Emma Ayliffe says there is an urgent need for industry to take a whole of farm approach to careers in agriculture.

We are very excited to be launching our Crafting Career series which is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for the agriculture sector to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to jobs in agriculture whilst they are at school
  • ensure there are multiple touch points to agriculture along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources into agricultural career pathways and jobs
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements
  • inspire the agriculture sector to take a whole of supply chain approach to being the image we want the world to see

The series begins with an opinion piece by the 2020 Chair of the YVLT Emma Ayliffe which appeared in print and online media this week and is reprinted below

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Tony Mahar(National Farmers Federation) Lesley Leyland (Austral Fisheries)  Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach

“We are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with”

Emma Ayliffe (right) with Summit Ag director Heath McWhirter and consultants Ben, Chelsea and Sam.

Opinion

As an agronomist, farmer, business owner and Young Farming Champion sharing my career journey in schools I know agriculture is providing me with an amazing career.

 

I work in agriculture. One day I might be out in the field advising a cotton grower about how to control whitefly, another day I will be managing my business, Summit Ag Agricultural Consulting, where we have six team members. I’m also a farmer producing wool, first cross lambs and growing wheat, oats, barley and canola. As a Young Farming Champion, I share my agricultural experiences with school kids in the city and the country.

 

I am continually discovering that many students are interested and passionate about agriculture, but they don’t know the breadth and depth of opportunities.

 

Yet we hear every day about on-farm staff shortages, and the consequences of this for increasing food prices. As people involved in agriculture, we need to become far more proactive and strategic in the way we promote agriculture as a career of first choice.

 

The statistics are in our favour. Research tells us there are six jobs for every graduate from an agriculture-related degree. For those not looking for an on-farm job,  82% of those jobs are beyond the farm gate and 40% are in cities. In the next ten years there will be a 15% growth in scientific, research and information technology jobs which support the production of food and fibre. There is also expected to be a 10% increase in jobs behind the farm gate and a 9% increase in jobs that provide agricultural education and training. Agriculture really has got it all.

Research also tells us that young people going from primary to secondary schools have closed their minds to 70% of the careers that are available. We also know 46% of Australians have at least one parent who wasn’t born here.

 

Reaching the hearts and minds of the next generation of agriculturists requires us to reach the hearts and minds of their parents. This starts in our schools. Going into schools and speaking with students, as I do with my role as a Young Farming Champion, means the potential future workforce can see what a career in agriculture looks like. It gives them role models and expands their view of agriculture behind and beyond the farm gate.

 

But if we are going to have real impact promoting agriculture to the next generation, we must move beyond sharing statistics and become specific. We must be able to show future employees (and their parents) what the jobs are and where they are.

 

This means our industry bodies need to provide clarity about predicting and planning for our future workforce needs. If we are to evolve and keep pace with our changing world and respond quickly and positively to unexpected events, we must have strategies for recruiting, training and developing capability, and mobility.

 

Students need to understand that a dairy herd manager can earn $150,000 a year and work internationally. They need to know  that you don’t need the HSC or tertiary education qualifications to earn $2000 for a four-day week as a shearer. Students need to be aware of the career opportunities available – from  modifying cutting edge technology to produce automated vehicles for the cropping industry to contributing to healthy oceans through working within aquaculture.

 

Then students can go home and influence the views of their parents and their communities – our consumers.

 

We also need industry to step up and provide an attractive workplace for future employees; workplaces that embrace diversity and gender balance, workplaces that offer flexible ways of doing business and workplaces that use high-end technology.

 

We need to showcase agriculture as providing food and fibre as well as delivering on strong consumer-driven ethics around issues such as climate change and sustainability.

 

To ensure agriculture attracts the best and brightest employees of the future we need to start now. We must identify skills gaps, conduct workplace forecasting, invest in our young leaders, promote positive stories, and listen to the consumer who is often the parent of tomorrow’s agriculturist.

 

I have an extraordinary career in agriculture. I want others to know they can too.

