The noblest profession?

It was predicted that by October 31st 2011 there would be 7 billion people
living on the planet and they were right.

In fact you can watch them being born here http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/7-billion

That’s 7 billion plus people who need feeding and clothing and housing.

Can there be anything nobler than waking up every day committed to growing and supplying these basic needs in the most affordable, nutritious and ethically produced way

Yet agriculture struggles to attract and retain talented young people into the agrifood sector See http://www.agrifoodskills.net.au/publications/scan/2011/

Why do we struggle?

Well there has been a lot of talking about the problem, a lot of writing about the problem and a lot of suggestions put forward.

Recently the RASV undertook a study and came up with four recommendations which included

  • Involve young leaders in the planning and delivery of initiatives
  • Consider the need for imagery and promotion of opportunities to help young people make connection between themselves (skills, personality, interests) and career opportunities in the agriculture sector (given the disconnect between urban and rural).

Art4Agriculture is very proud to say we have been walking the talk with our Young Farming Champions program

Quick overview of the program here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtgdYV8_UnQ

Young Farming Champions on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/user/Art4Agriculture#g/u

Young Farming Champions on SlideShare

http://www.slideshare.net/art4agriculture/presentations?order=popular

The RASV report also drew attention once again to the fragmented industry culture that is undermining agriculture’s efforts to get on the front foot with respect to attraction and retainment  strategies

“To date, the attempts in the agricultural sector to increase the participation of young people in the agricultural workforce have been without substantial success and have been too  fragmented, local and small scale. This is not to undermine the fantastic work that has been achieved, but highlights the need for large scale and well
researched interventions.”

 “A collaborative industry approach, comprising contribution from all commodity groups with the support of government and education, is essential to engaging young people on a large enough scale to remedy existing shortfalls.”

I sound like as broken record but it has to be said and said and said again. When will industry recognise silo thinking is destroying agriculture’s future? We cannot
do this alone.

This year Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions worked side by side with Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia and Cotton Australia to deliver their food and fibre industry education resources to schools and didn’t we kick goals

The RASV also highlighted the need for a “one stop “portal” to understanding the opportunities that exist for a diverse range of people and skills. Information is too
scattered, job-search focused and not specifically targeted at young people and
early career workers.

It is difficult for urban people who are disconnected from rural and regional (Australia) .. to access information and understand the incentives of taking up careers in agriculture. For young people who are already connected to agriculture, there is a similar lack of assistance to help them discover the appeal and support
for them entering tertiary study or tailored career pathways”.

Well this has changed and excitingly the Australian Council of Agricultural Deans has addressed this with their newly launched awesome website.

Career Harvest – job choices in agriculture, fisheries & forestry found here http://www.csu.edu.au/special/acda/careers/

We are also thrilled to announce a number of the Art4Agriculture Young Farming
Champions will be speaking and conducting workshops at the Careers Advisors Australia Annual Conference this month. The conference theme is The
Great Divide – City and Country. 
Working the Land – Careers in Agriculture.

Highly concerning however is the fact the conference coordinator tells me city school conference registration numbers are down.  When she asked Careers Advisors why they said “careers in agriculture aren’t relevant to my students”.

Frightening for the world in general especially the 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night when city based careers advisers don’t think careers in agriculture are relevant.

This is a big problem and the need is now to address it.  The onus is on primary industry, agribusiness and the government and education sectors to initiate a culture of change in this area by taking a collaborative approach and partnering to address this issue and achieve the necessary outcomes. The health wealth and happiness of
the nation depends on it

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.

Celebrating the regional produce and the hands that grow it

South Coast wins the 100 Mile Challenge at first attempt.

Before we start we want to be upfront and say unashamedly this post is in the main a compilation of highlights written by Amy Willesee for the South Coast 100 mile challenge blog found here http://100milechallenge.com.au/the-challengers/south-coast/

Amy is the author of the fabulous Locavore: A Foodies’ Journey through the Shoalhaven (sadly now out of print) so it goes without saying that when you work with the best don’t even think about reinventing the wheel

Art4Agriculuture Young Farming Champion Siannon Parice and photographer extraordinaire was there to capture all the highlights and spirit of the event through the lens of her camera.  

Rosie Cupitt ( Cupitts Winery) and Amy Willesee ( right) share a light hearted moment before the guests arrive

The South Coast’s win is testament to the words of Eve Sawyer when she said  “never underestimate the power of passion.”

