The 2017 Archibull Prize is off and running and excitement is building at Bulahdelah Central School in NSW with the delivery of their Archie.

“The cow is in a fenced area in the foyer. I came out of my office the other day and these two little kindergarten kids were just sitting at the fence, cross-legged on the floor, looking at the cow.”

Deb Gilbert, Deputy Principal

BCS Archie at Home archie_orig

Students from Year 5 to Year 10 are keen to get started on their journey through the world of sheep and beef with the support of Hunter Local Land Services and a very special Young Farming Champion.

Hunter Local Land Services is a government agency that works with land owners, farmers, agricultural industry organisations, communities and other government bodies to improve primary production and management of natural resources in the Hunter region.

 “The Archibull Prize is a perfect fit for our organisation. The program provides in depth learning opportunities for students in our region on agriculture, biosecurity, climate change, energy, water and careers in agriculture. We hope that through The Archibull Prize, the next generation will be better informed about how food and fibre is produced and be inspired to seek out careers in agriculture and land management.”

Camilla Cowley, Hunter LLS

 BCS students with Hunter LLS Archie

BCS students with Hunter Local Land Services Baby Archie 

 “The Archibull Prize will make the kids aware of the issues facing agriculture and our global environment. We come from an area that used to be centred around dairying and timber, which has diversified over the years, so it’s important our kids see agriculture has changed and there is a variety of occupations they can be involved in.

Deb Gilbert, Deputy Principal

Bulahdelah is a country town in the heart of the Great Lakes on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Set on the banks of the Myall River near its junction with the Crawford River, the town is named from an Aboriginal word thought to mean “the meeting of the waters”,


The school has adopted an innovative approach in linking the primary and secondary through its middle schooling initiatives. The Archibull Prize will see primary school students from years 5 and 6 partnering with students in Year 10 in the secondary school .

“The Archibull will teach the kids about sustainability and about the limited resources available to a growing population because you’ve got to think about the bigger picture and your part in it. It will also show how important farmers are to our community, our economy and our well-being”

Sonia McDonald, Year 5/6 teacher

Mrs Gilbert has been teasing the students with a slow reveal of their Young Farming Champion, who is an expert in the sheep and beef industry, who has won major awards and who has travelled overseas to speak on environmental issues. Their YFC is none other than Mrs Gilbert’s son – Josh!

“It’s all about role modelling back to the kids in our school. Josh graduated from BCS and I don’t know if a lot of the kids realise some of the things he has achieved. To have someone come back to our school as a role model and say what they have accomplished given their education at our school is really valuable. Some of the students will be surprised, and may be disappointed even, when they find out it is just Josh!”

Deb Gilbert, Loving Mother

Josh and Peter Garrett

BCS Alumni Josh Gilbert with Peter Garret who presented Josh with the 2016 National Geographic Award for Young Environmentalist 

You can follow BCS journey on their blog found here

#archie17 #admirabull #sustainabull #lovabull #delectabull #educabull

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Casey Onus goes to Miami as part of the Become the Solution UNE team


Young Farming Champion Casey Onus (far left) has the opportunity of a lifetime to join the University of New England (UNE) team travelling to Miami for the  International Food and Agribusiness Association (IFAMA)

The University of New England is for the third year in a row attending the IFAMA Conference.  As part of the conference UNE will have two teams participating in the Student Case study competition against teams from around the world.  The teams have been training for this competition during the last trimester.  This training helps them with financial and case study skills as well as presentation skills which are of course important skills for life.  This year the Conference is in Miami and the topic is Become the Solution – Technology, Investment, and People: Business Solutions for Food Security.

The IFAMA conference not only gives UNE students the opportunity to learn from International experts they are also able to network with other students with the same interests as well as people from relevant industry and academics from other Universities.

Meet all the 2017 UNE IFARMA team in this great video

Our teams are lucky enough to be sponsored by Sygenta, Ceres Agriculture, Guyra Milling, Rabo Bank and Rex Airlines and supported by Rimfire Resources.  We really appreciate these companies taking an interest in and investing in our students and the future of Agriculture in Australia.

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Conference scholarships on offer for young people passionate about international agricultural research

Australian agriculture has a lot to offer.  One of our key strengths is being able to offer research and development expertise to developing countries either through access to agriculture’s bright or on ground international research and development projects

The majority of people in less developed countries live in rural areas and are dependent on the land for employment and their food security. Many of our Young Farming Champions have spent time working side by side with farmers in developing countries and some like Anika Molesworth have made it their life work

Anika M.jpg

Australian farmer Anika Molesworth working with farmers in Cambodia on sustainable farming practices. Photograph: CARDI (Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute)

The Crawford Fund is an Australian organisation who have acknowledged that support for agricultural research is one of the most effective ways that Australia can assist in  developing countries (their farmers, their environment and their economies) and foster mutual understanding.

