Young Farming Champions Muster July 2022

Headline Act

The Muster showcases the careers, advocacy and lifetime highlights of our Young Farming Champions and it is usually peppered with stories from our YFC alumni. However, in this Muster it is the newbies – those undertaking Cultivate and still learning the ropes – who shine; taking on leadership positions, talking to the next generation, excelling in their studies and revelling in their agricultural careers. Read on to see how Danielle, Lachlan, Florance and Sam are taking the lead to be confident and trusted change-makers – alongside their YFC alumni mentors and friends.


The Team

With The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas ramping up in schools across the country our YFC have been busy connecting with students. Lake Illawarra High School (The Archibull Prize) recently held an Urban2AG careers day and new YFC Danielle Fordham and Lachlan White shared their agricultural career journeys and joined students in a one-on-one ‘speed dating’ session to answer students’ in-depth questions.

Paddock Pen Pals has kicked off in primary schools participating in Kreative Koalas with Chatswood Primary School and Carlingford West Primary School leading the charge. Paddock Pen Pals gives students the opportunity to engage with YFC across a diverse range of agricultural industries including agronomy, sheep production and fisheries. Thanks to Emily May, Dione Howard, Katherine Bain, Sam Wan, Bryan Van Wyk, Lucy Collingridge, Dylan Male and YFC friend Kate McBride for stepping up to speak with our next generation.

In the Field

New YFC Sam O’Rafferty, who works with Emma Ayliffe at Summit Ag, is enjoying his agricultural career as an irrigation agronomist, helping growers produce crops such as cotton, corn, sunflowers, wheat and canola. Here is Sam in a cotton paddock that is ready to harvest, on a farm at Coleambally in Southern NSW.

Also enjoying his career is our fishing YFC Bryan Van Wyk, who is helping introduce new technology to the prawn industry. “One of the exciting projects we are working on is a new prawn processing invention which makes the most of limited available deck space on board fishing vessels. This never-seen-before multi-layered sorting belt and dip tank configuration will allow more prawns to be processed faster, improve product quality and reduce crew fatigue. It will also fit the longer dip requirements for odourless sulphite-free preservatives, which will improve working environments for crews at sea, remove sulphite allergens for consumers and open new overseas markets. Innovation is something I really enjoy. It’s all about finding better ways to do things and improving your industry and business for the future”

Bryan with chief draftsman Gavin Stone adding final touches to the new technology.

Meg Rice works as a senior policy officer at Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in the rural location of Goondiwindi (QLD) and appreciates how a career in agriculture can take her out of the city environ. “How lucky am I that this is the view from my office window”.

A crop of wheat emerging after recent rain in south western Queensland.

Danila Marini’s day job as a livestock researcher involves disseminating new research about her virtual fencing projects and this month she was happy to speak at her first face-to-face conference in two years at The Australian Association of Animal Sciences 34th biannual conference in Cairns.

“As part of the Animal Production Science Journals special issue for the conference I was invited to prepare a full paper on ‘Comparison of virtually fencing and electrically fencing sheep for pasture management’ as well as give a 10 minute oral presentation on the research at the conference itself. It’s always important to share your research at these types of events and it is a great way to make new connections. I had a great time and it’s always interesting to see the other research that is being undertaken in the agricultural industry.”

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Young Farming Champions Veronika Vicic, Danila Marini, Steph Fowler and Dione Howard all presented at the conference 


Out of the Field

The Australian Association of Animal Sciences conference also saw Dione Howard and Jo Newton band together with Lynne Strong, Larraine Larri and Nicole McDonald to prepare an abstract and presentation on how Action4Agriculture’s school-based programs are helping improve agriculture’s social license.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to present A4A’s research to the scientific community and take questions from a curious audience,” Dione says.

It has been a huge month for conferences and presentations with many YFC in action.

Dylan Male was invited by the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) to be a guest speaker at the ‘Global Goals: Environmental Sustainability Forum’, which was delivered online to primary schools across QLD.

“I spoke to students about the important role that farmers and agricultural scientists have in ensuring we live in a world of zero hunger and overcoming the challenges of climate change. I was able to share my experiences of working in PNG and Solomon Islands to demonstrate the importance of food security in our regional neighbourhood. What I liked most about this experience was seeing just how engaged the students were on these topics, and how willing they are to listen, learn and take action.”

Florance McGufficke attended the 2022 MerinoLink conference in Wagga Wagga.

“We had a range of speakers from industry body representatives, researchers, CEOs, young early- career starters and producers; all experts in their field, educating us about research projects, ewe reproduction, retail and the need for positive promotion of agriculture. There are a large number of passionate and enthusiastic people in agriculture and with the right people in the right places I believe great things will be achieved.”

Franny Earp is currently in the UK for a film summer school held by the UCL anthropology department but before she left she was as busy as ever.

Franny coordinated the Development Studies Association of Australia (DSAA) Conference and invited Dylan Male to participate. He did an excellent job sharing his stories about this PhD journey so far.

Dylan spoke on the topic ‘Survive and Thrive: Stories from Students’.

“During the discussion, we shared stories of our PhD experiences and tried to make light of the challenges we have faced by sharing a story of our ‘funny failures from the field’. This discussion made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my PhD journey, and I would like to thank and congratulate Fran for running such valuable session,” Dylan says.


Emma Ayliffe and Tim Eyes were panellists at a Grain Growers Innovation Generation event talking about farm ownership.

“It was a privilege to be asked to be part of this and my role was to share some alternative lights on how to be a farmer without owning dirt,” Emma says.

Listen to Tim talk about his experience on Generation Ag here

Lucy Collingridge attended the 2022 Robb College Agrimixer earlier this month.

“I spoke to the students about my roles as a Biosecurity Officer and Technical Officer Vertebrate Pests, and the career opportunities within our agricultural industries.”

Away from conference events our YFC spread the good agricultural word in other forums with Lucy catching up with Mate Helping Mate founder John Harper to discuss how she maintains her mental health and keeps an eye out for mates. Listen to the MHM podcast episode, titled ‘Pat a Dog Day’, here.

Sam Wan featured in Landline’s ‘Magic Merinos’ segment as part of the ABC’s 90th Birthday Celebrations ‘Things that Made Australia’.” Read more about Sam and wool here and see the Landline episode here.

Our YFC were also learning with Dione Howard and Katherine Bain attending the acclaimed AWI Breeding Leadership course in Clare, SA, with both ladies raving about the experience:

“I think most leadership courses can get lost in the aspirational ideas and you leave without gaining any real skills but over the week at Breeding Leadership we had lots of discussions around issues like farm succession, communication and governance that, for me, led to some great ideas to bring home to the farm. I left feeling excited for the future of wool both on and off farm,” Katherine says.

“A group of 19 young wool industry members came together to learn about ourselves and how we can best work within and build the farming businesses we’re involved in. The course was facilitated by Pinion Advisory and we were treated to talks and stud tours, from those out there in the industry with learnings and wisdom to share. The future of the industry is bright and I left feeling inspired for what’s to come,” Dione says.

And when not sharing their stories or learning new skills our YFC give back to communities who have supported them.

Lucy Collingridge and Jessica Fearnley continued their long-running commitment to agricultural shows and have been welcomed as the 2022 Rural Achiever representative and Group 11 Delegate, respectively, to the ASC of NSW Next Generation committee, the junior arm of AgShows NSW.

“This is an opportunity for us to give back to rural Australia and develop the future of agriculture. Agricultural shows are not only a great opportunity for our communities to come together but they also provide a platform for youth development through competitions such as Young Judges and Paraders, and they link key industry professionals with youth who want to jump in to our industry,” Lucy says.

