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.
The Archibull Prize connects school students with the people and the places behind the food we eat and the natural fibres we use. Since its inception over 300,000 students have been engaged in courageous conversations about how farmers and the community can work together to create a world with zero hunger and zero waste.
Our 2019 entries are in and over the next week we will be showcasing them in a series of blog posts
From vast acreages of wheat to intensive paddocks of salad greens, plants feed and clothe us. Let’s have a look at the Archies representing grains and horticulture.
Chronibull is the brightly coloured grains entry from Wee Waa High School with a GPS base station on its head, silos along its back and a tractor and spray boom above its tail.
“Our artwork “Chronibull” aims to chronicle the development of the grains industry to the sustainable industry it is today and providing grains to feed and power the worlds growing population.”
Ably assisted by YFC Casey Onus, Wee Waa students looked at the history of grain production from aboriginal firestick farming, through to conventional farming and finally the era of regenerative agriculture with no till and controlled traffic farming. The school used this environmentally-aware ethos in the creation of Chronibull.
“We used a lot of recycled materials that would have otherwise been waste including the paper pulp, the boom equipment from a scrap pile at our local machinery dealer and a used GPS station. We used techniques such as decoupage to enhance our collage as well as mixing soil with paint for the creation of the soil on the hooves that is the foundation of the crop.”
YFC Emma Ayliffe guided Lake Cargelligo Central School on their grains journey, which produced an Archie with its very own hydroponic system and live plants.
“Archiponics is a working aquaponics/hydroponics system. The cow is drinking from ‘Lake Cargelligo’ through a ‘straw’ and the water flows into a PVC growing tube located in the Archie’s back. The water flows back through into the pond for recycling. The system works with solar power and is to represent where agriculture is headed to in the future; renewable power and sustainable growing of plants in a system then can produce greater amounts of food in a modified environment.”
This Archie even includes a tap on its tail with droplets representing responsibility from a global to local level.
“Everyone plays a part in the responsibility, with the students realising that food security starts local. They cannot rely on having food if they only rely on being fed by the rest of the world.”
Out of the grains paddocks and into the salads was Canterbury College from southern Queensland with YFC Tayla Field providing a unique insight. Students created the eye-catching Heather the Horticulture Heifer to portray the effects of rain and no-rain on horticulture. With 3D sculpturing Heather incorporates grains, newspaper clippings of weather reports, LED lighting and a central cut-out showing a truck transporting hay.
“We felt that this was an important scene to represent and is aimed to create awareness of the hay runners who are assisting our industries through these times.”
Heather also uses unique QR codes, which can be scanned by the viewers who are then linked to a song, an infographic, the ABC website, games and the school Archibull blog.
“This allows her to ‘tell a story’ beyond her sole visual representation. Given the advancements of technology in the Agriculture industry we think this pushed Heather into the current modern world and makes her unique.”
Staying in QLD Tayla then moved onto McAuley College where Year 7 students worked on the project in their own time with no class time allocated. Wow! Welcome to the competition Boots McCowley.
The students focussed their studies on the Scenic Rim area to come up with an Archie rich in local connection. A map of the region spreads across Boots’ back like a patchwork quilt.
“This patchwork also wraps around the cow like a comforting blanket, representing the interconnected nature of the industries working the land together; the value of every small part of the supply chain to the success of the whole industry, knitted into the economic, social and environmental aspects of the Scenic Rim region.”
This is the first year McAuley College has studied agriculture and huge congratulations go to all the students who completed such in depth research, planning and construction in their own time.
“(Boots McCowley) will become a legacy item for the school. We decided to dedicate the considerable time, effort and resources to this project to mark an important milestone in our College’s history as we kick off the first class of Agricultural Studies. This is an important addition to the culture of the school, and promoting the shared values of this community and the mission of the Archibull Prize seemed deeply important, connected, and authentic.”
Mega shoutout to our supporting partners as you can see all the schools and students involved in 2019 Archibull Prize experience found it an invaluable learning tool on so many levels
“When I hear about what these students are doing – I could not be prouder!
Having youth talk so passionately about climate change solutions for a sustainable agriculture sector makes my heart sing.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I am part of the Picture You in Agriculture programs which connect me in far western NSW to students 1,000 kms away so we can share ideas and stories. There are no other programs which make such an impact on the lives of young people – both rural and urban – like these ones, when it comes to farming and sustainability.”