South Coast 100mile Challenge team Winners are grinners

Our team organiser Cathy Law is possibly the most passionate amongst our region’s locavores, so it was no surprise that she was the first to jump into the ring when Crave threw down the regional challenge. Our hat goes off to Cathy. In the beginning there were many obstacles to climb and naysayers to block out but there is none more committed and passionate about promoting the region’s produce and the farmers who grow it than Cathy. Cathy was determined to use the Crave 100 mile challenge to shout it from the rooftops and indeed she did. In the words of South Coast A team member Perri Croshaw What a Food Destination we have!!! We all knew how great it was – now the whole state knows!”

How does the 100 mile challenge work you may ask?

Well each of the five regions selected the highest quality produce and best of the best chefs from their region and created a delicious and sumptuous three course feast and served it to 100 guests.

South Coast table decorated by Wendy O'Mally and guests ready, willing and able to tuck into our regional delights

The winning region was determined by a panel of esteemed judges including Joanna Savill, Crave Sydney International Food Festival Director.

Each region was also allocated a high profile celebrity “mentor” chef and the South Coast was lucky enough to have Lucio Galletto OAM from Lucios Italian Restaurant  http://www.lucios.com.au/ join us with wife Sally.

Great lifelong friends Elise Pascoe and Lucio Galletto catch up

We also had the simply fabulous Adam Spencer of 702 ABC Sydney Breakfast show and Sleek Geeks fame on our table. By the time Adam was finished organising our table cheer leading squad our table made the Balmy Army look like wimps.

Adam Spencer 702 ABC with South Coast A team

After picking vegies, catching fish and milking cows – the South Coast team headed north yesterday for the BIG LUNCH lunch.

The produce - dispaly by Wendy O'Malley

Twenty of us hit Sydney including team leader Cathy Law, the fabulous Lynne Strong – award-winning dairy farmer and agriculture champion (and Art4Agriculture Chair) – to our very own food and wine matriarch Elise Pascoe and the indefatigable Slow Food leader and boutique tea grower Kirsten McHugh and our effervescent team leader, sommelier to the stars Toby Evans. As for our chefs, we were blessed to have some of the top chefs of the region – nay, the country! – on our team including Alex Dawkins senior sous chef at Rick Stein’s restaurant Bannisters and John Evans from the acclaimed Berry Sourdough. Read all about the A team here http://100milechallenge.com.au/the-challengers/south-coast/

And what did our 100 lucky guests eat?

On table

Bread from the Sourdough Bakery, Berry
with Glen Lee Extra virgin olive oil (from Menangle Park)

Green Kalamata Olives from Kangaroo
Valley Olives and Black Kalamata Olives from Contadinos Farm at Falls Creek,
marinated in Contadino extra virgin olive oil, garlic and local herbs

Entree

Oysters au Naturale

Provenance:

Sydney Rock from Bed Rock Oysters,
Shoalhaven River and Ulladulla Oysters, Clyde River

Lime-cured Kingfish with Broad Beans, Fresh Herbs, Breakfast Radish and Lemon Dressing

Provenance:

Kingfish freshly caught off the Shoalhaven Coast

Herbs from Greengold Veggies, Terara

Broad beans from Berry Mountain Farm

Radish from Merry Maiden’s Veggies, Milton

Limes and lemons from Yarrawa Estate, Kangaroo Valley

Chives from Dapto Community Farm, Dapto

Main

Warm Salad of Eastern Rock Lobster, with Potatoes, Jamon and a Lobster Vinaigrette

THE LOBSTER - dont you just wish you were there

Provenance:

Eastern Rock Lobster from off Greenwell Point, Jervis Bay

Potatoes from Berry Mountain Farm

Herbs from Favgro in Batemans Bay

Celery from the Alex Dawkin’s garden, Mollymook

Jamon which is cured and dried under the supervision of Oscar at his
Spanish Deli in Warrawong

Lemons from Kangaroo Valley

Olive oil from Menangle Park

Dessert

Basil and Honey infused Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly, Baked Rhubarb and Fresh Strawberries

The dessert a masterpiece by John Evans from the acclaimed Berry Sourdough.

Provenance:

Cream and milk from South Coast Dairy, Berry

Basil from John Evans’ garden, Vincentia

Strawberries from Sam and Josephine,Sussex Inlet

Rhubarb from Greengold Veggies, Terara

Honey from Pointer Mountain Honey, Yatta Yattah

100 Mile Challenge – Judging Criteria

This was not your usual culinary competition.

