Are you a young person with a big idea that will help other young people in rural and regional Australia take action?

If you are a  young person with a big idea that will help other young people take action then the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation’s new granting program Backing the Future, with one-off, $50,000 grants to individuals 18+ whose work is focused on rural and regional young people might be just what you need to get your big idea to the proof of concept stage.

These grants are designed to back individuals researching, piloting or accelerating early-stage, innovative ideas aligned to one of the Foundation’s four focus areas: Caring for the Environment, Contributing to Society, Decent Work and Exploring Christian Faith and Values.

This is a unique opportunity for individuals to access funding to take their ideas to the next level. The Foundation is particularly excited to read applications from young people.

This web page provides an overview of Backing the Future and how to apply.

Applications close Wednesday 31 August 2022.

#YouthVoices #YouthAction #BackingtheFuture

Young people in wool seeing the advantages of walking through life long learning door of opportunity.

At Action4Agriculture we grow Young Farming Champions to be confident leaders and trusted voices for agriculture. Part of that process is to encourage them to seek leadership opportunities relevant to their specific fields of expertise. For our “woollies” that often means participation in AWI’s esteemed “Breeding Leadership” program.

Breeding Leadership is a national program for young people in all facets of the wool industry and aims to develop the leadership and professional skills of young people involved in the wool industry.”

The five-day program included sessions on personal leadership, strategic planning, corporate governance as well as skills such as time management and delegation. It also allow for networking with other young wool professionals across the country, giving greater insight into challenges facing the industry and opportunities for improvement.

The 2022 Breeding Leadership cohort in action

YFC Sam Wan attended Breeding Leadership in 2014 and the experience has remained a pivotal moment in her career as a wool broker.

“The highlight for me was networking with a diverse range of people, primarily woolgrowers around the same age. It gave me more perspective on issues they were facing like succession planning. I knew as a broker what the responsibilities and service provided were but the course really instilled a focus that what I do on the brokering side does go back to families and their ability to reinvest into their businesses. I certainly learnt more about myself in the individual development segments and this had me actively seeking out further opportunities to connect more within the wool industry.”

The 2022 instalment of Breeding Leadership was recently held in Clare, SA and among the 19 participants were YFC Dione Howard and Katherine Bain.

AWI CEO, John Roberts, addressed the group and was impressed by the keen interest in all levels of the industry displayed by those present.

“These young people are the future of our industry and are so important. I really enjoyed meeting the Breeding Leadership 2022 cohort and can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Both Katherine and Dione were impressed:

“It was an amazing week in Clare networking with a great group of people who are all so passionate about wool. The course itself was insightful and practical. I think most leadership courses can get lost in the aspirational ideas and you leave without gaining any real skills. Over the week 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 Bain

Photo source – Did you see the story on Katherine Bain and Sam Wan in latest Graziher magazine – then get your copy 

“YFCs and wool industry enthusiasts have raved about this course over the years, and I can see why. 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 Howard

Sam Wan is a committed life-long learner from the Wool Auctioneer Floor, to learning the ropes in the shearing shed to promoting the fibre in Grazhier magazine 

AWI collects statistics to measure the effectiveness of Breeding for Leadership with participants repeatedly giving the course 4.9 out of 5 for its value to their business and a 4.8 for new skills acquired. All sessions report a greater than 90% satisfaction rate with sessions on personal leadership and succession planning ranking the highest.

“Often people remark to AWI employees that Breeding Leadership kicked started them into doing more in and for the industry and that gives us great pride,” George Lehmann, AWI Project Coordinator, says.

Woolly YFCs aged between 25 and 35 are encouraged to apply for Breeding Leadership when applications open later this year. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the website for more information.

Leadership is Language – Emma Black and Shannon Speight founders of Black Box Co talk to Dione Howard

In this episode of Leadership is Language- Conversations with Thought Leaders the founders of Black Box Co Emma Black and Shannon Speight talk to Young Farming Champion Dione Howard

 

Black Box Co is a cloud-based software program that manages and compares large datasets, presenting insights in graphical form on online dashboards. It is the brainchild of two northern Queensland women, Shannon Speight and Emma Black. “By simply uploading a file to Black Box, data can be tied together across the supply chain,” Shannon says. “It becomes a decision-making tool that you can execute and it gives maximum insight for minimum effort. It takes the grunt work out of data analysis from fertility to growth to carcass.”

