The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
For the second year in a row Wool Producers Australia is conducting their Raising the Baa Leadership Program, and for the second year in a row our Young Farming Champions are right in the spotlight.
The leadership course has two components, the first of which is the Youth Ambassador role. “The Youth Ambassador position exposes people aged 18 -35 years to policy within Wool Producers and gives them the opportunity to learn and understand the policy cycle and how a board works so they understand how many decisions that affect the wool industry are handled by Wool Producers,” Wool Producers Australia President, Mr Ed Storey says.
Dione Howard was the inaugural Wool Producers Youth Ambassador in 2018 and part of her role was to attend Wool Producers’ board meetings. “I had very little experience with policy prior to the Youth Ambassador role,” Dione says. “It has opened up a whole new world in the agricultural space and I feel that I now have a much clearer idea of how decisions are made that affect farmers and people like myself as a veterinarian.”
In 2019 Wool Producers has nominated two Youth Ambassadors, one of who is Sam Wan
” I saw this as an opportunity to gain insight into the organisation and actively learn in the role, have a strong interest in learning the intricacies of identifying needs and key stages for policy development and to gain a working understanding of industry governance, achieving objectives and driving improvement within the bounds of shareholders, regulators and the wider community. I see an understanding of the processes behind regulations being able to positively impact my role and scope as a wool broker and day to day dealings with wool growers.” say Sam
There is no denying Sam’s enthusiasm for sharing the wool story far and wide as this video of her engaging with students at the 2019 Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day shows
“The Company Directors Course is a fantastic opportunity for future leaders from all sectors of the wool industry to develop and refine their leadership skills for positions on industry Boards,” Ed says. “The skills are very important to ensure good governance and leadership is understood before people contribute to a Board.”
“It is an awesome opportunity to finish the Wool Producers Youth Ambassadorship with the AICD Company Directors Course,I believe it will assist me to take the next step in my leadership journey. I have been fortunate enough to receive the benefit of immersive workshops through the Young Farming Champions program sponsored by AWI and these have enabled me to develop my skills for delivering outcomes for the wool industry on the ground, in schools and at industry events. I believe that by completing the Company Directors course I will expand my skill set to be able to deliver for the wool industry from a governance perspective.” ” Dione says.
Emily joins the team with Laura Bignell moving to Rockhampton to join the Teys Australia Livestock Team.
UNE Young Farming Champions (LtoR) Forbes Corby, Ruby Canning, Rebecca George, Haylee Murrell and Emily May
Emily May brings a unique perspective to Young Farming Champions as she has witnessed first-hand Sydney’s urban sprawl impacting on agriculture.
This is Emily’s story …….
I come for a non-farming family on the outskirts of Sydney in the Hawkesbury district, an area which used to be a thriving agricultural hub. As I have grown up I have seen the way the area has changed in such a short period of time. Heading into town we used to pass numerous properties growing veggies, fruit or turf but these have now given way to housing developments.
These small farming businesses have been instrumental in my decision to study agriculture. My first job was with a neighbour who operated a citrus orchard and I enjoyed it so much I return each year for the winter harvest on Kathleen Groves Farm. I have also worked with flower growers, on a vegetable farm and for a strawberry propagation company.
I contemplated leaving high school after Year 10 and getting a trade, but my careers advisor Mr Lavelle could see I had a passion for the work I was doing on the farms on weekends, and he encouraged me to complete the HSC. After high school I worked for a civil company and while this job was enjoyable I didn’t have the same passion or hunger to learn more about it like I previously had with my farm jobs. Realising that working in agriculture was something I was good at and really enjoyed only encouraged me to keep pursuing it and I decided to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE, which has been a wonderful and enriching experience.
While studying I continue to work on small farms and market gardens. The value of land continues to rise, as do the expenses of running a farming business and farmers have found it more profitable to sell to developers. I believe that in order to keep agriculture on the outskirts of Sydney we need to utilise innovation and technology to compete with this urban sprawl, and it is this understanding that drives me in my university studies.
We are very excited to have Emily join the Young Farming Champions team who are learning to share their stories confidently and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture.
“The people of Torres Strait taught me climate change is not something for people in faraway countries or in the distant future to worry about. Climate change is impacting people here in Australia in devastating ways, but this story remains largely unheard. There was a great phase said by one of the speakers – if we save the islands, we save the planet. And it is true – if we use our ambition and intellect to reduce emissions and prevent irreversible damage occurring on the most vulnerable people in the most fragile places – then we also manage to save everyone else and all the other places we love and call home.” Anika Molesworth
Anika Molesworth, already on the forefront of research and action on global climate change, was invited to be a mentor at the 41st Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, held in Brisbane in the first week of June. Here she discovered the devastating ways in which Australia is already affected by climate change, and how people at home can make a positive difference.