Anika Molesworth Young Farming Champion, Australin Financial Reveiw 2019 100 Women of Influence, Young Australian of the Year Finalist
Students participating in The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas love getting visits from their Young Farming Champions but it’s not always possible for the two to meet physically. Enter technology. Using tools such as Zoom and Skype YFC Anika Molesworth recently took her climate change message to James Erskine Public School (JEPS) and Hurlstone Agricultural High School (HAHS).
Anika and the students from Hurlstone Agricultural High School
Students from JEPS were already on a sustainability trajectory before a giant white fibreglass koala landed on their doorstep. They have been involved in Clean Up Australia Day and National Tree Day, they maintain a vegetable garden, a sensory garden and a bee garden, and they recycle paper and cardboard weekly. They have begun collecting recyclable containers through Return and Earn and have used the credit to adopt a orangutan through WWF.
They are also using their Kreative Koala to focus on climate change and so Anika was a perfect fit to virtually zoom into the classroom. “Anika described life on her farm and how it is affected by climate change and the kids were like little sponges and asked some very relevant questions,” teacher Taryn Pears says. “The kids wanted to know what they could do and after listening to Anika they were saying things like ‘I’m going to waste less food’ and ‘I’m going to take shorter showers’. Anika targeted them very well.
“Personally, I was blown away by the number of young women in agriculture. I have some female students who I think would make outstanding agriculturists and Anika has definitely sparked their curiosity.” Taryn Pears Teacher Erskine Park Public School
Anika and the students from James Erskine Public School
Down the road from JEPS secondary students at HAHS are working on another masterpiece for The Archibull Prize as they study sustainability and biosecurity in the sheep and wool industry.
“We were able to get in touch with a Young Farming Champion, Anika Molesworth, via a Skype call, in which she discussed the effects of climate change on far western NSW and gave us insights on her view on how to tackle the issue as the young generation,” the students said in their Archie blog. “We could all definitely sense her strong passion towards her agricultural work as she educated our team with her amazing presentation on how we, as individuals, could make a difference to climate change with our social, political and consumer influence.”
Using modern platforms of communication Anika is having effective and inspiring conversations with both primary and secondary students – the next generation of young climate champions.
Check out this very clever call to action from the students at Hurlstone Agricultural High School
Hurlstone Agricultural High School entry in the animation section of The Archibull Prize 2019
Business newspaper the Australian Financial Review, conservation organisation World Wildlife Fund, French cosmetic producer Klorane, high fashion celebrity magazine InStyle and food-focussed event Global Table may, at first glance, have nothing in common. They are not traditional agricultural avenues, but Anika is using all of them to champion her message of climate change.
“I’ve recently had opportunities to share my story and the work happing in Australian agriculture with urban-based audiences,” Anika says. “I describe to them the incredible landscapes, the innovative people and opportunities we find by overcoming adversities. And I love it when I see their eyes light-up, their jaws-drop, and their hands-raise to ask questions. It’s not hard to get people excited about food and farming – because this sector is steaming ahead in problem-solving, creative-thinking and community spirit.”
In 2018 YFC Jo Newton was named in the AFR 100 Women of Influence list and this year it is Anika’s turn to shine, making the list for her career in science communication and for promoting rural resilience in the face of climate change. Anika’s profile has also been enhanced by being named a governor with WWF-Australia. According to the WWF website governors are appointed because of their commitment to WWF’s mission, their standing in the community and their ability to contribute to our success.
“World Wildlife Fund invited me to become a governor as they have a substantial interest in promoting sustainable agriculture, as well as land stewardship and climate action, amongst many other things,” Anika says.
When cosmetics company Klorane went in search of women making change in biodiversity and sustainability they, too, arrived at Anika’s door.
“Our #KloraneChangemakers echo what we here at Klorane think: that the environment is something we should protect, not take away from,” the company says on its website. “Through protecting, exploring and sharing knowledge, our #KloraneChangemakers are doing their part to make sure our planet will be healthy for years to come.” Joining Anika as change-makers are Sydney apiarist Vicky Brown and owner of ethical furniture company Koskela, Sasha Titchkosky.
While the AFR, WWF and Klorane accomplishments are all recognition of Anika’s hard work, talent and determination, it was at the recent Global Table event in Melbourne where Anika truly shone. “I was moderating a panel on Disrupting Climate Change, and then got to have a one-on-one conversation with [68th US Secretary of State] John Kerry,” she says. “I told him my story – who I was and what was important to me. He sat back in his chair and said ‘Wow! You have to get your story out there. It is so important that you share this’.
