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.
At Picture You in Agriculture we have it on good authority that emerging leaders in the agriculture sector are applying for personal and professional development courses because they want to have impact, they want to have a voice in how decisions are made. They want to learn how to have influence, to build networks and work together to create a bright future for rural Australia.
Our experience supported by this excellent research by Corteva Agriscience “The Future of Food and Farming” shows us young agriculturalists and young consumers share many common concerns and hopes for the food system they are inheriting, and a strong desire to be involved in securing its future. Picture You in Agriculture is very excited to be bringing these two very important groups of people together
There is no shortage of examples in the Young Farming Champions program of young people having impact. How much impact they have depends on where they want to have impact and the effort they are prepared to put in.
Today we showcase Climate Action Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth.
This is what Anika has to say about her Young Farming Champion’s journey.
I am delighted to have been involved with the Young Farming Champions since 2014.
I originally joined the program because I wanted to learn how to play a more impactful role in the agricultural sector which I care about so much. I knew that by investing in my own development, I could give back to the people and places that I cherish.
Over the last 6 years I have learnt so much! I have learnt industry specific knowledge – about grains, cotton, poultry, meat and livestock. I have learnt the importance of collaboration. Working with people who have different backgrounds, experience and perspectives is so invigorating and stimulates my mind like nothing else. I have been challenged by the questions students have asked me when I present to their classes, and been energized by their enthusiasm to learn more about food, fibre and farming. I have also been humbled by the teachers who invite the Young Farming Champions into their classrooms.
This program has allowed me to make an impact on an issue that is very close to my heart – climate change. It has developed my personal skills in confidence and resilience. It has developed my career skills in public speaking and fundraising. It has also enabled me to achieve my desire of giving back. I know because of this program I am making a meaningful difference.
What others are saying about Anika
“Anika is one of Australia’s younger generation of farmers most impressive voices. She recognises the importance of action on Climate Change in ensuring our farming future and the importance of engaging all Australians in the climate change action journey” Professor Mark Howden ANU Climate Change Institute
Where is Anika’s voice being heard?
Where isnt it being heard is probably the right question?
build place-based leadership and networking skills and have the capacity to work across agencies, the private sector as well as the community
graduate and join the Young Farming Champions alumni
What does a Young Farming Champion Look Like?
A few important Qs & As.
What age group? Expressions of interest are open for young agriculturalists aged 18 to 30 inclusive
What is an agriculturalist? Our definition is “a person studying to work or working in the agriculture sector?
What is the Agriculture sector? Our definition is the sector that produces food, natural fibres and renewable clean energy?”
Who works in the agriculture sector? Who doesnt work in the agriculture sector is proablaby a better question. A little know fact is 82% of careers in the agriculture sector enable farmers to produce food, fibre and affordable clean energy and there is high predicted growth in jobs in those careers
Australian farmers produce 93% of the food we consume and with the outlook for agriculture sector remaining strong (11% predicted growth by 2030), farmers are important to national well-being. The employment impact of food production, however, reaches far beyond the farm. Eighty-two (82) percent of the careers enabling the agriculture sector are beyond the farmgate. Many of these careers such as professional, scientific and research services have high predicted growth (15% predicted growth by 2030)
The gender question? The YFC are as diverse as the sector
Is the program national? Yes the program is open to young agriculturalists from all Australian states and territories
When do EOIs close: EOI Closing Date: 12th June 2020
What will help you stand out from the crowd?
The program identifies, develops, and deploys emerging leaders in the agriculture sector to share their story in schools, with government and the community.
We are looking for young people who see leadership as service. We are looking for young people who will pay it forward and develop others. See examples of Young Farming Champions paying it forward here
We are looking for young people who are compassionate and curious. Young people who are just as interested in other people’s stories as you want them to be interested in yours
We are looking for young people who are committed. No matter how impressive our training team is the research consistently shows your success depends on how much effort YOU, the learner is willing to put in
Will you have impact?