In this interview Emma and Shannon share insights into their first year of business going from:

  • Emma and Shannon working part-time to now having a full time staff of 10 people
  • Zero cattle on their database to having 900,000
  • Zero data points to 15 million data points

Shannon and Emma also reflect on:

  • the value and experience they have gained from their mentors
  • tips for applying for awards
  • what a typical day looks for both of them as business women with 4 children under 6 between them – the negotiables and the non negotiables
  • Importance of self care and what that looks like for them personally

Highlights

When the moons align make the most of it. Shannon and Emma have leveraged key moments in their lives and their strengths

  1. Shannon’s involvement in Northern Genomics Project with the University of Queensland 
  2. Both being winners of the Zanda McDonald Award
  3. Their drive and commitment to being solutions focused
  4. Both living in Northern Queensland
  5. Power of the bottom up approach
  6. Success is identifying a gap and meeting the wants and needs of your customer.
  7. Identify and work with the early adopters

Quotes:

“its not about balance – you are always juggling balls. You have to work out which balls are made of glass and which ones are made of rubber” Shannon

“awards are about taking a giant leap and making the most of the experience. Whilst the award initially recognises something you have done, the follow up and the opportunities are the best part that comes from awards” Emma

“the Zanda Award has been instrumental in changing both our lives. We both had people who tapped us on the shoulder and back us when we applied. On the other hand when you get knocked back for an award it can be just as important as a learning experience. Applying for awards multiple times can make you stronger each time” Shannon

‘do your research when applying for an award, find out what the judges are looking for, ring some-one who has applied before, really put the effort in” Emma

“a good mentor can really challenge you and your thinking” Emma

 

More from Black Box Co in the Media here 

Shannon Speight and Emma Black. Photo credit Outback Magazine 

Biography

Shannon Speight

Shannon is passionate about the beef and livestock industry. Having graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Sydney Shannon has spent extensive time working within the beef industry in various roles. Shannon began as a vet working with live export in North Queensland and then mixed practice in Charters Towers and Longreach.

One of her most recent roles has seen her coordinate a large scale beef genomics project across Northern Australia. This project has involved over 50 properties from Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and ovarian scanning over 30,000 heifers to develop a DNA suitable for northern cattle with a focus on fertility traits. Shannon was integral in supporting producers with data collection, ovarian scanning and pregnancy testing and providing genomic and production feedback to producers.

Shannon was awarded the Zanda McDonald Award in 2019. The Zanda McDonald Award has been running for the past six years and seeks to highlight talented and passionate young individuals working in the agricultural sector. This highly prestigious Trans-Tasman award allowed Shannon an impressive personal development package that included a trans-Tasman mentoring trip and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group.

Shannon has since co-founded Black Box Co an innovative SaaS (Software as a Service) product that ingests raw data across the beef supply chain to inform prediction, forecasting and key production insights. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and this product is now being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.

Shannon is currently completing her Masters of Business Administration through James Cook University and is the chairperson of the Beef Australia Next Generation Committee.

Emma Black

Emma has always been passionate about the beef and livestock industry since growing up on a property in Western Queensland. Educated at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, Emma went on to work in livestock nutrition consulting followed by meat processing to gain a knowledge right along the beef supply chain. To apply this knowledge, Emma then worked in extension services taking a whole-of-business approach, working directly with beef producers and industry to assist in livestock nutrition, pasture/livestock management, meat quality, business/data analysis and general property management.

Emma has since co-founded Black Box Co, an innovative software that ingests raw production data from right along the beef supply chain, instantly turning it into key insights to inform production decisions, prediction and forecasting. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and is currently being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.

Emma was the inaugural winner of the prestigious Zanda McDonald Award which has provided her with ongoing mentoring and guidance from the biggest movers and shakers in the agricultural industries across Australia and New Zealand through the Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Group. To further her knowledge and skill set Emma is currently studying a Masters in Business Administration. She is extremely passionate about mentoring the next generation including young producers, university and high school students.

 

 

We have a new name Action for Agriculture and we have snared a highly respected social and environmental justice advocate as new board chair

Action for Agriculture (A4A), the not-for-profit behind world-renowned programs The Archibull Prize, Kreative Koalas and Young Farming Champions, is today thrilled to announce the appointment of highly respected social and environmental justice advocate Tanya Jackson-Vaughan as its new board chair.

The addition of the past Impact 25 winner,  to the charity, formerly Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA), brings to the unique organisation the ideal mix of youth, philanthropy, government, industry and grassroots knowledge and experience, said founder and director Lynne Strong.

“Highly respected with a background in philanthropy and tackling some of the major social issues facing Australia, Tanya is a fantastic and extraordinary new appointment for us.

Tanya will help us see how agriculture is part of a bigger picture that shares common issues with other sectors and identify opportunities where we can all collaborate on the challenges that the country faces.

In Tanya, we have someone who can show us how we can harness grass roots advocacy and achieve change beyond the traditional ways that agriculture has done in the past.”

Tanya is a former head of Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS) and a past AFR 100 Women of Influence Non-profit Sector winner. She joins youth representatives Dr Joanna Newton OAM as deputy chair, and Emma Ayliffe, recently announced as the 2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year recipient, and NSW RAS Rural Achiever winner Dr Dione Howard and non-executive director Dr Jenni Metcalfe 

“Having young people in visible senior leadership roles provides role models for young people to look up to and sets an example for other organisations.

Young people may be 20% of the population, but they are 100% of our future so it’s important young people have seats at today’s decision-making tables.” said Jo.

