“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart its right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it.” Alison Mirams
This is one of the favourite quotes of Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong who has spent decades championing young people and watching as they shine and make a difference to the world around them. This belief was mirrored recently at the 2022 NSW Sustainability Awards (also known as the Banksia Awards), announced in October, where both Young Farming Champions and students from our school programs were celebrated. Take a look at some of the winners:
Minister’s Young Climate Champion: Winner – Kreative Koalas participant St Brigid’s Primary School; finalist – Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize participant Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education.
NSW Communications for Impact Award: Finalist – Action4Agriculture/Kreative Koalas
NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award: Joint Winners – Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert.
What a night! Read more about Lynne’s thoughts on the awards and young people as changemakers here.
The NSW Sustainability Awards prove our YFC and our school programs have impact and 2023 will bring more opportunities to fly the agricultural flag with the launch of two new programs: Action4Youth and Young Environmental Champions. Both programs will allow YFC to engage the next generation in agricultural conversations and agricultural career pathways. Stay tuned!
In the Field
From paddocks (and oceans) in Australia and across the world, to wool-selling centres and city-based jobs providing help for the hungry, our Young Farming Champions prove there is plethora of career opportunities beyond (and behind) the farm gate.
One YFC making the most of his agricultural pathway is Sam O’Rafferty who works with Summit Ag in southern NSW, where rain and flooding have impacted the production area and planting season for cotton. Despite the challenges Sam reports that cotton seedlings are established and the crop is powering along. Thanks for the update, Sam.
Francesca Earp’s agricultural field is in Laos, where she recently returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. “I was in Laos for three weeks meeting with organisations working on female empowerment, and planning fieldwork for next year’s PhD data collection. I also attended the wedding of one of my colleagues Bouakeo and his wife Koung.”
Providing food is not just a land-based activity as Bryan Van Wyk, our fishing YFC and operations manager for Austral Fisheries, reports from northern waters:
“We have just finished our 2022 tiger prawn season in the Northern Prawn Fishery. 52 vessels fished waters west of Darwin (NT) through to Weipa (QLD) for the past three months catching a variety of different prawn species. At the top of the list sits tiger prawns which are one of the largest and most sought after wild caught prawns in the world. It has not been an easy year for fishers. We have faced many challenges in tough economic climates, which you can listen more about here in an interview with the ABC (6 mins in).”
As part of her successful career as a wool broker Samantha Wan attended AWI’s Wool Broker Forum held in Sydney recently.
“It was highly informative with insightful guest speakers covering global business intelligence, consumer research, education and more, and also an excellent opportunity to network with others in the same area of the supply chain and have open dialogue on current issues.”
A shout-out to George Lehmann from AWI who has been supporting Sam and other Wool YFC by providing access to a range of guest speakers including Bridget Peachey (sheep health and welfare), Miles Barritt (traceability), Mark Scott (Woolmark certification) and Geoff Linden (genetics and animal welfare.) AWI also runs a wool podcast called The Yarn, which recently featured YFC Katherine Bain. Listen here.
Congratulations to Tayla Field who has started a new job with Foodbank Australia as a national program manager for agriculture.
“Foodbank is a non-for-profit business that sources a range of products including food and non-food items such as personal hygiene products for charities. In my new role I will be looking after the agricultural programs that source fresh food at Foodbank including working with growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The role will cover fresh products including meat, dairy, eggs and fresh produce, while also touching on logistics/transport and packaging. I am looking forward to building on my current skills and developing a new network within a range of agricultural industries.”
Out of the Field
Congratulations are in order for Katherine Bain who has channelled her love of sheep and agricultural shows to be named the runner-up in the Victorian Rural Ambassador Awards. As part of the competition Katherine spent three days at the Royal Melbourne Show in September where she not only participated in competition interviews, but gained behind-the-scenes insights into how a royal show is orchestrated. Highlights included the commentator’s box (“very impressive”), presenting ribbons to the finest Burmese Mountain Dogs (“a new but very enjoyable experience”), the show’s ‘Big Brother’ room (“where they keep an eye on everything!”) and participating in the Young Farmer Challenge. Well done, Katherine. I think you have inspired us all to have a shot at the Rural Ambassador Awards!
Staying with shows and Lucy Collingridge was recognised for her commitment to the agricultural show movement when she was awarded life membership of the Cootamundra Show Society at their 2022 Show. Lucy began her agricultural journey on a farm in Condobolin, however it was the Cootamundra Show that expanded her love and education about all things ag; from running the ute competition before she could legally drive herself, to competing in the junior judging events to now overseeing the fleece junior judging Group 9 final, and managing the website and social media for the show society from nine hours away. Lucy has been hands on wherever the Cootamundra Show Society has needed her for many years.
Lucy is pictured with her Mum, Sharon, and the Cootamundra Show President Geoff Larsen.
How can we re-imagine solutions to food security, and support SDG 2: Zero Hunger? This was the question Dylan Male took to high school students across Australia and Indonesia as a guest speaker at Asialink’s ‘Asia Education Foundation’ in early November.
“Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges shared by our global community. Climate change, an increasing population, increasing farm input costs, land degradation, biodiversity loss and conflict are just some of the key colliding challenges adding pressure to our food systems. Positively, agricultural scientists are working with farmers around the world to optimise food production and support a world of #ZeroHunger,” Dylan says. “It was great to be a part of a program that is supporting young people to develop their own solutions and action orientated ideas, which will help contribute towards a world of Zero Hunger into the future.”
Congratulations to Anika Molesworth, who not only was joint winner of the NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award, but has been named as Australian Geographic’s Conservationist of the Year.
Want to hear Anika talk about electric cars in the Outback? Check out this Central Station podcast.
Jess Fearnley had a lovely surprise during her holidays. Her partner Christopher Pattison proposed to her on the shores of Lake Macquarie and she said yes! Congratulations Jess; we wish you both a lifetime of happiness.
#creatingabetterworldtogether #YouthVoices #YoungFarmingChampions #Action4Agriculture