As part of the Fund’s efforts to encourage young people in their study, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research, the Crawford Fund offer conference scholarships to young Australians with a genuine interest in international agricultural development, to attend the Crawford Fund conference in Canberra.

“The Crawford Fund Scholars program connected me to world-renowned researchers in international agricultural development, and has challenged and inspired my thinking and my work life. The experience has reinforced to me the meaningful career of agricultural research and development, and has motivated me to find out more about farming in other countries and to push the comfort-zone boundaries.” Anika Molesworth

Like Anika former conference scholars confirm this is a unique learning, networking and mentoring opportunity.  The scholars are involved in two ½ days of activities in addition to the conference; engage with keynote speakers, experienced Australian agricultural researchers and educators, and other passionate young people who have experience overseas in developing countries as researchers, volunteers or mentors.

The conference this year runs over 7 and 8 August in Canberra and is titled Transforming lives and livelihoods – the digital revolution in agriculture.  The aim is to addressing the current and future likely impact of the data revolution for smallholder farmers.

Eligible costs to be met from the scholarships include conference registration fees and related reasonable transport, food and accommodation costs. Full details on eligibility and the application process are here.

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Aussie Farmers Foundation supporting development of young agricultural leaders

We are very excited to officially announce our new partnership with the Aussie Farmers Foundation  


Aussie Farmers Foundation has partnered with Art4Agriculture to spread the word about the importance of agriculture in Australia and to support young leaders in the industry.

Aussie Farmers Foundation helps rural and regional communities to thrive by backing them during tough times. Set up in 2010, Aussie Farmers Foundation has given over $1.3 million to projects which support farm sustainability, disaster relief, mental health, kid’s health and food relief across country Australia.

The partnership will see four Young Farming Champion alumni visit 10 schools in metropolitan and country areas in Victoria, NSW and Queensland in 2017 and provides a scholarship for a Young Farming Champion to take part in the 2017/18 program.

Executive Officer Julia Hunter said Art4Agriculture is an incredible way for young people to share their passion about the pivotal role Australian farmers play in feeding the world.

“Aussie Farmers Foundation is thrilled to partner with Art4Agriculture to help achieve our aims of supporting the sustainability of Australian farms,” she said.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of Australia, and it’s in our best interests to nurture the nation’s future farmers, growers and agriculture specialists, and encourage them to consider this as an exciting and viable career option while they’re still in school.”

Excitingly  this new partnership offers Art4Agriculture the opportunity to double the diversity of farming industries students can investigate and reflect on and use as inspiration on how they as part of a community and as individuals can

  • reduce their impact on climate change,
  • reduce bio-security risks
  • contribute to healthy communities
  • can find rewarding and dynamic careers in the agriculture sector

Our YFC future leaders and influencers will have the opportunity to undertake comprehensive workshops to give them skills in public speaking, social licence, marketing, media, facilitation and leading transformational change. All of which enable them to share positive agricultural stories and in doing so raise the profile of the agriculture sector. As part of the program they will expand their personal and professional networks, further develop and refine their communications skills, learn and connect to each other and the wider community.

The YFC program also links with The Archibull Prize. This program provides primary and secondary school students with the opportunity to connect with our inspiring young agriculture ambassadors and future influencers so they can learn about the agriculture sector and co-create the future they want to see.

We would like to welcome Annicka Brosnan as our new YFC supported by Aussie Farmers Foundation. Annicka’s strong background in the horticulture sector will promote the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet and  horticulture’s contribution to healthy communities .

Annicka 2 Welcome Annika Brosnan

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Watershed moments for Power of Youth in Action and the Power of Art

This weekend in partnership with Intrepid Landcare, Picture You in Agriculture launched the Young Sustainability Ambassadors (YSA) and Landcare Legends  program.  Read their stories here

This program is inspired by the success of the Young Farming Champions (YFC) program and a pilot of the program under the banner of the Young Eco Champions in 2012. Read more about the back story here


I am sitting here in one of the most incredible built spaces I have ever been thinking how excited the founders of Landcare,  Rick Farley and Phillip Coyne would have been to be the room with the YSA and witness a new era of young social and environmental actionists partnering with young farmers to co-create the future they want to see

Like the YFC the Young Sustainability Ambassadors have the opportunity to both hone the skills they learn at the workshops and go into schools as part of the Kreative Koalas program and start a movement of change

I loved this quote from one of the ambassadors

“We are the product of what we have learnt from other people. Surround yourself with the people and the places that inspire you”

One of the highlights of this weekend has been that we delivered both.


