership but as I said before – I believe I am too young and inexperienced to be a fully formed leader although hopefully I am becoming one and continue to evolve into a stronger more effective one.

I have narrowed my thoughts into three key areas, they are basic – nothing too incredible but perhaps the simpler things, again I will use this word, those things that we personally have influence over and perhaps its those little things we forget sometimes.

Things that have helped me along the way

– This first point stems from my mum and she still says it to me all the time but seriously it has helped me. “Talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime” ( ask Hollie to share her airport story)

This phrase – is especially important in the agriculture industry. It is incredible who people know in this industry and I am finding this out more and more each day within my role with Australian Year of the Farmer as they all link in with my other roles in the industry.

– The second point which anyone who knows me will understand and that is to smile and be friendly. This is so simple but people forget to do it. When you smile and are friendly not only you as a person is happier but I will generate that smile around the room or in your group. Remember when you felt anxious and nervous – it is the most awful feeling and I get actually get these feelings quite often. However, when I am doing things with the Young Farmer Council especially – I don’t feel nervous or anxious because its my arena, I know where I am and generally what I am doing ( laughs Bec might disagree). I’m comfortable in this situation. When we have held an event and a new person joins us – you can tell very quickly if they are feeling comfortable or not. I don’t want people to feel anxious or nervous when they are around me or when they are involved with something that I am in part responsible for running. You will all agree with me – that when you see a smiling friendly person – you immediately calm and know that you have a friend.

– Remember this – when your team feels comfortable, when they feel included and at ease – that is when you get the best out of them and in turn the best comes out in you and as a team you are then the most effective you can be.

– Lastly, as I said this is simple stuff and this is perhaps the most simple and something you can change very quickly.

And that is your appearance. The most critical time for this is when we are all just starting off in the world. We are in such a competitive environment – we cant afford to be lacking in those areas that are so easily changed.


Remember appearance isn’t just what you look like – it is the whole package. I want you to literally visualise this – Two people are going for an interview. Someone who has a smile on their face, who looks great, with a strong hand shake and looks people in the eye will always have it over someone who walks into an interview who has a weak hand shake, doesn’t look them in the eye and looks like they have just jumped off the sofa after watching a twilight marathon. That is one thing that you can do so easily, that you directly influence.

These little things are really important. I’m organising the recruiting process for the AYOF Road Show – I have been looking at a lot of CV’s, cover letters and those people who spell my name wrong get an immediate shake of the head. It’s the whole package, the little things matter, you can directly influence those things and I reckon we are forgetting those little things – don’t. The little things have helped me and maybe at some point they will help you to.

Thanks Hollie all of us who know and love you certainly can testify your smile could light the nite sky during a blackout.

Hollie Canola 4
Hollie Baillieu says smile and the whole world smiles with you

Community Spirit through the lens

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Siannon Parice and partner Tay Plain of Clearcut Productions have joined forces with Art4Agriculutre to create a series of videos to showcase young people doing great things to sustain our landscapes and waterways

Most recently Siannon captured the spirit and passion of Dune Day through the lens of her camera

Dune Day is a community event organised by the Gerringong Gerroa Landcare Liaison network in partnership with Landcare Illawarra and Southern Rivers CMA. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of Landcare and Bushcare and in particular coastal restoration projects.

 Dune Day also aims to engage a range of demographics ranging from children, youth, young adults as well as the rest of the community through a range of interactive activities such as sand sculpting, local young musicians, live street art, photography, information displays, tree planting, and workshops on native flora and fauna.

 

Face painting by Young Farming Champion and Eco Warrior Erin Lake

Dune Day attracted around 100 community members on Saturday the 12th of November who came out to celebrate Landcare volunteers who contribute to environmental restoration projects across the entire Illawarra region.

The event also helped to raise hundreds of dollars in donations which will go back into regional Landcare projects which aim to protect our native flora and fauna.