And Anika is doing just that – sharing her story beyond agriculture, getting her message out there. “There are so many exciting things happening in ag. We are using drones to monitor crop health. We are raising ruminants that produce less methane through feed improvements. We are growing crops that are more heat and drought tolerant. We are drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and into soils vegetation. We are building a native food and botanicals industry that celebrants the unique flora we find in this country. But the problem is, a lot of this is happening a long way from the majority of the population, and so many people don’t hear of these amazing goings-on,” she says. “For Australians to really celebrate the incredible work of the agricultural sector we’ve got to take our story out of ag, and to the people.”
Anika will continue to take her story beyond agriculture this year as she prepares to travel to Antarctica with Homeward Bound.
You can join us in supporting Anika to travel to the Antarctica by donating to her crowdfunding campaign here
You can join us in supporting Anika to travel to the Antarctica by donating to her crowdfunding campaign here
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the globe.
In the Field
Spring is here and our young farmers are starting the season on a high. They’re planting trees, shearing sheep, hanging out with cute little lambs and stopping to smell the wildflowers along the way.
Wool YFC Melissa Henry, from Quebon Coloured Sheep, has been busy planting trees with her three year old daughter Ruby on their farm near Young, NSW. “ We’re planting Yellow Box, Apple Box, White Box and Blakley’s Red Gum,” Mel says. “These species are part of the threatened ecological community of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on the SW Slopes of NSW. We are planting paddock trees to provide connectivity across the landscape for the Superb Parrot and other woodland bird species as well as providing shade for our sheep. It’s a win win.”
Another Woolly YFC and YVLT Communications Creative Team Leader Bessie Thomas is enjoying the first season of wildflowers in three years on her sheep station in far west NSW. Bessie says good rain received in April and May has lead to the spring flourish at their Wilcannia property, while drought has made conditions too dry to grow wildflowers in the previous two years. With temperatures heating up quickly and bushfires across Australia’s eastern states we’ve got our fingers crossed for some spring and summer rain for all those who need it.
YFC, agronomist and director of Summit Agriculture Emma Ayliffe took a break from her usual work outside among the cotton and almond crops to rousey in the shearing shed on her farm near Lake Cargelligo, NSW. Emma and her partner Craig shore their 200 Dohne Merino ewes and crutched their remaining 100 lambs. “Considering how dry it has been we have managed to keep the stock in great condition,” Emma says. “The remaining 100 lambs will hopefully be sold in the next 4-6 weeks.”
In keeping with the wool theme, our resident Local Land Services (LLS) vet and Wool YFC Dione Howard has been hanging out with the cutest little lambs near her hometown of Lockhart, NSW, during lamb marking: “These little ones were too young to be marked so they were hanging out waiting.”
Dione has started a new Instagram account with the Riverina LLS vet team showcasing what’s happening in the field. Check out @locallivestockvets on Instagram to follow Dione and her colleagues, along with all their cool cases, seasonal warnings, animal health updates and more.
And check out these cuties hanging out with our newest Australian Wool Innovation YFC and shearer Tom Squires on the north coast of Tasmania! What a glorious start to spring!
Out of the Field
It’s been a huge fortnight on the ag social calendar for our YFC, as usual!
YFC Emma Ayliffe, Chloe Dutschke and Lucy Collingridge attended the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement at Parliament House, Canberra.
With over 500 people in attendance, the sell out event included a large number of agri-influencers and provided a range of networking opportunities. Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, NFF’s Fiona Simpson and Tony Maher and journalist Pip Courtney were among those present.
Our YFC also caught up with some friends of the program – NFF 2030 Leader Nicole McDonald and Country to Canberra’s Hannah Wandel were also enjoying the night.
The dinner was the announcement of the national winner of the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, with a big congratulations to Jo Palmer from The Rock, NSW for securing the national title.
YFC and YVLT Communication Social Media Coordinator Lucy Collindridge says, “Last night was an amazing opportunity to meet and be inspired by some of the leading female agriculturalists from across Australia. Passionate, hard working, resilient and humble. In the words of Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ The 2019 national finalists are a group of rural women showing the world exactly what you can achieve!”
Sue Middleton, 2010 Rural Women of the Year, FRRR board member and Twitter influencer with our wonderful Youth Voices Leadership Team vice chair and YFC Emma Ayliffe.
