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.
Action4Agriculture’s primary school program Kreative Koalas allows us to connect with a diverse and inspirational range of environmental ambassadors, a perfect example of this is Wingecarribee Shire Council’s coordinator of Sustainability Services, Cecilia Kemp. Cecilia works with our Kreative Koala schools in the NSW Southern Highlands and is producing a suite of programs to showcase sustainability to both students and their communities.
Cecilia’s story begins in Sweden with chapters in Switzerland, Scotland and England before her eventual move to Australia in 2003, and it was the early days that influenced her to strive for a sustainable world.
“Swedish culture is strongly aligned with the natural environment and it is deeply ingrained in us and our folklore. It was normal for us to spend time out in nature but one of the things that really triggered my interest was a German teacher at my international school in Switzerland. While teaching us the German language she would always use quotes and texts from environmental sources. Her daughter worked for Greenpeace and, as an early teen, I thought that was the kind of job for me.
“I’ve always been fascinated by injustice and I think a lot of what I do is deeply rooted in that. I was the annoying kid who spoke up when she saw something wrong and said ‘we shouldn’t be doing that’ and it’s evolved into an adult passion where I like to bring issues to the public attention – things we can do better.”
With a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Engineering Studies (focussed on power generation and climate change) from the University of Sydney, Cecilia’s career has seen her champion sustainability with everyone from Clean Up Australia, to state government and local councils. In 2019 she took on her current role with Wingecarribee Shire Council.
One of her initial tasks was to overhaul the annual School’s Environment Day, which at the time “involved 600 students and was bigger than Ben Hur.” Cecilia reimagined the day as one of immersive activities and adventure learning for a smaller number of students to be held in the bush at Camp Wombaroo. The first School’s Environment Day in the new format will be run in May catering for 200 students, with the second to be held later in the year allowing 200 more local students to participate.
Another initiative under Cecilia’s direction is Sustainable Us, designed as a community engagement project to address impact on the environment and actions that can be taken to mitigate climate change.
The project includes a series of 12 videos and will feature Hilltop Public School, who broke new ground in 2021 by using Kreative Koalas as a catalyst to report on education for sustainability.
Hilltop is a tiny community but every community in the world will be affected by climate change and these kids had already produced a video to highlight it in the context of their own space, and they’re sharing these stories with their parents and grandparents and community members. What they are doing is fantastic and we will feature them in the Sustainable Us episode about community to illustrate how we can come together and make a big difference,” Cecilia says.
Watch the first video in the Sustainable US series here
Alongside the School’s Environment Day and Sustainable Us, Southern Highland’s schools, including Kreative Koalas participant Robertson Public School, benefit in other ways from Cecilia’s proactive approach.
“We send newsletters to all the schools in the Shire at the start of every term, flagging the resources that we have available to help teach a sustainable lifestyle. We offer workshops, and presentations on the local water cycle and the local impacts of climate change, run recycled art competitions and we were the first regional council to offer the Solar My School program to schools.”
“There is no silver bullet to address our environmental impact but its important people know that switching off the lights when you leave a room is just as powerful as buying a Tesla. Nobody should feel excluded based on their financial or physical ability. It’s just a case of being a bit more resourceful with what we have.”
When it comes to being resourceful Cecilia and her team are well ahead of the curve, and the benefits to our Kreative Koalas schools will be endless. We look forward to continuing and building this association for years to come and congratulate Wingecarribee Shire Council on its initiatives that educate and inspire us all to lead a better life for our planet.
The SDG are a suite of 17 actionable targets described by the United Nations as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Kreative Koalas provides the opportunity for students to be part of a team that takes a deep dive into ideas and solutions and empowers them to act as future decision makers for the planet.
Using art to stimulate design, creativity, teamwork and project development the program gifts each school with a life-sized fibreglass koala on which to express their sustainability theme. The students are connected with a diverse range of local sustainability experts from Indigenous elders to government agencies and together create a community action project.
In 2020 St Brigid’s Primary School at Raymond Terrace participated in Kreative Koalas by looking at SDG 15: Life on Land. Students researched 12 endangered species and voted the Hunter River Turtle as their focus, enlisting the help of Hunter Local Land Services. Also touching on SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 13 (Climate action) the students planted a vegetable garden and used the produce to create, and then sell, meals in the school canteen. In doing so they raised $300, which they donated to the Australian Reptile Park to assist with the construction of new facilities for the Hunter River Turtle.