James Cleaver 2019 NSW Rural Achiever, Dione Howard 2020 NSW Rural Achiever and 2022 National Ambassador, Minister Dugald Saunders (Agriculture/Western NSW), Lucy Collingridge 2022 NSW Rural Achiever finalist and Jessica Fearnley 2022 NSW Rural Achiever winner

Jess also attended the bicentennial celebration for the RAS, which turned 200 this year, catching up with RAS Council members, youth group members, young women and Rural Achievers.

Prime Cuts

With funding recently received from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation to enable our new program, Young Environmental Champions, we are pleased to announce that new YFC Florance McGufficke has been appointed to the inaugural VFFF Youth Advisory Group – a forum of youth voices that guide and inform VFFF grant-making. Congratulations Florance.

Another new YFC making an early impact is Danielle Fordham who recently received the University of Newcastle Beryl Nashar Prize in Level 1000 Earth Sciences and the Howard Bridgman Prize for First Year Environmental Science. Both awards were in recognition of her 2021 academic performance.

“I was deeply honoured to receive these awards and it encourages me to keep on striving and putting in the work for a better and brighter future for our community and environment. Personally, these academic awards were an unexpected surprise that came from me just giving university a go after many years of thinking I wasn’t good enough. This recognition is not just for me but for my parents and supporters who get me through the challenges and wins. Thank you so much. My motto through life is when in doubt, just give it a go!”


Lifetime Highlights

One of our lifetime highlights comes this month from Lucy Collingridge who is gifting lifetime highlights to others through the donation of blood, something she does as often as she can.

“At first I was nervous as I wasn’t sure what the whole process was like but I jumped in this time last year to give it a go. It’s really rewarding knowing I can spend an hour donating plasma which will be turned in to one of 18 lifesaving products for our most vulnerable. It could be us, or our family and friends that need an infusion one day so it’s definitely a rewarding way to spend an hour of your day. Given that agriculture is one of the most dangerous careers, I see it as another way to support Australian agriculture and our rural communities.”

You are an inspiration, Lucy!

Equally inspirational is another Wool YFC Emma Turner – how could you not be inspired to give blood with  these wonderful young women as role models


And saving our best snippet of Muster news for last, huge congratulations to Dione Howard who announced her engagement last week to a lucky bloke named Joe Fitzgerald. The whole team wishes you both all the best for a healthy and happy life together.

Young Farming Champions Muster June 2022

Headline Act

One of the foundational aims of Young Farming Champions is to tell the positive stories of Australian agriculture; to share experiences and truths beyond industry; to engage and connect with those in the wider community. In the last few months our Young Farming Champions have excelled.

Leading from the front was Emma Ayliffe who is profiled in the current edition of RM Williams Outback magazine (and spruiked on the front cover). Read an excerpt of Em’s story here. In the same edition (143) Jess Fearnley featured as the winner of the RM Williams RAS Rural Achiever Award.

Every two years RM Williams publishes a special edition known as Great Australians that profiles quiet Australians doing amazing work in the bush. The 2022 edition, in newsagents now, features none other than our own Anika Molesworth. See the story here 

Not to be outdone are Sam Wan and Katherine Bain who share their love for all things wool in the popular Graziher magazine. See some of the photos accompanying the story (out now!) here.

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The Team

We welcome to the YFC team a new cohort who will participate in the Cultivate -Growing Young Leaders program this year. Sponsored by Riverina Local Land Services please make welcome Katharine Charles, Kate Webster and Sam O’Rafferty who is co-sponsored by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

In the Field

Biosecurity warrior and Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge loves her job at the forefront of protecting our economy, environment and community from pests, weeds and diseases.


In the literal field this winter has been agronomist Olivia Borden who is working with Northern Territory cotton crops. Olivia recently hosted a team of Australian cotton industry scientists as they explored whether the knowledge from a cotton production course designed for the south could be applied to the north. Scientists from the field trip concluded:

“Supporting the staff and farmers who are establishing cotton in the region is definitely worthy of our time and assistance. There is a hunger to see cotton succeed in the NT, a promise to undertake trials and to become more open in sharing their learnings. All of this is likely to result in a great future for cotton in the NT.”

Olivia is on the forefront of cotton production in the north and we look forward to future updates.

Staying with plants, and its congratulations to Steph Tabone who has started a new job as a horticultural researcher with Applied Horticultural Research.

“My role at AHR involves leading and contributing to key industry projects including the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection project and the Potato Industry and Communication Extension project. The diversity of the role could see me organising farmer workshops and demonstrations in the field, reviewing global literature for new and relevant research, writing factsheets, facilitating a webinar with technical experts, and completing trials in a field and lab environment.

Steph also attended the ‘Hort Connections’ annual conference in Brisbane in June with AHR.

“It presented a great opportunity to meet new people, and of course reconnect with old friends in industry, and I attended a field tour, where we visited a high-tech greenhouse snacking tomato operation.”

“My career goal is to support farmers to sustainably produce high quality and safe food for our population. In this role I can work closely with farmers, which gives me greater clarity of their pain points, further enabling me to provide content that is of value to them. This is exciting because we have the potential to deliver innovative solutions that addresses some of our industry’s major challenges.”


Veronika Vicic, who is a PhD candidate at Charles Sturt University, needs your help.

“I am in the final wrap up of my PhD and we are searching for consumers far and wide to help complete my study and eat some beef! If you are a club or association we can donate $300 for 20 participants or $1000 for 60 participants to attend a consumer tasting session. We are located in Wagga but can travel to outer regions if large groups are able to attend a session.”

For more details (or to book a long YFC lunch) see the flyer here .

Another PhD candidate, Franny Earp, is about to wing her way to London in July to take part in a film summer school held by UCL anthropology department.

“The school will focus on the practical, critical and theoretical skills required in making documentary and visual ethnography films and how to tell other peoples’ stories via visual resources. I am hoping to use visual ethnography as a data collection method for my PhD on female farmer empowerment in agricultural development programming and so the course will help expand and enhance my skills in the area.”

Encouraged by fellow YFC and shearer Tom Squires, who she mentored in the Cultivate -Growing Young Leaders program, Sam Wan extended her sheep and wool expertise by learning to shear with the Shearer Contractors Association of Australia’s (SCAA).

“I loved it. I loved that it was 5 days so parallel to my work in wool broking yet was still separate, that it challenged limits and ways of thinking and doing. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from highly experienced teachers, all shearers themselves, sharing the translated version of their learning into a system of steps to pinpoint a flow, reduce body strain and work with the sheep. It was great to understand how much pride they had in their work and care taken with the sheep, their gear and their clients. Alongside a mixed cohort that were clearly focused on being present, I got to set up combs and cutters, manoeuvre self and sheep angles and adjust grips to shear the full length of the fibre. The practical component of having access to equipment and sheep to shear was invaluable.”

As part of her job with AgCAREERSTART with the National Farmers’ Federation, Chloe Dutschke attended FarmFest in Toowoomba.

“It was so great to be in QLD to showcase AgCAREERSTART, made even better when friendly faces such as YFC Meg Rice came by my stall.”

Applications for 2023 AgCAREERSTART host farmers are open now and participants open July 12.


Out of the Field

The NSW Showgirl has been renamed to The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman of the Year  and Katie Barnett has been the recipient of the rebranded award for the Kempsey Show Society. Katie is looking forward to representing Kempsey and rural NSW in the year ahead and as an active member of her show society, welcomes the return of the agricultural show after a couple of tumultuous years.

“As a Kempsey Show Society Director and the Chief Cattle Steward it was great to be able to run a show and have our community come together after 2 years of cancellations due to Covid and floods. Despite the wet weather and mud (plus a few bogged vehicles) we had an awesome turnout and a large number of youth involved. Aren’t small towns the best!”


Speaking of agricultural shows here is a video made when Dione Howard (National Rural Ambassador) and Jess Fearnley (RM Williams RAS Rural Achiever) added some star power to the Orange Show:

“One of the highlights of my month was the attending the Orange (and Bathurst) shows. I love the local shows in my area so when I was able to volunteer for the Bathurst show and help steward in the horse ring and take over the social media account for the Orange show with the help of Dione it was great to get more involved,” Jess says.

