Meet Reynolds Tang-Smith our intern who sees agriculture as the big puzzle piece was missing from modern healthcare.

Our Chief Visionary Officer Lynne Strong is a committed life long learner and recently participated is a series of opportunities provided by McKinsey for CEO’s of charities and met McKinsey Business Analyst Reynolds Tang-Smith as part of her journey. As you can see from Reynold’s goals at the bottom of this post he see the interconnectedness of our wellbeing with our ability to nurture our soil and grow nutritious, safe, affordable food and he wants to be part of the grass roots movement creating a better world together.

To start this process Reynolds is joining our team in 2022 as our intern and in todays blog he shares with you his hopes and dreams……….

Reynolds and his partner (Jo) holding an oyster mushroom they grew!

Australia is beautiful.

In fact, the entire world is and we should keep it that way.

For ourselves, our children and future generations that we will never know.

The realisation that we are so blessed to experience human consciousness and life on this planet is one that I try to remind myself of every day.

I hope this blog post revives that feeling of wonder and awe for the world in you!

This is a picture of Karijini National Park (Pilbara, WA), a place dear to my heart and a quote from one of my favourite stoic philosophers, Seneca.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so, wants nothing.” – Seneca

Awesome quote hey?

Who am I?

My story begins in Perth, Western Australia; an isolated yet amazing city.

Many of my values originate from my Mum who immigrated from Beijing about 30 years ago. She had a tough childhood as did many others in China in the 1960s with famine and sociopolitical turmoil.

From an early age, she ingrained in my brothers and I the principle of not taking things for granted.

We ate what we were given and did not waste food. Anything leftover was given to the hens or buried in our compost bin by our backyard veggie patch.

My Mum was also a teacher and ran a Kumon tutoring centre which I helped manage. From this I understood deeply how powerful education is to empower future generations!

I studied Economics and Physiology (pre-med) at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and like any aspiring doctor, sat the GAMSAT and happily volunteered at hospitals, charities and research centers.

My dream for a long time had been to study medicine (and I still might later in life) but I realised that I could make scalable impact in healthcare by leveraging entrepreneurship and technology.

Three important experiences helped me understand the above:

  • My exchange program in the USA at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) where I worked on a hospital optimisation case competiton and a ‘value-based care’ health insurance project (2019).
  • Worked as a Cardiac Physiologist where I gained insight into heart disease, the world’s biggest killer. There, I realised how little our healthcare system focused on wholistic and preventative care as ‘poor nutrition and lifestyle’ were neglected, and patients were given mainly bandaid solutions (2020).
  • Interned at Perx Health, a digital healthcare tech startup in Sydney which gamifies healthcare with personalised behavioural science and rewards chronic patients with gift cards for forming healthy habits (2020-21).

How Not to Die email

I often emailed or printed off the first 42 pages of this book for my patients, which included the 1st Chapter – How Not To Die from Heart Disease. After coming across this book, I realised food and by extension agriculture was the big puzzle piece that was missing from modern healthcare.

Why Action4Agriculture?

When I mention healthcare, I also extend the definition to the ‘health of the planet’, which includes our plant, soil, water, fungi, animal, family, community, mental, financial, and spiritual health.

Therefore, my aim is to become a wholistic doctor where I can help myself and people live more sustainably with the Earth. A huge and underrated part of this are our agricultural food systems.

Presently, I work at management consulting Firm, McKinsey as Business Analyst where we help create positive enduring change in the world by solving problems for large companies, governments and NGOs.

I helped facilitate the Mission Delivery CEO workshop in March 2022, where I was grateful to meet Lynne Strong along with 200+ other amazing CEOs from NFPs across the country.

