The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
Quoting the hard hitting blog from Agricultural Appointments,
It has been widely acknowledged that Australia faces critical skills shortages in the agribusiness sector according to a raft of government enquiries, a growing chorus of academic reports and just about anyone who has ever tried to find highly-skilled candidates for agribusiness job vacancies.
It’s not overstating the case to suggest that these critical shortages threaten the ability of the agricultural industry to continue to grow and respond to rising global demand for food and agricultural services.
So where are the key shortages and what are the consequences of not addressing them? See the article here to find out where
Young Farming Champion Ben Egan recently feature in The Land here and on Win News here is calling on farmers in the cropping sector to fill in this survey
Ben who is a cotton and grain grower believes there is a critical training gap in his industry with limited courses available for those working at ‘paddock level’.
An initiative of the New South Wales Government in partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Australia has allocated $14.7 million over three years to increase staff skill levels and attract newcomers to the grains and cotton industries.
The GRDC and Cotton Australia are now conducting an industry-wide training needs survey to help track the immediate and future training needs of growers, on-farm staff and the broader industry. The results of this survey will inform the rollout of the AgSkilled project across NSW.
Ben is a cotton and gain grower believes there is a critical training gap in his industry with limited courses available for those working at ‘paddock level’.
The young grower is farm manager at Kiameron Pastoral Company, an 8000 acre family operation with 1750acresof irrigated cultivation, 1400 acres of dryland farming and 4850acres of grazing country.
“At Kiameron we rely heavily on backpackers and casual labour, but finding people with the skillsets we need can be a challenge.
I am constantly looking for opportunities for both my permanent and casual staff to develop and improve their skills and knowledge.
It seems as though we can get access to middle management through university training, but we struggle a lot with getting skilled assistance in that leading hand, irrigation worker type space,”
I have undertaken further training at TAFE, but better training across all levels of the cotton and grains industry could really drive our productivity and profitability.” Ben said.
Ben is now encouraging others involved in the grains and cotton sectors to have their say about what training is needed to future proof the grains and cotton industries as part of a new initiative called AgSkilled.
Please get behind this excellent initiative by having your say in the survey found here
Today our guest blogger is Hannah Wandel who will be our inspirational guest speaker at our next Young Farming Champions workshop
Hannah is the founder of Country to Canberra. She is a young woman with a passion for gender equality and is disrupting the status quo and on a quest to ensure all girls can reach their potential. In the Victorian era women were expected to be educated in order to entertain: pouring tea without dripping was more important than ideas. Gender equality has come a long way since the Victorian era but as Hannah acknowledges there is still a long way to go
This is Hannah’s story ……….
On countless cold, blustering winter’s days, I remember fixing fences on our farm with my two older sisters. We were just kids, but my parents were adamant that we were capable and able to do anything we set out minds to.
Whether it was farming, schoolwork or sports, as three young rural women, we were always supported (and in the case of the detested fencing, strongly encouraged!) to achieve our goals.
I was privileged to have this upbringing, but I quickly learnt that this wasn’t always the norm. Friends of mine often didn’t have a choice but to stay inside while their brothers worked the land. They weren’t encouraged to study their passions, and often didn’t have the support, or crucially, the self-belief to access the opportunities they desired. Too many times, other people tore them down, and stereotypes crept through.
But it was throughout university, that the concept of gender inequality really hit home. I was working as a journalist during the reign of Australia’s first-ever female Prime Minister, and whether you’re a fan of her politics or not, most can agree that Julia Gillard was treated dismally. Whether it was her hair, her boyfriend or her outfit choices, the Prime Minister’s leadership capabilities were consistently belittled.
Sadly, when I looked further afield, my concerns only increased. Just 30 per cent of Australia’s federal politicians were female, we had an 18 per cent gender pay gap (now 16 percent), and more men called Peter were running Australia’s ASX 200 companies than women altogether.
At a similar time, I grew increasingly concerned about rural and remote education. Passionate about country communities thriving and succeeding, I was shocked to hear that the more remote a student gets, the worse attitudes to schooling and school completion rates are. Distance, time and funding barriers were preventing rural kids from accessing the education and career opportunities they deserved.
Pairing these issues together, I saw a niche group of young women in rural Australia needing additional support. I felt a call-to-action, and a desire to help these young women succeed. So I had an idea, and that idea was Country to Canberra.
