Lynne Strong named as finalist in the Rabobank Farm Industry Leader of the Year award

Art4agricultue Chair Lynne Strong celebrates 2nd feather in cap this week. Not only is she a finalist in the Eureka Prize she has now been selected as a finalist in Rabobank Farm Industry Leader of the Year 2011.

The winers of the Eureka Prize will be anouced in 6 September and the Australian Farmer of the Year awards will be held held in Sydney on 7 September 2011.

A memorable week indeed for Lynne

Hosted by the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural, the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards celebrate the highly professional, innovative, and sustainable approach farmers take to developing the agricultural industry across Australia.

The Rabobank Farm Industry Leader of the Year award recognises farmers who pursue industry development beyond their own farm gate, creating positive change for Australian agriculture.

Lynne recognises central to a great number of issues facing Australian agriculture is
lack of consumer understanding and acceptance of agricultural production and
processes. To address this Lynne has committed hundreds of voluntary hours to
initiatives that encourage two way conversations between rural and urban
communities and introduce young Australians to careers in agriculture

Lynne has championed the delivery of the innovative and engaging Art4Agriculture events and activities that focus on youth, careers the environment and the arts all linked to agriculture.

Art4Agriculture education programs present a unique opportunity for young Australians to use creative arts and multimedia to gain knowledge and develop skills related to the production of the food they consume, the fibres and other natural resources they use and the gardens of their environments. Art4Agriculture web based education resources have now attracted over 50,000 web hits in just over two years.

Some of Lynne’s key achievements that impressed the judges include

At the farmgate

  • Establishing an active and successful farm business which is focussed on sustainability and continuous improvement
  • Adopting new technologies and innovative marketing strategies
  • Lynne is one of 34 farmers involved in the Climate Champions program who are
    advancing climate change knowledge to inspire other farmers to adapt and use
    resources wisely, reduce pollution and mitigate the impact on their business of
    climate change legislation.

The Climate Champions are also engaging with scientists to ensure climate change
research is delivered to farmers in a language they can understand and results
they can use.

Equally, Lynne and her fellow Climate Champions recognise most farmers learn from other farmers and are motivated by seeing the science work in their own backyards. To
facilitate this they are actively engaging with government to ensure funding
for extension is seen as high priority.

Beyond the farmgate

Lynne believes that while farmers in general don’t see the need to build relationships with consumers and decision and policymakers, it is pivotal to agriculture. To help address this and create a culture of change, Lynne has focused on advocacy and telling the positive farming stories in preference to taking on agri-political roles.

To achieve her advocacy objectives, Lynne and her Art4Agriculture
 including the Young Farming Champions design and deliver projects and activities that bring consumers and rural producers together to build trust and confidence in Australian farm production systems.

Some of Lynne’s key achievements beyond the farmgate include:

  • Creating relationships which look beyond the farm-gate
  • Actively increasing the profile of the dairy industry and agriculture generally
  • A champion for connecting the next generation to agriculture and extending this to non-farming children
  • Educating the Australian community about all aspects of the farming sector – including Australian farmers comittment to producing nutritious, affordable and ethical food for consumers
  • Mentoring young people looking to agriculture as a career choice, working with young farming champions, andproviding and encouraging pathways for young people into the industry

Lynne’s vision for the future isn’t too difficult; it just requires a different way of
thinking. She believes a profitable and sustainable healthy future for the
farming sector is achievable – the health and welfare of all Australians and
many people around the world depends on it.

To drive the process of change requires champions and leaders. But to change grass roots perceptions, we need grass roots action. Farmers care about the country, their
livestock and the people they provide with food and fibre. Beyond best farming
practices, farmers have to be out in communities, walking the talk – from
paddock to plate, from cow to consumer – and building trust between rural and
urban communities. Lynne wants farming men and women to go out and sell the
message that feeding and clothing the world is an awesome responsibility and a
noble profession, and that it offers great careers. Just imagine if we could
achieve her vision of an Australia-wide network of trained, passionate farmers
talking directly with the communities they supply!

Lynne Strong and her husband Michael at Clover Hill Dairies


  1. Lynne, have just heard via ABC radio about your Art4Agriculture projects, they sound very interesting. We are graziers on the Central tablelands of NSW. Earlier this year we started a blogsite targeting Infant/Primary schoolage children, it is fuelled by a passion for farming, a daughter who loves it and the FarmDay concept. We have emailed almost all Sydney Public schools an introductory letter re the blog and have a small contingent of follower, to date about 4500 views. Our keenest have built a farm in their classroom and have been learning about farms now for 9 weeks.
    We would love you to have a look at our site and provide any feedback on how we can improve our cause! Blog address and you can email us directly at

    The Rutledge Family


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