Our programs directly connect young agriculturalists with young consumers. What is super exciting about that is the two groups our programs target – young agriculturalists and young consumers – share many common concerns and hopes for the food system they are inheriting, and a strong desire to be involved in securing its future.
A key to our success is we provide innovative opportunities for young people in schools and young agriculturalists to apply the skills and knowledge learnt through our programs and develop their networks in real life situations.
Examples of Young Farming Champions having impact
Our Young Farming Champions are advocates, facilitators and role models for The Archibull Prize
Meet our Young Farming Champions celebrating women in science
Meet Young Farming Champion Dan Fox the 2018 Australian Innovation Farmer of the Year
Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe shares her inspirational career journey to be a business owner at 26
YFC Samantha Wan shares why the world values Australian wool
YFC Casey Onus and the team from UNE Discovery show students how soils give life
Young Farming Champion Tayla Field shares the paddock to plate traceability commitment by One Harvest at Smeaton Grange
Young Farming Champion and vet Prue McCormack inspires students at AgVision
Dr Jo Newton acceptance speech for 2018 UNE Young Distinguished Alumina Award
As part of our series showcasing champions in government, not for profits and the private sector doing great stuff we will be sharing stories about rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models.
The research shows for young people in rural, regional and remote Australia to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”.
Today we are showcasing two of our Young Farming Champions who epitomise place based leadership at the highest level and are using what they have learnt on their journey to multiply other leaders in their region.
First Hilux out of the shed is Emma Ayliffe followed by cropping farmer Marlee Langfield is spending plenty of time on her tractor in the next few weeks.
Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) believes in giving voice to young leaders in rural Australia. It does this by equipping them with skills to communicate their stories, in positive terms, to varied audiences, and by providing a safe place to practice what they have learnt. We call these people our Young Farming Champions (YFC).
YFC understand that in order to create stronger communities in regional, rural and remote Australia place-based leadership is key. Leaders working in their own regions, with their own people, are highly motivated with a strong desire to capitalise on future economic opportunities.
Here we shine the spotlight on two of our successful place-based leaders: Emma Ayliffe and Marlee Langfield.
As often the youngest person sitting on boards and committees Emma has come a long way from her childhood tailing wild merinos on stations west of Port Augusta. Today she is a respected agronomist, business owner, farmer and community leader.
Emma Ayliffe cofounder of Summit Ag, entrepreneur and board member
Emma joined the YFC program in 2015 and has been an active member ever since, rising to the position of Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (for YFC alumni) in 2020. In these short five years Emma began her working life as a cotton agronomist on the lakebeds south of Menindee, was head-hunted by Elders to fill a combined research, development and agronomy role, and in 2018 co-founded agricultural consultancy Summit Ag.
Along the way she has been a committed community and industry leader with roles including:
Marlee Langfield Photographer Catherine Forge Source Museum of Victoria
As CEO of Cowra agribusiness Wallaringa Trust, farmer and grain grower Marlee is a steward of the land and a leader in her community. Her family have been farming around Cowra for five generations, three of which have been on Wallaringa.
Marlee joined the YFC program in 2016 and in 2020 took on the position of Social Media Co-coordinator, a natural progression for a young woman already holding leadership positions within her local community including:
In 2019 Marlee’s farming journey was highlighted in the Invisible Farmer project and in 2020 she is furthering her leadership journey as part of the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.
“I believe communities need creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. Transition of leadership from one generation to another is inevitable and if we, as young people, want to breathe life into our communities and see them continue from strength to strength we need to come to the table and be active participants.”
Marlee and Emma both believe one of the important facets of leadership is mentorship of the next generation, and in this they welcome Jess Fearnley to the role of Cultivate Intern with the Youth Voices Leadership Team..
Jess Fearnley Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program participant and Australian Women in Agriculture Youth Committee member
Jess is one of our current participants in the Cultivate Growing Young Leaders program with expressions of interest now open. Successful applicants will receive a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation and graduate as Young Farming Champions.