Thanks to the support of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) we held the workshop in the most amazing inspirational space


The SBRC is a 6 Star Green Star- Education Design v1 accredited, multi-disciplinary facility that aimss to research, collaborate, and link with industry to meet the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of our new and existing buildings


They are pioneering new approaches to retrofitting techniques to create more effective places to live and work. The SBRC is located at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. Want to know more you can check out their website here 


Just across the road from the SBRC is another treasure of sustainable built spaces. The Illawarra Flame house is baby of Team UOW Australia who took up the challenge of choosing to demonstrate how to retrofit a ‘fibro’ home, to transform it into a sustainable 21st century net-zero energy home. The aim was to upgrade an existing building to inspire Australian homeowners and the local and national building industry, and to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced building energy technology in new and existing homes.

What a great job they have done – Love it making the ‘fibro’ house trendy




#newbeginnings #YSA2017 #kreativekoalas17 #YFC17


Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey is a finalist in the prestigious ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year 

Liz Lobsley.JPG

Plant doctors, agros, clod kickers – all nicknames given to those agri-professionals who spend a lot of time in their utes, poke a varied array of instruments into the soil and tell the farmer what to do with his crop. This may be the common perception of agronomists but Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey is part of the new generation of Plant Doctors showing there is more to agronomy – and agriculture – than first meets the eye.
Liz’s contribution to the cotton industry has been acknowledged through her selection as a finalist in the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year

“It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for this award let alone be named a finalist so I can honestly say I am extremely humbled to be named a finalist. To be acknowledged by your peers is something that I can’t put words to but I truly appreciate it”

“If I didn’t have the support of my partner my family, my boss and the growers I work for I wouldn’t have taken part in all that I have. I have participated because I love the industry and I wanted to broaden my knowledge of what affects my growers and give something back.” said Liz

The Australian Cotton Industry Awards program now moves into the judging phase, with the panel of judges travelling to the finalists’ originating regions to meet and assess each of the candidates.

Cash prizes are on offer for the winners across all categories, with an additional research bursary for Researcher of the Year.

The Australian Cotton Industry Awards evening will be held in Griffith on July 26th as part of the biennial Australian Cotton Collective. Get the whole story on what makes Liz stand out from the crowd here  

#youthinag #welovecotton #YFC

Sharna Holman recognised as Emerald’s jewel in the crown


There is a lot more to Sharna Holman that just a beautiful smile and a love of cotton farming. Sharna is a city girl who has embraced living in rural Australia with a burning desire to promote her region and the agriculture sector she loves at every opportunity whether as a Young Farming Champion or volunteering at her local show.

Sharna was recently recognised for her  community dedication by winning the Emerald Show Society’s Rural Ambassador  award. The Emerald Show Society’s Rural Ambassador then goes on a journey to potentially being named “The ‘Marsh Rural Ambassador’

This competition highlights the importance of young people in rural and regional Queensland, in particular those associated with the Agricultural Show movement. The competition identifies young people who are actively involved in the show movement, have a sound knowledge of current rural issues affecting their local areas,

“Queensland and Australia and have a strong affiliation with agriculture. I decided to compete in Emerald’s Show Society’s Rural Ambassador Competition as a way to meet other young people who were also passionate about agriculture and the local region and become more involved with my local show.

I also believed being Emerald’s Rural Ambassador was a fantastic opportunity to share my agricultural story, highlight what a great region we live for those wanting to get involved in the agricultural industry and that having an non-agricultural background isn’t a barrier to getting involved in your local agricultural shows.

It was an honour to be awarded the title of Emerald’s 2017 Rural Ambassador, and represent my town when I head to the Central Highlands Sub-Chamber finals where the winner then competes in the State Final held during the Royal Queensland Show (EKKA) is August.’  said Sharna

The Archibull Prize in Canada


Archie Goes to Canada 

Already well regarded within Australian schools as an innovative and thought-provoking way of connecting students and farmers, Art4Agriculture’s, The Archibull Prize will now have international exposure at the 9th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Vancouver, Canada to be held in September.

WEEC promotes education for environment and sustainable development and attracts teachers, researchers, government agencies, NGOs and private companies from across the globe. Previous congresses have been held in Sweden, Morocco and Brisbane with attendance rates in excess of 2000 people from 105 nations.

The 2017 congress is titled ‘Culturenvironment: Weaving New Connections’ and will address themes such as the use of art in environmental education, social responsibility and environmental communication. Larraine Larri from Art4Agriculture will present ‘The Power of the Cow’ outlining how The Archibull Prize has used art, in particular the painting of a life-sized fibreglass cow, and multi-media in primary and secondary schools to provide a connection to agriculture, biosecurity and climate change.

