Young Farming Champion Muster April 2019 Edition 1

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Sheep breeders descend on Dubbo.

Central West NSW was home to all things sheep on the week of the 18th of March. Wool Young Farming Champion (YFC)  and Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) Secretary, Peta Bradley was present along with a 300 plus strong crowd at the Sheep CRC Final Conference celebrating 19 years of industry collaboration, research and adoption. Following this Sheep Genetics, who Peta works for, had their Leading Breeder conference, 170 sheep breeders from 6 states plus New Zealand attended.The conference theme was “Breeding sheep for a Future Environment”. See the word cloud below from the conference under the #leadingbreeder19 tag taken from the avid sheep breeders on Twitter.


Jasmine Whitten our Eggs Young farming Champion has been busy attending the Local Landcare Coordinator State Gathering in Sydney. This was an event where all the coordinators from across NSW got together for a few days of networking, sharing and learning from each other. At the event Jasmine participated in strategic planning, governance, and group facilitation workshops. She learnt a few tips and tricks which will hopefully make their way into her school presentations in this year’s Archibull Prize.


On top of this Jasmine in her role as a Local Landcare Coordinator at Western Landcare worked with the Buckwaroon Landcare Group organised a schools event for year 4 students at Cobar Public School. This event was called Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms and taught students how farmers care for their soil through the use of QR codes, using a stream table and an experiment which focused on the importance of grasses in our farming systems. It was a huge success with students asking if they can do it every single week!

Check out this little girl explaining how it all works  – another Jasmine in the making

YFC Calum Watt is kicking big goals in Western Australia as he researches better breeds of barley at Murdoch University in Perth. Calum is completing a PhD aiming to increase barley yields under future predicted temperature increases and has been nominated by his university to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in August. We look forward to the insights from the symposium – jump over to the blog to read more about Calum’s research!


The ‘field’ for many of our YFCs currently extends well beyond the paddocks of Australia – YFC Laura Phelps is currently in the United Kingdom leading the team responsible for EU-Exit for the Food Standards Agency. The Food Standards Agency makes sure that food is safe, what it says it is and that the rights of the consumer are protected. Laura has put together a guest blog for us on what she’s loving about working in the UK and the path that led her there – have a read and check out her visit to Hogwarts!

Laura P

YFC and YVLT Chair Jo Newton guest hosted the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from Ireland which also happens to coincide with the day of the Irish – St Patricks Day! Originally Jo started her YFC experience has a Wool YFC and she got her sheep fix by heading to an Irish sheep farm for lambing. You can read more about Jo’s experiences on our Facebook Page.


Some of the Eastern States were lucky enough to get under some much needed rain over the last fortnight with some significant rainfall reports recorded. Reports of >120mm in Central West NSW were recorded and some rivers which have not flown in 2 and a half years now have water moving downstream.

As Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge commented it would have been pretty awesome to watch the Castlereagh River start flowing again in Coonamble! This footage right on 12pm as the waters hit town ☔️

Fingers crossed that this is a sign of things to come for the rest of 2019 and follow up rainfall is not too far off the horizon. See our Facebook Page to see where the rain fell!


Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Out of the field


Now for an update on the launch of our Paddock Pen Pals program! Last muster we’d had the first couple of Google Hangout sessions beaming our YFCs straight into the classroom. The next wool YFCs taking the schoolroom to the paddock – or wool selling centre – were Sam Wan and Chloe Dutschke. Sam had an immediate connection with the students from Carlingford West Public School, being a city-kid herself. Chloe tuned in from the vast plains of Hay NSW which amazed the students in their classroom.

Our YFCs are again gearing up for Primary School Preview Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which will be held on 11th April. Students in Years 4-6 will experience the show behind the scenes and learn about Australian agriculture in a series of fun and interactive workshops. This year we are excited to be partnering with University of New England (UNE) and their Discovery Voyager team to bring five workshops to students on the day. YFC Jasmine Whitten will be talking all things eggs, YFCs Sam Wan and Haylee Murrell will be sharing the wonders of wool, YFC Casey Onus will workshop the secrets in soils and YFC Tim Eyes will bring the story of bees to students. We can’t wait to share with you some stories from the day in our next muster!