Dione also caught up with another YFC when she and Lucy Collingridge (RM Williams RAS Rural Achiever finalist) attended the Global Food Forum 2022 in Melbourne on June 1, an opportunity provided by RAS of NSW.

“It was a very informative day with trends and insights from across food production, processing and sales. A major theme consistent across all areas of the supply chain was the labour shortage. Other key takeaways included how businesses have adapted/diversified following the pandemic, and how important it is to be taking ownership of telling our story using a values-based approach. Time to go over our YFC workshop notes with CFI!,” Dione says.


Dylan Male was invited by the ABC to attend the live audience of ‘Q+A’ to present his question “What are the strengths that Australia should leverage more to ensure we are the partner of choice for pacific nations? Where are we going wrong, and what can we do right?” to panellists including Monique Ryan Independent Member for Kooyong; Andrew Bragg Senator for NSW; Mehreen Faruqi Senator for NSW; Alexander Downer Former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister and Amanda Rishworth Federal Minister for Social Services.

Having previously lived in PNG and Solomon Islands, this was a topic close to Dylan’s heart.

“I felt thankful to the ABC for providing a platform for young Australians like me to have a voice and ask questions to our most senior politicians.”

Catch the episode on iView here.

Prime Cuts

After years of knocking on the door, Emma Ayliffe has been recognised with one of Cotton Australia’s most prestigious awards when she was named the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust ‘Young Cotton Achiever of the Year’ in June. Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said that he was impressed with her new ideas and work ethic:

“Emma is showing how fresh ideas and hard work can benefit all the growers in her region and other regions. I am particularly impressed with Emma’s commitment to improving the social licence of cotton and that will have benefits for the country as more people hear how our cotton is among the world’s best in quality and sustainability.”


To Emma, the award is proof she is making a difference in the cotton industry.

“To make the final three is an achievement in itself so win it is amazing. Having the Chris Lehmann Trust and ADAMA support the ‘up and coming’ in such a way illustrates the vibrancy of the cotton industry. I can’t wait for cotton conference in August to be presented with my actual award and catch up with so many wonderful people.”

Congratulations to YFC alumni James Kanaley who was also a ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust ‘Young Cotton Achiever of the Year’ finalist

Lifetime Highlights

With many Covid restrictions lifted our YFC are scratching itchy feet with renewed overseas travel. Taking a trip to Canada to visit family and friends was Katherine Bain.

“The highlight was whale watching in Georgia Strait – we saw lots of seals and sea lions and two orcas!”

We’re jealous Katherine!


#YouthinAg #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster May 2022

Headline Act

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 

The Team

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.

We have also initiated two interns in Katie Barnett and Reynolds Tang-Smith to bring their wisdom to the diversity of voices.

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?

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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!

Prime Cuts

Jo Newton has been elected president of the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch Committee of the Australian Association of Animal Sciences.

“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 

Lifetime Highlights

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.”

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

Young Farming Champions Muster January 2022


Can you believe 2022 is already a month old! The New Year brings us opportunities to achieve goals and to step-outside comfort zones to challenge ourselves as advocates and leaders for agriculture. But before we turn with focussed eyes to the opportunities of the new year, let us take a moment, here in January, to reflect on the year that was 2021. It was a year under the shadow of a pandemic that impacted  our Young Farming Champions (YFC) in different ways from time management issues to staff shortages but, as you will see, workshops and growing the YFC team where touchstones in a sometimes turbulent year.


Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders

The two-year long Cultivate program is our introduction to the world of Action4Agriculutre and Young Farming Champions. The program is designed and run to support young people involved in a broad range of agricultural careers to be skilled, confident and comfortable to share their stories.

What did 2021 look like for our Cultivate cohort?

Francesca Earp

COVID complicated study for Franny in 2021 causing her to drop one PhD (but complete two Masters degrees!) but her persistence paid off with when she secured a scholarship for another PhD at James Cook University. Whilst studying she also worked on consultancy projects so in 2021 she was, understandably, a busy person. Participation in Cultivate helped Franny manage her time and expectations:

“I am learning to not overcommit myself and to focus my schedule to activities that align with my passions and values. This is a challenge I am still working on, but the workshops throughout the YFC program (particularly Workshop One with Josh Farr that taught me about core values and how they direct you in everyday life) and the guidance of my supervisors and mentors continues to help me ensure I am filling my schedule in a realistic and appropriate way.”

Bryan Van Wyk

Bryan’s personal highlight of 2021 was purchasing his first home and his biggest challenge was addressing COVID-induced labour shortages, which saw him sourcing, training and managing a team of casual workers to unload prawns in the remote town of Karumba.

As a YFC Bryan nominates the first workshop with Josh Farr as a highlight where he was introduced to Google Calendar.

“I work in operations in a highly dynamic work environment where organisation is key to productivity. Google Calendar has been a game changer for me. Not only has it helped me keep better track and planning of day-to-day tasks, but it has allowed me to get the most out of each day, both on a personal and professional level.”

And on the YFC as a whole Bryan says:

“We are not the same group of people we were at the start of 2021. We have become more confident, more knowledgeable, experienced and more authentic. If there is one thing to be proud of it’s the support and encouragement we have given each other through various platforms. I feel I can reach out to any YFC for advice or information at any time and I hope others feel that way about me.”

Shannon Chatfield

Workshops were also high on the list of highlights for NTCA supported YFC Shannon, particularly those held by Josh Farr

“the workshop on goal setting and lifestyle design has helped me to structure my work day to be more productive and this has encouraged me to take on more community engagement activities and make more time for my professional development” and Roxi Beck – “her workshop has been valuable to me in learning how to communicate better with the general public and have more confidence to answer some tough or perhaps uncomfortable questions. Her workshop focused on the importance of shared values and how to practice the listen and ask process when having these conversations.”

Shannon’s role in the beef industry in 2021 was impacted by staff and management challenges, challenges she overcame with support from YFC mentorship:

“Having a YFC ‘buddy’ to talk to regularly and discuss challenges and ideas has helped me to develop professionally and become a better contributor to such conversations and situations.”

Dylan Male

Showing determination and commitment to a cause was a highlight of Dylan’s year as he ran his first marathon, finishing in a very respectful time of 3hr 38m. This work ethic was reflected in his approach to the Cultivate program.

“Together (as YFC), we continue to display the qualities of leadership and our shared determination to advocate for the Australian agricultural sector. My biggest YFC learning was realising the importance of forming genuine connections and relationships with other people. Without this we are unable to make the changes we set out to achieve.

“My biggest challenge has been setting long-term goals and figuring out how I can achieve them. I am overcoming this challenge by pursuing opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge, by collaborating with others and by becoming intentional in everything I do. The YFC program has been pivotal in this.”

Veronika Vicic

PhD student Veronika names the publication of her first research paper as a highlight in a year that was overshadowed by the pandemic.

“The continuation of uncertainty surrounding COVID and not being able to plan things too far in advance both at work and at home was a challenge this year. I think this was a big reminder to just keep going with the flow and not to put too much pressure on anything in life. Josh’s workshops on time management and allocating time to what was important have helped improve my work-life balance.”

Veronika finds the community and networking established through the Cultivate program to be another highlight of 2021:

“We work in different industries under the banner of agriculture and it has been really nice to reach out to others and learn from them. It just proves how diverse and rich agriculture is.”

“Taking back fun and adventures”

Steph Tabone

“Personally, the biggest highlight for me was spending quality time with family and friends, especially after not being able to see them for many months. It’s amazing how it can recharge you to keep striving towards your goals. The influence of COVID on our way of life in 2021 certainly put strain on my mental health, but with access to good resources, good strategies and a supportive network I was able to overcome it. It’s important to recognise that with those challenges came many positive opportunities to learn and try new things that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced.”

