Eureka! Australia’s Oscars for science (and industry leadership)

The ‘Oscars of science’—this is how the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are viewed by scientists and media.

This year a group of farmers proudly filled one of the tables (how good was the food) at this A list event attended by 900 people at Fox Studios

Congratulations to our 34 farmers!

The Climate Champion program was a runner up for the 2011 Eureka Prize for
Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge.

5 of the Climate Champions and the team from Econnect all frocked up at the Eureka Prize

This program is a perfect example of what happens when industry shows leadership and invests in farmers (levy payers) and works to together for the greater good of our food and fibre industries.

This three year program is collaboration between the following organisations and I salute them

In fact Art4Agriculture was so inspired by the success of the Climate Champions program we started the Young Farming Champions program using the Climate Champions “TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD” ethos and the training components as a model.

The Climate Champions program is a cross industry partnership of farmers across Australia and I love it. It has exposed me to the bright minds from other industries and there is nothing more rewarding for your personal development than surrounding yourself with innovative thinkers you can learn from.

The Climate Champions program is managed by the fabulous team from Econnect who not only deliver the workshops they support each of the 34 farmers 365 days 24/7

Using my involvement as an example Econnect have mentored me, written press releases and help prep me for Big Ideas ABC and numerous conference presentations and radio interviews. I have gained so much confidence
and self-belief since I joined the program in 2010.

The Climate Champions program mentors and supports 33 other farmers across Australia like me. In all 34 Australian farmers who can now confidently get out there in their communities and share their stories and not only inspire other farmers but spread the word that Australian farmers are part of an innovative, dynamic and vibrant industry that has a strong ethical and social conscience

As the debate around long term food availability and affordability intensifies, Art4Agriculture believes it is vital for all organisations involved in the food supply chain to adopt a leadership position and work together side by side with their farmers to help safeguard Australia’s future food security.

Climate Champion program – what is it?

34 Australian farmers have been recruited by the national Climate Champion program to help improve communication between scientists and farmers about managing climate risk.

What do they have in common?

  • They are all interested in managing risks associated with climate and weather to improve productivity on their farms.
  • They are keen to share their knowledge with other farmers.

2-way communication with farmers and researchers

The program aims to:

  • get climate-related research information out to wider farming community – research about new technologies and practices for dealing with climate variability and climate change
  • feed information from farmers back to researchers about what you need to better manage climate risk on your property

Paint is drying on the 2011 Archibull Prize bovine masterpieces

Exciting times.

Paint is drying on the bovine masterpieces who will shortly be submitted for consideration for the 2011 Archibull Prize.

This year students in 21 schools in Western Sydney are reflecting on the theme “The Rural – Urban Divide – What does it take to feed Sydney for a day sustainably?”

See the statistics on this web page created by Glenfield High School’s superstar Alexander Rafferty who won our “What can you creATE competition”

Each school has been allocated a food or fibre industry and has been provided with a blank fibreglass cow that students will decorate to highlight what they’ve learned about the challenges of feeding, clothing and housing the world with a declining natural resource base.

Each school was also paired with a Young Farming Champion who visited and supported the schools during the project. The young farmers provided the fresh young face of modern farming which we hope will inspire the students to consider career pathways that will see them be part of what we believe is the noblest profession – farming

Our farming champions created a series of social media tools to share their farming stories with teachers, students and the World Wide Web

See their video stories here

Hollie Baillieu – Cotton Farmer

Naomi Marks – Dairy Farmer

Melissa Henry – Sheep Farmer

Erin Lake – Natural Resource Management

Emma Visser – Dairy Farmer

Siannon Parice – Art4Agriculture Photographer

Stephanie Tarlinton

Art4Agriculture would like to thank Deborah Leake from Meat and Livestock Australia, Brooke Summers from Cotton Australia and Claudia Wythes from Australian Wool Innovation for their support of the Young Farming Champions in school visits. Great team work and great outcomes.

Art4Agriculture seeking Next Gen Rising Stars

Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been telling NSW primary and secondary students their stories of involvement in food and fibre production. The students thirst for
knowledge about agriculture has been amazing. The program has become part of
the educational theme in next year’s Australian Year of the Farmer and as
Art4Agriculture National Program Director Lynne Strong explains will be rolled
out to over 9,000 schools nationally.

“The Art4Agriculture programs and the Young Farming Champions will go national as
part of the Australian Year of the Farmer activities in 2012 and we are calling
for expressions of interest from young farmers across Australia to get involved
in the Young Farming Champions program. Art4Agriculuture was developed by
farmers and is delivered by farmers and we are keen to work with state farming
organisations to not only help build the capacity of young farmers to tell
agriculture’s story to a fundamental key audience – consumers but  also
lead their industries into the future”. She says.

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse program of events during Australian Year of the
Farmer in 2012 (and beyond). These events will provide a platform from which to
develop, build and strengthen the capacity of the Young Farming Champions and
allow industry to develop key farmer-to-stakeholder and farmer-to-consumer
relationships.

And Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champion Alison McIntosh is already living that
dream.

