Young Farming Champions Muster January 2019 2nd Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country and the globe.  

In the Field

The power of collaboration is a defining feature of our Young Farming Champions (YFC) team, and this week it was well and truly evident! Wool YFC Bessie Thomas is based on Burragan Station near Wilcannia in Far Western NSW and last week Bessie’s family’s wool went up for auction. Enter Wool YFC Samantha Wan. Sam is a Wool Technical Coordinator  and Auctioneer with Elders at the National Selling Centre in Melbourne. Sam sent through photos and videos so that Bessie and her family could experience the next step of the process chain.

Wilcannia to Melbourne.JPG

A 1000 km and 11 hour journey by road for a true example of #Farm2Fabric #StrongerTogether


The Journey of Wool  in pictures from YFC Bessie Thomas’ property in Far Western NSW to YFC Sam Wan’s place of work at Elders, Melbourne.

Back on Burragan Station, Bessie compiled a visual memory of 2018:

“It was the driest year we’ve had since I moved here in February 2011. We received 83mm of rain for the year – better than some – when our yearly average is between 250-300mm. We’ve now been hand feeding a mixture of grains and hay for almost two years and we’ve sold about 50 percent of our usual herd. I’m proud we made it through and still have happy sheep growing wool to show for the hard work put in this year (especially by my husband who only had 14 days off all year), but geewhiz, it’s time for some rain (and a family holiday!) please! Bring it on 2019! We can do this!”

With no sign of relief for many drought-affected regions of Australia, YFC and Moree-based agronomist Casey Onus shared a photo of the harsh reality of cotton farm dams in the current climate. These dams are either bone dry or being utilised as a paddock to try and grow a crop.


YFC Casey Onus shares the harsh reality of drought affected cotton farms.

The drought has brought about key learnings for many members of the YFC network – these formed the first instalments of our blog series “Lessons Learned from the Drought.” In Part One of the series Cropping YFCs Emma Ayliffe and Dan Fox teamed up to share what farming in one of the worst droughts in NSW had taught them 


Emma Ayliffe and her partner Craig bought a farm in the middle of drought, but positivity ,diversity and preparedness are paying off.

“Smile! We can’t make it rain… When you find yourself in the dust stand up, brush it off and go again. A new year means 365 days to kick goals.”  says Emma 

In Part Two of the series, Grains YFC’s Marlee Langfield and Keiley O’Brien share their insights into making hay (and growing crops) while the sun shines … and shines, and shines!

If we can grow a remarkable crop in one of the most challenging seasons then I can’t wait to see what we can do when it DOES rain,” – Marlee Langfield.


227 days from start to finish – harvesting canola windrows in December on YFC Marlee Langfield’s property near Cowra, NSW.

Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe took cotton, community and educational interaction to a new level in 2018 as she worked with Parramatta Public School in The Archibull Prize.

emma ayliffe parammatta public school case studyParramatta Public School won the Professor Jim Pratley Award at The 2018 Archibull Prize Awards

This amazing level of all round engagement first started at the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show and Emma followed up with school visits and skyped in to show the students a moisture probe in action in the middle of a paddock. You can read more about Emma’s work with Parramatta Public School here.

Out of the Field

We have already heard about the wonderful work of Wool YFC Samantha Wan and her championing the #farm2fabric journey of Bessie’s wool. Samantha has taken the next step in sharing all things wool by creating a blog for all things wool titled I Wool, Wool You? You can jump on and follow Sam’s blog here.

Sam Wan Blog.png


While we’re on the subject of wool, YFC Melissa Henry had a successful weekend at Bungendore Show with her stud Quebon Coloured Sheep, bringing home Grand Champion Ram. Melissa and her family operate their stud at Young, in the beautiful Hilltops region of NSW.

Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry

YFC Melissa Henry operates Quebon Coloured Sheep, who had a successful weekend at Bungendore Show.

And wait there is more on the subject of wool!!! Sheep Producers Australia is providing a fantastic opportunity through their Sheep Industry Ambassadors program 

sheep industry ambassador award

There was also plenty of opportunities for young beef producers with the 2019 Angus Youth National Roundup held in Armidale in January . This event draws over 170 competitors from Australia, NSW Zealand and Germany and some familiar YFC faces! YFC Jasmine Green judged the parader’s competition and YFC Dee George helped organise the event, both women encouraging other young people to develop their skills and instil a love of Angus cattle.

