Art4Agriculture Chair celebrating nomination as a finalist in the prestigious Eureka Prize

Climate-savvy farmer Lynne Strong announced as finalist in Eureka awards

Art4Agriculture Chair Lynne Strong is one of a group of 34 Australian farmers who have been announced as a 2011 Australian Museum Eureka Prize finalist for their work in motivating action to reduce the on farm impacts of Australia’s increasing climate
variability .

The EurekaPrize is recognised as Australia’s most prestigious science award

Lynne has been involved for 18 months in the national Climate
Champion program
  which brings researchers and farmers together to
share information

The farmers, who represent most major agricultural commodities from all over Australia, have been selected for successfully adapting their farms to produce more food using
fewer resources whilst generating less on farm waste.

The climate champions are sharing stories with fellow farmers to improve the farming
communities understanding of the impact of Australia’s increasing climate
variability and increase the adoption of practices and tools for managing
climate risk.

“Farmers live and die by the weather. They want to know when it’s going to rain, how much, and what the season promises.  Farmers can’t control the weather but we
can control how we prepare for it,” says dairy farmer Lynne Strong from

The Climate Champions are also working with the scientists to trial early research products and practices, and ensure the research is communicated in a language the
farmers can understand and transfer into on farm action.

We are also working with the government to ensure the research reaches the paddock. Surveys say 9 out of 10 farmers learn from other farmers. They want to see results in
their own backyard.  If we are going to feed the families of the future the government of today must invest heavily in on farm extension”  says Lynne

The Climate Champions program is run by science communication consultancy Econnect Communication on behalf of the national Managing Climate Variability program, the Grains Research & Development Corporation, and Meat & Livestock

Presented annually by the Australian Museum, the Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, school
science, science journalism and science communication. The Eureka Prize for
Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge, which is worth $10,000, is designed to
highlight work that has achieved outstanding outcomes in three areas:

  • increasing understanding and positively changing attitudes about the cause, process and impacts of climate change and the need for action
  • improving skills to respond to climate change
  • Positively changing behaviour towards helping reduce the impacts of climate change.

The Eureka Prize winners will be announced on 6 September 2011.

For interview:
Lynne Strong, phone: 02 4236 0309,

Media assistance: Sarah Cole, Econnect Communication, phone: 0402 833

Eureka Prizes:

Using Social Media to Get Heard by the Herd

In just two years Art4Agriculture has attracted 50,000 hits to their Cream of the Crop  web based agriculture education resources  written for young people by young people. Lets see if we can double this in 2011.

If you can,

Spin a
yarn about sheep

Chew the
fat about pigs

Or talk
turkey about poultry……

then tell your story and Win a CASH PRIZE!

Check out all the details here

Cream of the Crop Competition 2011 Open for entries

The Cream of the Crop Competition invites students in NSW secondary and tertiary education institutions to create a PowerPoint or a video which can be published on the web and win $500.
The competition invites NSW secondary and tertiary students to promote the importance of agriculture to their peers, to encourage a better understanding of agriculture as well as promote agricultural careers and rural life.

This year students have two categories they can enter
1.      The PowerPoint Category asks students to create a PowerPoint presentation about an aspect of agriculture, whether it’s their studies, their farm, a policy issue, their region’s industries or the career of someone they respect in agriculture.  Previous finalists have covered topics such as the importance of buying Australian produce, sustainable farming, agriculture and technology, climate change, regional towns, the Locavore Movement and most agricultural commodities.
2.    The Video Category is new this year. It asks students to make a short film about an occupation that links to a career in agriculture. This can be as diverse as an agronomist, an accountant, a veterinarian, an auctioneer, a stock agent, or an IT expert – the possibilities are endless, and that’s the important point to remember about agricultural careers, it’s not all mud and flies!

The finalists’ presentations are placed on the LandLearn NSW website. The winners are announced and cash prizes are presented at a function in their honour at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2012.

You don’t have to be studying agriculture to enter the Cream of the Crop competition. We encourage all NSW students to consider the importance of agriculture to their daily life and share their ideas and knowledge.

Our social media resources have had 70,000 hits in two years, so it’s a great way for young people to be heard.

Entries close on 1st December 2011 and entry details, as well as copies of last year’s finalists, can be found below.

The Cream of the Crop competition is sponsored by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, LandLearn NSW and Woolworths.

PowerPoint Presentation

Prizes on offer include:

Secondary School

•  Junior  School (Year 7 & 8) $500 Best Presentation
•  Middle  School (Year 9 &10) $500 Best Presentation
•  Senior  School (Year 11 & 12) $500 Best Presentation
Tertiary Studies
•  Undergraduate and TAFE $500 Best Presentation
•  Postgraduate $500 Best Presentation

Video Competition

Prizes on offer include:


•   Junior School (Years 7 & 8) $500 Best Video
•   Middle School Video ( Years 9 & 10) $500 Best Video
•   Senior School (Years 11 & 12) $500 Best Video

Note: Video competition is only open to students studying in NSW Secondary School

The best 12 entries will also be published on the Landlearn NSW website

Vidoe examples can be found here

Closing Date:

The competition closes at 5pm (EST) on 1st December 2011.

Visit here to find out everything you need to know and do

A passionate love affair with social media

The world has fallen in love with social media and so have farmers. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs and SlideShare (just some examples of the diversity of social media opportunities) have provided a new and exciting information freeway for farmers to share their stories and help build trust and understanding within the community of modern farming practices as well the challenges farmers face in providing affordable and nutritious food for families all around the world.

