Meet Sammi Townsend inspiring young people to join her as wool rural ambassador

MeetToday we feature Samantha Townsend in our series about excting young people who are taking up careers in agriculture

When you meet Samantha Townsend from Central Western New South Wales, you get the feeling that the future of Agriculture in Australia remains in safe hands.

Sammi has made her presence felt through her passion for a future within Agriculture, and her mastery of the social media network. This is where so many have been acquainted with Sam’s dream, to win a scholarship to the CSU, through the Ultimate Experience Competition.

Despite not winning the scholarship, Sammi will be fulfilling her dream, to pursue a career in Agricultural Science, at CSU Orange.  (see Footnote)

This is her story…

My name is Samantha Townsend. I have not long turned 18 years of age and have just finished Year 12 at Blayney High School.

I live in a small village on a hobby farm, in Lyndhurst, Central West NSW. It is only a small village of approximately 300 people with a small post-office and a hotel.

Lyndhurst pub

Royal Hotel at Lyndhurst

Our big claim to fame though is nearly being chosen as the site for the capital city of Australia before they picked Canberra! I for one am glad they picked the current site of Canberra… I love waking up to the view of the green rolling hills of our area!

My family lived for many years on my grandmother’s property just of Blayney.We had sheep, cattle, Boer goats and also horses, and that was enough to kick start the passion I have for agriculture! My Nan and Mother were determined I was going to love horses and I was placed on them from a very early age! I used to help show my Nan’s miniature horses at the local shows and gymkhanas.

Samantha Townsend

My grandmother was a real ‘bushie’ as she called herself. She was born in Condobolin but grew up around the Trangie area as a youth. My Pop often said she could work harder than most men he knew when it came to working around the farm and she was a renowned horsewoman in our area! My Nan passed away in 2007, but she certainly left her legacy with me as far as igniting the love of the land I have.

My Pop was also a big influence. Growing up as a young child I used to love visiting his property near Tomingly, NSW. Pop ran sheep and I used to love to go up there and help him at shearing time, when Mum would go up and do the cooking at shearing time. Unfortunately Pop suffered the fate a lot of farmers do and his back got too bad to continue the work he was doing. He retired up on the mid-north coast years ago, but inland Australia has called him back, and he’ll soon be returning to live near us permanently (albeit, not farming however).

The local area I live in is predominantly mixed farming with sheep, cattle and grazing enterprises. I have always been keen to help out around the place and when you’re a local, there is always plenty of rouseabouting, or general farm work that you get offered.I love to help out with own small flock of sheep and am often ‘mother’ to the poddy lambs that get sent our way!

sammi with sheep

A Young Sammi with pet sheep

I am about to enter University this year, heading off to Charles Sturt University in Orange, to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management.

In our HSC year there were only three of us sitting the HSC for agriculture. I find it incredulous that in a wonderful rural area such as ours, that the course is not attracting more students. The wages of the mine in our area look very attractive to many younger people (and older ones too), but it is more than that. We need to encourage people into the agricultural industry and help them realise it is not only a viable career, it is a wonderful lifestyle as well!

I truly value our rural community. We do live in an area where we are not shut off to each other and people genuinely care! One of my best friends from school was diagnosed last year with a horrible disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The whole community has been wonderful with fundraising and helping the family. I know total strangers who have helped that have not even known my friend. This is what living in a rural community is about.

My little brother attends Lyndhurst Public School, which had about 31 children last year. My little brother who is 11 has Aspergers, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Anxiety. This little village school has given him such a sense of self-esteem and has helped him grow and learn to cope with his disabilities. He hasn’t been a number, he has been a valued school member. My family and I try to do a lot for the school through P&C fundraising etc. We know how lucky we are to have such a little school with such dedicated staff not only for my brother, but also for our community, and it’s important to do everything to ensure it continues to be here for future children! Where else but small country schools do you get to experience things such as planting vegetables and then eating your produce or playing football in the school oval and incorporating rules that involve ducking from the diving plovers! I love that pets like chickens and rabbits can be brought to school for news or the family dog ends up in the playground looking for its owners.

I was honoured in October of last year, to be made Miss Carcoar Showgirl and am heading off to the next level at February.

Our wonderful little show attracts people far and wide for the many horse events and the shearing competition.

It is truly a traditional little country show that attracts people young and old alike. I love walking through the art and craft where items such as beautifully handmade patchwork quilts hang adorned on the walls, or seeing little children’s noses pressed against the glass of the windows at the scrumptious looking cakes from the cooking section.