“My first roundup was in 2005. Throughout my years competing and now helping organise an event like this, I have made lifelong friends and contacts within the industry. I learnt so much and will continue to learn more through my involvement with AYRU.” Dee says.

Young Farming Champion  Jasmine Green

YFC Jasmine Green judged the parader’s competition at the 2019 Angus Youth National Roundup.

Superstar Jasmine Whitten has just started her new job with Landcare NSW. Jasmine has made the move west to Cobar to start the position as Local Landcare Coordinator for the Bourke and Far West Region. We are sure that she will be a wonderful addition to the Landcare Team! You can see Western Landcare post here.

Young Farming Champion and Landcare coordinator Jasmine Whitten

Narromine based Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien has certainly had a busy 12 months. She has been rewarded for her hard work with 2 big pieces of news coming in over the last week. Firstly she has begun a new job at RuralBiz Training and to cap it all off she had the honour of speaking at her local Australia Day Ceremony. This is an honour for anyone to be asked to speak at such an event – so a massive congratulations to you Keiley.

Now a shout out to Aimee Snowden, close friend of the Young Farming Champions program. Aimee is the founder of Little Brick Pastoral, who teamed up with the Archibull Prize in 2018 for the National Ag Day Careers Competition. We love following the adventures of Aimee and her Lego Farmer who this month attended BrickVention in Melbourne. Check out the Little Brick Pastoral blog to catch the highlights from BrickVention and what’s ahead for Aimee in 2019!

This one’s straight off the plane! YFC Sam Coggins has just arrived at Rothamsted Research in England – he will be there for three months contributing to a project (funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) aiming to enable better agronomy tools and services for small-scale farmers in Africa. We look forward to sharing more updates from Sam’s trip!

Horticulture YFC Tayla Field is profiled in this month’s edition of Vegetables Australia, speaking about what drives her passion for agriculture.

Tayla has been extremely busy since graduating from university, after participating in two leading professional development courses for the horticulture industry, as well as participating in The Archibull Prize and working full time.

Tayla Field Young Farming Champion

YFC Tayla Field is profiled in the January-February edition of Vegetables Australia. You can read the full article and catch up on all of the horticulture happenings here!

Meat Scientist and Young Farming Champion Dr Steph Fowler is in her mobile office on the road for the next two weeks with her master’s student Bridgette travelling from Cowra NSW to Qld to collect data from northern cattle. Ever wondered what a meat scientist does? Well now is your chance.. follow Steph and Bridgette’s journey on our Facebook page here

steph fowler meat scientist

Prime Cuts

YFC Calum Watt is off to a cracking start for 2019 – Calum successfully applied for an industry grant to undertake a barley breeding program on top of his PhD from early 2019. Calum was featured in Farm Weekly towards the end of 2018 when the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd funding was announced. Has also published his first scientific article. Congratulations all round Calum!

Calum Watt .jpg

YFC Calum Watt was featured in Farm Weekly following his successful grant application to undertake a barley breeding program in 2019.

Mega congratulations to one of our inaugural YFC Hollie Baillieu who has recently taken up a new role as Manager of Public Policy at Woolworths


Hollie Baillieu

As part of the Government Relations and Industry Relations team, Hollie will use her  passion for agriculture and experience in the sector to work with industry and government throughout Australia. She sees relationship building  as key to this role. Hollie will also take on a mentor role for our Young Farming Champions in 2019. Thank you Hollie. Your career journey life experiences will bring a wealth of knowledge and valuables insights to our new Mentor-Mentee program  Cultivate – Empowering Influencers 

We are also super excited to see long term Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize programs champion supporter Emeritus Professor James Pratley awarded an OAM for significant service to agricultural science through roles as an educator, researcher and adviser.

Wrapping Up

Whilst Australia Day brings many mixed emotions our Young Farming Champions took the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful produce our Australian farmers feed and clothe us with in this video and these words

“Today we look backwards, forwards and most importantly see where we are right now and decide what it is we must do to make the best decisions into the future. The future isn’t a place we just get to go – it is a place we get to create. Together.”

We look forward to working with young people in rural and regional Australia and urban communities in 2019 to co-create the bright future we all deserve

 #YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #ThisisAusAg #StrongerTogether


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