Participation in Cultivate helped Steph work her way through the travails of 2021.

“I learnt a lot about myself through the YFC workshops, and the importance of good self-awareness and drawing upon shared values in our interactions with others. Being strong, positive advocates for our industry and providing our fellow YFC’s with support for all achievements large or small, is something I am proud of.”

“enjoying all that nature has to offer”


The Alumni

On graduation from the Cultivate program participants become fully fledged YFC, multiply their impact by visiting schools, have opportunities to grow their networks, forge careers and to take on leadership roles and development. They routinely reach for the sky and are amazingly successful in realising their ambitions. Let’s chat to a couple of our alumni.

Emma Ayliffe

Long-standing YFC Emma Ayliffe blazed her way through 2021. She was named Australian Young Farmer of the Year, continued to build her rapidly growing business and managed her own farm with partner Craig through rain and mice plaques.

“My biggest learning from being a YFC in 2021 was that the power of the people around you is critical for learning, briefing, opportunities and moving forward; and I am proud that despite meeting obstacles and challenges the YFC as a group pulled off amazing workshops and skill building opportunities. The workshops of 2021 have added so much value and allowed everyone to keep moving forward.”


Working through different strategies and techniques to run both a consultancy and her own farm was one of Emma’s biggest challenges in 2021. Being part of the YFC network helped her overcome and thrive.

Dione Howard

Another Alumni kicking big goals was Dione Howard who realised a long-held dream in 2021.

“Being named the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever Representative for 2020-21 was a personal lifetime highlight. I am excited to be representing NSW in the National Rural Ambassador Competition in Sydney during April 2022.”

As with many YFC, Dione found time management a challenge but also relished the opportunities to connect with esteemed leaders as part of the online YFC workshops. “It was wonderful to workshop sessions with Charlie Arnott and Roxi Beck from CFI and Kwame Christian, as well as to learn from Gaye Steel. I love to be able to continue learning as an alumnus of the program and building on my skills and knowledge.

“I continue to be amazed at the ability of the YFC program to transition to learning online, which began in 2020 but has evolved to a seamless delivery of content that fits in around everyone’s schedules, using the impressive Mighty Networks platform.”

This image is from a photo shoot for The Daily Telegraph, a story about the bumper season for cropping farmers projected at the time (July 2021). My partner Joe and I wandered through the paddocks on the property at Wallendbeen where he works. I think it sums up another year of isolation, but an excellent season for farmers and our enthusiasm for what’s to come!

Jessica Fearnley

Returning to COVID lockdown and working from home were Jess’s major challenges in 2021 but these did not stop her from securing a project lead role for a traceability project in collaboration with Woolworths.

Through her YFC workshops Jess increased her facilitation skills.

“It takes a lot of time and practice to learn how to facilitate well (and to work a room using zoom!), a skill I still need to constantly work on.”

Jess was also proud of the way the YFC evolved as a group in 2021.

“Transitioning from YVLT to the new project specific YFC Leadership committee with the Innovation Hub will be a great move going forward.”

Samantha Wan

COVID challenges continued to impact all YFC and Sam was no different but she came to realise the strength of working under pressure.

“I gained an appreciation for small things and, when struggling, was able to refocus on taking stock of what is important, reminding myself of values and re-evaluating goals and boundaries.”

These sentiments were echoed in her approach her YFC work.

“All training – the coaching on resilience, flexibility and scheduling – came together to continue to bring agriculture into classrooms and, in a time where so much was put on hold, the YFC team was still able to develop and grow; delivering our own workshops and creating content to share with the YFC network.”


2022 Highlights (already!)

Our Cultivate cohort and our Alumni have hit the ground running in 2022 and in less than a month have already achieved milestones.

For Cultivate member Veronika Vicic this took the form of receiving an Australia Day award from the National Council of Women of NSW in recognition of her contribution to the rural community. Veronika was presented with the award at Parliament House in Sydney on Jan 24.

“Receiving this award has re-ignited my passion to continue following a career path in agriculture and to voice how rewarding involvement in this industry is. In my academic and non-academic career I hope to continually engage in community outreach and through leadership I hope to encourage younger audiences to be aware of Australian agriculture.”

YFCs Lucy Collingridge and Jessica Fearnley has been announced as 2022 RAS RM Williams Rural Achievers.

“I applied to be a Rural Achiever as I wanted to connect and discuss agriculture with other rural achievers, members of the ag society and the general public. I love the Royal Easter show and being given the opportunity to help on sections stewarding and judging is so exciting! I used to love helping at my local show and have continued my connections with local shows around the Central Tablelands with my role as a Development Officer for NSW DPI. With the Rural Achiever award I hope to inspire the younger generation and general public to take a greater interest in where the food and fibre comes from. YFC, Lynne and Dione, have all inspired and helped me along my Rural Achiever journey and I am so lucky to have them in my network!” says Jess


Moving forward in 2022

We welcome Florance McGufficke to the Cultivate team as the AWI scholarship winner. Florance has hit the ground running, attending the first workshop of the year with Julia Telford who conducted DiSC personality profiling for the YFC.

“What I took away from this workshop was that it is important to understand your ‘style’ or ‘personality’ but it was more about learning how to identify other people’s styles, so that we can work collaboratively, communicate effectively and build strong relationships personally and professionally,” Florance says.


Workshops have been identified by all YFC as major highlights of their leadership development journeys and 2022 brings a suite of new opportunities.

Josh Farr will help define what success looks like and show how to keep each other accountable and pair with new buddies;

Rebel Black will lead a discussion on the balancing of Me:We:Us to create a Dream Team

Cynthia Mahoney will conduct two workshops on Courageous Conversations, building on the Compassionate Curiosity framework the YFC learned during workshops with Kwame Christian and Kaydian Comer held in 2021

Cathy McGowan AO, will take YFC on a deep dive into how to truly live our values, understand how we want to be seen by the world and what legacy we want to leave.


Young Farming Champions Muster December 2021

Headline Act

Its harvest time and our Young Farming Champions are reaping the rewards. We mean this both literally and figuratively.

Across eastern Australia the headers are rolling, the chaser bins are chasing and trucks are moving along regional roads, brimming with the best grain in the world. Widespread rain has added challenges to the harvest (see this video from Marlee Langfield’s sister-in-law) but in return the country is receiving a long Christmas drink. And if you thought harvest was only commercial crops, we’ve got news for you – find out more below In The Field.

It is also harvest figuratively.  2021 has been another year of challenges and opportunities for the YFC and they have applied themselves to polishing skills such as negotiation, presentation and strategising. This hard work and dedication to their crafts will harvest rewards throughout their long careers. Over the festive period we, too, will sit down with a long Christmas drink and reflect on these learnings. We look forward to sharing them with you in our January Muster.

In the meantime, enjoy the harvest, enjoy the rain and sit down with a cuppa to see how the YFC are finishing their year.

In The Field

In a drier year wheat and canola harvests are usually wrapped up by Christmas but as the video above shows the extended rain period this year is causing plenty of interruptions, some downgrades in grain and plenty of bogged machinery. On the upside there are record crops coming off the paddocks. This is how three of our grain growers are coping:

Marlee Langfield (Cowra):

“an empty 15t header on top of sodden soils and double digit bog holes in a day have become the norm, but we now have recovery down to a fine art! We are currently harvesting canola and finding a mix of quality and an abundance of yield.”

Check out Marlee’s final AEGIC (Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre) report here for a more detailed harvest wrap.


James Kanaley (Griffith):

“Canola harvest has been exceptional at home. Yields have been twice the long term average and easily a record for our farm. We broke our canola record in 2020 also. Quality hasn’t been too bad but marketing canola has been more difficult as there is only one export quality grade of canola. Client’s harvests out west have been very strong, above average yields, but poor wheat qualities.”