Everyone benefits when we work together to get best outcomes for students in rural Australia. Western Sydney University hosted students from Wee Waa and Lake Cargelligo for a taste of uni experience
This post will be part of a series sharing the partnerships Action4Agriculture nurturing to support community champions and organisations who are working together to provide young people with world class learning opportunities through the lens of agriculture.
At Action4Agriculture (A4A) our goal is to support government, not for profits and the private sector and the champions in those sectors doing great stuff to get more great stuff done
The research tells us if Australia invests it time, people, money and expertise in the right places some great stuff can be done.
We have uncovered extraordinary research!!!
Did you know for example
Australia could add more than $50B to its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by improving educational outcomes for students in regional, rural and remote areas of the country. Source
Place based leadership will create stronger regions. For regions to capitalise on future economic opportunities and build resilience to climatic events identifying and developing local leaders and champions now is critical. Source
Young agriculturalists and young consumers share many common concerns and hopes for the food system they are inheriting, and a strong desire to be involved in securing its future. Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future, yet too often their voices are not heard. Providing them with leadership skills, the opportunity to work together and supporting them to creatively problem solve and communicate their solutions will empower them to solve tomorrows problems today and have their voices heard.
The power of rural entrepreneurs, community champions and young people walking the talk as role models. For young people to navigate change and take advantage of agricultural and STEM career pathways in their region they have to see “what and who they can be”. Source
In our post today we showcase the commitment of Kris Beazley – Principal of the Centre of Agricultural Excellence at Western Sydney University Richmond Campus to achieve educational equity for young people in Western Sydney and rural NSW.
Action4Agriculture (A4A) has the capacity and experience to support all agencies delivering equity to Australian schooling, whether those agencies be educational, government, non-profits, industry or community. But to do this we need partnerships with champions.
Kris Beazley, Principal of the Centre of Agricultural Excellence at Western Sydney University Richmond Campus, is one such champion. With a passion for project-based and place-based learning Kris recognised A4A ticked all the Australian curriculum boxes and was eager to incorporate it into her teachings.
This collaboration between Kris and A4A took flight in 2019 when, under Kris’s recommendation, the Colyton Learning Community, a collection of schools from lower socio-economic areas in western Sydney, participated in the Kreative Koalas program. A4A believes clustering models such as this are one of the most important ways in which educational equity can be achieved by minimising time and effort required to roll out a program, while maximising expertise and resources.
As well as the Colyton Learning Community, a cluster of schools in the Hunter Valley/Port Stephens area also participated in Kreative Koalas, following on from the launch of the program in 2018 with schools from the Young/Goulburn region of NSW.
The cluster model has also been successfully used with The Archibull Prize in both urban and rural environments. In 2018 four schools from north-western NSW combined as Moree Small Schools to study the wool industry, while five schools under the banner of Little Bay Community of Schools in southern Sydney worked with mentors from neighbouring Matraville Sports High School. And what a successful partnership it proved to be. Read about it here
In 2019 the partnership between Kris Beazley and A4A took another leap forward when students from Lake Cargelligo Central School and Wee Waa High School in western NSW, participating in The Archibull Prize, were given exclusive access to Western Sydney University where they discussed various pathways to tertiary education.
In 2020, in collaboration with Kris and Lorraine Chaffer from Geography Teachers Association of NSW/ACT a new vision for The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas will see the development of deep and lasting communities of practice between primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, business and government.
Anika Molesworth took the Young Farming Champions message global when she visited Antartica as part of Homeward Bound
Welcome to the first Young Farming Champions Muster for 2020. What a year it has been already; opening with drought, morphing into bushfires, blessed with rain and now we are living in a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. However, our cohorts of YFCs are not called champions for nothing and are rising to all challenges placed before them.
Let’s have a look at what Young Farming Champions have been up to under the umbrella of the coronavirus.