Each team was judged on how authentically they created a sense of people/place and product during and in the lead up to the lunch.

Showcasing the produce and the people who make it and grow was a really important part of  the challenge. The aim was to give the 100 guests the feeling they had visited our regional home.

The Region 15%

• How is the region represented in the development of the menu?

• How well have producers been represented?

• How has the team worked to promote the region and the challenge?

The Lunch 85%

The Food 60% – 20% for each course

• Presentation

• Use of your 100 mile regional produce

• Quality of ingredients used

• Kitchen skills and technique

• Taste, flavour and variety

• Use of seasonal produce

The Wine (& other Beverages) 15% – 5% for each
course

Ben Wallace from Coolangatta Estate and Toby Evans from Bannisters pour the wine

• Appropriateness

• Match to food

• Wine knowledge by serving team

The Table 10%

The table decorated by Kiama based artist Wendy O'Malley

• Presentation (style, creativity, mood)

• How well does it represent the region

• Physical presentation of menu

• Service

• Atmosphere

The award categories are:

Best Apprentice/Student

Best Entrée

Best Main

Best Dessert

Extra Mile Award

100MC Winner

Prizes are courtesy of Trenton International

The South Coast won Best Main, Best Dessert and was
the 100MC Winner

Our aim was to showcase the best of the South Coast’s beautiful fresh produce and bring a taste of our rolling green hills and famous beaches to Sydney and we certainly did that.

SO HAVE YOU VISITED OUR ROLLING GREEN HILS AND FABULOUS BEACHES AND TASTED OUR LOCAL PRODUCE AND THANKED A FARMER LATELY

WE INVITE YOU TO DO ALL FOUR SOMETIME SOON (very soon)
For a list of our local produce and providores visit

http://100milechallenge.com.au/the-challengers/south-coast/

 See great story in South Coast Register here http://www.southcoastregister.com.au/news/local/news/general/south-coast-foodies-rise-to-the-challenge/2343925.aspx

Not to mention this quirky vid found here

http://www.australianregionalfoodguide.com.au/component/content/article/163-news-items/1854-100-mile-lunch-a-tasty-success

 

 

Castle Hill High School helping make agriculture visible

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions Siannon Parice and Erin Lake visited Castle Hill High School this week to share their stories with the students involved in the
Archibull Prize.

Siannon (Art4Agriculture photographer) and Erin (Natural resource management and bush regeneration expert) tagged teamed with Art4Agriculture chair and dairy farmer Lynne Strong to show the students how three very different people from very different
backgrounds who have travelled very different career pathways work side by side
to bring food to your plate sustainably.

For the students Lynne’s connection was obvious as she told them whilst she wears
many hats she is first and foremost a farmer.

Lynne explained to the students that whilst the majority of Australian farms are still family owned and operated successful farm businesses have the same business structure as large corporates and needed to access an extensive range of proven professionals for their businesses to remain healthy.

She explained that in order for Clover Hill Dairies to continue to provide milk for
50,000 Australians everyday they needed a team of people doing a lot of very
different jobs to achieve the same outcome and that was best practice sustainable
agriculture.

It takes a proven team of professional to run a successful family farm

At Clover Hill Dairies Lynne is the marketing manager as well as the
sustainability manager. Lynne explained that part of her role as marketing manager was to raise the profile of the Clover Hill Dairies brand and one of the ways that she has done this is to set up a website which tells people who they are, what they do and how they think.

In order for her marketing materials to have the WOW factor her business needs a
great photographer and this is how her partnership with Siannon began.

Lynne explained that it was through her role as sustainability manager for Clover
Hill Dairies that she met Erin. Lynne explained that both her dairy farms are
in highly sensitive environmental areas. In fact the home farm was 50%
rainforest and managing the rainforest was well outside the farm business team
expertise and it was imperative that the farm engage experts to care for the
rainforest.

Erin and Siannon presented to visual art students from year 7 to year 11. Both Young
Farming Champions created a video and a PowerPoint specifically for their
school presentations. It was obvious from both the students and teachers
reactions that they were overwhelmed with how much creativity had gone into
making Erin and Siannon’s school resources.