Emma Ayliffe (Griffith):

“We are finally getting a roll on out here after a lot of stop/start with rain and we’re still managing to bog the odd truck or chaser bin. The rain has caused downgrades but the upside is that the yields have been amazing, well above average. At this stage we have all of the canola done, we hope to be finished all our wheat by Christmas and then will have oats and lupins to do after Christmas. To put in perspective we usually harvest mid-October to the 3rd or 4th week in November (typically about 5 weeks). We are going into week 8…with probably still 3 weeks to go at the current rate.”

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It’s not only traditional grains being harvested at this time of year. December/January is the harvest time for kangaroo grass. “It’s a busy time in the field with lots of research and seed collection taking place across Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria,” says Dylan Male who is completing the first year of his PhD studies investigating the development of kangaroo grass into a modern day crop. We look forward to learning more Dylan.

Also harvesting is our fishing YFC Bryan van Wyk, providing us with exceptional Australian prawns for the Christmas table:

“We have recently finished the 2021 tiger prawn season. Our fleet of 11 prawn trawlers worked their way between western Northern Territory all the way to northern QLD. All crew have returned home safely and the vessels are now tied up in Cairns ready for routine summer maintenance. Tiger prawns are considered a premium, high quality seafood and like most Australian premium seafoods, our tiger prawns are on their way to Asian markets (Japan).  We also have a magnificent supply of MSC certified golden banana prawns on display in Coles and Woolworths ready for Australia to indulge in this Christmas.”


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Harvest may be grabbing the headlines at the moment but our graziers are not to be out done. On December 8 Melissa Henry appeared on ABC news talking about the rise of black and coloured sheep. Look for Melissa from the 25 minute mark in this video.

And Adele Smith is being called the Wool Wizard after promoting her work with wool for the Chicks Who Ag blog.


Out of the Field

Once they’ve got out of their respective bogs and other harvest commitments our YFC are busy doing what they do best – sharing the good stories of Australian agriculture and leading by example. This was brightly illustrated during Ag Week from November 15. Three of our YFC – Danila Marini, Jo Newton and Emily May – presented at the Centre of Excellence Virtual Ag Week conference.  Danila spoke to school students about research and technology for animal welfare, Jo spoke about the future of dairy farming and Emily gave insights into peri-urban agriculture. Friend of the YFC, Kate McBride, also presented about farming in the Murray-Darling river system.

Still on Ag Week and Tim Eyes did things his way when he zoomed into classrooms around the country. Joining Tim on his zoom was one of his cows, peering in the window as he spoke.

Jo had been selected for the Australian Rural Leadership Program earlier this year but Covid restrictions meant the Kimberley adventure was postponed. The program continued online with the development of four hybrid hubs in Canberra, Bendigo, Hobart and Toowoomba and recently Jo got to meet some of her fellow cohort in real life in Bendigo.

“To continue discussions started in workshops over breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee breaks added additional value to sessions that left you with much to think about. I found these chats amongst the Vic Hub insightful for illuminating how we could apply the frameworks that we learnt into our day-to-day lives.”


Continuing on their leadership journey are Katherine Bain and Dione Howard who have been selected for the AWI Breeding Leadership course. They will join 25 participants from across Australia in a week long course at Clare in South Australia in 2022 where they will develop skills and knowledge in personal leadership as well as strategic planning and team leadership.

As well as working on his PhD Dylan has been busy cementing his leadership skills. In November he gathered virtually with 99 delegates from 44 countries for the 2021 Bayer #YouthAgSummit.

“This summit was incredible, with two days spent exploring how youth-driven innovation and collaboration will be key to driving the transformational change needed to end the fight against global hunger. But the biggest personal highlight of the summit for me was realising just how passionate, committed and innovative other young people involved in agriculture around the world truly are.”

Dylan also appears on the Bayer website promoting STEM careers where he is billed as the Food System Builder.

In December he was off to Sydney to attend a Dale Carnegie ‘How to win friends and influence people’ course. The course will help Dylan to become an influential communicator, problem solver and focused leader.

Prime Cuts

A highlight of 2021 for many YFC has been the opportunity to imagine and then develop ideas and initiatives under the tutelage of Josh Farr as part of the YVLT Innovation Hub. Dylan is one of these. He has been working on an idea to increase Muster content (you have been warned!). Also taking advantage of Josh’s insightful workshops has been Emily May (learning to take her school presentations to a new level), Franny Earp (working on a school outreach program focusing on gender diversity) and a partnership between Steph Tabone and Tayla Field (who will develop a platform for people with experience in agriculture to share their key learnings with young people).

Being part of The Innovation Hub allows YFC to take the next step in their leadership journeys.

“The iHub identifies that YFC have a desire to go above and beyond, to share everything they are learning and to create projects that are sustainable beyond themselves. One of the things I’ve noticed about everyone who has got involved is that they’ve consulted lots of people – they’ve got their boss on board, they’ve had employers offer funding – they’re really good at bringing people together. I don’t see a single project here that is an individual glory project. These are things that the YFC are using their leadership skills to set up knowing there is going to be future generations of YFC eager to apply these skills. There is a beautiful synergy between their ideas and their insights, what agriculture needs right now, and setting up future YFCs for success,” Josh says.

Lifetime Achievements

Are you kidding? The harvest is on

Young Farming Champions Muster November 2021

Headline Act

One of the founding aims of Action4Agriculture is to take agriculture to students who would not normally be exposed to it. This vision has been driven by our Young Farming Champions (YFC), our teachers and our partners – a collaboration of leaders with a common vision.

This collaboration was highlighted during October and November.

Corteva’s Elizabeth Hernandez showcased Dr Anika Molesworth and Francesca Earp on the global stage in conjunction with COP26 in Glasgow through  WOMAG and GrowHer activities.


Anika also represented youth in agriculture speaking on the panel at the Young Leaders in Climate forum. Presented by British High Commissioner to Australia HE Vicki Treadell and Italian Ambassador to Australia Francesca Tardioli, this was an opportunity for youth to inspire world-saving climate ambition. Panellists discussed the power of lived activism, the importance of youth and gender in the climate movement, and the future of diverse climate leadership.

Another YFC hitting the international stage was Tegan Nock, founding partner of carbon start-up Loam Bio, which this month attracted investment from Silicon Valley and Canadian billionaires to the tune of $40 million.

Also doing amazing work are our wonderful teachers such as Scott Graham who teaches agriculture at Sydney’s Barker College. On November 3 Scott won the prestigious 2021 Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Secondary Schools.

The leadership journey starts with small steps, none more important than the work our YFC do on a daily basis in the field.


In The Field

One of the most important aspects of being a YFC is the ability to communicate what we do in agriculture on an everyday basis and this month our YFC in the field have been doing just that.

Showing us how to do it is Cowra graingrower Marlee Langfield with her seasonal crop report for AEGIC. You can watch it here. Marlee and partner Andrew Gallagher were also featured in the Manildra Group’s industry magazine The Cultivator, in fields of gold.

Also proudly spruiking their careers in agriculture were Emma Ayliffe and Sharna Holman who featured in Cotton R&D’ Spotlight magazine, and Dylan Male whose work with Indigenous farming practices was highlighted in the Bendigo Times.

With cotton and grains covered, it was wool’s turn to shine when district wool manager Emma Turner co-coordinated a training program for industry on the lifetime management of ewes. The program will continue over another five field days in the following twelve months.


Out of the Field

Of course, promotion of agriculture does not finish with the day job and our YFC are active in spreading their good news stories further afield.

In conjunction with her book promotion Anika Molesworth has been seen in multiple media outlets this month. She created a Q&A column for The Australian, spoke with audiences in Copenhagen and Amsterdam (at 2am in the morning) in celebration of the release of the film A Positive Alternative (catch the four part series here)

and was a panelist at the Corteva Global Food Security & Sustainability Summit. There’s no slowing this girl down.

