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.
Bronwyn Roberts had a big year in 2013. Not only was she the guest speaker at the Marcus Oldham Leadership Dinner she won the prestigious 2013 Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader Award
Bron was overwhelmed by the combined talent of the young people she met who were participating in the 2013 Leadership program and she has asked me to promote the 2014 MARCUS OLDHAM RURAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM far and wide.
This program is a once a year opportunity to participate on an intense five-day workshop conducted on the College campus at Geelong, commencing on the last Sunday in June each year.
Objectives To seek to develop the skills and knowledge of participants to enable them:
To undertake a leadership role in their industry or community
To competently represent their industry or community in decision making forums
To understand and address the issues facing rural industries and rural communities
To develop the leadership, communication and planning skills of individuals in the Program, through their participation in a process of self-discovery, skills training, knowledge building and team development
To provide opportunities for participants to network with keynote speakers from industry and the community
Bron is now on the board of the Australian Beef Industry Foundation and they are offering together with the Future Farmers Network (FFN) two opportunities for commercial cattle producers, aged between 25 and 40 to attend the one-week Rural Leadership Program at the Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Victoria in June this year.
For more details visit the website here or check out the ABIF Facebook page here
Beef YFC Bronwyn Roberts named QLD Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader
It’s been a big month for our Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions (YFC) who have started going into schools in three states as part of the 2013 Archibull Prize
Three of the team also have some very exciting news to share with you
Just 24 hours ago the best in the business of the Queensland red meat industry where recognised at the State’s premier industry gala awards in Brisbane last night.
The Queensland Red Meat Awards, hosted by peak advocacy group AgForce, celebrate the innovators in the industry, showcasing all aspects from paddock to plate.
The awards highlight excellence from the producer level right through to recognising the retailers and restaurants across the State the serve the best red meat on offer.
How excited were the Art4Agriculture team when Beef YFC Bronwyn Roberts was named Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader
AgForce general president Ian Burnett said the 2013 winners were testament to the industry’s progressive and innovative outlook, providing a benchmark to which all producers and retailers could strive for.
“The professionalism and innovation in this year’s award winners are instrumental in raising the profile of Queensland beef and sheep meat in Australia,” Mr Burnett said.
“The awards recognise every vital aspect of the supply and retail chain, ultimately resulting in a much higher quality product for our end consumer.”
Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader – Sponsored by Rabobank: Bronwyn Roberts
Working side-by-side with her parents as a fifth generation beef farmer, Ms Roberts is passionate about implementing best practices to produce economically, environmentally and socially sustainable beef. She also works as the Grazing Land Management Officer with the Fitzroy Basin Association. Rotational grazing is utilized to promote healthy land, clean waterways, pasture growth, and biodiversity. Ms Roberts also uses modern technology such as iPhone apps to record stock movements, production and veterinary treatments. Beyond the farm gate, Ms Roberts embraces social media to help spread the word about agriculture through Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Instagram. She also actively contributes to policy and education resources by acting as a MLA Target 100 Beef Young Farming Champion. In this capacity, she has represented MLA at events such as the Sydney Festival and the recent Regional Flavours festival in Southbank. She’s written numerous articles which have been featured in various magazines, been a keynote speaker at events such as the prestigious Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and Australian Beef Industry Foundation awards dinner. Miss Roberts is also an active Art4Agriculture advocate being featured in YouTube videos empowering students and teachers to explore the beef industry.
Just one month earlier Wool YFC Jo Newton was part of a team of 11 young entrepreneurs from the University of New England (UNE) who took out the prestigious Enactus Australia Championships on Friday 5 July. Enactus is a global organisation, which brings student, academic and business leaders together to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.
Jo Newton (centre left) with the University of New England (UNE) team who took out the prestigious Enactus Australia Championships on Friday 5 July
Each team in the Enactus competition must develop, manage and report on outreach initiatives that address areas of human need. Teams must approach these projects as sustainable business enterprises, working to maximise returns to targeted beneficiaries.