A4A’s fresh new name and logo greater reflects the advocacy work that the dynamic not-for-profit is continuing to carry out to ensure that youth voices are amplified in all aspects of society, said Lynne.

“There is now a great opportunity to leverage the young people A4A have trained over the years, today viewed as role models and influencers, to ensure youth are heard and that their opinions truly valued, they have the capacity to take action on issues that are important to them and their communities”

A4A is taking a grassroots approach, venturing out and engaging with the wider community, discovering what is important to young people in schools, and acquiring an understanding of what’s important to today’s consumers” she said.

Lynne highlighted that the Agriculture industry was a growth industry increasing its GDP value to the economy by 7% in the last 20 years and now worth close to $67 billion. Agriculture is now seen as a progressive industry and a career with purpose with an increasing number of young people opting to study agriculture-related tertiary courses, and the sector has made a commitment to taking real action to address climate change.

Founded over a decade ago, A4A is a registered charity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and partners with the Foundation for Rural and Reginal Renewal as an approved charitable project in line with FRRR’s purposes to enable tax effective fundraising.

 

Meet the Action for Agriculture (A4A) 2021 board

 

 

Leadership is Language with host Hannah Hawker and Guest Graham Smith

In today’s review of our Leadership is Language webinar interviews Graham Smith, Australian Rural Leadership Program Manager, sits down with Young Farming Champion Hannah Hawker to discuss the importance of throwing out stereotypes and misconceptions when it comes to leadership and language.

Key Messages

  • Language is spoken language, body language and listening
  • Pay attention to how you feel when communicating
  • Think positively, think strategically and act in an adaptive, authentic way

 Pull Quote

“….leadership really is a series of processes. It’s not a product or an output or an outcome .. and if you dig down into that, more often than not, communication will come up as the most important process in leadership.”

 out Graham

Graham Smith coordinates the Australian Rural Leadership Program and his deep roots in the non-urban landscape of Australia stem from an upbringing in Barraba in northern NSW.

He has career has included positions with the Australian Public Service and CSIRO, General Manager of Questacon and secondary teaching. His public sector work has been recognised by an Australia Day Medallion and Australian Public Service departmental award for leadership.

Graham has a committed professional interest in Indonesia and its fast developing economic and cultural relationships with Australia. These relationships extend to his leadership development with ARLP.

Connect with Graham:  LinkedIn and Twitter

About Hannah

Hannah is an enthusiastic farmer’s daughter from Central West NSW where she has returned to continue her teaching career, delighting in the opportunity to share knowledge with secondary students. These two passions are consolidated through her involvement in local and state level agricultural shows; behind the scenes organisation, as a competitor and on the microphone as an MC and ring announcer. Completing her term as President, Hannah is now sitting on the board as Executive Advisor for ASC of NSW Next Generation where she assists in the continuation of skill development opportunities for young agriculturalists. Hannah is a 2013 Young Farming Champion Alumni, who represented the red meat industry

Connect with Hannah:    LinkedIn and  Twitter

About Australian Rural Leadership Foundation

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1992 with the aim to develop leaders for rural, regional and remote Australia. The Foundation runs a series of leadership courses including the flagship Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP).

 

 

 

 

Perceptions of agriculture as a career – the problems are well understood time to focus on the solutions

 

Over the next 6 months we will be sharing a series of articles showcasing the extraordinary work that is being done to engage young people in conversations about the production of the food they consume and the natural fibres they use and promote career pathways for young people into agriculture.

A significant body of this work is being done in our schools, inviting teachers to empower students to come up with their own solutions to agricultures images and perceptions challenges and opportunities .

We would like to thank Lorraine Chaffer from the NSW&ACT Geography Teacher’s Association for her support in providing context from a teacher’s perspective

What we know:

  • Surveys reveal that Australians, and Australian students, do not understand the importance or value of agriculture in the context of Australia, Asia and the world.
  • Most teachers and students have a general understanding of sustainability and over the course of time develop some understanding about the components or pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and social.  This will vary between subjects and the focus of school teaching programs. Much of this understanding has a focus on environmental sustainability linked to subject specific topic content. Some of the subjects are electives and not studied by all students.
  • Many senior students (Years 11 and 12) do not choose to study agriculture for their HSC. The subject is perceived as being less valuable than others for ATAR calculations and link to future careers.
  • In K – 10 there are limited opportunities to develop deep, cross curricula knowledge and understanding about sustainability, the importance of agriculture in feeding Australia and the world (and issues of food security) and the application of sustainability considerations in the daily decisions made by farmers.

From an agriculture perspective there is a need to demonstrate:

  • that 82% of careers in the agriculture sector which enable farmers to produce food, fibre and affordable clean energy are in areas with predicted high growth in the future.
  • that the workplace opportunities and multiple career paths in food and fibre production and the study of agriculture presents an excellent prospect for capable students.