“One of the legacies of Kreative Koalas has been we now celebrate World Turtle Day each year and continue to raise money,” St Brigid’s teacher Kristen Jones says. “In 2021 we again donated to the Australian Reptile Park and in 2022 we are hoping to support charity Sea Shelter in their work with sea turtles. Another legacy has been the implementation of a new bin system at the school for waste reduction and participation in the REDcyle program.”
St Brigid’s will be a part of Kreative Koalas again in 2022 and Kristen has learnt to let the students lead the learning.
“Our kids are already passionate about sustainability and the environment and they will run the project,” she says. “When we started Kreative Koalas in 2020 I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do but when I actually listened to the kids I realised they already had a very clear idea of what would work and what they wanted.”
Watch the St Brigid’s students share their 2020 journey here
Kreative Koalas becomes beloved by teachers as well as students. Kitchen Garden teacher Cassandra Lindsay has delivered Kreative Koalas in two previous schools and is looking forward to delivering the program in a new format at Penrith Public School.
Students at Penrith Public School have set up a Kreative Koalas corner in their classroom
“Whilst I have identified goals and ideas that are important to me I know real success comes from giving the students ownership of the project. We will be inviting the students to be the driving force and decide our direction,” Cass says.
“The principal of Penrith Public School is highly supportive of the Kitchen Garden program and environmental awareness programs and in Term 2 and Term 3 of 2022 Kreative Koalas has been allocated space in our school timetable to run in conjunction with the Kitchen Garden program. This means the students I’ve selected, based on their interests, will be able to withdraw from class and come into my classroom to work solely on Kreative Koalas. That shows how much support the school has for the project.”
“I’ve selected Year Four students because I want these students to have the opportunity to develop leadership skills to support other students as they go into Year 5 and 6. My experience participating in Kreative Koalas in the past is that it immerses students in learning that has genuine impact, builds their networks, and helps them develop new skills. By starting early, we can help develop them into capacity builders for other students, a very important skill as they transition into high school.
“I’m looking at long term engagement. I’ve got a mix of students in the group. Some of them are very artistic. Some are good at thinking outside the box. I look forward to finding out what they want to focus on.
“The Kreative Koalas model is designed to involve the whole school in the project with students as young as kindergarten learning about its purpose, which is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Action4Agriculture has been working with young people for almost 20 years with Kreative Koalas and its partner programs, The Archibull Prize and Young Farming Champions. Throughout this time director Lynne Strong and her team have listened to the environmental and social concerns of our next generation and built resources to support them.
“Kreative Koalas allows our young people to create and implement their own solutions relevant to their school and their communities. They learn how to design and deliver projects that have genuine impact in making the world a better place. We welcome to the 2022 Kreative Koalas program returning schools and teachers, new schools and a new cohort of students and look forward to watching their sustainability journeys,” Lynne says.
It was a big month for Young Farming Champions with the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April, highlighted by Dione Howard winning the 2022 National Rural Ambassador finals.
Dione Howard 2022 National Rural Ambassador with Karl Milde the 2021 National Rural Ambassador
Listen to Dione share her story on Humans of Agriculture here
Winning the NSW title in 2021 was a long-held dream for Dione and her success inspired YFC Jessica Fearnley and Lucy Collingridge to put up their hands and be named as RAS Rural Achievers this year. We are thrilled to announce that Jess was the winner.
YFC alumni Lucy Collingridge had a very exciting April she segued from her RAS Rural Achiever experience to the podium at the Department of Regional NSW 2022 Awards where she was runner up in the Jennifer Bates Memorial Award, which recognises the contributions made by young women (<35yo) in the department, not only towards their work but towards our industries and rural communities in NSW. Well done Lucy
“I’m lucky to work with the best team doing some pretty cool things for our ag industry and native wildlife. I’m also lucky to have worked with some awesome people along the way who I am grateful to now call friends.”
YFC Dione Howard, Lucy Collingridge and Jess Fearnley with Hon Dugald Saunders MP
Not to be left out of the action, Samantha Wan was recognised by her peers, the Youth Group of RAS, for her dedication and support of the wool industry.