The Brisbane event attracted 800 participants and, as a mentor, Anika was assigned a table of 12 mentees.
“The energy in the room for hundreds of motivated climate changers was fantastic. With a primary focus on Australia and a regional focus on the Asia-Pacific we learnt about the impacts from summer heatwaves, raging bushfires and the real consequences of climate inaction on livelihoods, human health and natural ecosystems. We also heard from inspiring speakers who are reasons for hope; with a diverse coalition of courageous voices – many from Indigenous and frontline communities – calling for bold and ambitious transitions to a low-carbon future.” she says
Anika’s mentees were Year 11 and 12 secondary students and first year university students who discussed with her the recent student strikes and their disappointment at their school curriculum not educating on topics of great global importance.
“They taught me you don’t have to have a title or be in a position of power to have influence and be a change-maker. The importance of climate education in schools cannot be overstated. Young people are being recognised for facing up to challenges many find too difficult to engage with. Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders today.”
Anika was also impressed by fellow mentor Natalie Isaacs. By learning how she could be more environmentally responsible in her own household, Natalie set about helping others do the same and in the process built a network of 1 Million Women championing climate action.
“Natalie exemplifies that change starts with you, right where you are now,. Big change is good, but small changes at home and in the workplace are essential. Evaluate your impact as an individual and don’t underestimate the good you can do by changing small things within your power.” say Anika
The highlight of the event for Anika was a contingent of people from the Torres Strait Islands and their stories of how climate change is affecting them here and now.
“Working on matters of climate change for over the past decade I know well the plight of the Pacific Island nations – such as Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands – and what climate change and sea level rise means for these communities and environments, but, I am ashamed I knew so little about what is actually happening right here in Australia. To learn about how climate change is destroying homes, unsettling communities rich in culture, tides washing away sites of great importance – right here in Australia – was truly upsetting and once again highlighted the urgency of the situation.”
Last week I made 800 new friends at the 41st Climate Reality Leadership Corps. The energy in the room could have powered all of Australia, as we learnt about climate science, catalyzing change in our communities, and pathways to transition to a low-carbon future.
Thanks to everyone who made this event possible and to all the people in this photo who brighten my day and fill me with optimism.
There’s a psychological anomaly called the Pygmalion Effect by which higher expectations actually result in an increase in performance. That is to say that if people, yourself included, believe in your abilities to accomplish something, you are more likely to succeed.
The reverse effect, by which low expectations lead to poorer performance, is dubbed the Golem Effect.
‘We can speak at 125 words per minute, but we can think at 900 words per minute. The likelihood that the first thing you say is actually the thing you mean is about 1 in 9 or 11 percent. ‘Oscar Trimbole
Today’s lesson learnt is inspired by a journal entry by Wool Young Farming Champion and volunteer extraordinaire Lucy Collingridge. Lucy has some words of wisdom for young people starting their career and a reminder to us all we can all be leaders.
“Are you off a farm?” – This is a question that I hear more days than not as I work and live in Australian agriculture. When I reply with “No, I had no connection to agriculture until I was 15”, I receive a vast array of reactions. From the intrigue as to how I ended up with my life revolving around the Australian agricultural industry to the judgement that I have no place providing advice to our farmers, and everything in between. At the early stages of my career, as a new graduate with limited agricultural experience but a great passion to make a difference, I let these reactions affect my mood and approach to the industry. I let the doubt creep in and started to second guess myself.
That changed five years ago when I identified mentors to support my career and life journey . We can all benefit from the advice and guidance of someone who has been there and done that. My mentors have shown me that it is possible to become the person I want to be in spite of the inner and outer obstacles I face.
During my time at university, through my involvement at agricultural shows and as a result of the opportunities I have accessed, I have met countless people who were like me and had no connection to agriculture at a young age. So many of the successful, passionate and dedicated agriculturalists working in our industry today were not from a farm, yet they have just as much and if not more to give to the sustainability and longevity of our industry as those who were born on the land.
