Our Young Farming Champions represent all manner of food and fibre industries and this week we are celebrating with Steph Tabone (horticulture) and Bryan Van Wyk (fishing). So, as you plan a prawn and vege stir-fry for dinner tonight, let’s go behind the scenes and look at two young people helping put the food on your plate.
We are proud to announce that Steph is our first Nuffield Scholar! Steph, who works as a researcher with Applied Horticulture Research, was announced as a 2024 Scholar at a gala dinner in Perth held in September.
2024 Nuffield Scholars with Steph Tabone 2nd from left in the front row
Former Nuffield Scholar and now CEO of Nuffield Australia Jodie Redcliffe says farmer-led research is a proven recipe for success.
“For more than 70 years Nuffield Scholars have travelled the world, bringing home the latest intelligence, farming practices and developments to share with their peers. Their scholarship is an investment in themselves and their capacity to lead their business, their community and their industry by widening their knowledge and networks.”
Supported by Hort Innovation under the Vegetable Research and Development Levy, Steph will investigate the use of legumes as an alternative nitrogen source for vegetable cropping systems. She will use the $35,000 Nuffield Bursary to visit the US, Denmark, India and Brazil to connect with researchers and leading growers in this field.
“Nitrogen fertilisers have a large greenhouse gas emissions footprint through the manufacturing process, transport and in-field use, highlighting the need for alternate nitrogen solutions. Legumes can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere through a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria, can improve soil health and offer other rotational benefits. The challenge is knowing when the nitrogen will be released into plant-available forms. I hope to explore the factors that drive nitrogen release from organic residues, and the practical strategies that growers can use to sync the release with the nitrogen needs of a succeeding vegetable crop,” Steph says.
Spreading love for food industries in a totally different way is Bryan Van Wyk, fleet operations manager at Austral Fisheries, who has been busy behind and in front of the video camera.
Brian lives (and thrives) in northern Queensland and uses filmmaking to tell his story.
“Understanding food origin and how food selection can play a big role in overall sustainability is an important yet complicated process for the average consumer to understand. Film making is an effective way of enabling community members to absorb, digest and understand relatively complex stories about seafood through visual and audible experiences,” he says.
Bryan recently shared his love of fishing and north Queensland with an entry in the Mission Beach Outdoor Food Festival, earning fifth place for his high-octane entry.
“Film making (for now) is simply just a hobby for me that, hopefully, inspires others to get out and enjoy life or tell their story.”
You can catch Bryan’s film here.
Bryan is currently busy keeping the Austal fleet moving with the tiger prawn season but he has also incorporated film-making into his work by compiling branded Instagram reels and collecting underwater footage of bycatch reduction devices for educational videos. Recently he found himself on the other side of the camera when he starred in an Austral promotion for Coles. See him talking about the banana prawn industry and Austral’s role as conservationists of the sea here.
Steph and Bryan are both shining examples of young people excelling in Australia’s food and fibre industries and we are proud to call them Young Farming Champions.