Dr Jo Newton OAM
“After a long wait it was a memorable and magical day to attend Government house with my family and manager at Agriculture Victoria, Prof Jennie Pryce, for my OAM investiture and then enjoy a delicious celebratory lunch afterwards. Despite the mandatory mask wearing everyone’s smiles throughout the day were contagious and it was very special to be able to (finally) celebrate with my family and Jennie.
Physical distancing requirements meant the Governor could not pin medals to recipients and I was asked to nominate one of my guests to do this. I asked Jennie to attend the ceremony and pin my medal to me. As well as being my manager, she has been a mentor and role model to me since I started with Agriculture Victoria in 2015. Asking Jennie to pin my medal was also symbolic of the numerous mentors, role models and colleagues in the agricultural sector who have supported my agricultural journey so far.”
Dr Jo Newton OAM with Dr Jennie Pryce (Agriculture Victoria), Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria, Jenny Weller-Newton, Alex Newton and Mike Newton.
Among Jo’s many roles as a YFC has been as Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT). The team allows YFC to hone their leadership skills in a safe environment, and to contribute to the running of the YFC program. The YVLT AGM will be held on March 15 and new committee members are encouraged to join. Please contact Jo or current Chair Emma Ayliffe for more details on what this can mean for your career.
In The Field
2020 may have been a year of challenges but one industry emerging shiny and bright from the COVID cloud is agriculture, and we celebrate all our YFC who are working on the front lines; YFC like Dione Howard and Emma Turner, both fierce advocates of the wool industry, who are participating in the 2021 NSW Livestock Leaders Agvocate Program to further enhance their storytelling and communication skills. Or, Emma Ayliffe of Summit Ag who is increasing her marketing of the app Yacker with a 6-month business boot camp run by Farmers 2 Founders.
2020 delayed some agricultural programs but they are taking off in 2021 with renewed vigour, such as the RAS Rural Achievers, which sees Dione lining up with other young agriculturists across the state. Read all about Dione and her fellow Rural Achievers here.
Dione joined other YFC wool enthusiasts Chloe Dutschke and Adele Smith at the Wyvern Training Weekend in February. Hosted by TA Fields Estate the weekend aims to mentor and educate young people in the wool and sheep industry and also conducts the Peter Westblade Scholarship, of which Chloe is a former winner. Adele and Chloe are both on the Scholarship Committee while Dione captivated her audience sharing her animal health knowledge in the Production to Processing workshop.
Moving away from livestock and onto plants and two YFC have been in the news promoting their respective careers in agriculture. Emily May talked about horticulture in Sydney’s peri-urban environment in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of NSW Farmers Federation magazine The Farmer, while grain and oilseed grower Marlee Langfield was the poster girl for the NFF 2020 National Agriculture Day Luncheon. She was also profiled on the Ag Day Bake-off, with some very delicious looking scones!
Congratulations to Emily who has recently started a new job as a graduate agronomist with Thomas Elder based in Forbes, central west NSW, for six months.
Youth Voices Leadership Committee intern Jessica Fearnley also works in the plant world, as a development officer with temperate fruits (apples and cherries) for the NSW DPI. Not afraid of a challenge, Jess has embarked on a part-time Masters of Global Development at James Cook University.
“ Inspired by a conversation with Corteva Scholarship finalist Francesca Earp I choose Global Development because my dream is to work in research in the international agriculture space. I want to get more of an understanding of the different challenges these countries face, not just from an ag perspective. For example, I am going to do women health subjects (almost like medicine subjects) so I can understand other challenges these women might face in developing countries, as they are usually the farmers while the husbands go off to find work elsewhere. My major will be in climate mitigation and adaptation.”
Out of the Field
In an in-the-field/out-of-the-field crossover YFC Alexandria Galea, who works as a sales agronomist at Cotton Grower Services, led the Teach the Teacher Tour this year.
“It is by far one of my favourite events. It was an absolute joy to lead the tour, which saw 60 education professionals venture on farm to gain a hands-on experience of agriculture in the Central Highlands (QLD) and build relationships with the community.”
The Australian Association of Animal Science biennial conference was held during February with a host of YFC in action. The 33rd conference was hosted in Fremantle, WA, and online with regional hubs in Armidale, Wagga and Brisbane. Steph Fowler gave an update on her work on predicting eating quality of lamb using lasers. Peta Bradley tuned in from the Armidale Hub and co-authored this paper looking at genetic gain across different regions in the sheep industry. Jo Newton shared lessons learnt while valuing herd improvement during the ImProving Herds Project (with an invited paper on the same topic just published in Animal Production Science) and Danila Marini’s work on virtual fencing was mentioned on Wednesday’s plenary session “Barnett Memorial Lecture” by Dr Caroline Lee. Well done team.
Doing their bit to promote rural and regional Australia are YFC Marlee Langfield and PYiA journalist Mandy McKeesick who have both joined Rural Room as media stringers. Rural Room, a network of rural creatives, aims “to create a progressive, dynamic, creative picture of life in regional Australia which extends beyond the stereotypes and perceptions that have traditionally perpetrated mainstream media.”
Meanwhile, the YVLT’s Leadership is Language series kicked off 2021 with a well-attended seminar hosted by former-politician and community mover-and-shaker Cathy McGowan AO. Stand by for more inspiring episodes of the series as the year progresses.
Sitting at the very top of the YFC Hierarchy of Outcomes is Global Impact – “Young Farming Champions share with the world what they have learnt and multiply their impact.” A shining example of this is Anika Molesworth who has been the “go-to” person for multiple media outlets as they report on the Australian Government’s internal squabble and inaction on net zero emissions by 2050. During February Anika, often with a trembling voice (such is her passion), has appeared on The Project and The 7.30 Report, on RN Radio and ABC PM, and in print with The Australian and The Saturday Paper.
“It’s been difficult to listen to the cowardly comments from some of Australia’s politicians this week. Unfortunately, problems do not go away when you close your eyes or block your ears. You have to actually do something about them. The role of Government is to look after its citizens, and at the moment they are failing to protect farmers from the threat of climate change. And we don’t accept this.”
Anika is a role model for many in agriculture as she invites us all to be part of the team that finds the solution. What to know more? Check out this trailer for an upcoming documentary: Harsh Climate Harsh Truth.
It is with enormous pleasure we announce the birth of Lachlan Hugh Thomas to YFC Bessie Thomas and husband Shannon from Burragan Station in far-western NSW. Lachlan was born on February at 1.10pm, weighing 3.3kg (7lb 5oz) and stretching 51cm long (exactly the same as his sister!).
Another YFC with exciting baby news is Naomi Brannan (Mulligan) who is expecting a baby girl with husband Sean.
YFC Peta Bradley has been swimming to raise money for sick kids as part of the Sunlight Super Swim. Her team, the HighCOWS, has raised over $14,000 to support kids in hospital and Peta has personally swum 120km in 30 days! Not even a change of pool or lightning could stop this aquatic powerhouse. Well done Peta.
That’s a wrap for our 1st Muster of 2021. We are all looking forward to see what March brings
#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #BeTheChange