Young Farming Champions Backing a Future for Agriculture in the fragile Far West of NSW

 

Young Farming Champion and Climate Wise Agriculture founder Anika Molesworth

The arid zone of western New South Wales is hot and dry and expected to become hotter and drier with a changing climate. Forward planning and community collaboration is key to ensuring the future of farming in the fragile Far West. But what tools are needed?

This question will be addressed at “Outback to the Future” an upcoming free public seminar to be held at the Fowlers Gap Research Station near Broken Hill on Saturday May 12. Organised jointly by the University of New South Wales and Climate Wise Agriculture, the seminar will discuss the future of land management including new technology available now, future technology, how productivity and resilience can be increased, and how the latest research findings can be applied on the ground.

“Land managers of the Far West are no strangers to adversity – it’s a strikingly beautiful place to live out here, but it comes with its challenges,” Anika Molesworth from Climate Wise Agriculture said. “This seminar is about looking to the future, asking the hard questions, and working together to come up with solutions.”

Commencing at 10.00am the line-up of speakers includes: social researcher Emily Berry; animal ecologist Simon Griffith; wool and sheep specialist Gregory Sawyer; soil scientist Susan Orgill; livestock behaviourist Danila Marini; Judge at the NSW Land and Environment Court Simon Molesworth; climate researcher and veterinarian Greg Curran; General Manager of Research, Development and Innovation from MLA Sean Starling; local grazier Angus Whyte; artist Peter Sharp; and members of the local Landcare Youth Network.

“It’s a hugely exciting day – we’re going to be talking drones to move livestock, replenishing soil carbon to access green markets, industry innovations, art movements, and hear the visions from young locals,” Anika said.

Livestock behaviourist and Young Farming Champion Dr Danila Marini

One particular presentation that is bringing futuristic-tech to the outback is that by Danila Marini. “Virtual fencing is exciting technology, giving farmers the ability to set up a fence line from their computer’” Danila said. “Close to commercialisation for cattle, virtual fencing uses GPS and a smart algorithm to contain animals within a boundary through the use of an audio cue. This technology has great potential for the sheep industry, especially for vast properties where fencing is either impractical or too costly.”

For further details on the seminar visit the website at https://outbacktothefuture.weebly.com/

#youthvoices18

 

 

 

How can one COW educate one SCHOOL about the WOOL INDUSTRY?

We all have to eat and that alone means that agriculture is not only important but vital.

Every Australian wants affordable, healthy food produced in an environmentally friendly way.

Every Australian wants their food produced by people who care

A passion to link consumers with producers … to promote public understanding of farming, and the interconnectedness of health and nutrition and the agricultural sector … is the driving force behind Art4Agriculture.

This year our signature program for schools, the Archibull Prize is rolling out in three states and we will be following the journey live via the students’ blogs.

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to each of the schools taking part via their blogs and we invite you to follow them and encourage them with your comments and Tweets (hashtag #archibull) and shares on Facebook.

After all this isn’t easy

Could you turn a cow into a sheep?

Well 12 schools like Model Farms High School have this task and they are relishing the challenge

We have initially been challenged by the thought of connecting our cow to the farming commodity of wool.

After all, wool means sheep, and sheep are not cows……………

There will be some serious brainstorming to come to look at this issue.

Follow the Model Farms High School Blog “How can one COW educate one SCHOOL about the WOOL INDUSTRY?” here

See and hear the students introduce Archie to the school here

BTW this is one school who definitely knows Cotton Wool doesn’t come from Sheep

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Meet Adele Offley whose greatest passion is wool

Hello I’m Adele Offley and my greatest passion is wool.

Did you know the Woolmark symbol is the second most highly recognised symbol after Coca Cola. No, well I am making it my life mission to ensure everyone values and appreciates the qualities of Australia’s fabulous wool and the Woolmark logo rolls Coca Cola for the number one spot.

 

I am lucky enough to have been born and raised and still live on the family property near Crookwell, Southern Tablelands of NSW.

