Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 Second Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.

In the field

lets hang out sheep

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

Carlingford West Public School Google Hangout with Danila Marini

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!

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

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.

Alexandria Galea

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.

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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

Sam Wan 1

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

Danila Marini

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

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Bianca Das (left) and YFC Anika Molesworth (right) will be setting off to Antarctica later this year.

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.

peta and greg

YFC and 2017/18 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year Runner-up Emma Ayliffe is fresh off the plane from ADAMA’s Young Agronomist study tour to Israel. Emma and the study tour team had a jam-packed trip and returned with many agricultural insights. Stay tuned for Emma’s recap on the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week!

Emma A

YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.

Meg Rice

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!

jasmine whitten

Prime Cuts

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

 

UNE YFC Flyer

IN 2019 there will be a smorgasbord of opportunities for schools to partner with our Young Farming Champions.   In 2019 we will be rolling out our Primary School program Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge  in Western Sydney and the Hunter.

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: headkoala@kreativekoalas.com.au to access an expression of interest brochure

#YouthinAgVoices #YouthVoices #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champion Alana Black sharing her expertise and creating global connections

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Alana Black making the most of the opportunities available to young people living and working in rural Australia

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champion program envisions a world where the brightest young agricultural minds from across Australian agriculture come together to build a better future.

Similarly the Rural Youth Project, based in Scotland, aims to “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

In 2019 the two programs will share ideas and experiences as YFC Alana Black takes up a role with the Rural Youth Project in Scotland.

Alana grew up in the small town of Rydal in central NSW with extended family on a nearby farm. Once, when driving with her mother, she questioned why relatives were on the farm and not her own family. Thus began a tumble down the rabbit hole of succession. Alana had completed a degree in communications from Charles Sturt University and used the topic of succession in her masters in organisational communication. “Finding out about what happened with my grandfather and his brothers and how succession played out there, and then looking how succession plays out for a lot of families in regional Australia I realised there is a big communications deficit,” Alana says. “People don’t know how to talk to each other about difficult subjects like succession.”

“Being a typical millennial I thought I’d start a website and put all of my findings on there,” she says. Fledgling Farmers was born. Alana was then accepted into the ABC’s Trailblazer program, which gave her new project wide exposure and gave Alana further insight into media and communications. These are skills she has honed with her participation in the 2018 Young Farming Champions program and which, in 2019, she will further employ as a member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team communication committee.

A big part of communication in the modern world is the use of social media and this has led Alana to Scotland. “Again, as a good millennial, I am very active on social media and I came across a Facebook page called the Rural Youth Project,” she says. “They were researching the challenges young people face when they don’t live in a major centre and were doing a survey wanting data from across the world.”

Rural Youth Ideas Festival, Kinross, Scotland, 2nd & 3rd August 2018.

Alana (left) is looking forward to reconnecting with the bright minds she met in Scotland in 2018

Alana completed their survey, followed up with an email asking about succession in their part of the world and was invited to be a video blogger. “Then they said they had an Ideas Festival they were going to run and would I like to come over and speak,” she continues. “How could I say no? I’m actually half Scottish – any excuse to go back is certainly something I’d love.”

Alana went to Scotland for two weeks, did work experience with Jane Craigie Marketing (who initiated and manages the Rural Youth Project) and attended a field day where the ambulance was called for a person suffering heat exhaustion – in 190C.

Alana’s first trip to Scotland was in a volunteer capacity, but this has led to further career opportunities and on 4th June she will fly into a Scottish summer. “I will be working with Jane Craigie Marketing on the Rural Youth Project, which is running over 4 years,” she says.

We look forward to hearing of Alana’s adventures in Scotland with the Rural Youth Project … and to how she copes with the heat of a northern hemisphere summer.

You can read more about Alana here

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #ThisisAusAG

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 3

This week’s Young Farming Champions stories from around the country

In the Field

Cotton Young Farming Champion Alexander Stephens takes out this year’s award for the most fields visited having covered over 6000km from Dalby, QLD, to Hay, NSW, and up to Kununurra, WA, to pick the world’s strongest and whitest cotton.

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What a way to see Australia, driving very big toys! We can’t wait to hear more about cotton picking on the Ord River, Alexander.

Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner spent last week home on the station collecting data for her honours thesis looking at the differences between 6 monthly and 12 monthly shearing. It involved lots of colour:

Emma T lots of colour.JPG

Out of the Field

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton will be hosting our social media pages this week. Head on over to our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page to follow along and enjoy Jo’s insights from the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium and  Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 

YFC Anika Molesworth jetted off to Argentina this morning. By invitation from the Argentine Agriculture Minister, Anika will be visiting farms, running workshops with young farmers and presenting on global agricultural challenges and opportunities.