Founded in 2014, Country to Canberra is a volunteer-driven nationwide not-for-profit organisation that empowers young rural women to reach their leadership potential. Our award-winning programs provide leadership training, inspire self-belief and connect teenage girls with mentors and role models. From the ABC to WIN News, we’ve been featured in hundreds of media outlets and have made a huge difference in scores of girls’ lives. Our flagship program is a national leadership competition, where winners are awarded with a ‘Power Trip’ to the ACT to meet CEOs, Ministers, receive leadership and public speaking training from the likes of TEDx, formal mentorship and more.
We know the impact strong female role models have on young women’s leadership aspirations. Recently, the New York Times found that nearly a quarter of teenage girls said Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential candidacy encouraged them to seek leadership positions. From the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek, our Power Trip connects girls to powerful female leaders, and equips winners with skills and knowledge to share widely in their local communities.
In addition to our Leadership Competition and Power Trip, we mentor and facilitate a ‘Blogger Team’ of young women, giving them a platform to discuss key issues and showcase their talents. Excitingly, we have also just won Holden and SBS’s first-ever grant to run our ‘Project Empower’ leadership workshops in rural and remote schools across Australia. We’ll be traveling to every state and territory to reach as many students as possible to ensure all young women know their self-worth, know how to identify and discuss equality issues, and are empowered to achieve their dreams. This is a game-changer for Country to Canberra, and will give us an ability to reach more young women and communities than ever before.
Personally, I put my heart and soul into Country to Canberra. From seeking grants and sponsorships to managing social media accounts, I run Country to Canberra pro bono and lead a team of 13 volunteers, while also working full-time at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. Plus, like most volunteers, my passion has pulled me into other great initiatives, and I am also a Board Director at YWCA Canberra, a Global Shaper through the World Economic Forum and a Director of the National Rural Women’s Coalition.
It can be tiring, but anytime I even begin to feel an ounce of fatigue, I remember the incredible impact we have had on so many young rural women. I muse about our Power trip winner Ellecha, who told me that she has never had anyone believe in her the way Country to Canberra did. I think about Nooria, who migrated from Afghanistan to Alice Springs as a child, who says that Country to Canberra changed her life forever. But I also think about the girls who were told ‘to stay in the kitchen’ instead of play football, as recounted by our Teen Blogger Hannah, and I ponder a 2015 survey by Plan International and Our Watch, which found that one-third of young women believed it would be easier to secure their “dream job” in Australia if they were male. This motivates me to continue striving to create change, and build pathways for girls to thrive.
Whether its farming or fixing fences, teaching, politics, or something entirely new, Country to Canberra is proactive about disrupting the status quo and ensuring all girls can reach their potential. In five, 10 or 15 years time, we don’t want any young women to live in a world where women are subject to structural bias. We don’t want them to earn less compared to their male counterparts and we don’t want women to be dying at the hands of their partners. We want them to thrive on an even playing field, and I genuinely believe it’s our contemporary duty to build it.
We then added “foster a network of globally connected thought leaders in agriculture and sustainability” to our vision.
Our highest purpose is to show young people in agriculture that they can achieve amazing things if they identify their core values, focus on doing what they love, surround themselves with people they can learn from and ask for help when they need it. We exist to help young people in agriculture learn to do extraordinary things and thrive in life and business
The YFC journey starts with learning the skills and tools to go into schools in a safe environment as the face of youth in agriculture for The Archibull Prize. The YFC program finds ways to continue to expose participants to global ideas and gives them skills and knowledge to participant in discussions on the world stage. This week Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins was invited to share his ideas on a global stage as one of three young Australians selected to participate in the Youth Ag_Summit in Brussels
Together with Yang-Ming Goh & Christopher Young, Sam will bring a fresh perspective to the challenge food security during the conference. Sam’s application essay included the need for values based communication to address the seemingly universal stigmas surrounding genetic modification . Read more here
“At one of the Young Farming Champions workshops, facilitator Greg Mills challenged us to think about how the broader community perceived agriculture and the people in agriculture. Greg introduced ‘values-based communication’ as way to develop trust between community members and those of us who see our future in agriculture. By demonstrating as agriculturists, we share their values and we care about what they care about, we can demonstrate that we are the type of people they can trust to look after our animals, our people and the planet.
Greg’s presentation really stuck with me and got me thinking about how this approach could be applied to break down the stigmas surrounding genetic modification and careers in agriculture. These reflections formed the basis of my application to be part of the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Belgium and I was honoured to be selected.
Thank you, Greg and Young Farming Champions!”