I have a few goals for my future with this lovely organisation and beyond:

  • Maximise the good on Earth by helping people find their ‘ikigai’ philosophy
  • Accelerate agritech (AI, microbial, blockchain, zero-carbon) uptake and education
  • Learn best practices in regenerative agriculture and reduce reliance on fertilisers
  • Help restore the soil in Australia to increase food nutrition and decrease CO2 in the atmosphere
  • Establish mushroom microfarms (e.g., lions mane, reishi) in the cities to reduce disease burden (Alzheimer’s, depression, immune disorders)
  • Incentivise Australians to change our unhealthy consumer eating habits (processed foods) and support local farmers
  • Build a sustainable high-tech farm for my future family one day

This is a great philosophy that everyone can relate to; let’s all help each other find our ikigai!

The Veggie patch

Riverina Local Land Services launch scholarships to find latest round of Young Farming Champions

In 2020 Riverina Local Land Services established a scholarship for a young person from the Riverina to participate in the acclaimed leadership program Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders delivered by Action4Agriculture. PhD student Dylan Male was the worthy winner. Following this success Riverina Local Land Services is happy to announce two more scholarships for 2022 and invites local people, aged between 18 and 35, passionate about agriculture, to apply.


“Riverina Local Land Services is very pleased, once again, to support this Action4Agriculture project,” general manager Ray Willis said. “Helping to “build capacity” of current and future primary producers and agricultural ambassadors is a high priority for Local Land Services and this project is an excellent opportunity to facilitate personal development of young people interested in agriculture. Local Land Services will also benefit from the opportunity to provide information to schools on topics of key importance such as: Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural burns; woodland birds and threatened species found in the Riverina; healthy waterways; and pest animals and biosecurity.”


Young people who are doing post graduate research in agriculture related fields or are working in the agriculture sector are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share why their heart is in the Riverina and in agriculture.  In the second year of the program these young leaders will have the opportunity to hone their advocacy skills by engaging with primary and secondary students with A4A’s in-school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas.


“Being awarded the 2020 scholarship has been invaluable to my personal growth and career development,” Dylan said. “Throughout this program, I have had access to exclusive workshop opportunities, facilitated by some of the greatest minds in Australia and around the world. These workshops are equipping me with the knowledge and skills needed to drive positive change in Australia’s agricultural sector. One big takeaway has been gaining an appreciation and understanding into what it takes to be an effective leader in today’s rapidly evolving world. Perhaps most significantly, the program has seen me welcomed into a supportive community of passionate young agricultural changemakers from right across Australia.

“I am incredibly grateful for the support of RLLS, who continue to support my journey by providing me with ongoing learning opportunities. A highlight for me was the opportunity in 2021 to participate on a field trip to Young, where I was able to present at a board meeting, visit local farmers and learn more about how the RLLS works and the people they engage with.”



Read the Expression of Interest Brochure here

Expressions of interest for the 2022 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program can be made here

For further information contact  Lynne Strong at




Meet Danielle Fordham who is proud to be creating a better world through her career in agriculture

It gives up great pleasure to introduce you to our second Hunter Local Land Services Scholarship winner Danielle Fordham. We invited Danielle to share her story with our readers.

We first met Danielle in 2011 when she was part of the team that won The Archibull Prize in 2011.(see footnote). Here she is with the Caroline Chisholm College team at Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2012 telling the stories of agriculture to visitors to the Food Farm 

McLeod’s Daughters, trips to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, High School Agriculture classrooms and  programs and a weeklong country exchange is all it took to give this girl passion for the country. Growing up in Western Sydney was a challenge as I felt more at home covered in mud, surrounded by animals, and watching the sunset over the endless dusty plains; this was the life I dreamed of.

After high school, I wasn’t keen on university, instead, I aimed to go to Ag College, but I had to take a working gap year to afford it, so I did a business traineeship in Parramatta. I knew this skill set would be invaluable in any profession. In 2016, my dream came true, I went to Tocal Agricultural College, located in the Hunter. My two years at the College were life-changing. The extraordinary experience further rooted my passion for agriculture and enabled me to thrive mentally and academically. I got to experience working in sheep, cattle, horse, poultry, cropping, and dairying, as well as learning all the essential tools to the trade.