We look forward to showcasing the experimentation, the success stories, the learnings, the tweaks and opportunities to multiply the impact of the success stories

#YouthinAg #CareersinSTEM #CareerswithPurpose

 

Anika Molesworth – Our Young Farming Champion in Antarctica

Today’s guest blog comes from  Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who has been a very busy girl not only has she just returned from Antarctica she has also submitted her PhD thesis for review and appeared on The Project TV.  We see big things happening for Anika in 2020

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For over 12 months I have been part of a leadership program run by Homeward Boundfor women of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) who are working on ensuring the sustainability of our planet.

At the end of 2019 I traveled to Antarctica with this cohort of 100 women from around the world, from all different backgrounds and disciplines, but sharing a common purpose – to help create the best possible future for our planet.

We stepped aboard the Hebredium Sky in Ushuaia, southern Argentina, as talented individuals. Experts in our specific areas – be that marine ecology, molecular chemistry, astrophysics, agricultural science, or climate diplomacy – just to name a few. Each of us raised our hand to say ‘I’ want to be part of ‘us’ who change the trajectory.

I was immersed in an intensive program that covered four key components – leadership, strategy, visibility and science. The program consisted of lectures, personal coaching sessions, group action setting, and individual presentations. We dived into the greatest challenges facing our planet – tackling the complexities of these issues head-on in honest discussion – and brainstorming how to implement effective solutions.

Antarctica sets a unique backdrop of learning for working as a collective. The pages of history are decorated with the stories of individuals heading to uncertain futures at the end of the world. On arriving in the most challenging conditions on the planet, these individuals quickly learnt that the only way to survive was by pulling together. Ice sheets would not be crossed, studies would not be conducted, ships would not sail and buildings would not be built if the team didn’t come together as one in this ice-covered wilderness. Impossible to complete as one, possible to be achieved together. The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, is a prime example of nations across the globe committing together to something bigger than any one country could achieve alone. The preservation of Antarctica for peace and science epitomizes the spirit of international cooperation. It was quite fitting that as we sailed through this frozen landscape during the 60th anniversary of the signing of this treaty.

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It was this spirit of teamwork, encouragement, respect and responsibility that bound the participants together – and has set them up to achieve something more than they ever could alone.

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Antarctica was our teacher, and as students, we learnt a lot. The landscape showed us the importance of stillness and reflection, the fragility of our natural world, and the power and presence of our incredible planet. This iconic environment also showed us first-hand the influence of human activities on the environment and provided critical insights into the global-scale change required.

Now, I am back home on my family’s farm in Far Western NSW, where again I am reminded on a daily basis of the climate challenges we face. We’ve had to truck in water – the first time in our family’s history on the farm – and summer has been defined by relentless dust-storms and 40+ degree days.

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However, something has shifted in me. I am feeling more equipped and motivated than ever to stand-up to the big challenges and protect the incredible places we love and call home. I am feeling more optimistic about our future than I have in a long time. I have met incredible STEMM women working actively on the solutions and who are not shying-away from what needs to be done. I have returned home with new knowledge and networks. I have developed my communication skills and plan to use these to positively influence policy and decision-making on climate action. I plan to continue amplifying the voice of farmers who are grappling with the harsh realities of climate change today, so we can ensure the best possible tomorrow.

Watch Anika on The Project

 

Bellbird Public School empowering young people to embed the tools and desires to make positive choices for themselves and our planet.

Bellbird PS Coco Front View.jpg

We asked the teachers at Bellbird Public School why they wanted to participate in Kreative Koalas

They answered

As a staff our main motivation to participate in this opportunity was to provide authentic opportunities for students so they could recognise problems, design solutions and be part of making a positive impact upon their own and everyone else’s future.

We know that children are our future and it is our role as educators to

Each of the initiatives we have undertaken through this project have continued, we are still working on and improving applications to embed them in all our practices and more importantly into the lives of our community members.

 

What was their big idea

Bellbird Public School designed their Term 2 K-6 learning programs around a whole school theme of War on Waste. This underpinned and supported all of the initiatives we undertook as part of our participation in the Kreative Koalas Create a Brighter Future Program.

What Happened

All classes discussed what they felt were the main issues impacting upon the people and environment surrounding Bellbird and three major directions emerged;

  1. the need to reduce the amount of rubbish we as consumers were contributing to the environment
  2. the need to be proactive in improving and sustaining the quality of our immediate environment (Black Creek)
  3. our responsibility as a group to aid people less fortunate than ourselves by utilising existing resources

Once these three challenges were posed, classes and stages began planning ways they could contribute to solving them.

 Initiative 1 – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (SDG 12 .5 – Responsible Consumption and Production)

We conducted a whole school rubbish audit. We sorted and weighed the rubbish collected from all bins in our school. We were amazed at many things; how much paper ended up in the rubbish, the amount of packaging and the amount of food being wasted.