This program coincides with the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, and part of her brief is to collaborate with young South American farmers to prepare a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors, enabling young farmers, and promoting future industry leaders. Anika will be working with Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and visiting farmer groups to discuss collaborative relationships between countries and tackling the industry’s big challenges.

YFC Sam Coggins has just returned from Myanmar where he reviewed three Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects looking at pulses, soil mapping and nitrogen fertiliser efficiency. The three projects aim to improve food security and farmer livelihoods. Read more about what ACIAR is doing in Myanmar here

Sam Coggins in Rice Field

Prime Cuts

We are very excited to announce the Rice industry has joined the Art4Agriculture team and our very first Rice Young Farming Champion is Erika Heffer. Welcome Erika and thank you the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia. We’re really looking forward to working together. Read the story here

Erika-Heffer3 (002) YFC

Following us on Facebook here and Twitter here

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Youth off the streets and onto the farm

Using primary industries to reach and teach disadvantaged students is one benefit of The Archibull Prize.

Each year The Archibull Prize engages with a wide range of amazing students and teachers and this year The Lakes College (TLC) from the NSW Central Coast has partnered with Picture You in Agriculture, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and  Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes to study the beef industry.

TLC is a small alternate high school for Years 9 and 10 and is part of Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program. The school only opened in 2017, which makes this Archibull journey extra special and with 5 staff members and 24 students everyone is involved.

“We like to view The Lakes College as a strong team who all support each other day to day. We are based in Blue Haven Community Centre. We are first and foremost students, but we also cook our breakfast, recess and lunch at school in our kitchens, make sure the place is clean, tend to our veggie garden and work and play on the brilliant sporting facilities our school so fortunately has around it.” Source TLC blog 

TLC are “Raising the Steaks” as they learn about the beef industry with their Archie and mentoring them is Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes. Tim is an agricultural contractor and co-founder (with his partner Hannah) of the successful Food Farm situated in Wyong Creek less than 10km from TLC. Tim and Hannah raise grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and vegetables and regularly invite the public through the farm gate to see their sustainable brand of agriculture.

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Tim and Hannah

On July 2 the students of TLC found themselves amongst the animals of the Food Farm. They dug for potatoes, collected fresh eggs, picked oranges from the tree and milked Joyce the dairy cow. For Tim, who has entertained children both in mainstream schools and at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, hosting the TLC students was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience.

The Lakes Colllege.JPG

“It was really refreshing having unfiltered, blunt questions – they were just very honest kids,” Tim says. “They had real questions about red meat and feeding people under the poverty line so we spoke about exploring the secondary cuts such as mince, which is accessible, diverse, and quick and easy to use.”

The potato patch proved particularly popular. “They spent probably half an hour there, digging potatoes and getting their hands dirty and thinking it was the most exhilarating thing, and that was so good to see,” Tim says. Indeed the wonder of the potato patch was commented on in the school’s blog with one student saying: “Potatoes grow in the ground – seeing that blew my socks off!”

The Potato patch.jpg

Another aspect of the visit that impressed Tim was some of the kids said they could see a future or a progression into a job with farming. “For them to even consider, for a split second, that maybe a career in agriculture was a good idea was pretty exciting; and it definitely made me think how the agricultural industry could have an effect on the poverty line and how it could employ people who wouldn’t have an opportunity otherwise.”

The Archibull journey of The Lakes College will be one to follow in 2018. “A lot of the students are quite artistic and I think they will be incredibly surprising on what they bring to the Archies,” Tim concludes.

You can read all about The Lakes College’s visit to The Food Farm here on their Archibull blog.

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins is paying it forward on an international scale

In 2017 Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins graduated from university in one of the most prosperous cities in the world, yet his focus is on the millions of farmers in developing countries. He has a passion to help them strengthen their scientific and technological capacity and move towards sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

“In 2014, approximately 805 million people in the world did not have enough food

 to lead a healthy, active life. That’s about one in nine people on Earth.

The vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Poor nutrition

is the underlying cause in nearly half (45%) of all deaths of children under

five years old – 3.1 million children each year. While all people have a

right to safe and nutritious food, this human right is denied to many.

Like other important resources, food is not equally distributed across the world.”

Source World Vision

With a degree in soil science from The University of Sydney Sam now works with The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an organisation that commissions research for the benefit of farmers in developing countries and Australia.

I’m chipping in as graduate in ACIAR’s soils program. I get to work on meaningful

projects alongside highly capable and down-to-earth people.

I’m genuinely loving it.