As an industry, we have a responsibility to welcome newcomers with full support and no judgement. Outside-in thinking means having the courage to fling the window open to people who can offer new insights. We may find these new agriculturalists could hold the secret to so many of our long running issues
To those who are only starting out in our industry, I encourage you to jump at every opportunity you are offered and take on board all positive and negative feedback and assess it through the lens of “Is the person giving me this advice or making this judgement the type of person I aspire to be?”.
I encourage you to not feel diminished by other people’s judgments. Instead use your passion, your actions and successes to speak for themselves.
Each year Picture You in Agriculture conducts extensive research into our two schools-based programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas. Our research has shown the environmental issues of most concern to young people are ensuring Australians have access to clean air (95%) and clean water (93%) and that we all work together to reduce the amount of waste we generate (90%). Also highly ranked by young people is using clean energy (87%) and knowing what food is bad for you (85%).
84% of young people surveyed believe it is everyone’s responsibility to look after the planet and identified farmers as the main partners they want to work with to achieve this. Our programs, The Archibull Prize in secondary schools and Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future in primary schools, open students’ eyes to the world of agriculture, particularly the variety of STEM-based careers. The programs also offer students one-on-one access to their very own farmers with the Young Farming Champions.
This year our Young Farming Champions will Google Hang Out with students in the 15 primary schools participating in Kreative Koalas, sharing their career in agriculture with a strong focus on the impact of the fibres they choose to wear and use to reduce the impact of their fashion choices on the planet.
Twelve Young Farming Champions from the wool, grains, dairy, horticulture and eggs and poultry industries will be delivering The Archibull Prize in 20 schools. Our YFC have got off to an early start with Google Hangout Meet and Greets which will be followed up with face-to-face workshops in schools. In addition, a number of Archibull Prize schools have indicated they will be getting out of the classroom and taking the students to their local universities and farms where possible.
The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas both employ 21st-century learning, which empowers young people to be critical, creative and confident communicators working together to solve real-world problems that have real-world impact. In turn, this creates job-ready employees of the future.
Our research also shows us how we can tailor the programs to meet the needs of participating students and teachers. Using this feedback we supplement the face-to-face visits of the Young Farming Champions with digital technology, for example skyping from a paddock direct to a classroom, or participation in the Paddock Pen Pals program.
Teachers have the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop held at Tocal College, which is supported by partners Aussie Farmers Foundation, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and Hunter Local Land Services. The workshop is led by the Young Farming Champions, including new inductees from the University of New England and their alumni mentors, and a team of coaches.
The coaching team includes Jenni Metcalf, Greg Mills and Gaye Steel and will be strengthened in 2019 with the addition of Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy.
“It’s a privilege to work with this cohort of change-makers and leaders. As the YFC take their stories of personal and career growth into schools, they inspire the next generation to aim high, tackle some of the world’s biggest problems and most importantly, to act locally first, in their own backyards.” Josh Says
Today is World Environment Day, and, with a fresh perspective that comes from something new, it is Josh who clearly sees the connection between this important day and our objectives:
“Working with the Young Farming Champions provides me with the opportunity to empower young leaders who take a proactive stance on environmental sustainability and climate change.”
Not so long ago the stereotypical image of a person in agriculture was of an older, struggling, white male and the image of a Millennial was of a young person sitting around a café eating smashed avocado and complaining about the unattainable property market. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we talk to The Regional Investor and bust those stereotypes wide open.
The Regional Investor could be you. She is a 26-year-old agronomist working in regional NSW. Her job in agriculture is well paid. She lives in a rural town with a strong community of young professionals. And that busts the second myth that a career in this industry is no more than a low-paying job in the sticks. “To me, a career in agriculture means getting well paid to do something you love,” she says.
In fact, The Regional Investor’s career as an agronomist pays well enough to allow her to follow her financial dreams of building a property portfolio, with her partner, in rural Australia. “Property investment provides a tangible asset regardless of your location or starting point,” she says, “and investing in regional areas offers opportunities to get into property at lower price points with better cash flow to help you get started.”
Gaining financial skills alongside her agricultural degree has been a mixture of education and experience for The Regional Investor. “When I finished uni and got a well-paying job the first thing I did was get a dirty car loan and a big V8 ute,” she says. “I learnt very quickly that I didn’t like bad debt. I had that car for less than nine months and it would have cost me about eight grand. It was a valuable lesson about debt.”
The ute taught her that her surplus income from agriculture should go towards something that would appreciate rather than depreciate and so began a financial journey into property investment. She met with a mortgage broker who “opened our eyes to the different ways you can structure finance”, she used the internet to research for nearly four years and she then committed two years to a Master of Business Administration (MBA). “The MBA gave me more of that financial background but it also gave me business skills I now use day to day as an agronomist.”