“This is very exciting news,” Ms Larri said. “The World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) is the penultimate international gathering for environmental and sustainable development educators. Policy makers, academics, researchers, community and school-based educators come together every two years for international agenda setting and collaboration. Being able to showcase The Archibull Prize on the world stage gives it international credibility and is an important opportunity to benchmark our Australian innovation with other art and/or agriculture programs.”

Thirty schools across NSW, QLD and the ACT have been selected to participate in the 2017 Archibull Prize and will explore the theme why Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a shared Responsibility’. Students and teachers will be assisted in their journey by agricultural professionals in the form of Young Farming Champions.

2017 will be the seventh instalment of The Archibull Prize, which is proud to have supporting partners in NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cotton Australia, Aussie Farmers Foundation, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Local Land Services and RAS of NSW.

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PigCowso is coming to a school near you


Two primary schools in NSW will have the opportunity to meet Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps and learn about the pork industry thanks to our new supporting partner the Aussie Farmers Foundation.

Laura Phelps .jpg

Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps is looking forward to cuddling up to the the Story of Pork at this year’s Archibull Prize Celebration and Awards Day 

We are super excited about sharing how some of our Australian pig farmers are turning pig poo into power. You can read about how pork industry legend Edwina Beveridge is doing it on her farm at Young here

In the meantime here are some fun facts about pigs and the Australian Pork Industry

Fun Facts about Pigs

  • Like humans, pigs are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.


  • A pig’s snout is an important tool for finding food in the ground and sensing the world around them.
  • Pigs have an excellent sense of smell.
  • There are around 2 billion pigs in the world.
  • Humans farm pigs for meat such as pork, bacon and ham.
  • Feral pigs that have been introduced into new areas can be a threat to the local ecosystem, environment and human health.
  • Pigs can pass on a variety of diseases to humans.
  • Relative to their body size, pigs have small lungs.
  • Pigs eat anything – which means they are excellent recyclers of food waste, such as dairy and vegetable matter.

Australia Pork Industry Fast Facts

The Pork Industry

  • Australia produces around 367,000 tonnes of pig meat every year. A little over 10% is exported to countries like Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and 25% is sold through restaurants and other food service outlets in Australia.
  • Each year Australians consume around 24 kg of pork per person—this is made up of 9 kg of fresh pork and 15 kg of processed products such as bacon, ham and smallgoods
  • During 2014-15, pork products accounted for just over 10% of Australia’s total fresh meat retail consumption
  • Australian farmers produce around 4.85 million pigs a year
  • The main source of food for Australian pigs is cereal grains such as wheat, barley and sorghum, resulting in a white fat around the outside of the meat.
  • Pork production has a relatively small footprint and accounts for only 0.4% of the national greenhouse gas emissions
  • Whether housed indoors or outdoors, a pig spends more time resting than any other domestic animal.
  • Pig producers use the manure and effluent of their farms as a fertiliser to improve crops and pasture, or to capture methane gases to convert to energy.
  • Numerous pig producers are now using their manure to generate electricity to power their whole farm.
  • Australia’s pig herd health is one of the best in the world, free from many diseases found in most other pig producing countries.
  • The feed component (mainly grains such as wheat, barley and sorghum) makes up about 60% of the total cost of producing pork.
  • On average, a sow will produce 10–14 piglets per litter.
  • Grower pigs eat the equivalent of about 3% of their body weight and drink about 10% of their body weight, daily.
  • Pigs are considered to be smarter than dogs and are easy to train. This characteristic helps producers develop safe handling routines.
  • Pigs are unable to perspire and they lose heat through their mouths. The ideal growing temperature for older pigs is 20–22˚C. Source: 

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Meet Sally Beer whose teachers nurtured her passion for agriculture

Today’s guest blog post comes from Sally Beer whose taken every opportunity that has come her way to prepare her for a career in agriculture

my professional photo

This is Sally’s story ……..

I had a fairly typical country kid childhood. Growing up on a mixed cropping and livestock property in Deniliquin, NSW, we always had a myriad of animals to look after- horses, poddy lambs and calves, dogs, cats, budgies, a wild rabbit that my brother rescued from under a bath tub at a polocrosse carnival and somehow convinced my Dad he should keep, and a couple of joeys.

photos for YFC

We still have Milly the poddy lamb, who turns 11 years old this year, in the back paddock, and we would take ‘Dimitry the Roman Kangaroo’ to every horse event in the Riverina when he was a joey, where he would act as our mascot hanging in his green Coles shopping bag on the truck dividers.

mum cam sally dad

Of course, there was always jobs to help with on the farm, whether we were checking the rice paddocks and irrigating with Dad or mustering cattle. Mum’s favourite story from when I was a baby was when I was crying in the night, so she asked Dad to check on me- Dad took me for a walk around the rice paddocks checking water levels, and was gone for over 2 hours. When he returned, Mum was frantic and I was fast asleep. I was definitely a Riverina baby!

