Young Farmers Grasping the Nettle of Power

Art4Agriculture headquarters always enjoy our daily dose of BushBelles an often witty,
sometimes off the wall and always inspiring place and source of information for rural

Today Bushbelles gave us serious food for thought with this “deeply powerful trailer about the media and its representation of women”.

After viewing the trailer we gave some serious thought to the media and its representation of women in agriculture and agriculture in general.

The trailer opens with this quote from Alice Walker “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”.  Looking at the dictionary definition of power as “the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively” Art4Agriculture would like
to follow up Alice by saying once you have grasped the nettle of power it’s
what you do with it that counts

If indeed “The media is the message and the messenger and increasingly the most powerful one” why is agriculture afraid of telling our story, the real story?

Why are we such poor marketers? Why isn’t agriculture seeing the media as high priority, a great opportunity and marketing tool?

Agriculture has great stories to tell.  Farmers should be very proud of their
profession. After all what’s is more noble than feeding and clothing and housing
the world?

So let’s get our priorities right because in the world in which we all now farm image is everything and image needs to be created and it needs to be actively managed.

So what image does agriculture want the people who buy our food and fibre to see?

So many questions???

Who are our role models?  Who do we admire? Who inspires us?

What qualities, attitudes and abilities must they have to advocate for ourselves and our goals and take leadership on the issues that we believe in and debunk the myth conceptions about agriculture and farmers?

Well Art4Agriculture thought long and hard about this and we decided that the image we wanted our communities to see was young farmers who could promote positive
images and perceptions of farming.  Young farmers who would demonstrate passion for their industry while providing real life examples to young people who may have never considered a career in agriculture. Young people who can relate to students and are adept at breaking down stereotypes of farming and agricultural careers.

So the quest was on

Where are these people? Do they grow on trees or do they have to be identified, engaged, nurtured and trained.

Well we can assure they don’t grow on trees but they are out there and they do need to be identified and they need to be nurtured.

Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been visiting schools across Sydney and now they are in the media telling agriculture’s story.

Today we throw the spotlight on Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton

About Stephanie Tarlinton
Stephanie Tarlinton grew up on the family dairy farm just 15km north/west of
Cobargo with two sisters, Bridget and Megan and parents Richard and June.

She is a 6th generation decent of W. D Tarlinton who discovered the Cobargo
area on the far south coast of NSW.

She completed her primary education at Cobargo Public School and then went to
high school in Bega before moving away from home to attend agricultural

Following this she worked on a sheep/beef property at Goulburn then moved home
to assist on the farm. Since 2008 she has have travelled to New Zealand, United
States of America, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, and China primarily to
study the different agricultural systems in these nations.

In late 2011 she will travel to Argentina, Singapore and India all on study
tours focused on gaining an understanding of agricultural production and what
it contributes to their daily life.

Stephanie enjoys the challenge of travelling to developing nations while
gaining a greater respect and appreciation for the opportunities she has had
available to her.

In 2009 she started university and is now currently studying her third year of
a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in
Orange, NSW. She undertook this degree with the aim of completing further
studies in the form of masters. Growing up in the dairy industry has inspired
her to continue in this sector although in the business area, for example
working to develop a company’s export sector. She wishes to play a role in
building the global name of Australian dairy products and increasing the value
of the domestic industry.

Some of Stephanie’s latest achievements include; 2011 Runner Up Showgirl for
the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Charles Sturt University Dean’s Award for
Academic Excellence 2011, RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship for 2011 and Royal
Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever 2007.

See Stephanie’s story here

Here is a great example of print media press Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton is garnering across the country


Growing up on the family’s dairy farm in Wandella instilled Stephanie Tarlinton
with values and knowledge she is now sharing with students in Sydney as one of
Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions.

Young Farming Champions provide information to students about the commodity
they’ve been allocated to study as part of Art4Agriculture’s Archibull Prize.

The Archibull Prize invites students in suburban high schools to learn through
hands on experience about the challenges of housing and feeding the world with
a declining natural resource base.