Alison is the not only an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion she also is the Cattle Council’s Inaugural Rising Beef Champion see http://www.cattlecouncil.com.au/winner and Alison reflects on her USA cattle tour here http://www.cattlecouncil.com.au/userfiles/file/2012RisingChampion/AlisonMreport2011.pdf

In her role as Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Alison has been visiting schools across Western Sydney sharing her story.

Alison found the experience highly rewarding. At Caroline Chisholm College she not
only shared her story with the students they also proudly showed Alison their
farm as well as videoing her and putting her under the spotlight with a mock TV
interview.

At Terra Sancta College the students said Alison’s visit gave them a whole new insight
into Australian domestic beef industry. Alison also found herself part of a
photo shoot with the school’s Archibull in amusing spots in the school
surrounds including a photo-shoot with the chooks. Alison’s
phobia of birds is well known amongst her friends and when the students
suggested she hold a rooster she was mortified and gracefully (she hoped she
looked graceful and not petrified) declined

At Richmond High School Alison shared her story with the visual arts students who are
painting the Archibull. Alison said it was clear the students were highly
creative and many sketched and wrote down ideas as she spoke.

“Richmond High School agriculture classes show team have always been very active and highly regarded on the show circuit winning many prizes with their beef cattle and I am looking forward to seeing how their partnership with the visual arts students translates onto their cow art” says Alison

Alison’s in-school presentation can be found here Love My Angus You will too 

This week Alison found herself centre stage at the biggest agriculture A list event on
the calendar. She not only had the great thrill of representing  young
farmers but all farmers across the country by giving a speech on their behalf
at the launch of Australian Year of the Farmer in 2012

Glenn McGrath with Richie Quigley Alison McIntosh and Radiator the Charolais

(Hopefully I can get a better shot of this shortly from the official photographer) 

This is part of what Alison had to say

What an honour it is to be standing here today as a representative of all Australian
farmers!
I am a 4th generation farmer on my family’s beef cattle farm in southern NSW – and I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living! I have combined my love of
working with people and with animals in the industry I love, and this is very
rewarding.

As a young rural leader I want to enhance the links between urban and rural
Australia, so that all Australian’s have a deeper appreciation for where their
food comes from. The research which Year of the Farmer are releasing today,
highlights some of the challenges which lie ahead for farmers like me in
achieving this – but the coming years activities will go a long way to begin
this important process.

I am excited about 2012; The Australian Year of the Farmer will help bring farmers
like me closer to our customers. Our nation and the world need farmers; The
Australian Year of the Farmer is an important year for ALL Australians. I am
looking forward to spreading the word about our great Australian farming story,
and particularly ensuring that the next generation of young Australians are
well connected to farmers and the farms where their food comes from.

Check out this video to be reminded of how proud all Australian can be of their
farmers 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pb2fCoPmjw&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Young Farming Champions Finding their Voice

Like all Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions Emma Visser knows how important it is for all young people to have a voice. Fired by her love of animals and agriculture Emma is using her voice and taking every opportunity to engage, empower and inspire others to follow her career education pathway into the noblest profession – farming

Emma and Friend

This month Emma has been very busy sharing her farming stories internationally through her entry in the ABC Heywire Competition. HEYWIRE is an annual competition for young people from regional Australia. It’s a place for young people to share stories and opinions about the news that affects them.  Emma’s video entry captures her life moving from the city to the country. ”Every day brings many new experiences and learning curves. I would love to see more young people know they can get involved with agriculture without having to be brought up on a farm”.

You can watch Emma’s Heywire Entry here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQwJ0dSMvXM

Emma also had a chance to share her story face to face when she visited Windsor Public School as part of their Archibull Prize journey. Emma was very excited to find Windsor Public School was right into the flavour of food experience when she arrived She was met by a teacher dressed as a strawberry and when she signed in she was informed that it was “mufti day” and all the students and teachers were dressed as a fruit or vegetable. Some were dressed as bananas, apples, oranges, and one boy was covered in green paint as he was a dragon fruit.

Firstly she was invited to the staffroom for morning tea and to meet all the teachers. One teacher said that the students kept asking when “he was coming” referring to the farmer that was going to visit the school. When she told them that the farmer was actually a female, the kids couldn’t believe it.

When the bell rang she went the classroom and she found forty year one & year two’s all dressed as fruit and vegetables. So cute. She found all the students very focused on what she had to say. She told them the story of the calves on her farm and their life journey. The students really enjoyed her video and asked LOTS of questions which she really enjoyed listening to. The students asked questions like ‘How many cows do you have, how many cows do you milk, how much milk do our cows make, how long have I worked on the farm, how big do cows get, and how do the cows get their names?’

After answering questions the teacher then put on a video for the students. Some of the students follow the KT’s Farmlife blog online about a little girl who lives on a beef property. Some of the class had watched a video of a calf being pulled out and were very keen to show all their fellow school friends. Some students covered their eyes and ears when watching it, but most of the students were fascinated.

Emma said “I really enjoyed my school visit. The kids were really interested in what I had to say, loved my video and pictures and now all want to be farmers”.

Emma’s Windsor Public School PowerPoint can be found here http://www.slideshare.net/art4agriculture/city-girls-love-cows-and-the-country

Check out some more great Heywire stories from young rural people here http://www.abc.net.au/heywire/winners.html