Bellbird 1

Classes and our school parliament had many discussions about a plan of action. We bought individual coloured bins to sort rubbish, paper recycling and plastic recycling. These were implemented in both eating areas and the teacher’s staffroom. We access the Return and Earn program with our appropriate containers.

Classrooms had recycling bins and small rubbish bins added. Recycling bins are emptied regularly by our Environment Ministers.

Bellbird 4

Stage 2 set up worm farms and collect food scraps daily from classrooms and eating areas. These worm farms fertilise our gardens.

Each Wednesday is Waste Free Wednesday. Through this we encourage all families to making both cost effective choices and environmentally sustainable choices about the foods that are purchased and provided for daily consumption at school. It was highly evident from our rubbish audit the high percentage of pre-packaged food that was filling lunchboxes. Our community were offered alternate ideas and suggestions such as buying in bulk and dividing into portion sizes in reusable containers and cooking more nutritious options.

 

Outcomes

Awareness amongst students and staff has increased greatly about the amount of unnecessary waste we as consumers perpetuate. As our theme exposed us to information and facts about the Great Southern Garbage Patch, landfill required for extraordinary amounts of discarded clothing, coffee cups, water bottles and a wide range of reusable items, we have made changes to reduce our impact as a school and community. We have reduced the amount of rubbish being brought to school in lunch boxes, better reused resources such as paper that was going into landfill, utilised snippets from our community’s home gardens to create new potted plants to decorate our school but most importantly we have all started making conscious decisions about how our consumer choices impact upon the environment.

Initiative 2 – Improve and sustain health of our local creek and surrounding environment (SDG 15.1 Life on Land)

With the support of Cessnock City Council, Hunter Water and Bug Blitz, Stage 2 have participated in ongoing water testing, bug detecting, plant and animal species identification, weed identification and rubbish removal. Through these educational and awareness building opportunities, students have learnt about how local mines impact upon our waterways and the responsibility they have as residents to maintain their local environment.

 

Outcomes:

Students have claimed responsibility for this part of their environment. Small groups of volunteers spend their lunch play time over at the creek with a teacher ensuring that it is clean, clear of rubbish, and conducting testing that is recorded directly onto an app. and uploaded onto the net. Classes visit as whole groups to undertake more thorough data collection. Our General Assistant keeps the area directly adjacent to our school mown for easy access. It is an enjoyable place to be and a lunch time opportunity students line up to participate in. Pride in and group responsibility for the area have increased.

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Initiative 3: To provide assistance to those in need through utilising existing resources

(SDG 12.3 Responsible Production & Consumption)

Bellbird 8a

Kindergarten sort a local charity that they could support and found Hunter Hands of Hope. This service provides daily meals and other services to the homeless in our local area. Blanchies Café in Cessnock kindly donated their left over food items that our Kinder classes cooked up into hearty nutritious meals that were delivered to the drop in centre each week by Kinder students with their parents and teachers.

As a school we have participated in terracycling of dental hygiene items, plastic lids to be made into prosthetics and reading glasses to be distributed in third world countries.

Outcomes:

This initiative was very well received by both the charity and the people who gratefully received these meals.  Both the Kinder students and their parents benefitted from this opportunity to support those in our community who are in need of a helping hand. It too provided a waste reduction of valuable food from the business. Instilling the mindset that we can all help others has been a wonderful trait to nurture.

The collection of the other items was well supported and continues.

Bellbird 8b

What Did they Notice Along the Way?

*All students K-6 have had the opportunity to be involved.

*Knowledge of environmental facts has increased.

*Desire to devise plans to take action for change have developed.

*Students have included their parents and family members in their learning journey.

*Everybody has made some impact upon positive choices for a sustainable environment both at school and home.

*All of the initiatives we have implemented continue to develop and enhance our students’ lives and those of our community.

Wow – awesome Bellbird Public School

#SDG2 SDG4 #SDG12 #SDG13 #SDG15

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Lochinvar Public School share what was exciting, unfortunate and surprising about participating in Kreative Koalas

We asked Lochinvar Public School what was was

EXCELLENT

UNFORTUNATE

SURPRISING about participating in Kreative Koalas

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This is what they had to say

The whole process has been incredibly rewarding, eye opening and life changing! We feel that it has completely changed the culture of the school. The conversations and research at the beginning of the year really led our environmental team to make changes. We were concerned that the changes might not last very long, but letting the students lead the change has been the key to its success. It’s excellent to see the conversations around the playground everyday. The students (and staff!) love checking with a Nature Ninja to confirm they are putting their rubbish in the correct place.

We were surprised how easy it was to get other schools and community businesses involved. With TV shows like “War on Waste” from ABC the community is aware of the effect humans are having on the environment, therefore they are keen to make changes.

On our recent year 3/4 excursion to Sydney it was lovely to see students pick up rubbish without being asked while we were at Taronga Zoo, then they even made an effort to put it in the correct bin. Many students found bread tags, lids and ring pulls on the ground which they took to a teacher to take back to our Recycling Zone…every little bit counts! A Nature Ninja also asked the zoo staff if we could take the lids from breakfast back to school. It was lovely to see our recycling efforts don’t just happen on school grounds, which confirms this whole process has been worth the effort!

