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.
Picture You in Agriculture in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is seeking applications from early career professionals in the Australian wool industry to join the prestigious Young Farming Champions program. The Young Farming Champions (YFC) are identified youth ambassadors and future influencers working within the agriculture sector who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.
Young people aged under 30 who currently work in the wool industry are invited to apply for the leadership development program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation.
In Year One, participants will attend three, two-day immersion workshops and The Archibull Prize Awards Ceremony. In Year Two of the program, participants visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers.
Wool broker, Samantha Wan, is a graduate of the AWI Young Farming Champions program and credits it with taking her career to new levels. Using skills developed during the program and as an alumna, Sam has the confidence to present at conferences such as the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and has been accepted into the International Wool Textile Organisation’s (IWTO) Young Professionals Program. In 2018, Sam was named the Elders Employee of the Year.
Sam continues her association with the Young Farming Champions by mentoring students participating in The Archibull Prize.
Other graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2015 Young Australian Farmer of the Year and 2018 Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Anika Molesworth
2018 Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Alumna, Dr. Jo Newton also started her Young Farming Champions journey with the support of Australian Wool Innovation
2018 Australian Innovation Farmer of the Year, Dan Fox has also benefited from being part of the Young Farming Champions network
Through the ongoing support of AWI, costs are covered for the wool YFC participants including travel, accommodation, meals, workshop resources and mentoring. Expressions of interest for the 2019 AWI Young Farming Champions program can be made by contacting Picture You in Agriculture Program Director, Lynne Strong, at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.
In the field
This week there is a woolly buzz in classrooms in Sydney and we are thrilled to launch the pilot of our new program Paddock to Plate Pen Pals. Supported by Australian Wool Innovation this new program will see students Google Hanging Out with our Young Farming Champions working in the wool and sheep supply chain.
Skype sessions have been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the field, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma, she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. See case study here
Monday morning CSIRO Sheep Researcher and YFC Dr Danila Marini beamed into Carlingford West Public School to discuss all things animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology and teacher Zoe Stephens says students were fascinated:
On Tuesday morning it was Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian and Wool YFC Dione Howard turn
This is what teacher Zoe Stephens had to say ” What a great connection! The students were so engaged and interested. I think you may have inspired some students to become future vets! The medical equipment you showed the students were amazing, especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans! Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!
Elders Wool broker Sam Wan and sheep musterer Chloe Dutschke will beam into Carlingford West PS later this week. Paddock to Plate Pen Pals will also be supported by blog posts, social media and case-studies.
In the Central Highlands of Queensland, YFC and Secretary of the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCGIA) Alexandria Galea and YFC and Cotton Info Extension Officer Sharna Holman worked with a team to deliver a Teach the Teacher Tour to gain hands on experience of agriculture.
Sixty teachers visited an irrigation farm, took a quick agronomy lesson and had a siphon starting competition. The adventure continued to a horticulture farm, to an automotive packing plant for citris and grapes and Fairbairn Dam. Events like this aim to inform teachers of farming practices and give them a positive and fun experience of agriculture so that they can share this knowledge in the classroom. Great work Alexandria and Sharna.
The Archibull Prize is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and the team is looking back over what we have learnt throughout our decade long journey of harnessing the best and brightest young ag minds to take the farm into urban classrooms. Our first Lessons Learnt Blog explores careers in agriculture and offering real world skills to solve real world problems. Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan shines as an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture. Read more HERE
Out of the field
YFC Dr Danila Marini talks sheep welfare and the fascinating new world of virtual fencing with University of New England:
“Since ancient livestock herders began erecting barriers of brush and stone to contain animals, fencing has been a time-consuming and expensive business for farmers. Imagine, then, the virtual fence: an invisible line on the landscape that animals will not cross, which can be created on a map on a tablet, and moved or erased at a touch. After decades of research trial and error — lots of error — the concept is now a reality, at least for cattle. The rapid minaturisation of technology means that the solution may soon be applied to sheep, and that’s where UNE post-doctoral student Dr Danila Marini steps in.” Read more HERE
Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is off to Antarctica this year and has co-authored a story in the lead up to her adventure via The Crawford Fund titled “Farming on Thin Ice.”