Last week Wool YFC Adele Smith was out and about at the 2019 SWS Stud Merino Breeders Field Day in Harden, NSW. Adele’s employer Moses & Son were sponsors of the event and Adele enjoyed the day chatting to producers and studs about the services they offer – including wool weighing, shown below:
Wool YFC and LLS Biosecutiry Officer Lucy Collingridge coordinated a landholder meeting to finalise a pig ecology and community engagement research project in her area. The project, which is part of a larger scale PhD project for Darren Marshall of SQ Landscapes, looked at the movement of pigs through the environment, the impact of coordinated management programs and the attitudes of farmers in the group to feral pig management.
ABC Landline was back again to film the project, with a segment coming up about the results of the project. If you’re interested to learn more about the project, check out the original Landline story here.
YFC and Local Land Services vet Dione Howard attended Farmers for Climate Action’s conference in Orange and she says it was unlike any conference she has attended before! “The theme of the conference was ‘Risks and rewards of farming in a changing climate’ and the line up of speakers presented just that – the facts of climate change and the effects which are already upon us, but also the opportunities and real solutions that exist to minimise agriculture’s contribution to climate change. It was empowering to take home strategies for land and animal management, resilience and wellbeing.”
University of New England (UNE) YFC Ruby Canning was at the recent Tamworth Show judging for the F002 Qualifying beef paraders. The top 12 from the class will go forward and represent at Sydney Royal Show next year.
Taking advantage of a recent uni holiday break, Ruby ran a workshop at Kempsey High School about parading, clipping and junior judging, which included tips on how to get over the fear of the microphone at judging competitions, show preparation, and beef showmanship.
“This was organised after I judged an outstanding group of students at Kempsey Show earlier this year and about 32 students attended the all-day workshop,” Ruby says. “It was great to be able to provide some guidance to a group of passionate young beef enthusiasts, and hear about some of their aspirations within the industry. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and insight about my experiences in junior judging and paraders and giving some tips. The feedback was positive, as students enjoyed the opportunity to participate and ask questions, and they were all very appreciative of my time which was lovely.”
Last week NFF 2030 Leader Matt Champness attended the Asia-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) Conference in Kuching, Malaysia. Matt is currently working with rice farmers in Laos and presented some of his work on week control at conference.
Matt sent us this recap from the event: Unsurprisingly due rice being the major crop grown in the region, controlling weeds in rice was the basis for many of the presentation – of high relevance to me. Herbicide resistance would appear to be a major issue in the region – as it is globally. I was therefore disappointed to see so much work on developing new chemistry or differing mixes to overcome this issue. As Einstein famously defined insanity “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I delivered a presentation on the work the Crawford Fund is doing to build capacity in weed identification and control weeds in direct seeded rice in the Lao PDR. The crux of the presentation was the inter-row cutter we have developed to control weeds. Fortunately there were some great presentations on biological control of weeds and physical and cultural controls – crop competitiveness, row spacing, clean seed etc (a bit more sophisticated than my whipper snipper presso!) I also learnt a great deal about successful methods of capacity building and extension in the region – something I am incredibly passionate about. The conference provided a great opportunity to learn and network with leaders in the region. I must thank the Crawford Fund for their continued support.
Congratulations to fellow NFF 2030 Leader and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon who was the keynote speaker at the gala dinner for the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) conference in Darwin. This year’s theme was Extending Horizons – fitting for Aimee’s first trip to the Northern Territory – and she also joined the other keynote speakers and conference organisers on a panel to wrap up the conference.
“I was really inspired by the sharing and collaboration of the delegates,” Aimee says. “The concurrent sessions showcased projects from right across the Australasia Pacific region and across industry. The passion and knowledge of our extension officers, and their drive to deliver improvements, efficiencies and technology for growers is impressive! As a collective they have an incredible story to tell, and make an invaluable contribution to our industry. It was a honour to share the LEGO Farmer with them.”
We’ve got fresh pics from Global Table where Climate YFC Anika Molesworth moderated a panel on Disrupting Climate Change. She also spoke with former US Secretary of State John Kerry about sharing the story of agriculture and how to engage others on climate action.
In the last 30-days, we’ve had more than 6,400 people read about the stories of Young Farming Champions, the Youth Voices Leadership Team, Lynne Strong’s journey leading the organization and all of the support that our range of diverse partners provide us.
If you’d like to learn more about what our team is up to, please look us up, follow our page and let us know what you think.
Coming up Out of the Field…
Henty Machinery Field Days is this week! It runs from Tuesday 17th-Thursday 19th September and there’ll be tractors and trailers and big cultivators. YFC Dione Howard will be at the LLS shed on Wednesday and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon will be speaking at the Charles Sturt University Innovation Hub on Tuesday. Don’t forget to say hi if you see them!