Never one to miss an opportunity to use her skills Siannon created a short vox pop featuring visual arts student Yvonne. Hear what Yvonne had to say here

Erin explained that she too needed Siannon’s expertise to help share her story through pictures. Through her PowerPoint and using Lynne’s farm as a working example Erin showed the students that farmers usually have two very different landscapes to manage The first one being the one that is their area of expertise the land they produce food  and on and secondly the vast areas of Australia’s natural landscape that are also  their farms.

Erin Lake sharing her career partnership with farmers with the students

In fact farmers manage over 60% of Australia’s landscape and Erin explained it is impossible for farmers to have the time to gain the expertise to deal with the often highly complex balancing act of productive farm land coexisting in harmony with
native vegetation and susccessfully achiving this requires working with weed warriors of Erin’s ilk.

You can find Erin’s video here

You can find Siannon’s video here

Young Farmers Grasping the Nettle of Power

Art4Agriculture headquarters always enjoy our daily dose of BushBelles an often witty,
sometimes off the wall and always inspiring place and source of information for rural
women

Today Bushbelles gave us serious food for thought with this “deeply powerful trailer about the media and its representation of women”. http://bushbelles.blogspot.com/2011/10/miss-representation-official-movie.html

After viewing the trailer we gave some serious thought to the media and its representation of women in agriculture and agriculture in general.

The trailer opens with this quote from Alice Walker “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”.  Looking at the dictionary definition of power as “the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively” Art4Agriculture would like
to follow up Alice by saying once you have grasped the nettle of power it’s
what you do with it that counts

If indeed “The media is the message and the messenger and increasingly the most powerful one” why is agriculture afraid of telling our story, the real story?

Why are we such poor marketers? Why isn’t agriculture seeing the media as high priority, a great opportunity and marketing tool?

Agriculture has great stories to tell.  Farmers should be very proud of their
profession. After all what’s is more noble than feeding and clothing and housing
the world?

So let’s get our priorities right because in the world in which we all now farm image is everything and image needs to be created and it needs to be actively managed.

So what image does agriculture want the people who buy our food and fibre to see?

So many questions???

Who are our role models?  Who do we admire? Who inspires us?

What qualities, attitudes and abilities must they have to advocate for ourselves and our goals and take leadership on the issues that we believe in and debunk the myth conceptions about agriculture and farmers?

Well Art4Agriculture thought long and hard about this and we decided that the image we wanted our communities to see was young farmers who could promote positive
images and perceptions of farming.  Young farmers who would demonstrate passion for their industry while providing real life examples to young people who may have never considered a career in agriculture. Young people who can relate to students and are adept at breaking down stereotypes of farming and agricultural careers.

So the quest was on

Where are these people? Do they grow on trees or do they have to be identified, engaged, nurtured and trained.

Well we can assure they don’t grow on trees but they are out there and they do need to be identified and they need to be nurtured.

Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been visiting schools across Sydney and now they are in the media telling agriculture’s story.

Today we throw the spotlight on Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton

About Stephanie Tarlinton
Stephanie Tarlinton grew up on the family dairy farm just 15km north/west of
Cobargo with two sisters, Bridget and Megan and parents Richard and June.

She is a 6th generation decent of W. D Tarlinton who discovered the Cobargo
area on the far south coast of NSW.

She completed her primary education at Cobargo Public School and then went to
high school in Bega before moving away from home to attend agricultural
college.

Following this she worked on a sheep/beef property at Goulburn then moved home
to assist on the farm. Since 2008 she has have travelled to New Zealand, United
States of America, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, and China primarily to
study the different agricultural systems in these nations.

In late 2011 she will travel to Argentina, Singapore and India all on study
tours focused on gaining an understanding of agricultural production and what
it contributes to their daily life.

Stephanie enjoys the challenge of travelling to developing nations while
gaining a greater respect and appreciation for the opportunities she has had
available to her.

In 2009 she started university and is now currently studying her third year of
a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in
Orange, NSW. She undertook this degree with the aim of completing further
studies in the form of masters. Growing up in the dairy industry has inspired
her to continue in this sector although in the business area, for example
working to develop a company’s export sector. She wishes to play a role in
building the global name of Australian dairy products and increasing the value
of the domestic industry.

Some of Stephanie’s latest achievements include; 2011 Runner Up Showgirl for
the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Charles Sturt University Dean’s Award for
Academic Excellence 2011, RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship for 2011 and Royal
Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever 2007.