Giving shearing a go at Tocal

This incredible experience nurtured my self-confidence, and as a result, I achieved the rare accolade of ‘Double Dux’ in the College’s two Ag courses. This paved the foundation for future university studies, but with so many options in Ag to study, I couldn’t choose. So, I spent the following three years working in the agribusiness industry, catering for a range of agribusiness services all over NSW.

This experience connected me to a vast network of industry experts. It provided me with the scope of how things work, and how things are alarmingly not working. It moved a part of me, and I felt my true calling. At Tocal, I was passionate in all agricultural areas, but it wasn’t until my experience in the agribusiness world I realised the need for industry environmental revolution.


There is a significant lack of environmental knowledge and respect. It was common to see reliance on outdated practices, chemical abuse, and exploitation of natural resources. I knew I had to learn more, to broaden my perspective, and jump in to be part of the solution. So, in 2021 I started a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management at the University of Newcastle.

In the Earth Science lab analysing the geological processes

On my first day I felt the instant disconnect when I told people I have an Ag background, I received a lot of questionable looks which emphasised the significant misconceptions people have about agriculture. The environmental world is in turmoil with global issues of climate change, global warming, ocean acidification, food and resource insecurity, habitat destruction, and contamination. These issues threaten all our livelihoods and existence; and this make creating a future we all want to be part of a shared responsibility.  Agriculture is a key industry in combating and controlling these issues with opportunities in technological innovation, sustainable and regenerative practices, environment restoration, carbon capture, rehabilitation integration. The opportunities for agriculture to be part of the solution are endless. To foster these technologies and solutions it is vital to strengthen the connection and relationship between agriculture and science. Having this strong relationship between the two enhances the resilience and vitality of our communities and gives us the invaluable tools to overcome these challenges together. I plan to bridge the gap and promote sustainable agriculture by facilitating awareness, training, and working with practical solutions.

Conversation with a local farmer about invasive weeds and control


 I have felt my calling, we hold our future in our hands, and I am ready to grab it by the horns and steer us into a better world for all.



Danielle was part of the Caroline Chisholm College team that won The Archibull Prize in 2011 with the extraordinary Moobix –

Caroline Chisholm College – The Red Meat industry

Caroline Chisholm College

“Moobix Cube” was designed and created by five different classes (around 100 students) from Caroline Chisholm College. Using the easily recognisable form of a “rubik’s cube” as the base, they create an effective way to showcase the many differing facets of the red meat industry. Whilst a traditional rubik’s cube rotates, this one is composed of a series of smaller cubes on either side of the main cube, which can be pulled out, turned around to a new side and then slotted back into position. Once all of the smaller cubes have been turned around to a new side and replaced, a new picture is then formed.

A total of eleven components of the beef industry as well as “how we can feed Sydney for a day” are represented on this interactive cube. Each section of the cube tells a different side of the beef and food story – from the genetics and selective breeding of cattle and sheep, to byproducts including their medical uses, to the environment (touching on both water security and ideal conditions), to facts and figures, as well as the differing personal experiences that the school has had with the red meat. All combined onto the one cow.



Meet Lachlan White who came in the back to door to a career in agriculture

It gives up great pleasure to introduce you to our first Hunter Local Land Services Scholarship winner Lachlan White. We invited Lachlan to share his story with our readers


When being asked to describe my journey, I was excited as it provides an opportunity to prove that to be a farmer you don’t have to be born into it. Growing up in town with a Mum as a primary school teacher and Dad as an Electrician, I never thought I would become a farmer. As I went through my schooling, a passion grew within me as I was mesmerized by the science behind growing food and fibres by managing plant and animal systems.

I jumped at any opportunity to learn practical skills on farm during my schooling by undertaking work experience on as many farms as possible. I spent my holidays on beef, cotton, sheep and dairy farms trying to find my true passion within the industry.