The fact that Maitland’s landfill area, known as Mt Vincent Road Waste Management Centre, sits on Wonnarua country only about 30 kilometres from our school is very disturbing to us. It has built a desire to respect, reduce, reuse and recycle.

We are delighted how many conversations we are having with staff and parents about how they are changing their buying, recycling and reusing practices at home too.

Where to next?

With the end of the year drawing near, our Nature Ninjas are planning ahead for next year. We have the following ideas in the pipeline.

• Introduce nude food/zero waste days

• Plan lessons around wants and needs to reduce general consumption

• Build a yarning circle to complement our existing gardens and show respect to our Aboriginal community, as it would be a community space for all people to use.

Our most exciting news is that we are working with Lower Hunter Landcare at the moment and they are seeking grants on our behalf to run a community project for Lochinvar Creek. Lochinvar Creek runs under the New England Highway not far from the front of our school, then bends around and flows along our back fence. The project aims to clear the area of introduced species and weeds. Our students, plus invited community members, will then plant natives to encourage the local wildlife to return to our area. This project is expected to start in February.

Staff and students have really enjoyed the Kreative Koala journey this year as it has given us the kick start we needed to make necessary changes to improve our environment for the future. Without this project we would still be guessing which bin to put or rubbish in and disrespecting the environment by sending unnecessary items to landfill.

Meet Lochinvar Public School’s Kreative Koala

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Young Farming Champions Muster September 2019 2nd Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the globe. 

In the Field 

Spring is here and our young farmers are starting the season on a high. They’re planting trees, shearing sheep, hanging out with cute little lambs and stopping to smell the wildflowers along the way. 

Wool YFC Melissa Henry, from Quebon Coloured Sheep,  has been busy planting trees with her three year old daughter Ruby on their farm near Young, NSW. “ We’re planting Yellow Box, Apple Box, White Box and Blakley’s Red Gum,” Mel says. “These species are part of the threatened ecological community of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands on the SW Slopes of NSW. We are planting paddock trees to provide connectivity across the landscape for the Superb Parrot and other woodland bird species as well as providing shade for our sheep. It’s a win win.” 

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Another Woolly YFC and YVLT Communications Creative Team Leader Bessie Thomas is enjoying the first season of wildflowers in three years on her sheep station in far west NSW. Bessie says good rain received in April and May has lead to the spring flourish at their Wilcannia property, while drought has made conditions too dry to grow wildflowers in the previous two years. With temperatures heating up quickly and bushfires across Australia’s eastern states we’ve got our fingers crossed for some spring and summer rain for all those who need it. 

Bessies Wildflowers

YFC, agronomist and director of Summit Agriculture Emma Ayliffe took a break from her usual work outside among the cotton and almond crops to rousey in the shearing shed on her farm near Lake Cargelligo, NSW. Emma and her partner Craig shore their 200 Dohne Merino ewes and crutched their remaining 100 lambs. “Considering how dry it has been we have managed to keep the stock in great condition,” Emma says. “The remaining 100 lambs will hopefully be sold in the next 4-6 weeks.” 

Emma Ayliffe Shearing 1Emma Ayliffe shearing 3

In keeping with the wool theme, our resident Local Land Services (LLS) vet and Wool YFC Dione Howard has been hanging out with the cutest little lambs near her hometown of Lockhart, NSW, during lamb marking: “These little ones were too young to be marked so they were hanging out waiting.” 

Lambs

Dione has started a new Instagram account with the Riverina LLS vet team showcasing what’s happening in the field. Check out @locallivestockvets on Instagram to follow Dione and her colleagues, along with all their cool cases, seasonal warnings, animal health updates and more. 

Local Livestock Vets Instagram

And check out these cuties hanging out with our newest Australian Wool Innovation YFC and shearer Tom Squires on the north coast of Tasmania! What a glorious start to spring!

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Out of the Field 

It’s been a huge fortnight on the ag social calendar for our YFC, as usual! 

YFC Emma Ayliffe, Chloe Dutschke and Lucy Collingridge attended the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement at Parliament House, Canberra. 

Lucy Collingridge Rural Womens Awards

With over 500 people in attendance, the sell out event included a large number of agri-influencers and provided a range of networking opportunities. Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, NFF’s Fiona Simpson and Tony Maher and journalist Pip Courtney were among those present.

Our YFC also caught up with some friends of the program – NFF 2030 Leader Nicole McDonald and Country to Canberra’s Hannah Wandel were also enjoying the night.

The dinner was the announcement of the national winner of the Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, with a big congratulations to Jo Palmer from The Rock, NSW for securing the national title.