Sam is a great example of how the YFC program challenges people to think differently and then gives them the skills and mentorship to participate at the next level to build on these new ideas. A key success factor is that some of our mentors & trainers come from non-traditional backgrounds and bring new perspectives and provide an expanding world view to the YFC
Speaking of Young Farming Champions Global Communicators succeeding on the world stage a huge congratulations to YFC Casey Onus and her UNE teammates for third place at the International IFAMA contest in Miami. On top of that, UNE pulled off first place with their team Bec Clapperton, Max Laurie and Sarah Wall
Casey Onus (far left) with the UNE IFAMA team
Every decision you make about who you let join your team and the standard you hold gets viewed through the lens of your values.
“Emma has a unique role within Elders,. Half of it is doing research, development and extension and the other half is agronomy. Because Emma is off farm she understands the production side of things in the field, and by doing trials the growers are getting the research done on their farm. It also works well for the ag-tech companies because if they get a new product we can straight away send it to our client base. Clients seem to get the uptake of the product quicker because of Emma’s role. She’s a self-starter, she’s got plenty of drive to make things happen, she always meets deadlines, and she builds relationships really quickly,” says Heath McWhirter Key Accounts Manager (Agronomy) at Elders
Emma Ayliffe Master of Ceremonies at The Archibull Prize Awards in 2016
Emma will join 10 of the YFC alumni undertaking facilitation and Changeology workshops with Les Robinson. These workshop will help the YFC learn how to facilitate with confidence and bind people together to explore new options rather than fight to maintain the status quo i.e. how to be an effective changemakers
Emma will also have access to Greg Mills and Gaye Steel who will be working with the YFC to hone their media and presentation skills for diverse audiences. These workshops will have a strong focus on the importance of ‘being real’ in media interviews. The YFC will identify what drives them, develop presence and harness their power to create impact.
We are very excited to have Elders on board and look forward to adding their logo to our list of partners
Our partnership with AGnVET will see them join the Cotton Research and Development Corporation to support James Kanaley, their identified future influencer and innovator to access the mentorship of some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts as well as the diverse networks necessary to support them through a unique journey.
James Kanaley ensuring Australian farmers are front of mind with consumers
Along the way, AGnVET will create strong links with other inspiring future influencers and innovators who are the face of youth in agriculture and are well placed to pursue a career and other key roles at AGnVET
The Long Walk for Lungs eventuated as a result of AGnVET Services, Bill Van Nierop being diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in 2015, quite by chance, and like many with a similar diagnosis, he was unsure what it all meant. It was only a ‘blip’ on an X-ray following a bout of pneumonia that raised some initial concerns and prompted further investigation.
IPF is a rare condition. In Australia, there are approximately 1,500 new IPF cases each year. There is no cure available for IPF yet. It is a progressive disease associated with scarring of the lung tissue that makes it difficult to breath. The five-year survival rate is as low as some of the more devastating cancers – approximately 20%.
The cause of IPF is unknown but certain environmental factors and exposures have been shown to increase the risk of getting IPF. Smoking is the best recognized and most accepted risk factor for IPF. Other environmental and occupation exposures such as exposure to metal dust, wood dust, coal dust, silica, stone dust, biologic dusts coming from hay dust or mold spores or other agricultural products, and occupations related to farming/livestock have also been shown to increase the risk for IPF.
With his diagnosis, Bill has become determined to work with Lung Foundation Australia to raise awareness of this devastating disease as well as symptoms of lung disease so that people can be diagnosed and treated earlier. Lung Foundation Australia is the only national charity dedicated to supporting anyone with a lung disease. Find out more
By becoming an advocate for Lung Foundation Australia, and speaking publicly about his personal situation, Bill hopes to create awareness in rural areas of the prevalence of chronic lung disease and to encourage those with symptoms to take them seriously.
Another motivation of Bill’s is to increase the amount of funding for research to improve outcomes for those affected by lung disease.
Bill is walking from Narromine to Forbes via Griffith and Leeton – no mean feat and we are cheering for him all the way
Help us spread the word about the environmental factors and exposures have been shown to increase the risk of getting IPF.
Help us spread the word about this great initiative to raise awareness of IPF and funding for the Lung Foundation of Australia. You can donate here
We look forward to adding the AGnVET logo to our list of supporting partners
Today we are helping to spread the word about a program the ABC is launching in 2017 in partnership with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
They want to know if you are doing something great?
Are you a young person doing cool things in regional Australia? They want you
At Art4Agriculture we have who team of people doing great things and we love supporting initiatives that will help them and other #youthinag flourish
Want to know more – see all their info below. We think this is an awesome opportunity please share our blog or use the suggested Twitter or Facebook links below
What is Trailblazers?
Trailblazers is an exciting new initiative from ABC Heywire. Trailblazers is an opportunity for people who are implementing positive change in regional Australia, to have their work celebrated nationally.
