Argentina and Australia – Our Young Farming Champions broaden their perspective, cultural sensitivity and appreciation.

Four of our intrepid Young Farming Champions travelled to Argentina in recent months to share ideas and learn from the South American country, and in doing so opened their eyes to the differences and similarities between Argentine and Australian agriculture.

Meg Rice, Lucy Collingridge and Jasmine Whitten were in Argentina and Uruguay as part of their studies with the University of New England. Lucy and Jasmine competed in the IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association) Student Case Competition and toured a range of agricultural practices including cropping, beef and mixed practice farms, research organisations, a cattle sale yard in the middle of Buenos Aires, a soybean processing and biofuels plant, an export facility on the Parana River and the headquarters of the largest farmer Co-operative in Argentina. Both girls came away with strong impressions.

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Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge

“I realised there is one vital aspect to agriculture and that is the impact government has in the development or hindering of industries,” Jasmine says. “The beef industry in Argentina has a long history of government intervention, due to Argentine’s high domestic beef consumption (58kg/person/year). Any increase to the cost of beef products can lead to backlash by the citizens against the government and so there are taxes on exports and fiats in the domestic marketplace. However, the government intervention restricts growth in the sector.”

Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge

For Lucy, a biosecurity officer with NSW Local Land Services, it was the contrasting approaches to biosecurity that made the most impact. “At all the places we visited, biosecurity was not at the forefront of their mind; even at a dairy processing plant there were no considerations around hygiene or biosecurity standards,” she says. Lucy gained greater appreciation for Australian practices during her travels. “We are lucky to have the high standards we do here in Australia, and even though at times producers and visitors can find on-farm biosecurity practices extensive, it is through these high standards and thorough practices we are able to minimise incursions, and lower the spread, of diseases, weeds and pests. We should be very proud of the high quality Australian produce that we can put on the global table.”

Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge 

Anika Molesworth was the third YFC to travel to Argentina and Uruguay. She took part in a parallel youth program to the G20 meeting of Agricultural Ministers which was being attended by the Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud. In a program organised by the Australian Embassy in Argentina, Anika participated in a range of activities involving young farmer groups, Ministers and congress – giving a series of presentations and participating in workshops. And it was here she found similarities to Australia. “We discussed the challenges of keeping young talented people in rural communities and agricultural industries. We shared concerns about the increasing rural-urban disconnect. We had reoccurring conversations about the drought that is being experienced in both Argentina and Australia, and how an increasingly difficult climate is a major challenge for people setting out on a career on the land,” Anika says. “Despite the shared challenges in both these parts of the world, the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the young people is extraordinary – and fills me with great optimism for our future.”

Anika Argentina Pic 1

Anika with Australian Minister for Agriculture Hon David Littleproud MP (right) and Tristan Baldock a grain farmers from SA 

Anika believes the strength of her tour came from the relationships and collective energy created between the two countries. In a joint statement between young Argentinian and Australian farmers presented to the Australian and Argentinian Agricultural Ministers in their bilateral meeting, they suggested actions to maintain and increase these relationships using both physical and online platforms. You can read more of Anika’s Argentine experiences here.

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions are no longer tied to Australian soils. As Jasmine, Lucy, Meg and Anika show, there are mutual benefits to international agricultural conversations that foster relationships and positive directions for future challenges.

P.S: Congratulations to Lucy’s UNE team who won their division in the IFAMA Student Case Competition. See the story here

#YouthVoices #YouthinAg

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