Jo headed up the team that showcased the Farming Futures project which links the many companies crying out for quality graduates from agricultural courses to the talent they’re after.
“Demand for graduates outstrips supply in the sector by a factor of four to one, yet 30 per cent of recent graduates aren’t employed. Through an agricultural career’s fair and an industry dinner, we’ve showcased the many professions on offer in agriculture and helped match graduates with leading employers,
I feel very privileged to be a part of that group of students striving to make real positive changes in our community. As a team we are tackling real issues in our community, that translate into national issues. To have the opportunity to take these issues to an international stage will be fantastic in generating further awareness for our projects. I have to pinch myself when I think of the fact that in 2 months I will be part of a team representing Australia, competing against 37 other countries in Mexico. I never dreamed agriculture could take me so far” said Jo
Jo and the UNE team will now proceed to the World Cup to be held in Cancan, Mexico – 29 September to 2 October 2013.
And this great news from ‘Dr Steph’ Fowler who is off to Turkey to present two papers at the International Conference of Meat Science and Technology (Icons).
This is what Steph had to say about the opportunity
As there is so few meat scientists amongst us it is really an exciting (and yet totally scary) prospect to be selected to present two papers at the International Conference of Meat Science and Technology (Icons). Looking at the program of those I am presenting alongside gives me a bizarre feeling because it’s the same as reading my reference library, there are names I have been continually referencing since I really began in Meat Science nearly four years ago. It hasn’t really sunk in that they are my colleagues and I am in the same league as them now because I still see myself as the little undergrad student I was when I started, using and refuting their ideas as evidence of my own thoughts and data throughout most of my major assignments.
It’s mind boggling and even more so the fact I have been given a travel grant to help me attend the conference means I have been recognised as someone who is seen to be contributing to the meat science field and who would benefit from attending the conference and grad program. It’s a huge jump from writing assignments that go to a professor, get marked and come back to you to contributing to a whole field of knowledge. Of course getting two papers into the conference is just the start, there is so much to do between now and when I go…full papers to write to be published, conference posters to organise, presentations to put together and practice, samples to set to take to Monash when I get back, data to organise to take to our collaborators in Germany after the conference plus organising my own holiday for when I am released in Europe that I have barely stopped to think about the full significance of my first papers being accepted. For me the real achievement will come when I am on a plane bound for Izmir Turkey and until then I will keep talking about it trying to convince myself that it’s actually real and happening.
Congratulations to Bron, Jo and Steph and all our Young Farming Champions – you were all born superstars
Don’t you just love it when industry celebrates young rising stars in agriculture
Recently Target 100 Beef Young Farming Champion Bronwyn Roberts had the honour of being invited to be the keynote speaker at the prestigious Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and Australian Beef Industry Foundation Awards Dinner in June.
We at Art4Agriculuture are very proud of Bron who has committed her life to the red meat industry, as a farmer, land management officer and as an advocate for the sector.
The NSW Archibull Prize 2012 is coming to the pointy end of the competition with entries due in just under 3 weeks.
We have Young Farming Champions from QLD and NSW in full swing going into schools from Camden Vale to Nowra and out to Gunnedah (thanks to the generosity of Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Association)
Today Beef Young Farming Champion Bronwyn Roberts is heading from Emerald to Berkeley Vale. Bron has just started up her Farmer Bron Facebook page to share with the community her farming journey. Check it out here.
Bron will be joined by equally excited artwork judge Wendy Taylor who has also been invited by the Berkeley Vale team. Check out this awesome animation Meet today’s Australian farmer by Wendy’s husband Craig of Red Blue Design which Craig created especially for the schools participating in the Archibull Prize
Wool Young Farming Champion Lauren Crothers from Dirranbandi in South West Queensland to visit Homebush Boys High School
Lauren Crothers and Ekka exhibition shearer Hayden Eley
Meat Scientist and Beef Young Farming Champion Dr (in waiting) Steph Fowler is motoring up the highway from Wagga Wagga to visit Abbotsleigh College and Muirfield High School.