“The RAS Youth Group launched the RAS Youth Medal to recognise young people under 35yrs for their contribution to the RAS of NSW, a section of the Sydney Royal Easter Show or industry. Nominations were received from each committee of the RAS and the RAS Youth Group determined each nominee’s suitability. “
Accolades such as these on the national stage highlight the success of our Young Farming Champions program.
“There’s no doubt that YFC training has been pivotal to my success, from being equipped to answer tough questions, to holding my own in front of the camera. It’s also given me the confidence to know where I am on my leadership journey to apply for awards such as this,” Dione says.
Congratulations to all YFC for your participation, wins, promotion of our team and for being genuine and passionate advocates for Australian agriculture.
Read Dione and Jess’ plans for their award year journey here
Congratulations also to our 2022 YFC Leadership Team committee members appointed at recent AGM: Francesca Earp takes on the role of convenor and is joined by Jessica Fearnley, Chloe Dutschke, Emily May, Katherine Bain and Dione Howard. A huge thank you to Jo Newton and Lynne Strong for their work on the executive on 2021 and to outgoing YFC Marlee Langfield, Meg Rice, Calum Watt, Tayla Field and Samantha Wan.
We welcome to the YFC team a new cohort who will participate in Cultivate this year. Hunter Local Land Services scholarship winners are Lachlan White and Danielle Fordham who both come from non-farming backgrounds (and you know how excited we get when we get “townies” joining the team – we love “townies”). Florance McGufficke is the AWI scholarship winner.
Of course our team is backed by some of the best minds in the business. Our Kreative Koalas and Archibull Prize art judge Wendy Taylor and Craig Taylor designed the entire District Exhibit display at the 200th Sydney Royal Easter Show and gave Princess Anne a guided tour. Don’t we work with amazing people?
Craig and Wendy even got a gig on the Royal Family Instagram page
Wendy and Craig weren’t the only ones who met Princess Anne
YFC Leadership Team member and the 2022 National Rural Ambassador Dione Howard was one of 8 people who dined with Princess Anne on Saturday 9th April and our YFC Rural Achievers Jess Fearnley and Lucy Collingridge also met the Princess
And wrapping up the team work for April was Lynne Strong who shared the Action4Agriculture programs with the Ducks on the Pond podcast. Have a listen here.
In the Field
The congratulations continued in the field with Connie Mort who has been recognised be her employer with a place in the Global Sales Champion Network.
“This a new initiative by Corteva Agriscience to recognise the top team members across the company who strive to put customers first and grow their success. I was awarded a place in the 2022 Class, which will allow me to work with more than 20 other Corteva team members from all over the world and share our experiences and learn from one another about how to best deliver for growers.”
Chloe Dutschke is thriving in her new job as a training and new career officer with National Farmers Federation and attended the NFF “Sustaining the Nation” conference on April 5 and 6.
“The conference was well attended and covered a huge array of topics including, climate change, carbon farming, community growth and workforce shortages and had a varied line up of speakers including both the Hon Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and Shadow Minister Hon Julie Collins. I had some wonderful conversations with attendees about the incredible Ag gap year program AgCAREERSTART I represent and it was also great to catch-up with some YFC and previous workshop speakers such as Sally Murfet. Most of all it was such a buzz to be at a conference again and feel the power of face to face connection and future learning.”
Chloe and AgCAREERSTART team at the National Farmers Federation Conference ( in the centre of the pix is team leader Kayla Evans )
Jessica Fearnley, a development officer with NSW DPI in Bathurst has gone nuts (and not just with her Rural Achiever win).
“We are currently finishing off a five year hazelnut project and we are in the middle of harvest. As hazelnuts are not mechanically harvested we needed to get down on our hands and knees and sweep up the nuts!” Getting dirty all in the name of science, Jess.
Hazelnuts are an emerging industry in Australia
How is this for an office? Dylan Male sends us this image of working on his PhD in inner-city Melbourne.
“I wanted to include this picture in the Muster to highlight to readers that a career in agriculture doesn’t always involve being on the farm. With over 80 % of today’s jobs in the agriculture being beyond the farm gate, I think it’s as important as ever to bring awareness to this. You can be fully involved in agriculture, and yet be living and working in an urban environment. Key message: Young people from urban environments should never think that they are not ‘farmy enough’ to get involved in agriculture!”