“Later this year, two young agricultural researchers who are both former Crawford Fund scholars and now RAID Network members, will be setting off to Antarctica. They were selected to take part in an incredible 12-month program with a cohort of 95 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) from around the globe. The Homeward Bound programme is a global leadership initiative to equip women in STEMM with strategic and communication capabilities in order to influence policy and decision-making regarding the sustainability of our planet.” Read more HERE
Friend of Art4Agriculture and consultancy guru Greg Mills caught up with Wool YFC Peta Bradley at Zone Junior Judging in Armidale. Peta was meat sheep judge and Greg was the steward. The winner and runner up from Armidale will compete at the zone final at Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.
YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.
YFC and Local Landcare Coordinators (LLC) Erika Heffer and Jasmine Whitten are both off to Sydney this week for the Statewide LLC Gathering. Jasmine checked with the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from the Dubbo airport this morning on her way to the big smoke. She’ll keep us updated on all the Landcare happenings this week, so keep an eye out!
Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke is one of six finalists for the this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship. The Scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience and mentoring to young people aspiring to a career in the wool industry. The recipient of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship will be announced at the scholarship dinner on April 4th. Good luck Chloe!
We’re excitedly looking for the next crop of Young Farming Champions to join out team in 2019! Expressions of Interest are now open for University of New England Young Farming Champions. If this is you or someone you know, please share the word! Find our more HERE
Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.
Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:
Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.
Contact Lynne Strong E: email@example.com to access an expression of interest brochure
I’m so glad to be given the chance to talk about the opportunities and the bright future
of the Australian Wool and sheepmeat industry. I think Young Guns is important
as it gives young people within the industry the ability to be involved
and learn new skills.
But it’s not only our YFC making waves as finalists. Hannah Haupt from Calvary Christian College in Brisbane was part of the Grand Champion Archibull Team in 2017, when the school studied the wool industry, and she is a finalist in the high school division.
But it’s not only our YFC making waves as finalists. Hannah Haupt from Calvary Christian College in Brisbane was part of the Grand Champion Archibull Team in 2017, when the school studied the wool industry, and she is a finalist in the high school division. Here’s what her teacher Lisa Bullas says about Hannah’s journey:
Hannah is a passionate agriculturalist and is highly involved with sheep in our
College show team (Suffolk Sheep). Her knowledge and understanding in one so
young is inspiring to those around her.
Lisa also had this to say about The Archibull Prize:
As a part of show team, we work with the many contacts and actively involve our alumni students, who mentor our youngsters and open up opportunities/share knowledge that we simply can’t with our limited resources. Being a part of The Archibull Prize has further enhanced some of these connections, providing opportunities that we could otherwise have missed. The capacity of the program to make connections between industry and education is a huge advantage.
When we survey our Young Farming Champions one of the key messages they send us is a desire to reach out and connect with someone who has walked in their shoes, to have a conversation with a peer or to be mentored. This is part of the Art4Agriculture vision, so it is very exciting for us to announce that Deanna will mentor Hannah and give her valuable insights into the Young Guns competition.
At LambEx, to be held in Perth from August 5-7, Danila and Hannah will make a four minute presentation to judges discussing their current role and potential future in the sheep and lamb industry. Good luck girls. We wish you both success.
Cheering them on from the sidelines will be Young Farming Champions Adele Offley and Chloe Dutschke travelling to Perth to ensure they are up-to-date with the opportunities for wool producers.
A journalist, a PhD student, a budding auctioneer and a qualified wool classer.
The latest crop of talented Art4Agriculture Wool Young Farming Champions (YFC) prove variety is the key to engaging the next generation.
Sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation, these young people are a living proof that there is nothing boring or conventional about the future of their industry.
Former television news journalist, Victorian-born Bessie Blore has been farming in far west NSW with her husband for two years. Approaching agriculture with fresh eyes, she admits to learning on the run.
Her number one lesson?
“There is really no such thing as a stupid question or action,” she said. “That’s the only way you can learn about something you know nothing about. Ask, ask, ask. And give a big cheeky grin when you make a mistake, say sorry, and move on.”
“There is room for fresh blood in our farming future, and there are new, inspiring, exciting stories to be started from today,” Bessie said.
A thirst for learning and a passion for sheep took city-girl Jo Newton to Armidale in NSW to study agriculture.
Photo Matt Cawood
Now studying a PHD focusing on the environmental and genetic factors influencing early reproductive performance in sheep, Jo proves that studying agriculture can lead to a world of opportunities and she shares her story at any opportunity.