What a week for YFC, InStyle Farmer for Change and founder of Climate Wise Agriculture Anika Molesworth! Anika has been named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 2019 100 Women of Influence. Congratulations Anika! She’s joined by an inspirational and diverse array of influential women, including friend of Picture You in Agriculture and founder of Farmers For Climate Action Anna Rose. Mega kudos to you both.
Congratulations to Grains YFC Calum Watt who has had a phenomenal week of wins. Calum won the Murdoch University’s 3 Minute Thesis competition where research students have to explain their doctoral thesis in less than 180 seconds. He’s is now heading to Brisbane in October for the Asia Pacific finals.
Also this week Calum won the Paul Johnston memorial award for best presentation for an under 35 year old at the National Barley Technical Symposium.
And last but not least, Calum has been accepted into the Fresh Science 2019 WA program, a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.
Calum’s PhD sees him using CRISPR technology to improve the productivity of barley crops and he has just submitted his second paper for publication. Huge, huge congrats on all Calum!
Huge congrats also to YFC Emma Ayliffe who has been nominated in the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Awards! Good luck Emma!
UNE YFC Becca George has just been just announced as one of the ALFA SMARTBEEF Conference scholarship recipients from Angus Australia. She’ll be heading to Dalby, Qld, to attend the conference in the first week of October. Well done Becca, we can’t wait to hear more!
Beef researcher and YFC Steph Fowler (pictured center) attended the the NSW DPI Central West Cluster Regional Research Roundup and won best early career research presentation. Congratulations Steph!
Dairy YFC Sally Downie is also in The Land this week, after telling her story of mental health battles and triumphs in the Hear Them Raw podcast. This is a truly touching story about one incredibly strong woman, who used her personal experiences to launch the Grassroots Blueprint initiative for better rural and regional mental health at a grassroots level. Read Sally’s story here and listen to the podcast Hear Them Raw here.
In conjunction with Sydney Science Park and Little Brick Pastoral, Picture You in Agriculture has launched our third “Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture” competition to coincide with National Agriculture Day on November 21. The competition is open to school students Years 5 to 12 and we want them envisage their own career in STEM based agriculture. National Farmers Federation blogged about our comp on Australian Farmers this week: Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture
Or head straight to the competition link on our website HERE.
Congratulations to Little Brick Pastoral (aka LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon) on your 5th Birthday!
We loved this blog entry from superstar YFC, auctioneer and wool technician Sam Wan, which we’re sure must have been a lifetime highlight! Did you know Icebreaker has a lifetime sock guarantee on its merino socks? We didn’t! Read Sam’s blog Wool For Every Day to find out how she went about returning and replacing her worn out merino socks for FREE! What more incentive do you need for buying wonderful wool?
Anika Molesworth loved her Google Hangout with James Erskine Public School students, who were super excited about their Kreative Koalas learning and loving doing composting and recycling in their school. Anika says they asked awesome questions and they are planning to give a presentation to their 500 peers on climate change.
Action4Agriculture has a vision for an empowered national network of 1000 diverse youth voices working together to inspire pride in Australian agriculture. But as Lynne Strong says:
“We know can’t do this alone and so we get a huge buzz when we meet organisations and people doing fabulous stuff we can amplify.”
Such was the case when Lynne attended the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners announcements and met Andrew Viney from arts and social change organisation BIG hART. BIG hART began in Burnie, Tasmania 27 years ago and tells the stories of regional areas across Australia.
“The majority of our work happens in regional and remote communities so we have a natural affinity with communities with strong agricultural connections. Our focus is on increasing the visibility of communities and of the issues which affect them and our model involves long term (3-10 years) projects. Consequently we only have a few projects happening at any given time, such as during the Millennium Drought when we had a project running in the Murray-Darling Basin called Gold.” Andrew says.
Andrew Vinney (left) at the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners announcements
Another innovative and successful project was the Acoustic Life of Sheds, a music and arts exhibition with a difference – held in five sheds across regional Tasmania and winning the 2018 APRA/AMCOSS AMC Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.
BIG hART’s latest project is Shed Happens, winner of a Heywire FRRR 2019 Youth Innovation Grant. Shed Happens aims to help people understand what life is really like on Australian farms by engaging directly with farmers on an everyday basis through an online video series. The $9,800 grant will develop digital media and literacy skills through workshops and creation of five films featuring stories of rural youth.