The Regional Investor invests in rural towns with a diversified workforce – “we tend to stay away from mining towns that may go bust overnight” and in properties with positive cash flow. “We only buy properties that pay for themselves so we only have to fund that initial deposit,” she says “and from there they pay themselves off and grow a little bit in equity that we can pull out and put into the next one.” Ultimately it is her aim to own a range of properties – from residential to commercial – across Australia.
The Regional Investor sees many advantages to a career in agriculture in rural regions. There is the well-paid job, the opportunity to get into the property market and the network of young professionals like her. To give back she volunteers as co-chair of the local Young Aggies group and shares her property experiences on Instagram as @the_regional_investors where her tag line is: “Borderless investors from regional Australia. Building a property portfolio from scratch. No Lotto, No Inheritance. Just two PAYG 20-something’s.”
And to the avocado myth: Do Millennials sit around all day in cafes eating smashed avocado? “I think that’s an interesting point,” The Regional Investor says. “People may think a career in agriculture and investment in property means you have to save and have no life. That’s not the case. I’ve still been overseas every single year and will continue to do so. We are not going to sacrifice our lifestyle to build something when we could die tomorrow.” It seems you can have your avocado and eat it too.
Follow @The_Regional_Investor to get great tips like this
When I first started telling people that we were looking at property investing I was given ALOT of advice. Some good and some bad depending on the experiences that particular person had with property themselves. People giving you advice 100% have the best intentions, but sometimes you have to take a step back and ask yourself why the good and bad stuff happened. Did they self manage a property and have a bad tenant? Did they rent out the family home and not make money because it wasn’t investment worthy in the first place? Did the bank of mum and dad help them out? Most importantly were they proactive in educating themselves before they started or did the wing it and then wonder why it didn’t work? I’ve learnt to take something out of every piece of advice especially horror stories. I work out what they did wrong, how it can be avoided and try to avoid making the same mistake myself. Some of the best advice I’ve receive to date; – Work out how someone is getting paid, often off the plan with the flash brochures and rental guarantees comes at a cost…. to you. Buy in an established market, not a new development with no resale history. – Create a win-win situation for yourself and the seller. Be negotiable, realistic & timely. – Don’t get emotional, if the numbers don’t make sense walk away. If you can’t take emotion out of it outsource to someone that can; buyers agents, accountants and your broker. – Don’t be afraid to ask a silly question, a silly mistake is far worse and can be costly when it comes to property. – Employ services based on quality not price, it’s better to loose a little money for the right job than to pay for it twice. – Never cross collateralise. Ever. Pay your lenders mortgage insurance, if you can’t buy it without a guarantor then you simply can’t buy it. – There’s no afterpay in property, if you can’t manage the money then property is not for you. Get rid of the Foxtel, the gym membership and everything else you don’t use. Monthly subscriptions hurt your serviceability hugely. – Don’t take advice of anyone who isn’t where you want to be. – Don’t miss out on the things you want, work harder, save more, do both
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) across the country (and globe!)
In the field
Wool YFC and Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer Lucy Collingridge has been coordinating a drone survey using thermal imaging to identify the density of wild horses and deer in an 18,000ha survey area. Following an increasing number of reports of wild horses and deer in the area, the North West LLS is using the emerging technology to assist landholders in a proactive approach to managing these feral species. It is Lucy’s role to coordinate the project by talking to landholders to receive reports of the species, getting consent for the contractor to fly over each property and to get the landholders together to learn more about what the project involves. Following the completion of the survey, Lucy will again get the landholders together to discuss the results of the survey and what it means for the group moving forward.
YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah from the The Food Farm: Central Coast hosted some special guest chefs from Malaysia last week and the food looked as amazing as the dinner venue! Check out this location:
“Today we were so fortunate to have @chefsamuelburke, @jabfood and media from South East Asia come and join us on the farm 🌱 it was an awesome opportunity to showcase what we have happening here; with #australianbeefandlamb, #regenerativeagriculture and #soilhealth being some of the hot topics. It’s so humbling as farmers to have such talented chefs to showcase the nourishing produce ❤️” – The Food Farm: Central Coast
Now how cool is this one – YFC and agronomist Casey Onus captured this video of a weed being sprayed in slow motion, at an Agrifac Machinery demonstration day at Beefwood, just north of Moree NSW. The company demonstrated their spot-spraying technology on the day – and whether you spray crops or not, everything looks great in slow motion!