Dylan also got to up his Young Farming Champions journey with the board of his scholarship provider Riverina Local Land Services
Wondering where your career in agriculture can take you? Geoff Birchnell, one of earliest Young Farming Champions has popped up on The Financial Bloke podcast recently. A Tamworth boy, Geoff started his career in agribusiness as a chartered accountant before transitioning to full-time farmer, co-founding 3R Livestock in 2018. Check out the 3R website to learn more about this agricultural entrepreneur.
Young Farming Champion Bryan Van Wyk day job certainly opens our eyes to the world of wild catching fishing.
Bryan recently shared his prawn spotting experience on LinkedIn
” I’ve done some pretty epic things in my career my career so far but my first go at prawn spotting has been one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. There have been many respected spotters before me and there are also some experienced legends still flying. Having the opportunity to join this unique class of fishers has been a privilege.
During the start of the fishing season, banana prawns aggregate in schools that can vary between 1 to 100+ tonnes in mass. These dense schools stir up muddy sediment on the sea floor creating “mud boils” that can be seen anywhere from vessels, planes and even satellites. Scientists aren’t 100% sure why this rare prawn phenomenon occurs but it’s believed to be for a combination of spawning, feeding and predator avoidance behaviour.
It’s not always as simple as finding mud and it’s an art that can take years to perfect. I’ve already learnt a lot from the pros. Factors used to distinguish which mud boils are worth fishing include shape, colour, density, head and tail characteristics and also tides/winds. There are at times 100’s of mud patches out there that are created by certain types of fish, hard bottom, tides and fishing vessels. Finding the prawns in all this can be challenging!
With 7 planes flying around at different altitudes and 52 prawn trawlers all competing for the same resource, you can’t help but feel the pressure up there. When you can’t find anything, or worse, make the wrong call, the feeling of non-performance is sobering. I can say though, that when you get it right and you get confirmation on the radio that the boil you just guided a boat to is loaded with pure prawn, then it is one of the best feelings in the world. Nothing but adrenaline, excitement, satisfaction and high 5’s with the pilot.”
Out of the Field
Coinciding with her National Rural Ambassador win Dione Howard has appeared on the popular Humans of Agriculture podcast, talking about, among other things, the joy and benefits of working with young people in The Archibull Prize.
One of our newest YFC, Danielle Fordham, has hit the ground running and is already sharing her “Out of the Field” experiences with us:
“On 31st March I got the opportunity to celebrate and support Tocal Agricultural College student, Kaitlyn Simpson, as she received the Women’s Network Hunter NSW 2021 Breaking Barriers scholarship award. The Breaking the Barriers Scholarship supports women in male-dominated fields, such as agriculture. Because of programs and opportunities like this, there is a growing demographic shift where women in non-traditional trades are being recognised and encouraged. Notably, as a result, there are a growing number of female students at Tocal and currently, female enrolments outnumber males by 70 percent in Tocal’s full-time ag courses. This is an amazing achievement for Katie and I cannot wait to see what other barriers she overcomes during her career.
“The night was also a great opportunity for me to reconnect with the Women’s Network Hunter and fill them in on my journey and recent achievement of becoming a Young Farming Champion since receiving their scholarship in 2017. It was deeply heart-warming to tell them what their scholarship has enabled me to do and the barriers I’m taking on now.” Thanks for sharing Danielle.
Danielle was also busy promoting Tocal College at their recent Field Day
Teasing us this month are Samantha Wan and Katherine Bain who provide this photo below with a cryptic message from Sam: “”Behind the scene shots, Sunday 27th March at Katherine’s property – St Enochs (Stockyard Hill, Victoria) for a photoshoot for a Winter edition publication. Stay tuned!” Now you’ve got us all curious girls – can’t wait to learn more!
“The Australian Association of Animal Sciences (AAAS) plays an important role in fostering collaborations across institutions and disciplines and in nurturing the next generation of animal scientists and I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the AAAS Victoria & Tasmania Branch. I look forward to working with this branch and wider AAAS members over the next 12 months.”
For the past 65 years AAAS, and its predecessor the Australian Society of Animal Production (ASAP) has brought together animal scientists, consultants, extension specialists, producers and students to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, foster collaborative research and provide applied solutions for Australia’s animal based industries. AAAS based its activities around the core values of professional integrity, evidence based science, ethical sustainable animal enterprises and lifetime support. Congratulations Jo.