Trailblazers receive an amazing package of support, including having their story told on the ABC, and a trip to the Trailblazer Lab in Canberra next February. The Lab is a five-day intensive experience, to empower young leaders, share their stories and build their leadership capacity. Applications are open now and close July 24.
Who are we looking for?
People aged 18-28
Individuals or groups of up to three
Those working on a project that strengthens regional communities
Our Young Farming Champion, Ms Marlee Langfield, did a presentation for our Archie team, as well as our year 12 Biology students. Marlee is an engaging speaker and motivated us with her passion for the land and agriculture. In addition the journalists in our team set up a “breakfast show” interview panel and we had a lot of fun interviewing and creating a video with our YFC. This is our second interaction with Marlee as she was a guest speaker at our recent Year 12 Formal Dinner. Her message to our first graduating class was to encourage them to grab hold of any opportunities that come their way. She is an inspiring role model for young people in the Central West.
Marlee’s formal presentation had the following key messages:
Career opportunities in agriculture
Importance of the Central West NSW as we account for 15% of NSW agricultural production
We all have a shared responsibility in Biosecurity for preventing and responding to the pests, diseases and weed seeds that may be in the grain.
The Archie team brainstorming, thinking and planning.
The Archibull forms part of our whole school focus on “Laudato Si” which is the “care of our common home”. Thank you to Marlee, Art4Agriculture and our important sponsors Aussie Farmers Foundation for creating this wonderful opportunity to “plant the seed” for change and engaging young people. It is a “call to action” for this generation to take up the responsibility for stewardship of our environment.
Lucas Meredith, Brian MacCabe, Ashleigh MacCabe and Samantha MacCabe and YFC Marlee Langfield and our beautiful “bull/cow”.
You can follow St Raphaels journey on their blog found here and on instagram here
The 2017 Alan Eagle Young Farming Champions Scholarship has been awarded to Emma Longworth
Emma is studying a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England in Armidale.
Emma is a young person from the city exposed to Agriculture at school and she is looking forward to inspiring other city kids to follow her career journey into agriculture
“I want to share with them you don’t need to buy a farm to farm and you don’t even need to be a farmer. Everyone in the agricultural sector has an important role to play.”
Every team needs champions and one of Art4Agriculture’s first champions was Alan Eagle – a founder of the Hawkesbury Harvest
Alan sourced our first funding partners and talked about the program to every politician he met, promoted the program on the radio and was an all-round great guy
Sadly, we lost Alan last year and to honour him we have created The Alan Eagle Young Farming Champions scholarship.
Alan was a strong supporter of young people interested in agriculture. He had a genuine interest in who you were, what you valued, and to make sure everyone played the ball, not the man. This made him courageous and generous too, always freely giving of his time and efforts.
All who came to know him soon realised he had a particularly principled approach to life, he was one of those rare individuals who live their values – Alans were trust, integrity, service, community and education
The 2017 Archibull Prize has taken another step forward by adding health and nutrition to the list of topics students can investigate, reflect and take action on
With the recent release of the Food Sustainability Index (FSI) which has three pillars of the FSI—sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges and food loss and waste—all linking to the debate about the future of agricultural production in Australia.
Overall, Australia came 8th out of the 25 countries measured in the FSI. This is one of the lowest rankings for a developed country, suggesting room for improvement.
Importantly even though Australia scores strongly on food waste and loss (ranked 2nd in the index), nutritional challenges are identified as a particular issue for the country. Australia ranks 16th in the nutritional challenges pillar, well below other developed countries such as France, Japan and South Korea. This suggests that a focus on a healthy diet is a key priority for the country’s policymakers. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has warned about growing rates of obesity in the country,6 with current figures indicating that 63% of adults are either overweight or obese.7
The Archibull Prize has been recognised as a world renowned program in its ability to statistically measure students awareness, appreciation and behaviour change
With 63% of Australian adults now obese what did The Archibull Prize survey show us about student eating habits and knowledge about what is healthy food
Here is what we found out
I will leave the in depth analysis to our evaluator Renshaw-Hitchen but its clear young people know what food is healthy and what food is not. Does knowledge alone translate to healthy weight outcomes???? Whilst its out of my area of expertise history would tells us unlikely. Looking forward to the students big ideas on how we reverse the obesity trend in Australia.
You will note we do not have grains on our list. Previous experience has shown us students have little knowledge of what “grains” are beyond rice and in the main are relatively unaware that wheat becomes bread and barley becomes milo etc and that mung beans are a grain. The grains industry has a lot of work to do in this space and they off to a good start with these excellent resources created by AgCommunicators