This is so important as modern practices are moving so much faster than education resources. On top of this the current value change model is moving farmers further and further away from their customers.

“A blog can bring readers together on a regular basis, regardless of geographical distance and the site becomes more than a noticeboard. It becomes a forum where communities are developed.” says Sally Davison from the Australian Farm Institute.

 A good example of using a mix of mediums to spread a message is the Inspire Foundation’ initiative “A Perfect Gift for a Man.” In 2009 the Inspire Foundation launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue of suicide amongst young men in Australia. The campaign started with a # tag topic on Twitter. This was followed by a blog where people shared their experiences. Eventually a book was created of these heartfelt and inspiring stories

Another local example of a similar Twitter initiative is Alison Farleigh’s fortnightly Twitter discussion forum called Rural Mental Health to raise awareness of the issue and engage with people in rural communities. By using the #RuralMH anyone can see the discussion and take part if they wish to.  

#Agchatoz offers a weekly forum for people to post tweets on a wide range of agriculture topics. Agchatoz now has over 1200 followers.

 A Youtube example of product promotion is Yeo Valley who have used this very clever video which has attracted close to 2 million hits to drive sales of their organic dairy products. Would be interesting to know what has been the increase in sales of their products from this catchy promotion

 Art4Agriculture was inspired by Marian McDonald a dairy farmer from Jack River, Victoria to start our blog. Read Simone Smith’s story on Marian in The Weekly Times here and join her blog and follow Milk Maid Marian on Twitter here!/milkmaidmarian

 Art4Agriculture have now been using SlideShare for two years to successfully share the Jet and Emma Dairy Education Series for K to 12

 Art4Agriculture’s Jet and Emma are undertaking a dairy traineeship as part of their HSC. They work at dairies in the beautiful Jamberoo Valley on the NSW South Coast and they share what they are learning everyday with their ever increasing fan base.

Together with the finalist presentations from the Cream of the Crop Competition we are very proud to say we have attracted over 50,000 hits on the web.

 Follow us on Twitter!/Art4ag and Flickr

Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion begins the journey

Emma Visser has been identified by the dairy industry to participate in Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program

Emma and Calf at Clover Hill

Emma begins her Young Farming Champions journey today as a mentor for the Cows Create Careers program.

This project creates awareness among secondary school students of the career opportunities in the dairy industry and connects them ‘first hand’ with further education and training links, such as the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia. The six-week project includes rearing heifer calves on the school campus, completing the set curriculum, the involvement of a farmer mentor and an industry mentor, and a presentation day. Its legacy for students is a positive experience and greater awareness of dairying.

Emma’s Role

In her role as a mentor Emma will introduce the project to students in school and assist both the students and teachers throughout the term of the project. The mentor explains to students about their career in the dairy industry and informs students about the education and training required for their career pathway.

Emma was introduced to the program 4 years ago when her school participated in Cows Create Careers and is now operation manger at Clover Hill Dairies.

 Emma will share her dairy industry career pathway with students from Illawarra Christian School and Albion Park High School who are taking part in the Cows Create Careers program in the Illawarra region in NSW  

See Emma on farm here

Team Art4Agriculture selected to sell careers in agriculture through advocacy

Identified as dynamic leaders in the agrifood industry two of Art4Agriculture’s team members have been invited to be AgriFood’s Skills Ambassadors. Their role involves actively promoting innovation and professionalism in the industry, and the benefits of education and skill development leading to attractive career pathways and opportunities.

The program will provide Ambassadors with an opportunity to broaden and enhance their industry profile, confidence and influence at a national level through access to AgriFood’s diverse industry stakeholders. Ambassadors have been appointed for 12 months and will undertake specialised training, including media and public speaking, to enhance their personal and professional effectiveness.

Well done Lynne and Hollie

Hollie Ballieu selected as one of eight AgriFood Skills Ambassadors

Young Farmers Champions – the next steps


The next steps 

Our first The Bridging the Rural–Urban Divide workshop for our Young Farming  Champions began the young farming champions journey to create multimedia products, training them for what they can expect going into schools, getting them to think about what messages they want to convey, and how, to their different audiences.

The workshop provided learning opportunities for the young farming champions that were tailored to their requirements as advocates for agriculture, as well as enhancing opportunities for these farmers to network amongst other young dairy farmers from different primary industries. They got to see their similarities, they found common ground, they realised each has issues that are just as challenging, and they learnt how they can help each other.

The workshop also provided access to information and advisors on priority issues of concern to the community and enabled participants to learn from experienced mentors.

Next steps 

The Young Farming Champions’ intentions are not to “educate” people about agriculture, but rather create opportunities for an exchange of information and ideas between young people from both our cities and rural areas.


Throughout the year, the Young Farming Champions will visit schools to bridge the divide by providing a young face of farming that students will be able to relate to and supporting those students participating in the Archibull Prize with information and ideas.

The farmers are also developing short films, which will tell their story and give everyone a chance to look around their farms.  Using multimedia to tell their stories is an important way to engage with a larger group of students from around Australia (and the world!).

Check out what Emma has to say to next gen urban Sure to inspire other young people to follow her journey

Always learning, the Young Farming Champions will meet again in November to share their experiences with each other.   This will be an opportunity to evaluate the partnerships they are forging with city-based students and consider how to increase the levels of understanding they are developing.

In 2012 the program aims to expand to include a greater number of industries and young farmers.  The work the Young Farming Champions are doing now will underpin the growth of the program to benefit our whole community.