First up, the YFC alumni at Youth Voices Leadership Team have announced their new committee for 2020. We welcome Emma Ayliffe as Chair, Dione Howard as Vice Chair, Marlee Langfield and Jasmine Whitten as Social Media Coordinators, Jo Newton as Returning Officer, Samantha Wan as Innovation Hub Representative, Anika Molesworth as Partnerships Ambassador and Jessica Fearnley as the Cultivate Intern.
And not even coronavirus is going to stop The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas with work underway to take the programs online with a new collaborative vision.
In The Field
Our YFC horticulturists Emily May, Tayla Field and Jess Fearnley are exploring new pathways on their career journeys. Emily commenced work with Ace Ohlsson at the end of March as a sales support officer based in McGrath’s Hill (north-west Sydney), and she is excited by the opportunity to share her knowledge with farmers in the region.
Tayla is currently completing a three month internship with Natures Way Foods in the UK. That’s right a career in agriculture can take you global!
And Jess, who works as a development officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries, is using skills learnt in her first year of the Cultivate program to kick start her leadership journey.
And while we’re talking about careers this blog, written by our AWI colleague Sam Arnfield, is a great example of where agriculture can take you.
Out of the Field
In March YVLT Social Media Coordinator Marlee Langfield joined a group of industry trailblazers, influences and farmers who came together from across Australia to begin their journey on the Grain Growers Limited Social Leadership Program. The aim of this six month program is to upskill producers in engagement to raise awareness and build connections with different audiences about the experience of grain farming in Australia. Once graduated Marlee is set to become part of the #grains100 alumni -a group of 100 influential and powerful voices that can communicate critical subjects beyond the farm gate.
Marlee has also featured on the Invisible Farmer Project with her story titled: Proud to call myself a rural woman. We’re proud to call you a YFC, Marlee. Read her fabulous story here.
Photographer/Source: Catherine Forge, Museums Victoria
It was back to school for Jo Newton (third from left in photo) who returned to Tintern Grammar as part of the Junior School Girls International Women’s Day celebrations. The Year 6 students ran the assembly with each year level preparing interview questions about different alumni’s careers. The Preps prepared questions for Jo, which included asking her about why she enjoyed working with animals and what steps they could take if they wanted to work with animals. The Preps also performed a special song they had written about Jo.
YFC agronomist Casey Onus presented a talk on “promotion, price and unheard advice” to growers and emerging agronomists at the Grains Research and Development Corporation catch up in Goodiwindi on March 3. Good on you Casey for paying it forward.
YFCs Jasmine Whitten, Dione Howard, Matt Cumming, Meg Rice, Keiley O’Brien, Marlee Langfield, and Dan Fox attended the inaugural Young Farmer Business Program in Dubbo on February 7. Gatherings such as this play an integral role in our networking, socialising and personal wellbeing. Watch the videos here and here.
Anika Molesworth moderated an online panel webinar titled “Making a Global Difference” on March 19th – run by the Crawford Fund and the Future Farmers Network. The webinar was about agriculture in developing countries, its benefits of volunteering to our neighbours and Australian agriculture, and pathways to get involved. Anika was joined by fellow YFC Sam Coggins on the panel who gave great insight on his time working overseas in agricultural development and what he’s up to now with ACIAR.
Emily May has teamed up with Harvest Trails and Markets (aka Hawkesbury Harvest) and ABC702 radio who broadcast ‘what’s fresh on the Farm Gate Trail’ each Saturday morning.
“Through connections made with YFC I was put in contact with the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail who offered me the opportunity to be one of their voices for their segment on ABC radio. I have applied what I have learnt by reducing the amount of jargon I use in my speech and ensuring the message I portray is of positive nature. Making sure to not reinforce the negative has also been important in developing my messages.”
Emma Ayliffe, never one to sit still for long, began 2020 by setting up Tulli Young Farmers and hosting their first field day with guest speakers including our very own Dan Fox. Read more here.