Kassidy Fuller from Bullfinch, WA is part of the Shed Happens Team, along with Alexander Rajagopalan from Bruce Rock, WA, Kurt Richards from Dowerin, WA and Hayden Di Bella from Ingham, QLD.
“Last year was tough for my family, The wheat crop struggled through drought, but I was grateful the sheep were happy, healthy and worth a lot of money. Talk of a ban on live sheep exports changed that. My family rely on exports for our main source of income. I believe Shed Happens could have given my family a voice in that difficult time.” Kassidy Fuller
By building strong relationships on the ground with farmers Shed Happens envisages giving these farmers a voice to the public and, in turn, the opportunity for the public to ask questions directly to those farmers. It is an engagement that sits well with the visions of Picture You in Agriculture.
“If you want to build enduring relationships you have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul, because respectful, trusting and open relationships take time and committment. That’s why we are so successful with The Archibull Prize . Our Young Farming Champions are on the ground working with students in schools for six months at a time. We’re building interpersonal trust and this is what BIG hART does. They are working side by side with the people on the ground and the people on the ground trust them to tell their stories. They’re doing beautiful things for farmers in innovative ways. That’s why I love Shed Happens.” says Lynne .
For seven years from 2006 the Farm Day program initiative of Deb Bain introduced urban people to the delights and challenges of farm life, and although the program ended in 2013 its effects are still being felt and appreciated. Those effects have rippled all the way through to Deb’s daughter Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain and teachers in the 2019 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge.
Cassandra Lindsay is a teacher at Oxley Park Public School and driver of their successful Kitchen Garden project. She is also helping steer the school through Kreative Koalas and she recently met Katherine at the Picture You in Agriculture Teacher Tocal Professional Development Day. The two shared conversations that led to their shared connection with Farm Day. Cassandra took part in the program in 2012 and Katherine’s mother was the person who instigated it.
“My husband read about this program where you could meet a farmer so we put our names forward and were invited to visit a family in Quambone,” Cassandra says. “We thought participating would open not only our own eyes but those of our children.”
Cassandra, her husband and two sons stayed with the O’Brien family at their property ‘Yahgunyah’, where they helped with fencing, rode in large farm machinery, locked their car (which they still laugh about) and experienced genuine hospitality from people they had never met before.
“We realised there was a stark contrast to our lives, such as buying groceries in bulk, storing food and reliance on water – things we take for granted on a day-to-day basis,” Cassandra says, “but we were welcomed with open arms and treated like family, and we gained an understanding of how they managed their farming practices including crops and cattle.”
Katherine’s mother Deb Bain believes it was not only an opportunity to start new conversations with city cousins, but it provided farming families with a much-needed energy boost.
“From the farmers’ point of view so much was learned as well,” Deb says. “Farmers realised people were interested in them and that was really inspiring and positive for them to see. It refreshed their vision of what a farm can look like from the outside.”
The Bain family: David (left), Alexander, Deb, Katherine and Georgia at their Stockyard Hill farm. The only son, Alexander, 21 is studying architecture. Photo credit: Joe Armo Source
For Katherine, the advent of Farm Day came at a pivotal moment in her life. “I was heading into high school where there seemed to be a much larger disconnect to where food comes from compared to primary school,” she says. “I think a lot of that was to do with the shift towards more academic study instead of ‘hands-on’ learning. So I was seeing what mum was trying to achieve by bringing city and farming families together in a positive situation, but then at school there was just no talk of a career in agriculture unless you were going down a biology research path.”
Although Cassandra’s Farm Day visit was brief it heralded a life-long friendship with the O’Briens staying with her own family on several occasions. The two families remain in contact seven years later via phone and Facebook. “Remaining in contact has allowed me to understand the highs and lows of farming life and the sacrifices they make as a family at times when farming is tough. We have seen our farm family experience severe drought with not enough feed for the cattle and failed crops due to lack of rain and it is devastating for us to sit on the outside and look in and have no real way of helping.”
Deb is encouraged by this engagement between city and country. “It is wonderful to hear Farm Day has created long-term conversations about agriculture in urban lives,” she says.
Katherine finds a similar engagement as a Young Farming Champion.
“Meeting Cassandra at the workshop was like two worlds colliding,” she says. “ Here was a teacher who had done Farm Day and is now educating kids on food and fibre. It was so lovely to hear that even all these years later there are still lots of fond memories of Farm Day. In a way, I think the YFC has picked up from Farm Day in creating a bridge and a platform for people with no connections to Australian agriculture to talk to people on farms and hear their stories. I’m very proud to be keeping the Farm Day spirit alive and carrying it on into the YFC.”