When I finished school, I had a gap year. I worked full time on a beef breeding farm which ignited a true passion for cattle husbandry and pasture production.

After my Gap year I left to go and study a science and agriculture degree at The University of Sydney. The sudden onslaught of COVID provided me an opportunity to go back to working on farms whilst still studying. This opportunity saw a sudden change from beef farming into Dairy farming, milking 680 cows twice a day whilst studying in between milkings.

I have now taken the next step in my career, I have ventured into managing a beef property. I am grateful for the diversity within different farming industries but have also learnt many transferable skills along the way which has helped me out immensely.

As I reflect on the opportunities I have been provided, one thing that really stands out for me is the willingness for all the farmers whom I have learnt from to pass on their knowledge.


I am sharing my story to show farming is a career that welcomes people from all walks of life, not just kids whose parents were farmers.

And Lachlan has already shown us how committed he is in this recent workshop with Cynthia Mahoney


#CareerswithPurpose #YouthinAg #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2022


Headline Act

Young Farming Champions is a group of dedicated young professionals in Australian agriculture who  advocate strongly for their industry and inspire and encourage others to follow in their career footsteps.

Exemplifying this ethos is Chloe Dutschke, a driven wool champion, who has now found her career moving in a different direction.

“I have started a new role with National Farmers Federation as the Training and Career Development Officer for the Government funded program AgCAREERSTART, a gap year program developed for young people to kick start their career in farming. I now work remotely from home and in an area where my passion lies, helping young people develop their career in agriculture.”

Congratulations Chloe and we look forward to following your journey.

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In the Field

In the Field means watermelon season in northern Australia and Olivia Borden is in the thick of it in the Northern Territory. “Growing up, eating watermelon was my family’s summer treat; juice running down cheeks, huge smiles; we would run around the sprinklers on the lawn and be in childhood heaven. However, I never gave a thought to how melons were grown and if you had of told me I would become a watermelon agronomist I wouldn’t have believed you for a moment.”

“Growing watermelons is truly an art form; one I am far from mastering, but it has me hooked. Our warm days and cool nights make the melons shrink and swell, which can cause cracks. Too much water and you have a slushy. Too little water and you have a poor vine that can’t carry the nutrients. Too much nitrogen and the vine will spit off its fruit. Not enough potassium and you have a tasteless melon. To understand the plant’s nutritional requirements requires us to be on our toes. I have worked with melons for two years and still learn more every day.”

From watermelons to wine grapes and Emily May has been part of the harvest of Vintage 2022 in the Riverina.

“After a tough season thanks to the wetter than usual weather conditions, wine-grape growers across the district have commenced their harvest. I took this photo while standing on top of one of my client’s grape harvesters while they were picking some Semillon. With that the end of my first ever season working in the viticulture industry is coming to its end.”

You may think grain growers in eastern Australia were relaxing after the rain-induced late harvest but that is not the case as they now prepare to sow again in mid-late Autumn. Marlee Langfield is one of these grain growers.

“We have been carrying out controlled burns across our wheat stubble paddocks as a method of clearing the paddock so we can assess the 789,528 bog holes that scatter the landscape from the exceptionally wet harvest. These bog holes need to be repaired and smoothed out ahead of sowing (April/May) so that machinery can pass over the landscape safety with no surprises!”

Good luck Marlee.

Another industry ramping up during Autumn is the banana prawn season and Bryan Van Wyk has been busy overseeing a major refit of prawn trawlers with Austral Fisheries. Works include standard maintenance of engines, refrigeration systems, pumps and processing gear but also includes things like blasting/painting, out of water vessel surveys, fishing technology upgrades, refrigeration upgrades and traceability technology installations.

“As an operations manager, I have the unique privilege to be able to oversee most of these works. No day is the same and the opportunities for learnings are endless. My main background is marine science, and not many in my field get such high levels of exposure to these aspects of the fishing industry, so for that I am grateful.”