Seen first at Grain Central  

 

Technology helping farmers get better outcomes for the planet

This is the second in a two part series journalist Matt Da Silva has created with Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe to share how Australian farmers are using information and technology gains to move toward #NetZeroFarming.

“We are proud to be adopting new practices that are better for our environment and helping to demonstrate that there are other ways of doing things; and, in my role as an agronomist, sharing this knowledge and learning.”

Farm Overview

Business and/or property name: C & E Pastoral, Gleeson’s

Business partners: Emma Ayliffe and partner Craig and his family

Farm size: 1700 acres (688 hectares)

Farm locality/region: Burgooney, Lake Cargelligo (roughly northwest of Wagga Wagga, in the central west of New South Wales, about 550km from Sydney)

Topography: rolling hills, red loam

Rainfall: 360mm per year

Primary outputs: Wool, first cross lambs, grains (mainly wheat but also some oats, barley and canola)

Secondary outputs: If above average rainfall, may plant canola, chickpeas, mungbeans.

Drone technology allows Emma to map the weeds on the farm. A drone is sent up to find green areas indicating that weeds have started to grow.

Tristan Stevenson from StevTech launching the surveillance drone.

Weeds use moisture that might otherwise be used by crops, and they also harbour insects and disease, so it is important to minimise their occurrence. Sending a drone out with a camera attached that transmits a video of the fields lets us pinpoint the areas that need spraying and reduces the use of chemical sprays. The resulting data maps the weed population and allows us to turn it into a green area map.

This allows us to maintain the best ground cover, control our weeds, and reduce resistance risk.

The StevTech ute with the drone on the ground in front of it.

Weed mapping allows us to minimise our chemical costs by targeting the only areas in the paddock that have weeds. We can often look at using higher value chemistries that may be cost prohibitive if we had to spray it all. Only spraying when we have too also helps avoid chemical resistance.

The following two images shows weed cover of paddocks. In the first image, drone mapping produces a 95 percent saving of chemicals.

Thank you to SteveTech for image

In the second image, drone mapping produces an 83 percent saving of chemicals.

Thank you to SteveTech for the image

Data from the drone mapping is  sent to a computer in the spray rig allowing the rig operator to target chemicals to conform precisely to hotspots where weeds are specifically concentrated. The following image shows what is displayed in the spray rig during application of chemicals, the olive green circles on the screen are the weeds being sprayed. Learn more about broadacre cropping weed detection here

The great thing about this technology is that we can utilise the machinery and systems that we already have, so don’t have to spend a lot of money on new equipment.

Thank you Matt and Emma for these insights on how modern farmers are minimising their use of herbicides to get better outcomes for farmers, consumer and the planet. Read how Matt blogged Emma’s story here

Improving farming’s productive efficiency will enable farmers to produce the same quantity of food, or more, with less
inputs, in smarter ways. This, in turn, will enable the sector to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

We can all be part of the solution. The cost of food waste to the Australian economy is estimated to be around $20 billion each year. Australian consumers throw away around 3.1 million tonnes of food—that’s close to 17,000 grounded 747 jumbo jets.

The impact of food waste also includes the energy, fuel and water used to grow food that may not be used. When food waste is sent to landfill, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

To help address this important issue, the Australian Government committed in 2016 to develop a National Food Waste Strategy to establish a framework to support actions that work towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030. This ambitious goal aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 for sustainable consumption and production patterns

Join the movement and Fight Food Waste 

#NetZeroFarming #TogetherWeCan #YouthinAg

 

Leadership is Language with Cathy McGowan AO and the Youth Voices Leadership Team

In this episode of Leadership is Language Lynne Strong, in conjunction with a Youth Voices Leadership Team panel of Dione Howard, Jo Newton and Tayla Field, hosts an insightful leadership expose with former federal politician Cathy McGowan.