Cassandra now takes her understandings from Farm Day and Young Farming Champions to the classroom at Oxley Park Public School. Though her students may not experience life as a farm child does, Cassandra is able to instil in them an appreciation and an insight into the world of farming as it produces the food they eat and the fibre they wear.
“I am truly grateful for Farm Day,” she says. “It gave us memories and experiences that shaped our family’s ideas and respect for our farmers.”
We all know dogs are a human’s best friend and when it comes to farm dogs they are both best friends and highly valued team members! This week celebrated International Dog Day and YFC Peta Bradley sent us these beautiful pictures of her family’s gorgeous farm dogs from Armatree, NSW.
YFC Dr Danila Marini has been enjoying her week of work outside testing potential applications of virtual fencing with a small flock of young merino ewes. She says the new applications look promising! Good luck with the write up, Danila.
Out of the Field
YFC and Drought Coordinator for Forbes Shire Council Sally Downie hosted a Drought Business Forum on last week as an opportunity for small businesses to come together and speak with a business support service.
“Two presenters from Central West Business HQ attended and contributed to the discussions. They presented on how businesses can adapt to the changing retail environment, how to get other business streams and finance issues. They were also able to offer free additional follow up support for all businesses in a range of ways depending on their individual needs. This is exactly what businesses need due to the limited assistance for drought affected businesses currently available,” Sally says.
“The feedback from event was very useful and will be used to compile a report and sent to relative parties and for council reference to help better support our local businesses.The goal now is to ensure there is follow up and action taken to improve support and create widespread awareness as well as to generate support for these businesses to those outside of Forbes.” Well done a very important community event Sally! If you’d like to read more, head over to our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page for more.
PYiA founder Lynne Strong represented the YFC team at the Heywire FRRR Youth Innovation Grants Announcements on 18th August and was so inspired by the foresight and courage of the program she blogged about it here: Can we teach Courage? We are huge fans of the Heywrite program, with several of our YFC – including Sally Downie – being Heywire Alumni.
Lots of news in from AgQuip 2019 last month with many of our YFC meeting up at the largest agricultural field day in the country. Ruby Canning sent it this great pic of our five new University of New England YFC, Becca George, Forbes Corby, Ruby Canning, Haylee Murrell and Emily May.
Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge was working with the North West Local Land Services at AgQuip. As part of her role as Biosecurity Officer she spoke with landholders from across the state to provide best practice pest management advice. From wild dogs to rabbits, deer to feral cats, the environmental and agricultural impacts of all pest species were discussed. In her lunch break, Lucy had a quick catch up with egg YFC Jasmine Whitten and grains YFC Marlee Langfield. These three superstars form part of our Youth Voices Leadership Team social media committee and it was the first time they had all met face-to-face together!
YFC and 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship winner Chloe Dutschke is currently on a wool classing tour of Western Australia as part of her scholarship. Chloe is travelling with Scholarship chairman Craig Wilson and has visited Billandri Poll Merinos, viewing rams and tagging lambs with genetic ID tags. She is currently at Wattle Dale Merinos preparing rams for their inspection day. Have fun Chloe!
Exciting week for YFC Hannah Hawker who got the best seat in the house for the Parkes Show.
“Following a stint as an intern in the announcers box at Sydney Royal this year, I’ve picked up a few gigs for local shows in my area. As much as I am a sucker for any country show, I was particularly excited as we came into the last week of August for my beloved local show,” Hannah says.
“Parkes has a huge selection of events that actually run over four days if you include the horse program on Sunday. I’ve seen the show from a number of angles over my time but this might well have been the best, and I don’t just mean the view from the second story box perched perfectly over the centre of the main arena. A special pass into the pavilions before they opened to the public gave me an insight into the massive effort judging and set up was- run completely by volunteers, usually families, and all for the joy of showcasing our local excellence. People in it for the love of it.
“Print outs, results, sponsors bios, run sheets passed along my desk as the day went on. I had a brief moment to stop and think at the enormity, and level of professionalism, involved in this event.
“Announcing was a hoot as the old hands welcomed me in with enthusiasm and trust well beyond my experience. Events of the days and sponsors making it possible was standard, but the horse events and dog high jump gave opportunity for excitement and ad libbing, getting the crowd involved and sharing some of the knowledge I’d gained over my years. Congratulations to the committee of Parkes PA&H and thank you for letting me be involved!”