Partners in the Food Farm YFC Tim Eyes and Hannah Greenshields shared the stage at the recent National Farmers Federation conference with some luminaries in the world of food including Chef Matt Moran and NFF president Fiona Simson. Tim and Hannah are renowned experts in how to break down prejudices and
open minds to alternatives through values based conversations between people of diverse values and worldviews.
Tim described the opportunity as a farming journey highlight
“Meeting passionate, stereotype-busting leaders and innovators can spark enthusiasm and defeat pessimism. Its is so important to communicate using voices who are real and trusted by the audience. People want to hear the unfiltered, passionate voices of real people.”
Mega thx to Stacey Davidson at NFF for these wonderful pix
Sometimes our greatest lifetime highlights are the little moments. Or as Jon Kabat-Zinn says: “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Thanks to Marlee Langfield for reminding us of this with her beautiful sunset shot. “Just a moment in time I captured one March afternoon but possibly the most romantic sunset you will ever see. You can see the change of seasons in this photo as the days start to cool down and we welcome autumn with burnt paddocks and shorter days.”
Today we celebrate OzHarvest FEAST reaching 500 primary schools across Australia and influencing inspiring nearly 35,000 future change-makers to waste less and care for our planet.
Celebrating strategic partnerships that:
encourage all Australians to value food, and the people and the places that provide it, and
take climate action by not wasting this most basic of human needs.
Action4Agriculture has a long-standing partnership with OzHarvest who deliver the successful FEAST program into primary schools alongside our Kreative Koalas. FEAST (Food Education and Sustainability Training) is a Year 5 and 6 curriculum-aligned education program, encouraging kids to eat healthy, waste less and become change-makers in their local community.
“Action4Agriculture recognises there are organisations doing great things in the food and nutrition space and through our collaboration we can help each other multiply our impact. We appreciate our key partnership with OzHarvest and congratulate them on reaching 500 schools with FEAST,” Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong says.
The benefits of this successful collaboration are also recognised by Madison Lucas, OzHarvest FEAST National Program Manager.
“OzHarvest’s FEAST Education program values its partnership with Action4Agriculture, as they both share a common vision to bring food and environmental education into schools by providing ongoing support for teachers and delivering on a number of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It’s great to see like-minded programs like FEAST and Kreative Koalas come together to inspire children to value food and care for our planet. Both programs understand the importance of encouraging community engagement and provide opportunities for our students to have a voice and take action to prevent food waste,” she says.
The partnership between FEAST and Kreative Koalas is exemplified by St Brigid’s Public School at Raymond Terrace who combined the programs to protect the threatened Hunter River Turtle in 2020.
As part of Kreative Koalas the students at St Brigid’s chose to focus their attention on threatened species, selecting the Hunter River Turtle as their school mascot. By participating in FEAST they planted a vegetable garden and used the cooking kit provided by OzHarvest to hold three cooking days utilising their home-grown produce. Items made were sold at the school canteen.
“All funds raised were dedicated to the Hunter River Turtle and we are thrilled to say we have made a $300 donation to the Australian Reptile Park and the work it does to protect the species,” teacher Kristen Jones says.
Kristen and St Brigid’s students travelled to the Australian Reptile Park to make their donation in person to Tim Faulkner. They were given a tour of the new turtle facilities nearing completion, and looked at a successful clutch of Manning River turtles in anticipation of how the breeding program will work.
“Tim tells us our $300 will go directly to the care and breeding program of the Hunter River Turtle. The whole Year 6 cohort is extremely proud of their achievements and our school has gone turtle mad,” Kristen says.
As Kreative Koalas rolls out for another year, Action4Agriculture welcomes the opportunity for our schools to once again partner with the OzHarvest FEAST program. Together we can promote the Sustainable Development Goals, inspire communities and create tomorrow’s change-makers today.
Congratulations to Dione Howard and Jessica Fearnley who have excelled in the Rural Ambassador competition at the recent Sydney Royal Easter Show. These two women exemplify all that we value and strive for in the Young Farming Champions program; they are passionate, articulate, collaborative advocates for agriculture and are showing how we can create a better world together.
Culminating in the national Rural Ambassador Award from Agricultural Shows Australia, the quest for the title begins with state nomination. In NSW the accolade is known as the
R.M. Williams RAS Rural Achiever Award; a “leadership program run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to recognise future young leaders (20-29 years of age) who are working hard to make a significant contribution to their community and to rural Australia.”