Steph was so excited to check out the Hoof and Hook competition carcases at the Ekka and check out this great video featuring Dr Steph at Art4Agriculuture’s recent visit to the Ekka
Today’s guest post has been written by Bronwyn Roberts an aspiring Art4Agriculture Young Beef Farming Champion. Young Farming Champions submit an EOI where we ask them to write a short paragraph on “why they believe it is important for farmers to build relationships with consumers” and we were very impressed with Bronwyn’s answer
Historically our ‘city cousins’ had a friend or family member on a farm, so had a personal experience with agriculture and the products we produce. This is no longer the case and we as an industry need to reinvigorate the personal experience for consumers, and rebuild the relationships that have been lost. The introduction of social media has seen a rise in misinformation about agriculture being presented and interpreted as fact. In these current times where agriculture is competing with other industries for land use, labour, funding and services, it is important that we have a strong network of consumers who support agriculture and accept our social license as the trusted and sustainable option.
This insightful answer made us very keen to hear more about Bronwyn and we invited her to share her story with you
Hi, my name is Bronwyn Roberts and my family have been feeding and clothing the world for more than 500 years. My agricultural ancestry traces back to England in the 1500’s. More recently, my Australian heritage goes back to settlers who came out here to farm in 1855.
My Grandfather, Joseph Comiskey, was born in 1890 and was a very well-known Queensland grazier.
I’m proud to say that Grandad prepared horses for the Light Horse brigade which were shipped off and used in World War I. Grandad Joe together with his wife Leila had 9 children and my mother is the youngest. My grandparents can still be credited for a large portion of the population of the Alpha district. Each year Grandad would head to far North West Queensland buying forward steers and droving them home to the properties at Alpha. Grandad travelled down with so many mobs that he knew all of the graziers en route personally. In 1988 Grandad was asked to purchase the first pen of fat bullocks to be sold at Auction as part of the grand opening of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach. With Queen Elizabeth herself looking on, Grandad purchased this first pen in pounds, shillings and pence for old time sake. Grandad was so well known and did so much for the grazing industry in Central Queensland, that the loading complex at the Alpha Saleyards are named in his honour, and the first pen of bullocks sold at the new Emerald Sales Complex were sold in his name. I would later go on to work at these Emerald saleyards, and remember my time there as a highlight of my working career. By the time of his death in 1993, Grandad had acquired 10 properties in total, 7 of which are still in the family. If you haven’t done the math yet, Grandad lived to the ripe old age of 103. I was only 10 years old when Grandad passed, and had he not lived so long I probably would have never had the honour of knowing him. Grandma passed in 2006. What I wouldn’t give to spend one more day with those two, learning about their old ways of the bush and sharing with them the new ways of my generation of grazier.
So by now you may be thinking that my love of agriculture comes from my long family history in the industry… well you’re wrong. While the past has shaped who I am, my continued passion for this industry doesn’t come from yesterday, but from today. I am a full time Grazing Land Management Officer with the Fitzroy Basin Association, which is the natural resource management body for this region. The area I cover is twice the size of Tasmania, and is the biggest beef producing region in the world. Our farmers are used to having a varying climate, and are on the forefront of practices and technology used for producing economically and environmentally sustainable food and fibre. When asked to describe a typical day for me, I often wonder ‘what is typical’? I leave home in the dark and I get home in the dark, that’s about the only thing I can count on.
Today I might be driving north on a dirt road for 3 hours, to spend the day with a grazier who would like to improve his pasture and land condition, to decrease the amount of soil lost off his property which ends up in the waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef. Yes, I said the Great Barrier Reef, as all creeks and rivers in my part of the world flow there. This landholder may also want to fence off his riparian areas to protect the creek banks, improve water quality, and create a nature corridor protected from stock. To do this, this landholder is going to have to spend tens of thousands of dollars for very minimal economic return. If this was an investment in shares, a financial expert would advise against it as the return on investment is poor. But for farmers, who are the custodians of our land, the decision to spend money and do right by our environment is an easy one.