Earlier this month YFC and Youth Voices Vice Chair Emma Ayliffe recapped her recent trip to Israel over on our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page. Emma shared many insights into the 2019 ADAMA Young Agronomist Study Tour, including everything from farming systems in Israel to the nation’s rich cultural landscape. 

Emma Israel.png

Emma’s recap coincided with World Water Day on March 22nd, here’s what Emma had to say about water use in Israel:

I was lucky enough while in Israel to spend a day looking a desert farming, it is amazing to see high value crops being successfully grown in a region that receives 30mm/year! Irrigation allows these small producers to capitalise on their land, even though the water they use is extremely salty. This means that irrigation decisions need to carefully assessed based on weather, soil salt levels and the growth stage of the crop. It is truly amazing to see what can achieved with a bit of determination.”

Catch up on more of Emma’s recap over at our Facebook page!

Prime cuts

Congratulations to part of the YFC family, Greg Mills, who alongside his business partner in FutureGen Education Angela Colliver, was recognised for innovation in training programs in meat processing plants across NSW. Greg and Angela have developed programs to introduce school teachers to the industry, including plant tours and processing operations such as biosecurity risks, ethical handling of animals, use of robotics and packaging. Well done Angela and Greg!

Greg and Angela

Greg Mills and Angela Colliver of FutureGenEducation 

This week the NSW & ACT Geography Teachers’ Association annual conference is to be held at Sydney’s ANZ stadium. Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is keynote speaker at the conference and will speak on youth in agriculture, climate and community. This year’s conference theme is “reflecting on the past, assessing the present and shaping the future” and we are proud that Anika has been chosen to share her powerful messages on this theme. Congratulations Anika!


Introducing the highly successful Paddock Pen Pals


Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) in association with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has launched the new school-based program to connect students to Australian farmers and agriculture. Called Paddock Pen Pals the program utilises online audio and web conferencing programs to beam Young Farming Champions (YFC) directly into the classroom.

The concept has been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the paddock, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the students. “When we skyped with Emma she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. Read more about Emma’s interaction with Parramatta Public School here.

The Paddock Pen Pals program was launched recently at Sydney’s Carlingford West Public School where 300 Year 6 students gained insights into sheep and the wool supply chain from YFCs Danila Marini, Dione Howard, Sam Wan and Chloe Dutschke.

Carlingford West is a large inner-west primary school with a high percentage of English-second-language students.

“Many of my students have little time outside and have never visited a farm,” teacher Zoe Stephens said. “In order to make their learning relevant, I wanted to connect them to real farmers to share what they have learnt and see what real farms are actually doing in Australia.”

The first YFC to talk to the students via the big screen was CSIRO Sheep Researcher Dr Danila Marini who discussed animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology.

Danila Marini

Dr Danila Marini, UNE post-doctoral student, is researching the welfare implications of virtual fencing on sheep.

“The students were absolutely fascinated by the process of using digital technology like those new collars Danila is a part of, creating virtual fences,” Zoe said.

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

The following day the students were introduced to Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dione Howard and again both students and teacher were enthralled.

“I think Dione may have inspired some students to become future vets,” Zoe said. “The medical equipment she showed the students was amazing; especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans.”

Wool Technical Coordinator at Elders National Wool Selling Centre in Melbourne Sam Wan was the third YFC to Google Hangout with the students and she had an immediate connection, being herself a city-kid.

Sam Wan Carlingford West (5).jpg

“The students were amazed that someone like them, a city kid from another country, could become involved in the wool trade,” Zoe said.

The final YFC was Sheep Musterer Chloe Dutschke who beamed into the school direct from the vast plains of Hay, and the students were fascinated by the open spaces and huge areas.


One student commented:

“I always thought the sheep were just in a green little paddock.”

Paddock Pen Pals has given the students an opportunity to talk to real farmers about their daily life and to ask real-world questions about what they produce and how they work the land. In response the students are now making short movie-style presentations to share with their YFCs.