See Stephanie’s story here

Here is a great example of print media press Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton is garnering across the country

FARMER STEPH STORMS SYDNEY!

Growing up on the family’s dairy farm in Wandella instilled Stephanie Tarlinton
with values and knowledge she is now sharing with students in Sydney as one of
Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions.

Young Farming Champions provide information to students about the commodity
they’ve been allocated to study as part of Art4Agriculture’s Archibull Prize.

The Archibull Prize invites students in suburban high schools to learn through
hands on experience about the challenges of housing and feeding the world with
a declining natural resource base.

This year, 21 schools in Sydney are participating in the Archibull Prize,
exploring the theme “The Rural/Urban Divide-What does it take to feed
Sydney for a day?” This theme celebrates the role Australian farmers’ play
in feeding Australian families and many other families around the world.

Each school is provided with a life size fibreglass cow on which the students
create an artwork about, their allocated commodity, the farmers who produce it
and how this commodity is being produced sustainably.

By providing a “human face” of farming, Young Farming Champions like Stephanie
are helping to bridge the rural-urban divide at the same time sharing their
knowledge of farming with city students.

“I am passionate about Australian agriculture as I have grown up as part of a
family whom have a long association with farming and in particular the dairy
industry. Farming to me is the provider for my family and a way of life,” says
Stephanie, who is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Agricultural
Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Orange with the aim of
working in the dairy industry when she graduates.

Stephanie recently presented at Schofields Primary School and Rouse Hill
Anglican College in Sydney sharing with almost 100 students stories about
growing up on her farm and the importance of farmers in supporting our cities.

“I would love to be able to develop a greater understanding of the true value
of agricultural products. If people valued, understood and appreciated the
quality of the produce available to them in Australia perhaps our local
agricultural industries would be more strongly supported. Participating in
Young Farming Champions has given me the opportunity to contribute to this
process,” said Stephanie.

“Having been a cattle exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Easter Show I have seen and
spoken first hand with people of all ages who did not realise where milk came
from. I also have cousins from the city with little understanding of the
process of farming until they visit.”

Young Farming Champions prepare a video and PowerPoint presentation for use at
the schools and answer questions from the students broadening their
understanding about agriculture while helping them prepare for the Archibull
Prize.

Students had so many questions!” said Stephanie. “The primary school children
asked:  How many babies can one cow have?  How old do cows get?
How do they make the different types of milk?  How much milk
do you make?  How do cows turn grass into milk?  How does beef get
from a cow to the supermarket?”

“The high school I visited didn’t offer agriculture as a subject, so I was
talking to visual arts students and it was fantastic to spread the messages
about farming to a group of students who may not have been exposed to
agriculture before. Their questions were more technical and based around
production and the agronomics of dairy farming, as well as the educational
requirements to farm. “

The aim of the program is not to lecture the students about agriculture, but to
share perspectives between farmers and metropolitan consumers.

“It was great to meet the students,” said Stephanie.  “In fact, I probably
learned as much as they did from the experience!”

Art4Agriculture run training sessions for Young Farming Champions to prepare
them for their school visits.

“I have learned so much through my involvement in Young Farming Champions.
Visiting the schools has proved to be a real highlight of my farming journey,
and I’ve been provided with training in public speaking, presentation skills
and video production which I’ll be able to draw upon in the future.  I
would encourage any young farmers who are interested in sharing their story to
get involved!”

The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions programs are sponsored by
Woolworths Ltd and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

More information about Art4Agriculture initiatives and how to get involved in
Young Farming Champions is available at www.art4agriculture.com.au

or contact

Lynne Strong, National Program Director Art4Agriculture

Phone 02 42 360 309 or 0412 428 334

Farmers Unite, Stand up and Say Yes to Investing in Next Gen Farmers

Art4Agriculture dedicates this post and salutes the industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people.

But we ask the following questions

  • Why doesn’t all peak industry bodies share the same ethos?
  • Why aren’t all peak industry bodies adopting a coordinated and collaborative
    approach to efficiently and effectively achieve the best outcomes for agriculture?
  • Why is it too many of those who hold the purse strings can’t leave their egos and
    personalities at the door and work for the common good

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 to help safeguard Australia’s future food security
and this must start with investing in the next generation of farmers.