Perhaps today I’m not spending it one on one with a landholder on their farm, but maybe I am running a best management practice workshop with a group of landholders.
Picture a group of graziers, most of which are middle aged men, sitting around a kitchen table and each operating a laptop connected to the internet. These graziers are assessing their farm operations against best management practice. This gives the landholders an opportunity to benchmark their operation against industry standard, and provides them with a report card of areas of excellence and possible areas of improvement. It’s my job to help them with their areas of improvement, to ensure that no one in the industry is left behind in a rapidly advancing world. This assessment takes valuable time away from running their property, and is using technology they may not be familiar with, but they do it so their industry can report to the world what an excellent job our Australian graziers are doing.
Possibly today I’m not delivering a workshop, but attending one as a student. Today I might be sitting in a shed on a property with other graziers, learning about how this one particular grazier got legumes established in his pasture to combat the sown pasture rundown epidemic that is affecting the developed grasslands of Queensland. This landholder may have conducted his own trials, at his own expense, and is now freely and openly sharing his findings with other graziers for the greater good. This landholder is not afraid to get emotional in front of his peers, because he is passionate about his industry and is sharing the culmination of years of blood, sweat, tears, money and research that he has personally put in to develop a solution to an industry problem. This landholder can tell you exactly how many legumes are established in each of his trial plots, because he has spent days on days counting them himself. This landholder will also share with you his financial position, his production capabilities, and his management plan for the future. You name another industry where a business owner will share so openly with his ‘competition’.
Maybe it’s the weekend so I get to spend my time freely. What to do? What to do? Easy… as well as being a full time Grazing Land Management Officer, I’m also a part time grazier. Did I forget to mention that? My parent’s run a 5500acre cattle property near Capella. We have a core herd of about 350 Santa Gertrudis and Brangus breeders, and run trade steers sourced from all over Central Queensland, buying in at about 350kg and turning off at feedlot weight 450-520kg.
We turn over about 1000 steers per year, and as they dribble in and dribble out, it seems we have a constant stream of cattle work to do. Every one of those animals will be weighed, vaccinated, and moved into new paddocks a number of times during their stay on ‘Barngo’, with each treatment being recorded against their electronic ear tag. Using this technology we can tell you the average weight gain of every steer, or the breeding history of every cow, and the location of every mob on the property. My parents purchased this particular property in 2002, as a working broad acre grain farm, but we are graziers not farmers, so we went to work on turning this patch of bare black soil into a working cattle property. Buying a blank canvas has awarded us an opportunity for development that not a lot of people get to experience any more.
We were able to fence the paddocks the way we wanted them, and were able to take our time in the design and layout of the property. In 10 years we have transformed a grain growing farm with 2 paddocks, 2 troughs and no yards, into a working rotational grazing system with improved pastures, including fields of the fragile QLD Blue Grass.
We now have 15 paddocks fenced to land type, 20 troughs strategically placed for maximum pasture utilisation with minimal impact on land condition, and a laneway system to the yards for easy stock movement. My father also has a job in the local mines to help subsidise the property development, so we are a collection of ‘weekend ringers’. Along with my trusty kelpie ‘Jules’ I like to spend my weekends educating weaners, rotating mobs to new paddocks, or doing land condition assessments at the paddock monitoring sites I have established. I guess you could say grazing is my life.
So it’s today’s graziers, my parents and grandparents, and the landholders I have the privilege to work with on a daily basis, that really inspire me and that have made me passionate about this industry. Agriculture is one of the leading industries in adopting advanced technology. As an industry, we are able to harvest more produce with less land and resources than ever before, because of this adoption and practice change. We are showing the world how to produce food and fibre economically and environmentally sustainably, but most importantly, not only can we feed ourselves but we can feed many people around the world.