Me and my Gran 

I have always loved all livestock, particularly sheep and can remember having poddy lambs from an early age and calling them Matilda 1, Matilda 2, Matilda 3 (my favourite movie at the time). I always had a poddy lamb to look after throughout my childhood, and even today I still get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I see a lamb wiggling its tail when it is having a drink of warm milk!

When I was young I would spend all my spare time with my Dad helping out with whatever needed to be done on the farm. Once I hit school, I can recall racing home from school to go help Dad.

As I grew up, I got more involved; instead of watching sheep being shorn from the pram,

I was rouseabouting in the shearing shed.  I can recall the many times when shearing was on I just so happened to have a ‘sickie’ from school so I could help out in the shed. The alternative was that my school absentee notes would say ‘I was required to help in the shearing shed’, Surprisingly a lot of teachers didn’t find it to be an acceptable excuse, but I sure did!!!

I can even remember in year 11 requesting my exams be moved forward so I could be in the shed at shearing time. I even missed a school excursion to the snow rather than miss a week in the shearing shed at home.

Sheep in the snow on the farm

There is nothing quite like a shearing shed; the smell of lanolin, the feel of wool and the atmosphere is amazing, and not to mention the yarns the shearers can tell.

As part of my HSC I undertook a Certificate II in Agriculture and a Certificate II in Animal Studies in order to further my agricultural knowledge. Once I had completed my HSC, and in between exams, I helped out on the farm in every way I could – jetting sheep, lamb marking, drenching sheep, you name it I did it… all bar the shearing! There is a lot of work involved with sheep but it’s very rewarding at the same time, and I’ve never stopped learning while I work with them.

I then attended TAFE where I undertook a Certificate IV in Wool Classing. It was a great experience to interact with all the other students who shared my passion for wool. The age range varied from mid-teens to later 50’s, signifying that a passion for wool can cross the generation gap. I thought it was fantastic to learn with a group who were so driven to learn more about the wool industry too!

Whilst studying at TAFE, I was lucky enough to help out with a Careers Day for the Goulburn district’s high school students. I was assisting with the shearing demonstration to try and encourage these kids to consider doing a wool classing course or shearing course, and to educate them about the skills shortage within the industry.

Whilst attending TAFE we got the opportunity to go on an excursion to Fletchers in Dubbo where I got to see the Wool combing plant, and WOW what an experience that was!

For someone who had grown seeing wool on a regular basis, e.g. on a sheep’s back, on the wool table, etc. it was remarkable to see this wool being turned into tops (see picture below – no, not an actual top…yet) and the processes it takes. Unfortunately it has since closed, which I think is devastating for the Australian wool industry as most of our wool is being processed offshore.

I also went on to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration and have just recently gained a Diploma of Agriculture. Whilst studying the diploma I was very disappointed to see the low numbers of students enrolled in the agriculture courses

I have had an exciting start to the year being recently named the Crookwell Showgirl for 2013. Having being born and growing up and now working in the area I was very honoured to represent my small country town.

Another added bonus of the showgirl experience was going to Dubbo for a Personal Development weekend, where I learnt so many new skills from public speaking, to good posture and met so many other young women with a passion for agriculture. It was just fantastic

Me presenting the Kevin Coves Memorial Trophy to Alan McCormack Jnr (Walwa Stud), the ram in this photo was the winner of this trophy at the Crookwell Show 2013 .

Whilst I didn’t make it past the zone final it has inspired me to tell other young girls to give it a go and whilst they at it why not purse a career in agriculture

Another highlight for 2013 was the opportunity to help set up the South East Queensland district exhibit for the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.

‘Why South East Queensland?’ you might say.  Because they asked that’s why   They put a message on social media asking for help and I jumped at the chance! I didn’t  know much about the different produce grown in Queensland compared to Southern New South Wales e.g. sugar cane so it was a great opportunity to learn and have amazing experience!

I would like to encourage everyone, regardless of background, to seriously consider agriculture as a career option There is a huge diversity of roles and opportunities on offer in the agriculture sector.

Watch this great video by Adele here