YFC and YVLT Communication Social Media Coordinator Lucy Collindridge says, “Last night was an amazing opportunity to meet and be inspired by some of the leading female agriculturalists from across Australia. Passionate, hard working, resilient and humble. In the words of Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ The 2019 national finalists are a group of rural women showing the world exactly what you can achieve!”

Emma Ayliffe Rural Womens

Sue Middleton, 2010 Rural Women of the Year, FRRR board member and Twitter influencer with our wonderful Youth Voices Leadership Team vice chair and YFC Emma Ayliffe. 

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Emma Ayliffe home after Rural Womens Awards

Last week Wool YFC Adele Smith was out and about at the 2019 SWS Stud Merino Breeders Field Day in Harden, NSW. Adele’s employer Moses & Son were sponsors of the event and Adele enjoyed the day chatting to producers and studs about the services they offer – including wool weighing, shown below: 

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Wool YFC and LLS Biosecutiry Officer Lucy Collingridge coordinated a landholder meeting to finalise a pig ecology and community engagement research project in her area. The project, which is part of a larger scale PhD project for Darren Marshall of SQ Landscapes, looked at the movement of pigs through the environment, the impact of coordinated management programs and the attitudes of farmers in the group to feral pig management.

ABC Landline was back again to film the project, with a segment coming up about the results of the project. If you’re interested to learn more about the project, check out the original Landline story here. 

YFC and Local Land Services vet Dione Howard attended Farmers for Climate Action’s conference in Orange and she says it was unlike any conference she has attended before! “The theme of the conference was ‘Risks and rewards of farming in a changing climate’ and the line up of speakers presented just that – the facts of climate change and the effects which are already upon us, but also the opportunities and real solutions that exist to minimise agriculture’s contribution to climate change. It was empowering to take home strategies for land and animal management, resilience and wellbeing.”

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University of New England (UNE) YFC Ruby Canning was at the recent Tamworth Show judging for the F002 Qualifying beef paraders. The top 12 from the class will go forward and represent at Sydney Royal Show next year. 

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Taking advantage of a recent uni holiday break, Ruby ran a workshop at Kempsey High School about parading, clipping and junior judging, which included tips on how to get over the fear of the microphone at judging competitions, show preparation, and beef showmanship. 

“This was organised after I judged an outstanding group of students at Kempsey Show earlier this year and about 32 students attended the all-day workshop,” Ruby says. “It was great to be able to provide some guidance to a group of passionate young beef enthusiasts, and hear about some of their aspirations within the industry. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and insight about my experiences in junior judging and paraders and giving some tips. The feedback was positive, as students enjoyed the opportunity to participate and ask questions, and they were all very appreciative of my time which was lovely.”

Last week NFF 2030 Leader Matt Champness attended the Asia-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) Conference in Kuching, Malaysia. Matt is currently working with rice farmers in Laos and presented some of his work on week control at conference. 

Matt Champness at Weeds conference

Matt sent us this recap from the event: Unsurprisingly due rice being the major crop grown in the region, controlling weeds in rice was the basis for many of the presentation – of high relevance to me. Herbicide resistance would appear to be a major issue in the region – as it is globally. I was therefore disappointed to see so much work on developing new chemistry or differing mixes to overcome this issue. As Einstein famously defined insanity “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

I delivered a presentation on the work the Crawford Fund is doing to build capacity in weed identification and control weeds in direct seeded rice in the Lao PDR. The crux of the presentation was the inter-row cutter we have developed to control weeds. Fortunately there were some great presentations on biological control of weeds and physical and cultural controls – crop competitiveness, row spacing, clean seed etc (a bit more sophisticated than my whipper snipper presso!) I also learnt a great deal about successful methods of capacity building and extension in the region – something I am incredibly passionate about. The conference provided a great opportunity to learn and network with leaders in the region. I must thank the Crawford Fund for their continued support.

Matt Champness whipper snipper

Congratulations to fellow NFF 2030 Leader and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon who was the keynote speaker at the gala dinner for the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) conference in Darwin. This year’s theme was Extending Horizons – fitting for Aimee’s first trip to the Northern Territory – and she also joined the other keynote speakers and conference organisers on a panel to wrap up the conference. 

“I was really inspired by the sharing and collaboration of the delegates,” Aimee says. “The concurrent sessions showcased projects from right across the Australasia Pacific region and across industry. The passion and knowledge of our extension officers, and their drive to deliver improvements, efficiencies and technology for growers is impressive! As a collective they have an incredible story to tell, and make an invaluable contribution to our industry. It was a honour to share the LEGO Farmer with them.” 

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We’ve got fresh pics from Global Table where Climate YFC Anika Molesworth moderated a panel on Disrupting Climate Change. She also spoke with former US Secretary of State John Kerry about sharing the story of agriculture and how to engage others on climate action.

Anika Molesworth Global Table 1

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We’re on LinkedIn! As we continue to innovate and raise the profile of emerging leaders in agriculture, we’ve taken to LinkedIn with the Picture You in Agriculture page. 