This pilot of Paddock Pen Pals at Carlingford West has been an immediate success with Zoe recommending the program to fellow teachers and congratulating all PYiA people involved:

“I want to extend a huge thank you to Lynne (Strong) and the wonderful farmers. Every farmer brought a unique perspective to our students and opened windows into the world of agriculture that they had never experienced. Highlights from the students were the virtual fencing collars, vet equipment and caring for a flock, looking at how wool is marketed and sold and viewing the great open spaces of Hay. Thank you for your time, enthusiasm and energy. When I asked the students to raise their hand if they enjoyed meeting a farmer every hand when up! That just doesn’t happen with Year 6.”

Thank you Zoe and Carlingford West Public School students our Young Farming Champions declared you were the highlight of their week


The first Saturday on the Royal Easter Show provided the perfect opportunity for Paddock Pen Pals teacher Zoe Stephens from Carlingford West Public School and YFC Sam Wan and Dione Howard to meet face to face in the Sheep Pavilion.

Find out more about the world of work in agriculture.

Visit our website here

#YouthVoices #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether



Primary School Preview Day an opportunity to meet the scientists and young people working in agriculture

Jasmine Whitten

On April 11 the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW will run their Primary School Preview Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) and the Young Farming Champions (YFC) will be right in the thick of it once again.

The Primary School Preview Day is an invitation for students in Years 4-6 to experience the show behind the scenes and to learn about Australian agriculture in a series of fun and interactive workshops.

New for 2019 is a two-fold partnership between PYiA and the University of New England, which will see each workshop supported by a scientist from the UNE Discovery Voyager team. Current students of the university will also attend and learn the art of activation from YFCs Casey Onus and Sam Wan, as well as presenting their own workshop titled Under the Fleece, which will look at lamb chops and other lamb-based menu items.

The activations hosted by PYiA and UNE are a prime example of intergenerational mentoring with established scientists assisting early-career YFCs who, in turn, will take university students under their wings to teach primary school kids.

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Getting Down and Dirty

Five Young Farming Champions supported by University of New England students will present the following workshops asking the kids to get their hands dirty, test the freshness of eggs, explore the uses of wool,  and play the pollination game. This is what can be expected:

Eggscellent with YFC Jasmine Whitten:  Under Jasmine’s enthusiastic tutelage students will become egg farmers and test the quality of the eggs destined for the family fridge, to ensure a great eating experience.

Amazing Wool with YFC Haylee Murrell: Using interactive questions and answers Haylee will teach the kids about the properties of wool, allowing them to touch and feel wool straight off the sheep’s back.

The World Wants Aussie Wool with YFC Samantha Wan: Sam will take students on a journey around the world as she buys fleece from Aussie farmers and turns it into all sorts of woollen products.

Our Soils Feed the World with YFC Casey Onus: Casey will get dirty and teach kids to find worms and other critters that make our soil perfect for growing our food.

The Purpose of Pollinators with YFC Tim Eyes: Tim will use bees, flies, bats and wind to pollinate plants and show kids the difference between pollen and nectar.

Year 4-6 primary school students are invited to an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek of the Sydney Royal Easter Show the day before the gates officially open on the 12 April. On Primary School Preview Day, students will explore the concepts of food and fibre production in Australia in a round-robin workshop format with fun, interactive workshops that are linked to syllabus outcomes. LAST CHANCE! Ticket sales close Mon April 1st.  You can book your school’s tickets here

If your school is coming to Primary School Preview Day dont forget to say hi



Lessons Learnt No 2 – Creating Confidence to Share your Story

One of the cornerstone programs conducted by Picture You in Agriculture is Young Farming Champions, which trains and encourages young agricultural professionals to share positive stories with all stakeholders, whether that is community, industry or government bodies. In our ten years of operation the methods by which this is achieved have been evaluated and refined, as the YFCs have spread their wings to share their stories – from classrooms to the international stage.


On commencement of the YFC journey participants attend workshops held by some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts including Lead Workshop Facilitator Jenni Metcalfe from Econnect Communication and Greg Mills from GoAhead Business Solutions.