The season start date is set for April 1st and a large portion of domestically consumed prawns will be caught throughout northern Australia over the next two months.


Out of the Field

When not filling in bog holes Marlee is busy Out of the Field, sharing her leadership experiences with participants of the GrainGrowers, Grains Social Leadership program, of which she was a Round 3 participant.

“At the beginning of March, I spoke with Round 5 participants, sharing my past experiences and my journey since graduating from the program, which made for great peer to peer learning. It’s awesome to see this program continue to grow from strength to strength and see grain growers who are so passionate about the industry flex their leadership muscles.”

Also going from strength to strength is Danila Marini. Read their CSIRO blog to learn how pink hair, rollar-skating and a love of sheep combine to produce an exciting research career and see how Danila has thrived, despite challenges along the way.

As a district veterinarian for Riverina Local Land Services Dione Howard takes a keen interest in all things Archibull and Kreative Koalas, so she was thrilled to hear Barellan Central School spruiking their Koala Kenny on ABC radio recently.

“Barellan is sponsored by Riverina Local Land Services and they have set Kenny up in a shack in front of the school to share school-grown fruit and vegetables with the local community.”

What a wonderful example of our in-school programs working to change their world on a local level.

Dione has also been busy spruiking YFC and A4A.

“On 1st March I spoke on behalf at the Murrumbidgee Landcare event Catchment Keepers, at Big Springs (near Wagga). I met women living and working in the region with a passion for community and caring for the land. I spoke about my experiences as a Young Farming Champion, A4A’s school programs and my life as a LLS District Vet.”

Congratulations to Shannon Chatfield who has been accepted as a mentee into the 6-month Drought Resilience Leaders Mentoring Program run by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

“I had my first group session last week and we had a wonderful session with Warren Davies ‘the unbreakable farmer’ where he shared his story and some tools and strategies that helped him to overcome his mental health challenges. I have been asked to identify some of my goals, what I would like to focus on in these sessions, the areas in which I would like to develop and the potential obstacles I could encounter in taking steps towards these goals.”


Prime Cuts

A couple more congratulations to two YFC reaching learning milestones:

Congratulations to Francesca Earp who graduated from a Masters of Global Development at James Cook University on 15th of March.

“I started the Masters in response to the effects of COVID and having to return from the field early. I have loved the course and am very excited to celebrate my graduation.”

Congratulations also to Sam Wan who was admitted to the Australian Institute of Company Directors in November last year, after being selected for the course under the WoolProducers Australia Raising the Baa program.

“The course involved virtual classrooms every Friday for five weeks, a final assessment (I have been too long away from formal study!) and a nerve-racking wait for results.”

YFC Meg Rice is sending a shoutout to fellow YFC  Lucy Collingridge and Jessica Fearnley as they head to the Sydney Royal East Show as part of the RAS Rural Achiever Program! The RAS Rural Achiever program celebrates young people in rural communities who are doing outstanding things, much like the Young Farming Champion program.

From behind the scenes magic of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, to the lifelong friends and mentoring connections, the RAS Rural Achiever program really is the gift that keeps giving!

All the best Lucy and Jess – I know you’ll have the most fabulous time!

Pictured with Meg Rice is fellow 2018 RAS Rural Achievers, Hanna Darmody, Tim Green and YFC Erika

Lifetime Highlights

YFC and PhD Candidate Veronika Vicic has won the 2022 Tom Harvey Award. The award comprises a cash prize of $2,000, and was presented at the annual Commonwealth Day Luncheon held today at Parliament House, Sydney

The award is named after the late inaugural Chairman of the Australia Youth Trust and recognises the outstanding contribution of a young Australian citizen between the age of 15 and 30 years.

#careerswithpurpose #creatingabetterworldtogether #YoungFarmingChampions