Anika also spoke to Tim Collings on his Better World Leaders podcast 

This is a conversation that in some ways I was not expecting, but in other ways I sense I have long been waiting for. I was spell-bound throughout the dialogue with Anika Molesworth, as she shows through her experience, knowledge and actions how we can all influence change, be courageous and do things differently to address climate change and preserve our food systems now and for the future.


Emma Ayliffe is using her title of Young Australian Farmer of the Year to promote agriculture and this month was featured on the UNE website, Sam Wan, the outgoing WoolProducer’s Youth Ambassador, welcomed the 2022 cohort and Dione Howard continued her Rural Achiever duties.

“I was super excited to participate in a local show event on the weekend of 23/24 October. Although the show was delayed due to recent restrictions, I had an awesome time at Ganmain interviewing their nominee for Showgirl, the state competition being known as Sydney Royal Ag Shows NSW Young Woman of the Year from 2022. It was great to represent the Rural Achievers from this year and celebrate young people doing exciting things in their community.”

Taking her agricultural message to the realm of education this month was Jo Newton who facilitated the final Engaging with Industry session for the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) webinar series; with over 90 people attending online. One of her key takeaways was:

“Not much beats getting actual experience. Volunteering and internships while studying are a great way to build your networks and skills”.

Jo will be joined by YFC Danila Marini and Emily May in November to connect with school students as part of the COE Virtual Ag Conference in conjunction with National Ag Day.


Prime Cuts

As we mentioned in Headline Act all the work the YFC do in promotion of agriculture leads to leadership opportunities and this month we are thrilled to announce Meg Rice has been selected for the AgriFutures AICD Foundations of Directorship course, while YFC Rebecca George and Jasmine Green and AWI Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders Scholarship finalist Jamie Pepper have been selected as Angus Australia 2021 GenAngus Future Leaders Program recipients. Congratulations

And speaking of the Australian Wool Innovation Cultivate Growing Young Leaders scholarship finalists you can catch their stories here 


Alana Black continues to thrive in her new role in Scotland and has been selected as a trustee for the Royal Highland Education Trust which delivers world-leading learning opportunities for Scotland’s young people about, in and through the Scottish agricultural environment and the countryside, and, in particular, bringing young people out on farm.


Lifetime Achievements

Congratulations to Becca again this month for graduating with a Bachelor of Agriculture/ Bachelor of Business majoring in International Business. Well done.

And Dan Fox is doing his bit to ensure the future of agriculture by breeding his own team. Congratulations to Dan and Rachel on the birth of Hugh Anthony Fox on September 30.

#YouthinAg #YoungFarmingChampions #Muster #YouthVoices

Young Farming Champions Muster August 2021

Welcome to our 55th Young Farming Champions (YFC) Muster which brings you this month’s top stories from our YFC around the country and globe.

Young Farming Champions Alumni Anika Molesworth ( Daily Telegraph) and Emma Ayliffe (Country Style) had full page stories in mainstream media this month 

Headline Act

Exciting news as this month we are looking to increase our crop of Wool Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

 AWI is proud to have supported the Young Farming Champions program for eight years and we believe the program is an important way to develop the next generation of our industry’s leaders.” CEO Stuart McCullough said

The 2021 scholarship will allow  a young person with their heart in the wool industry to participate in the prestigious two year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program, and for a Young Farming Champion to mentor them.

Find out the details here 

The EOI brochure can be found here

Please find the Expression of Interest form here

With 8 out of 10 of our Young Farming Champions being female its not surprising we would join forces with Soroptimist International (SI )Griffith to achieve gender equity.  

The partnership began in 2019 when SI Griffith supported  YFC  Dr Anika Molesworth to travel to Antarctica with a cohort of 100 other female scientists from around.

Flash forward three years later, and when Soroptimist International Griffith (SI) wanted to take action to address climate change, they turned to Anika. She shared with SI the impact that Action for Agriculture (A4A) had played and was continuing to play in her professional and personal development, six years after joining one of its world-renowned programs, Young Farming Champions (YFC).

“I attribute my work’s impact with rural women, farming communities and international development largely to the skills I learnt through this program

A4A is championing rural young people, teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and bringing those people close to food and farming production, motivating and enabling them to help shape rural communities for the better. Imagine if more rural people are given a similar opportunity!”  says Anika, who now sits on the A4A Youth Leadership team.

As Soroptimist International Griffith’s founder Will Mead says, that “was enough for us”. They decided to provide financial support for a leadership course run by A4A aimed at enabling equity for emerging female leaders, as part of their global vision on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s mentorship. The workshop was run in October 2020.

YFC Connie  Mort, Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong and YFC alumni Dione Howard

A dinner held in Griffith on July 21 was a chance for SI to meet A4A leaders including founder and national program director Lynne Strong, Dr Dione Howard, Connie Mort, Veronika Vicic and Dylan Male. All shared with Soroptimist International Griffith their own stories and A4A’s highly revered programs for primary and secondary schools (The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas) .

You can read more about the event here 

In the Field


Australian Farmers Campaign – Where REAL Climate Action Happens stars Dan Fox 

YFC alumni Dan Fox a grain grower based at Marrar, New South Wales, has been featured in National Farmers Federation’s latest initiative – “Australian Farms – Where REAL Climate Action Happens.”

The campaign tells the stories of farmers like Dan, who take their responsibility as environmental stewards of the Australian landscape seriously.

To view Dan’s Farmer Profile and learn more about the actions he’s taking to tackle climate change visit here 

YFC Marlee Langfield continues to hone her videography skills for the AEIGC Crop Updates 

Check out Marlee’s instagram account to see more of her beautiful pictures from her farm

Out of the Field

YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM recently presented to University of Melbourne Masters of Agriculture Students

I think giving students exposure to industry though guest lectures & practical work experience is really important for helping increase awareness of opportunities in the agricultural sector & to support students to be job ready.
As a student, an industry guest lecture for my genetics subject marked a turned point in my career by introducing me to Sonja Dominik. A CSIRO Vacation Studentship, an honours project and a PhD (in conjunction with University of New England (AU), AGBU and CSIRO), followed in quick succession and today I still have an amazing mentor, friend and role model.
It’s now a pleasure to be able to pay it forward for today’s university students.

YFC Alumni Dione Howard interviewed  the team from The Livestock Collective and Black Box Co for our Leadership is Language series


YFC alumni Peta Bradley, Dione Howard & AWI’s Emily King came together virtually at the Australian Sheep Veterinarians Conference 30th June to 2nd July 2021

YFC Dione Howard recently helped to organise the Australian Veterinary Association Sheep Veterinarian’s Conference in Wagga Wagga.

Despite rapidly changing COVID restrictions the conference still went ahead in a blended format, with speakers zooming in and audience able to watch from wherever they could! Included in the line up of speakers were YFC Peta Bradley & AWI’s Emily King, who presented on ‘Understanding ASBVs’ and ‘What makes good extension?’ respectively. A masked conference didn’t make for very recognisable photos so enjoy this flashback photo of Dione & Peta from 2017!


Our Paddock Pen Pals will feature in a new STEM Education Textbook!

Congratulations to our Wool Young Farming Champions team – their Paddock Pen Pals initiative led by Samantha Wan in partnership with Carlingford West Public School, will be featured in a new STEM education textbook from Macquarie University School of Education, to be released in early 2022

Dione Howard, Zoe Stephens ( Carlingford West Public School) and Samantha Wan at Sydney Royal Easter Show

Speaking of Paddock Pen Pals our YFC have been continuing their Wow Wednesday’s partnership with the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education through Virtual Excursions with Emma Ayliffe sharing her role as an agronomist with the students this month

2021 YFC Francesca Earp is leading a team of  YFC who will be beaming into Mary McKillop College to discuss SDG 5 Gender Equality and Bryan Van Wyk is working with Sana Said to beam into Riverstone High School to look at SDG 14 Life Below the Oceans

Prime Cuts

Dylan Male selected as a 2021 Youth Ag Summit Delegate

2021 YFC Dylan Male will be representing Australia as one of 100 delegates aged 18 to 25 from 44 countries to attend the biennial 2021 Bayer Youth Ag Summit.