“Some YFCs are very nervous about speaking in front of their peers, school kids or other audiences,” Jenni says, “but once you give them a structure to follow, some tips – reinforced by video analysis – on how they can appear more confident in front of an audience, and some guidance with visual aids they actually start to enjoy presenting. At the end of the day, if you’re enthusiastic about what you do, people can’t help but listen to your story.”

The aim of the workshops is to not only create confident, independent and reflective thinkers but to equip them with skills to tackle difficult subjects and audiences. In the safety of a controlled environment new YFCs are challenged.

“It says something about the YFCs that one of the most requested training sessions is the one that is designed to be the most uncomfortable. It is awesome to work with a group of young people who are always looking to step up to new challenges,” Greg says. “The ‘Dealing with Difficult Questions’ session is designed to put YFCs in a very uncomfortable and unrelenting situation where they are challenged to answer some of the most difficult questions of agriculture in a high-pressure environment. It gives them the opportunity to practice their communication skills while getting candid feedback on their performance and they gain the confidence to handle any of the real-life situations they may encounter.”

Lucy Collingridge was one YFC to take on Greg’s session in a mock interview with The Land journalist Alex Druce.

“Due to the topic being a highly contentious and emotional issue in regional NSW, I was initially nervous about my replies to Alex’s questions,” Lucy says. “However, I remember as the interview went on and I became more comfortable with using my own experiences to answer questions, I became more confident in myself. In the end, I really enjoyed the interview and being challenged on the topic, as well as being given the opportunity to share my experiences.”

Completion of the workshops leads to YFCs entering schools with The Archibull Prize to put their new skills to the test for the first time as they stand in front of students and teachers. And from here the opportunities are endless. YFCs go on to speak at industry conferences, to the media, to give TEDx presentations, to engage with the public at agricultural shows, to speak eloquently to politicians and to put their hands up for any chance to share their messages.

Lucy now conducts media interviews in her job with NSW Local Land Services and knows the training she has received has given her the skills to tackle contentious issues with confidence.

Lucy Collingridge.jpg

PhD student at Murdoch University in Perth and YFC, Calum Watt is another who credits the training with helping his career. As a barley researcher Calum is regularly called upon to present his findings to industry conferences.

“I feel confident speaking generally,” he says, “and I feel practice is a critical part in getting it right and reducing nerves. The YFC workshops have helped me articulate my thoughts far better than before.”

Perhaps the best example of how YFC creates confidence to share comes from Jo Newton who has spoken at national and international events and who recently discussed her career journey in her first podcast with Josh Farr on The Campus Experience. In the 40 minute interview Jo discussed her involvement with Enactus, while studying at the University of New England, and with Young Farming Champions and told of her journey from a nervous presenter with palm cards to today’s confident alumni who walks about the stage without any notes.

Jo Newton Testimonial.JPG

As always, Jo paid tribute to the YFC program in the podcast.

“It’s a pretty special experience getting to work alongside these tireless, passionate, dedicated young people where we have common values and shared passion,” she said. “I feel like every day I open up my emails and see another fantastic achievement of one of our team and it fills me with so much pride to see these other young change-makers standing up for what they believe in and going out and making a difference.”

Josh identified the top quotes from Jo’s interview as

Saying thank you isn’t enough for the opportunities you can have as a young person.

In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women.

I got real world project management experience hosting an event for 300 people & bringing 20 companies to Armidale. These practical real-world skills help you stand out when you’re looking for a grad job. 

We’re a group of students. We’ve discovered that we don’t really know what we’re going to be next year & we’d like to change that. This is what we’re going to do. 

I said yes to any opportunity to get up in front of people. The nerves are still there & now I see them as a good thing. A colleague said, “The butterflies are a good thing, because it means I care & if I ever get up in front of people to speak & I don’t have that’s when I’ll worry because it means I’ve stopped caring.” 

If you equip a whole team & bring the whole team on the journey you are paying it forward by giving other young people access to opportunity & they pay it forward again & you have this amazing ripple effect.

and the statistics show that impact the Young Farming Champions and the programs they are delivering haveImpact.JPG

Do you want to have the confidence to share your agricultural story?