At high school my enjoyment for agriculture was fostered and enhanced by the fantastic agriculture and primary industries teachers. They pushed us to develop our practical skills on the school farm. They also encouraged us to recognise the huge range of opportunities available to career seekers in the agriculture industry beyond the farm gate as well as behind it. It was without a doubt the influence of these teachers that started me on the path I’m on today.

High school finished and, like many 18 year olds, I heard the irresistible call of a gap year. I spent 12 months working on Clonagh, Paraway Pastoral Company‘s backgrounding property near Cloncurry, QLD. During this year I learnt several things: that black tea is always the better option when there is only powdered milk available for smoko; how to leap stock yard railings in a single bound, faster than a speeding Brahman (so much more impressive than Superman); that I have shocking directional skills (this continues to haunt me, and is a source of hilarity to anyone in a car with me); and finally, it is perfectly acceptable to drive 6 hours for a weekend away at a campdraft, and to only hit one town during the interim. During this year, I improved my stock handling skills out of sight and was exposed to an industry vastly different to what I had grown up with, and from there my university career was set. Judging from the people I had met during the year and their varying roles at Paraway, it seemed there was so much variety within agriculture, and I wanted to experience all of it!

I did a Bachelor of Agriculture/ Bachelor of Business at the University of New England, and in my third year completed an exchange year at the University of Wyoming, USA.


I know every student is tired of hearing it, but university really is the best years of your life, and you should take advantage of everything that comes your way. You never know who you will meet, where you will go or what doors will open up later because of it. During my exchange year in the USA I was fortunate to complete an internship with a contract ranching and harvest crew in Montana during my summer away from university. I learned to rope(badly), wrestle calves and to debate with my colleagues (the virtues of roping compared to a crush when vaccinating and castrating calves was our usual topic). I also travelled to Kenya as part of an ‘Agriculture & Culture’ study tour with my American classmates.


We visited tea and coffee plantations and an enormous rose greenhouse, visited a Masai tribe in Masai Mara National Park, and stayed at Manor House in Kitale, which is a training facility for young Kenyan men and women to learn best practise in bio-intensive agriculture.


The students and staff at Manor House were inspiring, and this was, without a doubt, my favourite part of the trip. The Manor House trains its students in low input farming to improve sustainability and efficiency compared to traditional methods, then they return to their communities and teach others. To compare with the students how their families had previously farmed compared to their passionate vision for the future was an eye opening and humbling experience.

Finally, I was lucky enough to be a part of the UNE International Food and Agribusiness Management Association student team in 2016. As part of this we travelled to Denmark for the annual sustainability conference and competed in the student competition.


Though we did not get through to the final round, sitting in on the conference for the rest of the week was well worth the trip as we discussed major issues surrounding food waste, improving technology in agriculture, impacts of climate change and attracting young people to the industry from the differing perspectives of developing and developed countries.

Sally Beer

I’m now finished at UNE, and have taken up a job as a ‘Junior Accounts Manager’ for GeoCommodities, a grain and pulse broking company based in Horsham and in Bendigo. My primary responsibility is organising freight for the grain we sell, and there is no two days that are the same! We are working in domestic and export markets, with buyers and sellers of varying sizes. It is an enormous, dynamic and welcoming industry that requires fast thinking and good interpersonal skills (because you will be on the phone. A lot!). You are constantly thinking on your feet to get the best result for both your grower and buyer, or in the event of a delay or truck breakdown you need to be able to change things quickly.

Though I still have much to learn, the main thing I have picked up on my travels is that we are incredibly lucky to have the training opportunities that we do in Australia. Agriculture needs to continue to attract and retain talented young professionals at every level in the value chain to ensure we continue to improve and meet every challenge of sustainable food production. By using programs such as Art4Agriculture, and young Livestock Breed Societies, and Farming Challenges at the local agriculture  shows, we are showing school students during their formative years that agriculture is a dynamic and exciting industry that needs them in it.

I will finish with the classic Dr Seuss quote; ‘Oh the places you’ll go!’ I have adapted this as my personal slogan for the agricultural adventure I am on. I hope that I might be able to encourage some other young people to come into an industry they otherwise they may not have considered, because…

Dr Suess


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