At the two-day summit held on November 16-17 2021, themed ‘feeding a hungry planet’, Dylan will have the opportunity to learn from, engage and network with industry leaders and his fellow delegates from across the globe toward a more food-secure world.

Dylan was recognised for his contributions in building a food production system that is culturally aware and regenerative. This includes his PhD research investigating the agronomy of a native perennial grass species that is supporting Dja Dja Wurrung (Djaara) people in their vision to return culturally significant food plants to the landscape. Dylan hopes to use the opportunity as a platform to advocate for modern food production systems that better support Indigenous people in developing and protecting their food systems, with the help of modern day science and technology.

Following the Summit, Dylan will participate in the first-ever virtual YAS University, where he will continue to learn, network, and further develop a Thrive for Change project which aims to advocate for a food production system that is more secure, climate resilient, land regenerative and culturally aware, before making his final project pitch in early 2022.

Australian Young Farmer of the Year Emma Ayliffe continued her round of media engagements and featured in the September issue of Country Style Magazine

Dr Jo Newton was looking foreword to joining her ARLP 28 cohort for the legendary Kimberley experience 

“After border closures prevented course 28 of ARLP from starting their program in the Kimberly in July we pivoted & came together for 5 days over zoom. It was great to finally get to meet the rest of my cohort. Listening to everyone’s participation presentations highlighted the depth & breadth of experience & diverse skills within the cohort. Despite this several common threads shone through, none more so than the desire to positively contribute to agriculture, rural, regional and remote Australian communities. I’m now really excited to meet the rest of my cohort face-to-face and continue on this journey together over the next 15 months.”

Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong was a guest speaker at THE Rural Woman’s “The advancement of women and girls” Round Table Event 16th August


YFC alumni Emma Turner features on Generation Ag Podcast

2014 Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner chats to the Generation Ag podcast team about working in the wonderful world of wool! Emma current works as a District Wool Manager for Elders based out of Mildura.

Click on the link to listen

Dr Anika Molesworth saw the launch of her first book Our Sunburnt Country on 31st August 2021 

Anika has appeared on The Drum, had a full page spread in the Daily Telegraph and being interviewed by Holly Ransom on her Energy Disruptors webcast

Watch it here 

Lifetime Highlights

YFC alumni Hannah Hawker welcomed gorgeous Joseph William Porter to the world on 10.08.2021.

How adorable is this pix – we love it when our Young Farming Champions start having their own champions

Big shoutout to all our funding partners who are investing in next gen leadership capability building


Young Farming Champions Muster July 2021

Welcome to the Young Farming Champions July Muster. Our headline act this week celebrates the latest milestone for the team.

One of the great strengths of the program is our YFC alumni network who are paying it forward and providing a peer-to-peer buddy system for new entrants.

In 2021 those relationships have led to some of our alumni pairing with their YFC buddies and stepping up to facilitate workshops using a ‘train-the -trainer’ model in which new YFCs co-host targeted workshops

Headline Act

On August 1st, 2021, YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and YFC co-host Dylan Male delivered a ‘Develop your Personal Brand for the Greater Good’ workshop

“A brand doesn’t just deliver a product or service – it can transform the way people think and act

By developing your brand, you will be better equipped to communicate in a way that resonates and motivates your audience to action.

Whether you advocate for a world of zero hunger, for climate action, for gender equality, or want to ensure vibrant rural economies – having a strong brand will underpin what you do.’ ,’ says Anika.

The workshop looked at how you can turn ideas into emotional connections with audiences.

As some of our participants shared the workshop provided our emerging YFC leaders with the tools, knowledge, and techniques to create personal brands for truly inspiring and impactful leadership.

Earlier in the week YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM was joined by YFC co-hosts Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden to provide an opportunity for YFC to practice their lessons learnt from Roxi Beck’s Engage Workshop.

‘I found Roxi’s workshop on empowering effective communications with consumers to be incredibly valuable.

It reminded us that everyone who produces food is also a consumer and we are talking to consumers every day.

Roxi highlighted the importance of active listening and asking to truly understand what is behind another person’s beliefs and values. These skills are like muscles and require time and practice to grow’ says Jo


A snippet from Steph, Olivia and Jo’s workshop for their fellow YFC


Both Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden have taken lessons from Roxi’s workshop to their workplaces

‘The lessons from Roxi’s workshop are relevant to many people across the industry, including my colleagues.

In discussion with my supervisor, I mentioned how great it would be to share some of Roxi’s key points with our team.

My supervisor supported this concept. We got together on 19 July and talked through Roxi’s slides.

‘It was a good opportunity to learn together, to discuss experiences we’ve shared and it also helped me cement my knowledge.’ says Steph.

Olivia is applying the principles of ‘ask; listen; ask; listen; ask; listen’ with the objective of understanding, taking off her agronomy hat and approaching tricky conversations with ethical values at the forefront of her  mind and the scientific data in her back pocket.

“Sometimes agronomy is solving puzzles. The tricky thing is these puzzles are like the mountain Roxi referred to and at times everyone’s looking at it from a different angle, You also run into many iceberg conversations where you only see what’s on top and have to dive down to see what’s really underneath in order to solve it.’ says Olivia.

In the Field

Marlee Langfield is using her photography skills and honing her videography skills to share the journey of her farm’s wheat crops from planting to harvest as part of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre Crop Updates

“I’ll be filming monthly videos until harvest in November/December that will be shared with our international customers and translated into five languages! You can follow along on the AEGIC Facebook page” says Marlee

Bryan Van Wyk has had a busy few weeks preparing the 11 Austral Fisheries trawlers he manages to go tiger prawning in northern Australia.

“We have a talented, passionate and dedicated core group of people that we all call family.

‘These men and women are about to embark on a four-month journey across northern Australia packing premium Aussie prawns. They have my utmost respect. They leave their families and friends behind; they work long and hard; and they are stewards of our oceans.

‘They collect important scientific data for conservation, they remove illegal ghost nets, they are world leaders in bycatch reduction, and I am honoured to be part of their family.

Here’s to a safe and enjoyable season. May your seas be calm, your bags full of red gold and your crews happy.’ said Bryan on Instagram

This video was created by Michael Pride to show what happens on board once the prawns are caught by the Austral Fisheries Team

From “Robin Hood” in Milbrulong Riverina NSW to the Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor in Melbourne, Wool YFC’s Dione Howard and Sam Wan discovered the world is a very small place when Sam found Dione’s family farm’s wool clip in her auctioneering catalogue

Unfortunately, with the volatility of the market — the Merino fleece wool was withdrawn from sale so Sam has no auction footage to round out the little video she created for Dione.


Sam was able to share some insights from the Selling Centre floor with Dione

Follow the footage:.
1. Internal catalogue cover – to show Dione when she could tune into the live video feed to watch her wool sell by open-cry auction in Melbourne. Dione’s wool was in the Wagga section.
2. Catalogue listing for Robin Hood wool – this is the hard copy of the finalised internal catalogue that I use to overview the wool sale, follow queries. It lists all the objective test results. A digital and hard copy version is available to wool buyers.
3. Copy of the classer’s specs – this is the paperwork that follows the farm bales to the wool store and tells the technical staff what number the bales are, what is in them and which bales go together. It also includes the wool classer details and the National Wool Declaration (NWD). Dione’s dad classed the wool clip, the paperwork was very tidy and properly completed!
4. Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor, Melbourne – where samples of the bales are set up for buyers to inspect and value prior to the auction. In this week, Elders Melbourne was offering 5270 bales.
5. Wagga section, Dione’s wool started at Lot 1310. Zoom to a floor sheet which accompanies each sample – this shows Lot 1310 was made up of 10 bales and is a line of AAAM – Merino Fleece.
6. Walk past the other merino fleece lines offered for sale.