Applications for the 2019 YFC program are now open. Find out more here 

Application Closing Date 4th April 2019

Contact Program Director Lynne Strong E: for an expression of interest form


Greg Mills and Angela Colliver win 2019 Meat Industry Trainer of the Year Award

Picture You in Agriculture is a family thing and there are many people who support us and what we do. Two of the wonderful people who we consider part of our family are Greg Mills and Angela Colliver who work in partnership as FutureGen Education. On Wednesday, March 27 they were recognised for their innovative training programs in meat processing plants across New South Wales.

Greg and Angela.jpg

Greg Mills and Angela Colliver 

Held at the Gold Coast, the MINTRAC National Training Conference celebrates those providing education and training services to meat processors. The 2019 Meat Industry Initiative Award was presented to Angela Colliver Consulting Services for the programs Greg and Angela have developed to introduce school teachers to the industry.

“The award is a recognition of what can be achieved when content is well matched to the curriculum and teachers are given access to industry facilities and industry experts,” Greg says.

The program involves engaging teachers in a suite of Technology Mandatory training days, which have been held at high schools, meat processors and training organisations including Canley Vale High School, James Ruse Agricultural High School, TEYS Australia, Gundagai Meat Processors, JBS Australia and RuralBiz Training.

Each training day was accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and attending teachers were accredited with six hours of professional learning. Plant tours were facilitated and these introduced teachers to a range of processing operations including biosecurity risks, ethical handling of animals, use of robotics and packaging.

The training initiative attracted 173 teachers who teach Technology Mandatory, Food Studies or Agricultural Studies in Years 7-8 in schools and their feedback has been very positive:

  • “I will be encouraging teachers I know to implement plant tours and these educational resources into their programs as our schools need to provide educational learning that is relevant to the employment opportunities for this region in the future”.
  • “As I was taken through the abattoirs this experience will improve the way in which I explain the processing in the Beef Product Study.”
  • “This was the most wonderful PD I’ve ever attended. I was able to bring resources home and implement them immediately into comprehensive programs provided by the course presenter on the day.”

The training initiative has been re-registered with NESA for 2019.

Paddock to Plate Essentials

Check out Greg and Angela’s award winning Careers and School Resources here 

Congratulations Angela and Greg.

Young Farming Champion Calum Watt advancing the WA Grains Industry

“I am passionate about plant breeding because it is the most efficient means by which to improve the productivity and sustainability of plant production and I want to use my passion to address world issues, such as malnutrition.”

CalumW_Photo.jpg Young Farming Champion Calum Watt is kicking big goals in Western Australia as he researches better breeds of barley at Murdoch University in Perth, and a recently announced $25,000 grant from the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd (COGGO) Research Fund will aid his PhD studies aiming to increase barley yield under future predicted temperature increases.

Established in 2000, the purpose of the COGGO Research Fund is to invest in innovative new research and development projects from across the whole supply chain. “The money will essentially go to paying for glasshouse trials and undertaking genetic studies in the lab,” Calum says. “This project, if fully realised, has large economic potential.”

Calum is the first to realise economics plays only one part of the sustainability circle that is agriculture and his research will address a range of issues that must be balanced and managed by farmers.

“Through genetics and breeding we can develop varieties that use fertiliser more efficiently and increase pathogen resistance resulting in less fungicide and insecticide use,” he says. “Plant breeding can also result in greater water use efficiency (more crop per drop) and higher quality produce through biofortification (improving nutritional content).”

It is for reasons such as these that COGGO was attracted to Calum’s work.

“COGGO is privileged to be able to fund these valuable research projects for the advancement and improvement of the Western Australia grains industry”, Mr Rhys Turton, COGGO Chairman, says. “We have a long history of providing catalytic funding for new R&D ideas and have seen many past recipients make a significant impact on returns for Western Australian grain growers.”

Away from university Calum is making a mark on national and international levels presenting at barley conferences in Perth and Latvia this year and attending a statistics workshop in Bangkok. Both these overseas experiences have been funded by a postgraduate research scholarship. He has also been nominated by his university to attend the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in August.