“As important a job as farming is, there are many different jobs in our sector,” she said. “That’s something many people don’t fully understand.”
“I am proud of the agricultural sector and my small role in it and am happy to share my story with as many of city friends as I can.”
Rounding out this year’s YFC’s are Cassie Baile, a fifth generation sheep farmer from Bendemeer in the New England region of NSW and Adele Offley from Crookwell in NSW.
Twenty-two-year-old, Cassie now lives and works in Sydney, employed by Elders as a wool technical support officer at Yennora Wool Selling centre.
Qualified Wool Classer Adele has a lifelong passion for wool stemming from the fascination of watching the sheep being shorn and the wool sorted in the shearing shed growing up on the family farm.
Dr Jane Littlejohn, Head of On-Farm RD&E at Australian Wool Innovation agreed that the wool industry is in good hands.
“AWI is proud of the achievements of the younger generation and believe that their stories will inspire other young people about the wool industry and its opportunities,” she said.
“The industry needs young advocates who are passionate and can relate to students. AWI is delighted to be involved again in the Young Farming Champion program for 2013.”
Young Farming Champions will start visiting the 42 schools participating in the 2013 “Archibull Prize” in coming days.
The 2013 Wool Young Farming Champions caught up with Wool YFC 2011 Melissa Henry at the recent workshop at NSW Farmers
Want to connect with our Wool Young Farming Champions
HRH Prince Charles recently visited Australia and four of our Young Farming Champions met him and had the opportunity to speak with him and share their passion for agriculture
Today I am reproducing a post from Art4Agriculture Wool Young Farming Champion Sammi Townsend’s blog Youth in Agtion. In November last year Sammi was given the opportunity along with three other Art4Agriculture Wool Young Farming Champions to meet and talk to HRH Prince Charles on his recent trip to Australia. One behalf of Art4Agriculture I would like to say a special thanks to Australian Wool Innovation for the amazing opportunities and doors they have opened for their 2012 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions and we are thrilled they have indicated they are on board again for 2013
I was privileged enough to shake hands and mingle with The Prince of Wales who was on one of the final legs of his Australian Tour last week. HRH, who is the Patron for Campaign for Wool, joined wool growers, designers and even 3 merino wethers at an exclusive event atop of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Left to Right: Art4Ag Young Farming Champions Lauren Crothers, Sammi Townsend and Steph Grills
On the day I proudly sported a woollen garment by local designer Michelle Kent, who is the owner of the boutique label “So Stella” based in Orange.
Founded in 2004 the NSW based fashion business, which offers customers handmade as well as tailor made services, has developed from a business model that has kept a social conscience and integrity at its core. I was most certainly proud to be representing my industry with wool and at the same time supporting a lovely local business!
The event was hosted by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) who kindly invited me as a young wool ambassador to the event to represent the education sector as a part of the Art4Agriculture program. Just as HRH has a role as a Patron for Campaign for Wool to educate people about the versatility of wool in fashion, furnishings and everyday life, my role is to inform Australian metropolitan school students about the agricultural industry with a focus on wool.
Not only did I shake hands with Prince Charles, but also took great pleasure in chatting to him about what the Art4Agriculture program is about. It was a wonderful opportunity to sum up our key messages and inform him of the great things happening in our industry at the moment such as the School’s Merino Wether and Fibre of Our Nation competitions.
Amongst the small crowd present were many designers such as Josh Goot, Dion Lee, Kym Ellery, Camilla Freeman-Topper (of Camilla and Marc) as well as Akira Isogawa who proudly showcased their woollen creations.
Above: One of Kym Ellery’s Designs
A lot of attention was also attracted to the three North Ashrose merino wethers who had travelled 18 hours from South Australia to be displayed at the event.
After the event had wrapped up I made my way to the AWI head office where we mingled over lunch with some key AWI staff who then proceeded to give a number of interesting presentations about their strategic framework, research and development and the marketing of wool.
Campaign For Wool showcase for HRH Prince of Wales
I have been privileged as a young wool ambassador with AWI and Art4Agriculture and most certainly have been able to broaden my networks and establish many connections beyond my own agricultural community thanks to their support. They have given me the confidence to share my story in agriculture so far as well as one of the oldest industries Australia has built itself upon, none other than the wool industry.