Sam credits his parents for financially supporting him through university, which allowed him the time and freedom to follow his altruistic dreams for a better world. While at university he:

  • Mentored and tutored indigenous high school students through the AIME program.
  • Created the Food Wastage Fighters Society with the aims to reduce wastage and boost community awareness. The society won the ‘Best New Club’ award and has over 150 members.
  • Studied for a semester in Sri Lanka and interned at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and spoke on behalf of the 100 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars at the awards ceremony.
  • Participated in the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Belgium as well as the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC.
  • Went through the University of Sydney Genesis startup incubator, which generated projects such as ChemCrush (which won Best Social Innovation) and RiseHarvest.

Sam’s many achievements at university (including participation in AFL, soccer and athletics) culminated in the awarding of the prestigious University of Sydney Convocation Medal in 2018:

“This medal is awarded to one person who, in the previous year, graduated or

completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and who has achieved a

high standard of academic proficiency, contributed to the diverse life of the

University, and may also have contributed to the broader community.”

On winning the Convocation Medal Sam was more rewarded by the joy in his parents’ faces, for personal recognition is not as important to Sam as the work he is doing. His time in Sri Lanka, in particular, was a life-changing event for him and taught him great lessons that will guide his career well into the future:

“I tasted the unfairness of the world during my semester in Sri Lanka. I learned

that achievements in my life will always originate from opportunities I was

lucky to get. This lesson beat the arrogance out of me and made me

commit to a career contributing to a fairer world.”

That career is on a stellar trajectory. Sam, with two friends, is further developing RiseHarvest, a smartphone app designed to help Burmese farmers use nitrogen fertiliser more effectively. This project was selected from 800 teams from 160 countries in the Thought for Food Challenge and will allow Sam and his friends to pitch the idea at the TFF Summit, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2018.

Though the accolades may flow, Sam Coggins will remain committed to his ideals of contributing to that fairer world through agricultural innovation.

Shoutout to our superstar journalist Mandy McKeesick for writing this story

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Youth Voices at LambEx

LambEx is an annual celebration of all things great in the Australian sheep and lamb industries and part of the celebration is the naming of finalists in the Young Guns competition.

The aim of the LambEx Young Guns Competition is to recognise and encourage

young and upcoming industry professionals, producers and scientists to

consider a future or ongoing career in the Australian lamb industry.

 

Deanna Johnston, our shearing YFC currently working in Longreach, was runner-up in this competition in 2014, and in 2018 we are proud to announce that another YFC, Danila Marini, is a finalist. Danila works in the field of animal (and in particular, sheep) welfare research:

To be named a Young Gun is exciting.

 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.

Calvary Christian College (1)

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.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #LambEx

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Young Farming Champion Dr Jo Newton wins Victorian Changemakers Leadership Award

I have worked with some phenomenal young people in my life-time and I know how well deserved this acknowledgement of Jo Newton’s contribution to the empowerment of young people is.

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Dr Joanna Newton Winner Leadership Winner in Victorian Young Achiever Awards 

Jo was nominated for this award by her employer. When she asked me to be one of her referees, I thought how do you do some-one like Jo justice.

I have never met anyone so selfless and so team focused. Jo is a city girl who discovered agriculture at school and made it her career journey. Her passion is the science, her dedication is partnering with farmers to build the trust necessary to take the science out of lab and onto the farm. She spends every minute ruminating, consulting and planning how to make this happen

In her spare time she gives every minute to agricultural advocacy and supporting youth in agriculture.

If ever there was some-one who epitomised the word champion its Jo Newton.

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Jo said on accepting her award

In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women so it is an incredible privilege to have my contributions to agriculture recognised here tonight.

Hard work, passion and determination can take you a long way, what I have learnt is the journey is much easier when you are supported by family, friends, colleagues and mentors along the way.    

Whilst young people like Jo may only  be 20% of the population,  they are 100% of the future.  Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of an uncertain future but potentially they are best-placed to push for and define the long-term societal response to the planet they envision. They are also the most vulnerable to the legacy of decisions made by older generations. Although young adults arguably have the most to gain and the most to lose their voices are not prominent, and too often engagement with this crucial demographic is in many ways limited. How do we work together to break down the barriers to Youth Voices?

To quote from a speech another Young Farming Champion gave at the Australian Farm Institute Conference in 2017

Investing in our youth will secure the future for Australian agriculture.

We can all invest in our youth

As an as an individual, you can identify enthusiastic young members of your industry.

Encourage them to tell their stories, to step up and do a leadership program, to become the voice for the future of their industry.

Invest in them.

Together we can ensure a bright future for Australian agriculture. Dione Howard AWI Young Farming Champion

Yes its that simple. Lets do it together

#YouthVoices18 #Youthinag

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