In 2018 Calum represented agriculture in the Western Australian Young Achievers Awards, reaching the semi-final stages.

“What I realise from events such as these is ultimately how small our industry is yet how much recognition we can achieve,” he says. “It’s a great networking event and it’s really the only type of awards night of this calibre over our way for youth in agriculture.”

Calum’s career will be one to watch as he endeavours to use his research for the greater good.

Calum Watt

“I am passionate about plant breeding because it is the most efficient means by which to improve the productivity and sustainability of plant production and I want to use my passion to address world issues, such as malnutrition.”


“How on earth did I get here?” Laura Phelps thanks YFC program for her inspiring #Ag career to London, via Hogwarts, and back

Laura Phelps Testimonial.png

Today’s guest blog post comes from Young Farming Champion who is currently working in the UK

In May 2015 I wrote that the opportunities in Agriculture are endless, little did I know just how much those words have come back to haunt me. In the four short years since I wrote those words as a guest blog to become a part of the Young Farming Champions Program, a lot has changed.

I have had what many would term the ‘millennial career pathway’ – in short, I have changed jobs a few times. Moving from my first role working in policy for the Pork industry to Exports and Trade with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Each of these roles reminded me just how much I love Agriculture and the people who support all parts of the system from paddock to plate.

Lura Phelps Exploring the Lakes District

                                                   Exploring the Lakes district

Almost 12 months ago, I packed my bags, shipped off the pet cat to some friends and said goodbye to my nearest and dearest for what was only meant to be a 6-month stint working on Brexit for the UK Civil Service department the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in London. The remit of the FSA is simple, it cares about making sure that food is safe, what it says it is and the rights of the consumer are protected. Translating that into a Brexit context has been one of the most fascinating, and frankly fun jobs I have ever had.

Lura Phelps at Hogwarts

                    One of the perks of the new work location…. Proximity to Hogwarts

Having well past the 6 month point and now looking to re-book the other half of the flight home for a later date, I have been asking myself, honestly how on earth did I get here? There are a few things that have contributed to my success in my early career, obviously my parents who just let me explore and develop a passion for all things Agriculture, my high school agriculture teacher Dr Ford, and some supportive bosses along the road. But one of my most important success ‘points’ has been being accepted into the ‘Young Framing Champions Program’.

There is no program for young people in Agriculture that nabs you in early career and allows you build confidence the way that Young Farming Champions Program does, it also establishes a network of other likeminded young people who are all equally excited and enthusiastic about their roles within Agriculture. One of the really cool things about Agriculture is that it is a spectrum there are those of us who work in banks, paddocks, consulting firms, non-for profits, research organisations and government departments just to name a few. Building a program that caters to all of us working in agriculture is as impressive, as it is valuable, and the professional development is just one element of the Young Farming Champions program.

The Art4Agriulture element of the program was one of the core elements that attracted me to the Young Farming Champions Program. In high school I was told by different career councillors to not study agriculture, and I am not the only one involved in the program that has this story. Talking to students about the importance of Agriculture and the importance of our food and fibre industries, I think is one of many ways that we can bridge the country city divide. As a young person who is excited by agriculture, exciting more young people about agriculture via Art4Agriculture I think is key for not only engaging people about what it is we do in our various industries. But it allows people to have a credible conversation and ask questions of people in industry.

Laura Pehlps with Costa and the YFC

Art4Agriculture and its inbuilt support network that includes Costa Georgiadis

I owe a lot to the Young Farming Champions Program and I know that I am not the only one. Right now, I am leading the team responsible for EU-Exit for the FSA, its honestly been the one of the most interesting, complicated and fun jobs I have had. Yes, I have personally thrown in the long hours and the hard work to get here, but I don’t think that I would be here if it weren’t for the skills I learnt early on from the Young Farming Champions Program.

Thanks Laura we are looking forward to hearing more of your #Brexit adventures

Update March 2021

After working with the Department of International Trade in London for a year and a half Laura has taken up a new position as head of the Regulatory, International and Legislative Strategy Unit at Food Standards Agency. It’s great to see our YFCs working overseas in international agricultural policy development.