How right is Senator Ludwig when he says “We need to invest in the youth of today to ensure our agricultural sector is equipped with a skillful workforce to face the challenges of the future,”

Art4Agriculture is committed to ensuring we have a sustainable food supply chain long into the future by providing capacity building programs that invest in developing future industry leaders.

We are equally committed to fostering and providing opportunities to attract young people to join the agriculture sector.

But we are disappointed that some peak industry bodies do not appear to share our vision

Surely in an era where farmers are less than 1% of the population and communities who make up the other 99% hold the power and are prepared to wield the power that
determines our farmers social license to operate alarm bells would be ringing in
all peak industry body bell towers

Extraordinarily we have found there is confusion inside some of our peak industry
bodies about whether investing in cross industry partnerships that give our young
farmers the skills set to engage with consumers to share stories and build
trust and understanding of modern farm production systems is “core business” or
not

There is also confusion at the top over whether programs that send clear messages to our peers that meeting or exceeding consumer expectations are high priority and “core business”

Art4Agriculture’s strategy is help create a culture of change at industry level and engage with peak industry bodies and partner with visionaries who in the first instance recognise there will be no future without investing in youth and in the second instance are prepared to lead by example.

We celebrate those industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people through programs like the Investing in Youth Program which provides financial and mentoring support to Australian students who are committed to contributing to Australia’s rural sector.

This program aims to encourage more young people to study agriculture
courses at university, which will help to ensure Australia has an adequate
supply of primary industry graduates in the future. Successful recipients are selected on the basis of their commitment to a career in primary industries.

Successful applicants receive $5,000 annually for mentoring partnerships,
and leadership and skills development workshops.

Visit http://www.rirdc.gov.au/programs/national-rural-issues/dynamic-rural-communities/investing-in-youth-studentship-program/investing-in-youth–program-sponsors.cfm and join us in saluting the visionaries who see investing in youth as core business. Can you find your peak industry body here if not may we suggest you ask them why not?

Art4Agriculture has personally seen the benefits of this joint industry and government collaboration project that has delivered us some of our Young Farming Champions like Naomi Marks.

Read Naomi’s story here:

Dorrigo dairy farmer Naomi is keen to make her mark

Naomi Marks had no hesitation in putting up her hand to become a Young Farming
Champion.  Citing a passion for agriculture and a particular interest in promoting agriculture to schools Naomi was chosen to tell the dairy industry’s story to Sydney school children.

Growing up on a 200 cow dairy farm on the Mid North Coast, where she also runs her own herd of Jersey stud cattle, Naomi is keen to lead by example when it comes to
demonstrating that agriculture is full of young and vibrant people.

Naomi has recently completed visits to Maraylya Public School and Model Farms High School where she was able to share her farming story and check out the students’
progress in preparing their entry for the Archibull Prize.

The Primary School class I spoke to was so impressive! There was not enough time to answer all questions…they were enthusiastic, interested, keen to know more and absolutely loved my video.
All of them paid attention the whole time and loved it when I involved them by
asking them questions. Their level of knowledge also blew me away!  They had so many questions that they are going to email me the rest!

Young Farming Champions provide students with the human face of farming; allowing them to interact and share stories that create a bridge across the rural-urban
divide.

The sessions with the students are not designed to be lectures about agriculture,
but rather a two-way conversation about modern farming techniques and how
farming benefits city based consumers.

I think the three most important  messages I’d like students to take out of my presentations are:

 1. Farmers produce clean, safe and fresh food and fibre with high quality assurance standards, second to none.

2. Agriculture is a large contributor to Gross Domestic Product.

3. Farmers preserve land and other resources, whilst agriculture keeps small
towns alive and provides many jobs.

The students at Maraylya Public School and the Model Farms High School are
participating in the Archibull Prize and will undertake a range of curriculum
activities aimed at showcasing the importance of getting the balance right
between the involvement and agricultural production.

Each school has been provided with a fibreglass cow on which they will paint an artwork
that explores the themes they have studied.

Naomi’s presentations were an important part of the process, allowing the students to
ask questions and clarify their knowledge around the topic.

The next step for Naomi is to focus on her own studies as exams loom for her Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of New England.

Naomi prepared resources for her school visits.

A great story from ABC Rural on Naomi here

s3296420.htm

You can see why the students loved  Naomi’s video here. Its a ripper Naomi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjgOiz1NNS8

Art4Agriculture salutes the Cotton Research and Development Corporation for sponsoring Naomi Marks Investing in Youth Scholarship

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