Quilt

Where else but a country show would you have a draught horse pull more than the weights that were available, so people had to volunteer to come and sit on the loads (and be honest about their weight) so the competition could keep going! It is a day of laughter, chatter, and again, that wonderful rural spirit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

People get to glimpse a snippet of this at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, but we are privy to it all the time, and I rejoice in the sense of community that it is all about.

I also am part of the Lyndhurst Rural Fire Service. We meet and have training days and it turns out to be a social outing for everyone as well. Again as part of the community, we are there if others need us.

What I am trying to explain is, although I am not from a huge farm or station, you don’t have to be to have the passion for what rural communities offer. To keep rural communities going – agriculture plays a big part in that! We need to keep young people interested and passionate about careers in agriculture and a rural lifestyle so we can keep   little communities like mine alive for future generations to experience and love.

I hope by going to University and staying in a rural area, I can learn the necessary skills and help to produce positive outcomes not only for farmers and agricultural industries, but also the rural communities like mine.

My experience isn’t vast or magnificent, but by sharing my hopes and visions, I hope that I might connect with another young person and perhaps ignite that little spark of passion that exists inside and encourage them to venture into agriculture too. They would be helping not only the future of rural communities, but Australia’s future as well, after all it is farmers that feed the world!

Personally, I am excited to know that I am going to be part of Australia’s agricultural future!

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker.

Sammi blogs about her Uni journey here http://experience.csu.edu.au/author/sammilee93/

Visit her Youth in Agtion Website here  http://www.youthinagtionaustralia.com/

Follow Sammi on twitter @SammileeTTT

 

Life in a country town – Young farming champion Melissa Henry shares her story

Today’s guest blog is by Ar4agriculture Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry who lives and works at Boorowa in Central NSW

As a Young Farming Champion going into Sydney schools for the Archibull Prizeand talking with others in the city community, a common question I am asked is “what is it like to like in a country town?” There are a lot of negative misconceptions about what life in a rural community is like. In this post, I will share with you my perspectives and what I love most about country living.

St. Michaels

Melissa with the students from St Michael’s Catholic Primary School, Baulkham Hills.

I grew up in the western Sydney suburbs of the Hawkesbury District. My first introduction to rural Australia was through my agricultural education – having the opportunity to show livestock and do project-based work in rural enterprises. I fell in love!

I moved to the Boorowa/ Harden area in November 2010. Boorowa is approx. 1.5hrs west of Canberra and 3.5hrs south west of Sydney.

I love the open spaces, the quiet, the birds, seeing wildlife almost daily, recognising people when you walk down the street, watching the weather fronts as they move across the landscape.

I admire the values of country people: genuine, friendly, open, family focussed, dedicated, innovative, passionate about what they do and their communities.

I am inspired by the community spirit, particularly in times of extreme weather events such as floods and fire. Individuals pull together at the drop of a hat to help others in need, from moving stock to making sure that there is food in the fridge.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a location where I can fulfil my passion – owning a small sheep stud. I am also grateful for the lifestyle that I am now living.

Lambs

Flopsey and her twin lambs

So what is in the town of Boorowa with a shire population of 2500 people? Bakery, cafes, butcher, gift shop, a fibre & textile studio, newsagency, post office, IGA, chemist, small hospital, emergency services, rural supply stores, Ex-Services Club, pubs with great meals and accommodation, Chinese restaurant, real estate agents, banks, mechanic, hairdressers, hardware stores, library, schools, recreation park, sports fields, race course, golf course, swimming pool, showground, caravan park, Council, Tourism Information, and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority office (where I work). I find that it is everything that I need on a week to week basis.

FibreFilia

Boorowa’s main street – proud of its wool products

One of my favourite events in the year is Boorowa’s Irish Woolfest – a celebration of the town’s Irish heritage and the fine merino wool that is produced in the region. The event is made famous by the “running of the sheep” down the main street – Boorowa’s response to the Spanish running of the bulls!

Running of the Sheep

The town is a buzz for this October long weekend each year. In 2011 there was an estimated 18,000 people who came to see everything that Boorowa has to offer. Will I see you there this year?

For more information about Boorowa and the Irish Woolfest, visit http://www.irishwoolfest.boorowa.net/

For more information about the NSW Regional Relocation Grant, visit http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/benefits/rrg/

You can see the video (and her gorgeous sheep) Melissa created for her in school visits here

and access her PowerPoint Presentation Baa Baa Black Sheep here

Don’t miss this one St Michael’s Primary School share their appreciation of Australian farmers

and their excellent  video entry for Archibull Prize

Wool Can do amazing things

and their prize winning PowerPoint presentation

http://www.slideshare.net/art4agriculture/st-michaels-catholic-school-archibull-prize-2011-entry-wool