#StrongWomen #StrongerTogether #YouthinAgVoices

Applications are now open for a new flock of Wool Young Farming Champions


Picture You in Agriculture in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is seeking applications from early career professionals in the Australian wool industry to join the prestigious Young Farming Champions program. The Young Farming Champions (YFC) are identified youth ambassadors and future influencers working within the agriculture sector who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.

Young people aged under 30 who currently work in the wool industry are invited to apply for the leadership development program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation.

In Year One, participants will attend three, two-day immersion workshops and The Archibull Prize Awards Ceremony. In Year Two of the program, participants visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers.

Wool broker, Samantha Wan, is a graduate of the AWI Young Farming Champions program and credits it with taking her career to new levels. Using skills developed during the program and as an alumna, Sam has the confidence to present at conferences such as the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and has been accepted into the International Wool Textile Organisation’s (IWTO) Young Professionals Program. In 2018, Sam was named the Elders Employee of the Year.

Sam continues her association with the Young Farming Champions by mentoring students participating in The Archibull Prize.

Sam Wan

Other graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2015 Young Australian Farmer of the Year and 2018 Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Anika Molesworth

Anika Molesworth Facebook post

2018 Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Alumna, Dr. Jo Newton also started her Young Farming Champions journey with the support of Australian Wool Innovation

Jo Newton Facebook.jpg

2018 Australian Innovation Farmer of the Year, Dan Fox has also benefited from being part of the Young Farming Champions network

Dan Fox.JPG.

Through the ongoing support of AWI, costs are covered for the wool YFC participants including travel, accommodation, meals, workshop resources and mentoring. Expressions of interest for the 2019 AWI Young Farming Champions program can be made by contacting Picture You in Agriculture Program Director, Lynne Strong, at


Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 Second Edition

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

In the field

lets hang out sheep

This week there is a woolly buzz in classrooms in Sydney and we are thrilled to launch the pilot of our new program Paddock to Plate Pen Pals. Supported by Australian Wool Innovation this new program will see students Google Hanging Out with our Young Farming Champions working in the wool and sheep supply chain.

Skype sessions have been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the field, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma, she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. See case study here

Carlingford West Public School Google Hangout with Danila Marini

Monday morning CSIRO Sheep Researcher and YFC Dr Danila Marini beamed into Carlingford West Public School to discuss all things animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology and teacher Zoe Stephens says students were fascinated:

On Tuesday morning it was Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian and Wool YFC Dione Howard turn

This is what teacher Zoe Stephens had to say ” What a great connection! The students were so engaged and interested. I think you may have inspired some students to become future vets! The medical equipment you showed the students were amazing, especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans! Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

Elders Wool broker Sam Wan and sheep musterer Chloe Dutschke will beam into Carlingford West PS later this week. Paddock to Plate Pen Pals will also be supported by blog posts, social media and case-studies.

Alexandria Galea

In the Central Highlands of Queensland, YFC and Secretary of the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCGIA) Alexandria Galea and YFC and Cotton Info Extension Officer Sharna Holman worked with a team to deliver a Teach the Teacher Tour to gain hands on experience of agriculture.

Sixty teachers visited an irrigation farm, took a quick agronomy lesson and had a siphon starting competition. The adventure continued to a horticulture farm, to an automotive packing plant for citris and grapes and Fairbairn Dam.  Events like this aim to inform teachers of farming practices and give them a positive and fun experience of agriculture so that they can share this knowledge in the classroom. Great work Alexandria and Sharna.