From cool to freezing! Beef Young Farming Champion Kirsty McCormack is hosting our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week – live from snowy Canada! We are blown away seeing some of incredible conditions she is working in. Jump over to Facebook to follow along for the next week.
Friend of the YFC team Matt Champness is currently spending time in Laos as a volunteer weeds agronomist, supported by the Crawford Fund. This week Matt started working on farm research sites demonstrating direct seeded rice weed control techniques. The control techniques include:
Sowing fertiliser with rice, rather than broadcasting fertiliser, to overcome weeds
Inter-row cultivation – this will require some machine engineering by Matt!
Cutting the rice crop with a whipper snipper – not just useful in the garden!
Hand weeding every day to stop seed set and achieve perfect weed control.
Matt is also off to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) youth workshop in Brazil next month – this workshop aims to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services. All the best for your work in Laos and trip to Brazil Matt – we look forward to sharing Matt’s insights with you all!
Out of the field
Australian Wool Innovation’s 2019 National Merino Challenge (NMC) was held in Sydney over 25-26th May – 161 participants from across the country descended upon Sydney Showgorunds for the competition. The first ever industry team entered this year, a team of young professionals from Australian Wool Network (AWN). This team included YFC Emma Turner, who hails from Ivanhoe NSW but is currently based in Launceston, Tasmania in her AWN role. The NMC brings young people with an interest in the wool industry together to develop their knowledge, skills and networks with demonstrations and presentations from industry professionals.
YFC and Local Landcare Coordinator Jasmine Whitten has been assisting with delivering vertebrate pest forums in the western district of NSW.
“This is a day where we take leading pest management experts Peter Fleming, Darren Marshall and Guy Ballard to talk directly to landholders about managing feral cats, pigs, and foxes. There will also be a large deal of time focusing on wild dogs, looking at pest collaring projects and should we have a similar project out west. We have had fantastic response with over 100 landholders across the region looking to attend. We also have attendees from government agencies including Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife and research and development organisation Meat & Livestock Australia,” says Jasmine. This sounds like an event not to be missed in western NSW!
Jasmine has also been busy coordinating the annual Light and Life Photo Competition, which is now in its 20th year. Last week she spoke to Western Magazine about this year’s comp and its theme “Beyond the Dust.” Read more here.
YFC and agronomist Alexandria Galea organised a fantastic WinCott (Women in Cotton) Ladies of the Land Luncheon on 23rd May in Emerald, Queensland. The luncheon was a sell out with 130 women from a 200 km radius coming together to network with ladies working in agriculture and listen to guest speakers! Alex also did a stellar job as master of ceremonies – congratulations on such a successful event.
2019 University of New England (UNE) YFC Becca George spent the 24th – 26th May at Dubbo Show where she is a member of the show society and cattle committee. The cattle section of the show was very successful, welcoming over 160 bovine entrants for the weekend. Considering the dry seasonal conditions that Dubbo and surrounds have been experiencing it was great to see so many animals on display.
Climate YFC and InStyle Magazine’s Farmer for Change Anika Molesworth spoke to Sarah Nolet on the Agtech – So What? podcast this week, sharing her passion for climate action and circular food systems. You can listen to it here.
And if that’s up your alley, this is worth reading! Post last month’s Australian Federal Election, Anika penned this beautiful blog about climate optimism which has been liked and shared hundreds of times on Twitter. Anika writes: “We know how urgent the need for addressing climate change is. We know how critical the situation is. We know there are big steps to be taken, but we’ve got this.”
Wool YFC and Elders Employee of the Year Sam Wan is currently on a wool study tour in Italy. She has some exciting news and wooly tales to share next Muster, so watch this space! We can’t wait!
Congratulations to one of our newest University of New England YFC Ruby Canning. Ruby was awarded the Max Wesbster Memorial Prize for her composition photography piece at the recent Robb College Art Show. “Being the highest award at the art show I was thrilled! I also sold a few pieces of art with a percentage of proceeds going to Angel Flight.” Well done Ruby!
And mega Congrats to Cotton YFC Laura Bennet on her recent marriage. Best wishes for a happy life together, from the YFC team!
The 2019 Archibull Prize is underway and this video of Archie arriving at Merrylands High School has absolutely made our week:
Good luck to all our YFC who start Google Hangout meets and school visits this month! We’re excited!