Watch Cathy share her tips for being an effective leader here

Key Messages

  • Agriculture has enough leadership programs; we need people “doing” the leadership
  • Start with the end in mind
  • Harness your networks and your team

 “In north-east Victoria we used to export our young people [to the cities]. Now there is a buzz in the community. Young people are wanted and respected. There is lots of energy and a sense that this is a place where young people want to live.”

 About Cathy

In 2013, Cathy McGowan broke the Liberal/National Coalition’s hold on the seat of Indi, becoming the first independent member for the north-east Victorian electorate and the first female independent to sit on the parliamentary crossbench.

She entered federal parliament on the urgings of young people from her electorate and in doing so brokered a new way of community politics. Her memoirs were recently published in Cathy Goes to Canberra, an inspiring tale of the power of grass-roots activism.

Cathy believes young people have the ability, articulation and creativity to make their vision for Australia a reality.

Connect with Cathy:

 LinkedIn: 

Twitter: 

Email: 

About Lynne and the YVLT

Lynne Strong is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Picture You in Agriculture. Part of her vision is to see the young people who participate in our programs have the opportunity to be surrounded by role models and turn the leadership skills and knowledge they learn into daily habits. This vision is crystallised in the Youth Voices Leadership Team, where young people design and direct their future. Dione Howard is the team’s vice-chair, Jo Newton is the returning officer and Tayla Field sits on the Innovation Hub.

Want to know more?

Read our previous blog here 

Read more about Cathy and order a copy of her book here

 

 

 

Turning up, Speaking up and Stepping up to Leadership with Cathy McGowan AO

Cathy McGowan AO entered federal parliament on the urgings of young people from her Victorian electorate of Indi, and in doing so brokered a new way of community politics. Her memoirs were recently published in Cathy Goes to Canberra, an inspiring tale of the power of grass-roots activism.

In 2008 Cathy attended Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit, where four keynote speakers, under 25 years of age, talked about their vision for Australia.

“I was stunned by their ability, by their level of articulation, by their creativity, by their vision for Australia and the thought that they’d given to their presentations. My biggest take away from that summit was that older people, such as myself and most of the attendees, in fact needed to pay attention to young people in our community. They knew things that we baby boomers did not. They certainly were better educated and had new approaches that could find the answers to the problems we were facing….. I made a firm commitment to pay attention and get to know the young people, not only in my life, but in my work,” Cathy says in her book.

In keeping with her commitment to young people as Australia’s future Cathy jumped at the chance to share her wisdom with our Young Farming Champions. She spoke openly to the cohort via a zoom conference, hosted by Lynne Strong in conjunction with a Youth Voices Leadership Team panel of Dione Howard, Dr Jo Newton OAM and Tayla Field.

Cathy covered many aspects of the leadership pathway such as creating time budgets, life-long learning, the importance of networking, the power of finding, and supporting, your tribe and of having confidence in the skill set you have already developed. If these things sound familiar it is because Cathy’s wisdom mirrors closely the visions and ideals of Picture You in Agriculture.

Cathy has a passion to liberate people to be leaders and empower them to grow in confidence. She believes we have enough leadership training programs in agriculture and what we now need is more people “doing” leadership. And she believes the YFC have the skills and salutes them for Turning Up, Speaking Up and Stepping Up to develop their courage muscle by practicing the knowledge and skills they learn in training by being the face of our in-school programs The Archibull Prize ( secondary schools) and Kreative Koalas ( primary schools )” she says.