In the last 30-days, we’ve had more than 6,400 people read about the stories of Young Farming Champions, the Youth Voices Leadership Team, Lynne Strong’s journey leading the organization and all of the support that our range of diverse partners provide us.

If you’d like to learn more about what our team is up to, please look us up, follow our page and let us know what you think. 

Coming up Out of the Field… 

Henty Machinery Field Days is this week! It runs from Tuesday 17th-Thursday 19th September and there’ll be tractors and trailers and big cultivators. YFC Dione Howard will be at the LLS shed on Wednesday and LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon will be speaking at the Charles Sturt University Innovation Hub on Tuesday. Don’t forget to say hi if you see them!

Prime Cuts 

What a week for YFC,  InStyle Farmer for Change and founder of Climate Wise Agriculture Anika Molesworth! Anika has been named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 2019 100 Women of Influence. Congratulations Anika! She’s joined by an inspirational and diverse array of influential women, including friend of Picture You in Agriculture and founder of Farmers For Climate Action Anna Rose. Mega kudos to you both. 

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Congrats  to our eggs and poultry YFC Jasmine Whitten who will be heading out west to the NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in Broken Hill next month! 🎉 She has been selected as 1 of 5 young people from across NSW to receive the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust/Intrepid Landcare sponsorship to attend the conference. Wool YFC Melissa Henry is also heading Broken Hill way for the conference so watch this space for a full recap next month. 

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Congratulations to Grains YFC Calum Watt who has had a phenomenal week of wins. Calum won the Murdoch University’s 3 Minute Thesis competition where research students have to explain their doctoral thesis in less than 180 seconds. He’s is now heading to Brisbane in October for the Asia Pacific finals. 

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Also this week Calum won the Paul Johnston memorial award for best presentation for an under 35 year old at the National Barley Technical Symposium.

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And last but not least, Calum has been accepted into the Fresh Science 2019 WA program, a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.

Calum’s PhD sees him using CRISPR technology to improve the productivity of barley crops and he has just submitted his second paper for publication. Huge, huge congrats on all Calum! 

Huge congrats also to YFC Emma Ayliffe who has been nominated in the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Awards! Good luck Emma!

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UNE YFC Becca George has just been just announced as one of the ALFA SMARTBEEF Conference scholarship recipients from Angus Australia. She’ll be heading to Dalby, Qld, to attend the conference in the first week of October. Well done Becca, we can’t wait to hear more! 

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Beef researcher and YFC Steph Fowler (pictured center) attended the the NSW DPI Central West Cluster Regional Research Roundup and won best early career research presentation. Congratulations Steph! 

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Our two newest wool YFC Tom Squires and Matt Cumming featured in the latest issue of Australian Wool Innovation quarterly online magazine Beyond the Bale. Click here to read about these two shearers who are going above and beyond to make their industry the best it can be. Great read, Tom and Matt! 

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YFC Emma Ayliffe was featured in The Land newspaper this week for her research on using parasitic wasps to control whitefly in cotton crops. It’s fabulous to see you positively changing the Cotton Australia industry Emma. Read the story: Parasitic wasps effective against cotton crop pest, silverleaf whitefly. 

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Dairy YFC Sally Downie is also in The Land this week, after telling her story of mental health battles and triumphs in the Hear Them Raw podcast. This is a truly touching story about one incredibly strong woman, who used her personal experiences to launch the Grassroots Blueprint initiative for better rural and regional mental health at a grassroots level. Read Sally’s story here and listen to the podcast Hear Them Raw here. 

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In conjunction with Sydney Science Park and Little Brick Pastoral, Picture You in Agriculture has launched our third “Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture” competition to coincide with National Agriculture Day on November 21. The competition is open to school students Years 5 to 12 and we want them envisage their own career in STEM based agriculture. National Farmers Federation blogged about our comp on Australian Farmers this week: Imagine Your Dream Career in Agriculture

Or head straight to the competition link on our website HERE

Lego Characters

Lifetime Highlights 

Congratulations to Little Brick Pastoral (aka LEGO Farmer Aimee Snowdon) on your 5th Birthday! 

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We loved this blog entry from superstar YFC, auctioneer and wool technician Sam Wan, which we’re sure must have been a lifetime highlight!  Did you know Icebreaker has a lifetime sock guarantee on its merino socks? We didn’t! Read Sam’s blog Wool For Every Day to find out how she went about returning and replacing her worn out merino socks for FREE! What more incentive do you need for buying wonderful wool? 

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Archie Action 

Wool YFC Peta Bradley visited Skillset Senior College Bathurst and WOW, check out their work in progress!

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Anika Molesworth loved her Google Hangout with James Erskine Public School students, who were super excited about their Kreative Koalas learning and loving doing composting and recycling in their school. Anika says they asked awesome questions and they are planning to give a presentation to their 500 peers on climate change. 

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#ArchieAction #YouthinAg #YouthVoicesYFC