Mentoring and Volunteering help Young Farming Champions star at 2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference

Jasmine Whitten soils speech at Landcare

YFC Jasmine Whitten presenting at NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference

Bouncing across the stage, full of energy and animation, Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten delivered the ‘best-in-show’ presentation at the 2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference held in Broken Hill from 22-24 October. Jasmine was one of two Young Farming Champions who shone brightly at the gathering. The other was Erika Heffer who was bestowed the Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award.

Earlier in year Jasmine, who attended the conference on a scholarship provided by Intrepid Landcare in partnership with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, had co-designed an educational program for primary schools through Western Landcare at Cobar called “Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms”. This formed the basis of her presentation at the conference where she illustrated it had inspired young people to take up the Landcare challenge. “I described a healthy farm then shared the belief that the future doesn’t belong to me and it doesn’t belong to you (the audience),” she says. “It belongs to the next generation coming through and who better to teach them then farmers who care for a whopping 61% of this country and work with the soil day in day out.”

“To be acknowledged as the best presentation is the biggest boost,” Jasmine says. “It makes me realise all of my hard work has paid off.” See a video of Jasmine’s in action at Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day here

Erika, too, was rewarded for her work as a young leader in the Landcare arena. The Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award recognises someone aged between 15 and 35 years who is committed to community engagement.

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Erika Heffer accepting the Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award

“My greatest passion as a Landcarer is to bring people together to deliver real outcomes for the groups they belong to and the local community, Receiving this award is like meeting up with someone to talk about an idea or seeing people show up to a meeting or a workshop – I feel a sense of accomplishment for this first step, as well as excitement for what can come of it. I believe Landcare opens the door, but it’s the community that steps up to the challenge.” said Erika

Both Jasmine and Erika value the time and support of mentors as their careers blossom.

“I have sought out mentors and likeminded people both to help me grow and to achieve projects that couldn’t be achieved without collaboration and I would like to thank Neil Bull (Ricegrowers Association of Australia), John Fowler (Murray Local Land Services), Edwina Hayes (Regional Development Australia Murray), Lynne Strong (Picture you in Agriculture), and Senator Perin Davey for being great mentors and friends.” said Erika

The power of volunteering is also important to the two girls.

“My journey has involved practicing at schools, being a YFC and saying YES to any opportunity,”  said Jasmine

“I have loved raising awareness for agriculture, Landcare and the joy of volunteering, whether volunteering for my faith, an Agricultural Show, a Landcare Group, or even the Deni Ute Muster. The best part is that I am not alone, I am surrounded by passionate volunteers and that’s what makes my community a great place to live.” said Erika

Shoutout to our supporting partners working together to empower young people to solve tomorrow’s problems today

2019 Partners

Erika Heffer from Ricegrowers joins the Young Farming Champions team

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A new collaboration to promote Australian agriculture has been made with the announcement that Art4Agriculture and the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) will partner in 2018.

Art4Agriculture has long been recognised for its delivery of community events such as The Archibull Prize and its training of young people with the Young Farming Champions program. Art4Agriculture works with a range of supporters and is proud to add RGA to that list and to spread the rice industry’s story across a greater audience.

“RGA is excited to support the Young Farming Champions program with RGA’s Erika Heffer from Deniliquin representing the rice industry,” RGA executive director Graeme Kruger said. “RGA understands the importance of developing the skills of our young people. The rice industry is pleased be able to share the story of rice with the wider community through our Young Farming Champion Erika.”

The Young Farming Champions program identifies youth ambassadors and future leaders and provides them with the training and skills to thrive in the modern world of agricultural advocacy. As part of the program Erika will attend workshops in Sydney under the mentorship of some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts. She will then have the opportunity to take her story into schools with The Archibull Prize.

“As part of the Young Farming Champions program I expect to meet like-minded young people who love agriculture and to learn alongside them about all things ambassadorship, communication and connection,” Erika said. “I am looking forward to attending workshops and undertaking professional development to prepare me to confidently share my rice story and be a young face of agriculture in my community.”

Erika sees the rice industry as an innovative and evolving one and is keen to share the good news story.

“Our Australian rice growers use 50% less water to grow one kilogram of rice than the world average.  The industry is continually improving our rice varieties to ensure we grow more crop per drop. In Australia, rice production can be switched on or off depending on the water availability, which makes it perfectly suited to our variable climate,” she said.

Welcome Erika we are all looking forward to partnering with you to inspire pride in Australian agriculture and a new generation of  agriculturalists .

Read Erika’s story here

_2017 Supporting partners Capture