The workshop was well received by the audience:

“I appreciate Cathy’s easy going, positive nature and her efforts to continually develop her skills. I enjoyed learning it’s okay not to know the exact right path to take, to step up to challenges, build resilience and have a go.” Steph Tabone

“Time budgeting is such an effective tool, particularly making time for exercise and other important tasks that may not be labelled as “work” but are essential in creating a successful, balanced life.” Elizabeth Argue

“I appreciate that Cathy has put herself out there to achieve all that she has so far, and from the workshop I realise we need to do the work and find a team to do the work with.” Dione Howard

“I appreciate the openness with which Cathy has shared her story so that we can all learn from her experience.  I found Cathy sharing her story of leadership versus stepping up as a visible leader particularly helpful.” Jo Newton

The Zoom recording of Cathy’s three tips for being an effective leaders can be found here

The zoom recording of the panel session will be loaded here shortly. Watch this space

Meet Dylan Male the winner of the inaugural Riverina Local Land Services Emerging Leaders Scholarship

Dylan Male is the winner of 2020 Riverina Local Land Services scholarship that will see him participate in a two year program an d graduate as a Young Farming Champion 

In this blog post Dylan shares what drives him

Hi everyone, my name is Dylan and I’m passionate about agricultural systems that produce enough healthy food for all and reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This passion has led me to commence my PhD studies investigating the agronomy and ecology of a native Australian grass species that was cultivated for its grain by Indigenous Australians. The project is in partnership with Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Latrobe University.

One question I often find myself being asked is ‘What has sparked your passion and driven you to do what you do today?’.

From an early age, growing up in the Riverina I witnessed firsthand some of the challenges facing our agricultural sector. I have the most vivid memories of the millennium drought from growing up on a farm on Wiradjuri Country in NSW. From seeing towering red walls of topsoil approaching over the horizon and enveloping the sky into darkness, to watching green crops wither away from a lack of rain and parched sheep gathering around dams dwindled to no more than a mere puddle. There were many times I wanted to do something to help. As a kid, I felt powerless to do anything. However, as I grew up, I soon realised that I could help contribute towards overcoming the challenges facing our farmers – even ones as big as tackling climate change and land degradation.

We are living through a time of rapid change and challenge, where our agricultural systems are increasingly vulnerable to fracturing. It is a time where the world population continues to rise, placing added pressure onto food security and our planet’s finite resources. It is a time where the health of our soils is poor and in need of repair. On top of this, we are seeing the high-risk nature of farming exacerbated by a changing climate. It is a time which demands adaptive thinking and innovation if we are to ensure future prosperity of our modern agricultural systems.

One crucial way to achieve this is through the incorporation of traditional agricultural knowledge into our modern systems. Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and is renowned for its particularly harsh conditions. Yet, despite this, the continent has been successfully inhabited by humans for tens of thousands of years. Perhaps one of the most held misconceptions is that Indigenous Australians relied exclusively on a ‘hunter and gatherer’ approach to obtaining food. However, Indigenous Australians were incredibly innovative and sustainable when it came to food production. One must only read through Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’ to realise that food production systems in pre-European Australia were very well established and sustainably managed. One of these traditional food production systems consisted of domesticating, growing and harvesting grains from native grasses. The cultivation of grains for human consumption has played an important role in human survival and societal development around the world (think rice in Asia, wheat in the Middle East and maize in America). For Indigenous Australians, this was no different. In fact, evidence suggests that Indigenous Australians were the first people on Earth to use grain for food, with starch particles found on grinding stones in parts of Australia dating back many tens of thousands of years.

Since European colonisation, there has been great loss to these native grain production systems. Not only has environmental destruction led to native grasslands becoming one of the most threatened and degraded ecosystems in Australia, but highly relied upon traditional knowledge that had been developed and passed down over many generations was suddenly lost as a result of dispossession and genocide.

There is increasing recognition that the growing of Aboriginal food plants will contribute towards a more prosperous and sustainable modern Australian agricultural sector. It will also provide empowerment to Aboriginal communities and play an important role in healing Country. Additionally, the upscaling of native food crops could be an important tool to combat the effects of a changing climate on food production and to protect against losses to biodiversity.

These are just some of the reasons behind what drives me to pursue a career in agriculture and where I find myself today. I look forward to my continued learning journey and hope to do my part in ensuring Australia’s agricultural sector prospers into the future.

We are looking forward to working with Dylan and learning more about his research and providing him with opportunities to share it with next gen consumers and agriculturalists in our school programs