Coming up Out of the Field this fortnight:
YFC and Cowra farmer Marlee Langfield is heading to Pizza and Pitch for Cowra Youth, a meetup with Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke. The initiative aims to help MP Steph Cooke inform her priorities and goals to make towns in the Cootamundra electorate better places to live. Steph Cooke is calling for young locals to pitch ideas for their communities and we’re no doubt the incredibly community minded Marlee will have some great ones!
Are you heading to Global Table in Melbourne this week? YFC and InStyle Farmer for Change Anika Molesworth is, along with friend of the program and National Farmers Federation (NFF) 2030 Leader Oli Le Lievre.
“Global Table brings together leading international and Australian agrifood events under one umbrella to join the conversation on solving our biggest food challenges and creating tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Global Table kicks off with a three-day conference at the Melbourne Showgrounds, featuring Seeds&Chips – The Global Food Innovation Summit, coming to Australia for the first time.”
Anika is moderating a session called ‘Disrupting Climate Change,’ while Oli is working in the Innovation Precinct, hosting programs like the Agrihackathon. Good luck to you both and we can’t wait to hear how the week goes!
YFC Lucy Collingridge, Emma Ayliffe, Chloe Dutschke and friend of the program and YVLT minute secretary Sophie Howard will be attending the 2019 Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement at Parliament House in Canberra.
Youth Voices Leadership Team vice chair and agronomist Emma Ayliffe is gearing up for her role as keynote speaker at the upcoming Chicks in the Sticks event in Victoria’s Grampian Ranges next month. Tickets via here.
Friend of the program and NFF 2030 Leader Matt Champness beamed in from south-east Asia to speak to the Victorian Country Hour this week chatting about his work with farmers in Laos. Matt is presenting the findings of his work at the Asia Pacific Weeds Society Conference in Kuching Malaysia this week. Break a leg, Matt! Take a listen to Matt on the Country Hour here.
NFF 2030 Leader and Lego Farmer Aimee Snowden has a busy month ahead, say hi from us if you see her at any of these upcoming events:
I’m part of the organising committee for this year’s Victorian AgriBusiness Summit in Wangaratta this week, co-hosted by the Ovens Murray Ag Biz Alliance (OMABA). We’ve got a great program together!
UNE YFC Ruby Canning is off to Kempsey High School this week to give the students some guidance and tips on parading and cattle showmanship. Ruby joined forces with their Ag teacher after judging the cattle at Kempsey Show earlier in the year. And if you were at Tamworth Show this weekend you may have spotted Ruby judging the qualifying round of beef cattle that will be heading to Sydney Show:
“Drought is devastating by its very nature. It creeps up on the landscape and even after its end is declared, the impacts keep coming. That is the nature of Australia and drought, it is a part of our climate and we know to always expect it.
Despite this, our drought policy is not well established but we do seem to have a well-established pattern every time drought strikes.
Conditions set in and it’s crisis time. It is all over the media, donations flood in from those far removed from the dry dams, dying stock and failed crops.
Months pass, no rain, no relief, more stress, debt and work. Farmers are in the thick of it, but why is everything quiet?” Keep reading here.
Congratulations to YFC Laura Phelps who has been working in the UK for the last 12 months and has extended plans to stay, taking on a new role as Head of Banking, Business Investment and Tax in the investment area for the Department for International Trade. Best of luck Laura!
Mega Congrats to YFC Meg Rice who graduated from UNE with a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Law this week! We can’t wait to see where your hard work and dedication will lead you Meg.
Thanks to the Farming Futures UNE Facebook page for this great photo of Meg on her graduation day.
It has been a HUGE week of Archie Action for YFC going into and Google Hangout-ing with schools across the country for the 2019 Archibull Prize.
Samantha Wan had a blast at Manly Secondary School Campus, Burwood Girls High Schol in Sydney and Irrawang High School in the Hunter.
YFC Tayla Field had a great day at McAuley College in Beaudesert.
Dairy YFC Sally Downie is hanging out with Beaudesert State High School in QLD and East Lodden College in Vic this week, Wool YFC Peta Bradley is heading to Skill Set College, Bathurst for a Face-to-Face visit, Wool YFC’s Lucy Collingridge has an e-meeting with Greystanes High School and Bessie Thomas is hanging out with Hurlstone Agricultural High School. Good Luck everyone! We know you’ll have a ball!