The Archibull Prize is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and the team is looking back over what we have learnt throughout our decade long journey of harnessing the best and brightest young ag minds to take the farm into urban classrooms. Our first Lessons Learnt Blog explores careers in agriculture and offering real world skills to solve real world problems. Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan shines as an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture. Read more HERE

Sam Wan 1

Out of the field

YFC Dr Danila Marini talks sheep welfare and the fascinating new world of virtual fencing with University of New England:

“Since ancient livestock herders began erecting barriers of brush and stone to contain animals, fencing has been a time-consuming and expensive business for farmers. Imagine, then, the virtual fence: an invisible line on the landscape that animals will not cross, which can be created on a map on a tablet, and moved or erased at a touch. After decades of research trial and error — lots of error — the concept is now a reality, at least for cattle. The rapid minaturisation of technology means that the solution may soon be applied to sheep, and that’s where UNE post-doctoral student Dr Danila Marini steps in.” Read more HERE

Danila Marini

Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is off to Antarctica this year and has co-authored a story in the lead up to her adventure via The Crawford Fund titled “Farming on Thin Ice.”

“Later this year, two young agricultural researchers who are both former Crawford Fund scholars and now RAID Network members, will be setting off to Antarctica. They were selected to take part in an incredible 12-month program with a cohort of 95 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) from around the globe. The Homeward Bound programme is a global leadership initiative to equip women in STEMM with strategic and communication capabilities in order to influence policy and decision-making regarding the sustainability of our planet.” Read more HERE


Bianca Das (left) and YFC Anika Molesworth (right) will be setting off to Antarctica later this year.

Friend of Art4Agriculture and consultancy guru Greg Mills caught up with Wool YFC Peta Bradley at Zone Junior Judging in Armidale. Peta was meat sheep judge and Greg was the steward. The winner and runner up  from Armidale will compete at the zone final at Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.

peta and greg

YFC and 2017/18 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year Runner-up Emma Ayliffe is fresh off the plane from ADAMA’s Young Agronomist study tour to Israel. Emma and the study tour team had a jam-packed trip and returned with many agricultural insights. Stay tuned for Emma’s recap on the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week!

Emma A

YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.

Meg Rice

YFC and Local Landcare Coordinators (LLC) Erika Heffer and Jasmine Whitten are both off to Sydney this week for the Statewide LLC Gathering. Jasmine checked with the  Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from the Dubbo airport this morning on her way to the big smoke. She’ll keep us updated on all the Landcare happenings this week, so keep an eye out!

jasmine whitten

Prime Cuts

Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke is one of six finalists for the this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship. The Scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience and mentoring to young people aspiring to a career in the wool industry. The recipient of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship will be announced at the scholarship dinner on April 4th. Good luck Chloe!

We’re excitedly looking for the next crop of Young Farming Champions to join out team in 2019! Expressions of Interest are now open for University of New England Young Farming Champions. If this is you or someone you know, please share the word! Find our more HERE



IN 2019 there will be a smorgasbord of opportunities for schools to partner with our Young Farming Champions.   In 2019 we will be rolling out our Primary School program Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge  in Western Sydney and the Hunter.

Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.

Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:

  • Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
  • Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.

Contact Lynne Strong E: to access an expression of interest brochure

#YouthinAgVoices #YouthVoices #StrongerTogether

Expressions of interest are now open for Kreative Koalas Design a Bright Future Challenge

Kreative Koalas Awards SDG's

in 2017 the NSW Department of Education issued an evidence-based review of the key skills for the 21st century. These skills include critical thinking, conscientiousness, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving.  To ensure our young people can meet the requirements of the new work reality, education systems around the world have shifted the goals from teaching knowledge to learning skills about how to use knowledge in real-life situations.

For the last ten years Picture You in Agriculture has been helping teachers meet the 21st century needs of their students and bridge the gaps between agriculture and education  by running in-school programs with real world impact that combine art, agriculture, sustainability innovation & leadership

In 2019 we will be rolling out our Primary School program Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge  in Western Sydney and the Hunter


Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.

Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:

  • Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
  • Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.
  • Supported to empower students to co-create a project that they design, own and deliver either in-school or out in the community with their intergenerational mentors.
  • Provided with a vehicle for students to communicate what they learn in fun and creative ways to a broader online audience and their local community.
  • Supplied with a resource kit with curricular connections and Matisse paints.

See the Power of the Koala here

For more information visit the website

To receive a copy of the Expression of Interest brochure and the application form please contact the program director Lynne Strong