Did we mention Emma doesn’t like to sit still? Well we are pleased to announce she has been recognised for all her dedication and hard work, being named a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards.
“The Young Leader Award is much bigger than me,” Emma says. “It’s a recognition for the business and the amazing people I work with. It is an amazing pat on the back for the YFC and YVLT for all we have achieved and a huge recognition for the wider ag industry that allows someone like me to have a go and push the boundaries”.
This, folks, is leadership at its finest and we will be keen to follow Emma’s leadership journey closely over the next few years.
Also kicking big goals is YVLT Vice Chair Dione Howard who was named a finalist in the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) 2020 RAS Rural Achiever Award. Unfortunately the Sydney Royal Easter Show is cancelled this year due to coronavirus but on the flip side Dione has another twelve months to polish her skills! The 2020 Rural Achiever cohort will be held over until 2021.
Not one but two Cotton YFCs have been awarded Nuffield Australia Scholarships!! Narromine’s Billy Browning, supported by the Australian Department of Agriculture and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, will investigate the value-adding of irrigation water and increased utilisation of low-flow water, while Richie Quigley, supported by the CRDC and Cotton Australia, will investigate cropping systems and methods to retain more crop residue in zero-tillage farming systems. Congratulations boys.
Congratulations to YFCs Hannah Hawker and Prue McCormack who have welcomed little bundles of joy into the world. Alfie George Hawker was born on 2.12.2019 to Hannah and Sam, while Isla McCormack was born to Prue and Shannon McCormack. Congratulations also to Keiley O’Brien and her partner Ross who tied the knot in late February. Rumour has it they got the got the best wedding gift anyone could ever ask for – a decent drop of rain!
But all great love stories have a few good plot twists. This was the sunset at which Anika and her fiancé Corey were to say their wedding vows. Their loved ones would raise their champagne to the sky, the orchestra would play and they would dance as the stars came out. However, this chapter took a different turn.
“Instead of symbolising a life of love between two people, this sunset is written into our story to signify the love we have for all family and friends in our hearts. The wedding will just have to wait for another perfect sunset when the threat of COVID 19 is just a thing of the past.”
Is distance a barrier to #ClimateActionNow Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth??
If you think a global pandemic is too overwhelming to do something – Anika says think again!
Anika zoomed from her farm in Broken Hill to Pakistan last night, on the topic “How COVID-19 is impacting agriculture and rural communities, and what needs to be done.”
In Anika’s own words ……
To a large and diverse virtual classroom, we spoke about how COVID-19 impacts on both the lives and livelihoods of farmers and people living in rural communities.
My key points were:
• COVID-19 poses a particularly serious threat to farmers who live remotely and do not have easy access to doctors and healthcare.
• The disease is a vulnerability amplifier for poorer farmers, older farmers, those who have limited labour resources and few market options.
• Disruption to food availability and affordability can lead to reduced food options in some regions and therefore poorer diets and malnutrition.
• Transport restrictions can impede access to markets, and challenges in logistics can be particularly obstructive for fresh food that is highly perishable, which may result in increased food loss and waste.
• Increased costs of farm inputs, like livestock feed, fertiliser, water, contract labour and machinery, may result in lower net returns.
• The reduction in tourism to rural areas has flow-on financial impacts to local farmers and local businesses (e.g. restaurants, shops, hotels).
• Improving hygiene and working conditions for farmers is critical to prevent the spread of disease, as well as improving information channels and access to healthcare.
• Improving the standard of living for farmers through education, income diversification, market access, food transport and storage practices, will help them to become more resilient to future crises.
There was great conversation with lots of excellent questions and comments.
I learnt a lot and thank Humera Hania for inviting me to virtually visit Pakistan to be part of this event.
COVID-19 is a big challenge for farmers, but it also encourages us to share ideas and work together for a better and more resilient future.
Visit Anika’s website to learn more how she is putting her passion project into action