Wool YFC Dione Howard and her partner Joe Fitzgerald were featured in a full page story in the Daily Telegraph.

Fingers crossed for another bumper season ahead, and that it’s business as usual for regional NSW farmers, were the key messages of the Telegraph story. Joe farms at Cootamundra where the crops are in and there’s been plenty of rain, setting the scene for another excellent harvest. All that’s needed is some sunshine and to keep those little mice away!

Corteva supported YFC and graduate agronomist Emily May was looking forward to sharing her career journey with students at AgVision

When COVID lockdown saw it postponed, always ready to make the most of every opportunity Emily took over Elders Instagram stories to share a Day in the Life of a Graduate Agronomist with their followers.

Out in the field

YFC Dylan Male made the most of his trip to the Northern Territory and took time out to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden

“During my recent travels to the Northern Territory, I was fortunate enough to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden in Katherine. As we got to know each other better, we quickly discovered that we had many shared interests and passions, most notably for all things agronomy. We both told stories about our pathway into agriculture and shared our excitement about embarking on the YFC journey. We left the catch-up feeling a greater sense of connectedness and look forward to staying in touch’.

COVID lockdowns also mean our YFC won’t have the opportunity to visit schools in person, so our agile team is connecting with facilitator Josh Farr and the Paddock Pen Pals team led by Sam Wan to get some tips and tricks on how facilitate highly engaging zoom workshops with school students

Participating in the 2021 Archibull Prize Riverstone High School is first out of the blocks to investigate SDG 14 Life in the Oceans making the most of Bryan Van Wyk’s expertise as manager of the Austral Fisheries Northern Fishing Trawlers

Students will be quizzing Bryan about:
• plastic in the ocean,
• overfishing,
• what the future looks like for our oceans and animals,
• sustainable fishing

Representing Riverina Local Land Services YFC Dione Howard and Megan Sinclair zoomed into Barellan Public School Year 4-6 class who are participating in Kreative Koalas on Wednesday 21July.

Dr Calum Watt has found himself in demand with schools students. After reading about Calum, Principal Kris Beazley from the Centre of Excellent in Agricultural Education sprang into action

 “The students will be touching on CRISPR 9 next week as part of their initial work and then taking a deeper dive in a couple of weeks, so we would love to hear about your passion and knowledge in this area and how it is being used in Australian agriculture.” says Kris in her email to Calum


Calum presented CRISPR 9 technologies to her students on 28th July.

“Calum was fantastic. He covered CRISPR science, genetics, career opportunities plus the skills and knowledge required to do a PhD. A session that was originally planned for 40 mins stretched to 90 mins with the students highly engaged for the entire time”  says Kris

Kris and her teachers are building on the success of the workshop with Calum and making the most of COVID lockdowns by initiating ” Wow Wednesdays” – a 60 minute masterclass with an industry expert. The students are super excited to have Wool YFC Dr Danila Marini zooming in this week and Australian Young Farmer of the Year YFC Emma Ayliffe the following week.

Prime Cuts

YFC and Chair of our Youth Leadership Team Dione Howard was a very worthy finalist in the Lambition Awards. Check out her inspiring story here 

The ever multi talented Dr Anika Molesworth is the voice of latest Case tractor add. See the back story here 

“We need no thanks, rewards or dues, we love this land, it’s what we do. There’s not a day that the landscape doesn’t captivate me with its vast wonder, there’s not a day that I don’t feel honoured to work alongside farmers who produce food and fibre for our country, and beyond. Each day we rise to our challenges, are grateful for our opportunities, and strive to make tomorrow the best it possibly can be. I hold such deep admiration for the farming community. With all its highs and lows, the triumphs and turmoil – and recently I was invited to read a poem about this incredible community.” says Anika Molesworth – farmer, scientist and now voice of CASE IH Australia/New Zealand’s new advertising campaign.

YFC Meg Rice has recently completed the Graduate Program with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Throughout the program Meg worked on Murray-Darling Basin policy, trade and market access, live animal exports and the Future Drought Fund. Meg is excited to invited to take up a permanent role as a Senior Policy Officer within the Live Animal Export branch of the department.

Meg Rice pictured with the department Secretary, Andrew Metcalfe OAM.

A huge congratulations to friend of the YFC Hannah Wandel who was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Great story in HerCanberra here

July has been a huge month for the YFC and we will have more of their July adventures to share with you in our August Muster

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Dr Anika Molesworth book Our Sunburnt Country here 

And none of this could happen without our supporting partners investing in our YFC

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices


Young Farming Champions Muster June 2021

Emma Ayliffe 2020/2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year with her partner Craig Newham

Headline Act

Does it get any better than this? Our very own Emma Ayliffe has been announced as the 2021 Young Farmer of the Year!! Read all about it here.

One of the reasons Em won this prestigious award is that she is not afraid to advocate for agriculture on every stage. As an example, this month she also spoke with educators at a Cotton Australia Teach the Teacher event and waded into the fray as a speaker at the River Reflections conference for the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

We are so very excited for, and proud of, you Em – congratulations.

Listen to Emma on The Country Hour here


In The Field

Research has been the key word for our YFC in the field this month. Tegan Nock is exploring the ways fungi may be able to help with climate change (read about this exciting work in this ABC report) while Veronika Vicic, a PhD candidate at Charles Sturt University, is asking your opinion on euthanasia of non-replacement male calves and producer wellbeing in Australian dairy systems. Want to contribute? Complete her online survey here.

Veronika’s research work is one of the reasons she was awarded her YFC scholarship, sponsored by Corteva. She, and fellow recipients Emily May, Steph Tabone and Connie Mort, were recently featured in Rural Business magazine. See the Corteva write-up here.

Steph and Connie put their newly acquired YFC skills to the test at a Corteva birthday breakfast recently where they both spoke. It’s a great example of partners allowing our YFC to practice in safe places; just as the Riverina LLS does for Dylan Male. Read more here. Steph has also been attending trade days speaking with farmers and was part of The GreenCollar Think Tank, discussing ideas for dealing with climate change, environmental markets, and energy efficiency. What a month Steph! But wait – there’s more ……

Steph and Emily attended a field trial walk through at Corteva’s Breeza research station on June 2, which was attended by a diverse range of agronomists from across NSW and QLD. Here are the girls in action.

Emily continues to thrive in her position of graduate agronomist with Elders, having almost completed her first 6-month rotation in Forbes. In August she will transfer to Griffith where she will focus on horticultural production.

“I am super keen to begin the second transfer because not many places within the country offer such a range of cropping systems in as geographically close an area as that around Griffith.”


Out of the Field

While research and trade networking were the buzz words in the field, out of the field it was all about conferences and awards and spreading the YFC love.

Meg Rice, Adele Smith, Dione Howard, Dee George and Martin Murray attended the second annual Young Farmer Business Conference in Dubbo on May 28 where their takeaways were the importance of networking, thinking outside the box for raising capital, and not being afraid to take the first step and ask the important questions. Thanks for sharing Champs.

Young Farming Champions Dione Howard, Meg Rice and Adele Smith 

Bryan Van Wyk was on the other side of the conference table when he presented to QLD Marine Teachers to promote the stewardship of the ocean through education and collaboration. Watch a snap-shot of his presentation here or view his informative slides here.

Dylan Male shared his YFC experiences with the CWA Vic Virtual Branch and gave insights into how kangaroo grass can be used for food. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to hear both of these talks!