For Dione the Rural Achiever Awards was a long-held dream and in 2021 this dream was realised when she was announced as the state winner. Reality then exceeded her dreams when she was declared the 2022 National Rural Ambassador at this year’s Sydney Royal.
“Building a better world starts with backing yourself,” Dione, who had previously applied for the NSW Rural Ambassador Award, says. “In my role as National Rural Ambassador I hope to encourage people of all ages to step up and volunteer in their local community, for organisations they care about or to apply for that award they’ve been looking at (perhaps again if they’ve missed out in the past!).”
Dione also firmly believes being a Young Farming Champion was invaluable in the Rural Ambassador experience.
“There’s no doubt that YFC training has been pivotal to my success, from being equipped to answer tough questions, to holding my own in front of the camera. It’s also given me the confidence to know where I am on my leadership journey to apply for awards such as this.”
View highlights of Dione’s Rural Ambassador journey here
Following in Dione’s footsteps as they continue their own commitment to agriculture were YFC Jessica Fearnley and Lucy Collingridge who were both selected for the 2022 NSW Rural Achiever Award, with Jess being named the winner.
A highlight for Jess was the Rural Achiever debate –
“I enjoyed being able to think critically and create an argument and it also opened my eyes to other people’s ideas and opinions”
– and throughout the program she was commended on her presentation skills.
“YFC training has given me skills in presenting and taught me to be confident in my own messaging,” she says.
As with Dione, Jess will use the Rural Achiever to inspire others to create a better world.
“Being awarded Rural Achiever has now opened up a range of opportunities for me to network with people outside of my usual circle. Through this program I will go interstate and meet people from all over the country interested in agriculture. The knowledge I will learn from this I can then pass onto to other young people.”
The accolades for our YFC continued at the Sydney Royal Easter Show when Samantha Wan, pictured here with RAS Councilor Joe Byrnes and Jacob Heard, was recognised by her peers, the Youth Group of RAS, for her dedication and support of the wool industry. It was a surprise award for Sam who has been a committed contributor to YFC since she joined in 2017.
Creating a better world together comes when we can share our successes, celebrate our peers and not rest on laurels afforded by awards but consciously work towards using those awards in a meaningful and productive way.
Action4Agriculture (A4A) is pleased to announce a new scholarship that will identify and empower an emerging young leader in the agricultural industry with a passion for the Murray-Darling River system, by granting a scholarship to the prestigious Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program.
Young people aged between 18 and 30 with a strong connection to the Murray Darling River System, who are undertaking post graduate studies or working in an agriculture related field are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities. Graduates of the program join our Young Farming Champions alumni.
A4A program director Lynne Strong is excited about the scholarship.
“Australia is the hottest driest inhabited continent and water is a very precious resource we are all committed to using wisely,” she said. “The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. It covers one million square kilometres of south eastern Australia and produces $24 billion worth of food and fibre every year. Its rivers and lakes support 120 waterbird species, 60 native fish species, and 16 protected wetlands and it is home to more than 40 of Australia’s First Nations. It’s important that its story is shared with young Australians.”
The emerging young leader will learn the skills and develop the confidence to share their own personal story of the river and its connection to agriculture. Australian Young Farmer of the Year Emma Ayliffe is a graduate of the program and believes the new scholarship will provide a valuable link between agriculture and water.
“Water use is quite a complex beast and my experience has shown me the community genuinely wants to learn more about how farmers use water, especially irrigation water,” she said. “It’s important to have trusted voices who can engage with the community and share our story; young people , in particular, who can explain how the river system is important to them. This scholarship offers a unique opportunity to do that.”
Once the first year of the Cultivate program is complete participants will have the opportunity to hone their advocacy skills and share their connection with the Murray-Darling by engaging with primary and secondary students with A4A’s in-school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas. Graduates of the Cultivate program, like Emma, become Young Farming Champions (YFC).
“Every one of the YFC I have had the pleasure of working with has been so passionate about their industry and because they’re young people the students can really connect to them,” she said. “It is vital that our students learn about the importance of the Murray Darling Basin and how we can care this precious resource. There is no one better to share this message than a YFC with their passion, enthusiasm and on the ground knowledge.”
Young Farming Champions include among their ranks 2022 National Rural Ambassador Dione Howard and NSW Rural Achiever Jessica Fearnley.
The 2022 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program scholarship information brochure can be found here.