This year, 21 schools in Sydney are participating in the Archibull Prize,
exploring the theme “The Rural/Urban Divide-What does it take to feed
Sydney for a day?” This theme celebrates the role Australian farmers’ play
in feeding Australian families and many other families around the world.

Each school is provided with a life size fibreglass cow on which the students
create an artwork about, their allocated commodity, the farmers who produce it
and how this commodity is being produced sustainably.

By providing a “human face” of farming, Young Farming Champions like Stephanie
are helping to bridge the rural-urban divide at the same time sharing their
knowledge of farming with city students.

“I am passionate about Australian agriculture as I have grown up as part of a
family whom have a long association with farming and in particular the dairy
industry. Farming to me is the provider for my family and a way of life,” says
Stephanie, who is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Agricultural
Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Orange with the aim of
working in the dairy industry when she graduates.

Stephanie recently presented at Schofields Primary School and Rouse Hill
Anglican College in Sydney sharing with almost 100 students stories about
growing up on her farm and the importance of farmers in supporting our cities.

“I would love to be able to develop a greater understanding of the true value
of agricultural products. If people valued, understood and appreciated the
quality of the produce available to them in Australia perhaps our local
agricultural industries would be more strongly supported. Participating in
Young Farming Champions has given me the opportunity to contribute to this
process,” said Stephanie.

“Having been a cattle exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Easter Show I have seen and
spoken first hand with people of all ages who did not realise where milk came
from. I also have cousins from the city with little understanding of the
process of farming until they visit.”

Young Farming Champions prepare a video and PowerPoint presentation for use at
the schools and answer questions from the students broadening their
understanding about agriculture while helping them prepare for the Archibull

Students had so many questions!” said Stephanie. “The primary school children
asked:  How many babies can one cow have?  How old do cows get?
How do they make the different types of milk?  How much milk
do you make?  How do cows turn grass into milk?  How does beef get
from a cow to the supermarket?”

“The high school I visited didn’t offer agriculture as a subject, so I was
talking to visual arts students and it was fantastic to spread the messages
about farming to a group of students who may not have been exposed to
agriculture before. Their questions were more technical and based around
production and the agronomics of dairy farming, as well as the educational
requirements to farm. “

The aim of the program is not to lecture the students about agriculture, but to
share perspectives between farmers and metropolitan consumers.

“It was great to meet the students,” said Stephanie.  “In fact, I probably
learned as much as they did from the experience!”

Art4Agriculture run training sessions for Young Farming Champions to prepare
them for their school visits.

“I have learned so much through my involvement in Young Farming Champions.
Visiting the schools has proved to be a real highlight of my farming journey,
and I’ve been provided with training in public speaking, presentation skills
and video production which I’ll be able to draw upon in the future.  I
would encourage any young farmers who are interested in sharing their story to
get involved!”

The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions programs are sponsored by
Woolworths Ltd and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

More information about Art4Agriculture initiatives and how to get involved in
Young Farming Champions is available at

or contact

Lynne Strong, National Program Director Art4Agriculture

Phone 02 42 360 309 or 0412 428 334


  1. Have loved reading this post and think the question you pose will really get people thinking. I also love the posts about the young farmers that you put up. Its enjoyable to read and great to know that the younger generation have an interest in the land and what it offers. Well done!


    1. Sadly to date only one peak industry body Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation is helping to create a culture of change at industry level and are partnering with visionaries who in the first instance recognise there will be no future without investing in youth in this way and in the second instance is prepared to lead by example.
      On the other hand Woolworths is investing heavily in this space yet they are hammered left right and centre. They are smart enough to know that their customers want fresh afordable nutritious food and Art4Agriculture know that farming today is tough, the terms of trade can be pitiful and if we are going to survive we have to be damned good at what we do. So more than ever we need to attract talented, dynamic innovative young farmers and that requires investing in them and walking the talk.
      So we highly value agvocates like BushBelles who are spreading our messages far and wide and reminding farmers they do have power
      * they pay levies to peak industry bodies and they need to stand up and say we want our peak industry bodies to invest in our young people.
      * the community does love them and they do want to hear the postive stories


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