Young Farming Champions Muster November 2022

 

 

 

Headline Act

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart its right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it.” Alison Mirams 

This is one of the favourite quotes of Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong who has spent decades championing young people and watching as they shine and make a difference to the world around them. This belief was mirrored recently at the 2022 NSW Sustainability Awards (also known as the Banksia Awards), announced in October, where both Young Farming Champions and students from our school programs were celebrated. Take a look at some of the winners:

Minister’s Young Climate Champion: Winner – Kreative Koalas participant St Brigid’s Primary School; finalist – Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize participant Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education.

NSW Communications for Impact Award: Finalist – Action4Agriculture/Kreative Koalas

NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award: Joint Winners – Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert.

What a night! Read more about Lynne’s thoughts on the awards and young people as changemakers here.

 

The Team

The NSW Sustainability Awards prove our YFC and our school programs have impact and 2023 will bring more opportunities to fly the agricultural flag with the launch of two new programs: Action4Youth and Young Environmental Champions. Both programs will allow YFC to engage the next generation in agricultural conversations and agricultural career pathways. Stay tuned!

 

In the Field

From paddocks (and oceans) in Australia and across the world, to wool-selling centres and city-based jobs providing help for the hungry, our Young Farming Champions prove there is plethora of career opportunities beyond (and behind) the farm gate.

One YFC making the most of his agricultural pathway is Sam O’Rafferty who works with Summit Ag in southern NSW, where rain and flooding have impacted the production area and planting season for cotton. Despite the challenges Sam reports that cotton seedlings are established and the crop is powering along. Thanks for the update, Sam.

Francesca Earp’s agricultural field is in Laos, where she recently returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. “I was in Laos for three weeks meeting with organisations working on female empowerment, and planning fieldwork for next year’s PhD data collection. I also attended the wedding of one of my colleagues Bouakeo and his wife Koung.”

Providing food is not just a land-based activity as Bryan Van Wyk, our fishing YFC and operations manager for Austral Fisheries, reports from northern waters:

“We have just finished our 2022 tiger prawn season in the Northern Prawn Fishery. 52 vessels fished waters west of Darwin (NT) through to Weipa (QLD) for the past three months catching a variety of different prawn species. At the top of the list sits tiger prawns which are one of the largest and most sought after wild caught prawns in the world. It has not been an easy year for fishers. We have faced many challenges in tough economic climates, which you can listen more about here in an interview with the ABC (6 mins in).”

As part of her successful career as a wool broker Samantha Wan attended AWI’s Wool Broker Forum held in Sydney recently.

“It was highly informative with insightful guest speakers covering global business intelligence, consumer research, education and more, and also an excellent opportunity to network with others in the same area of the supply chain and have open dialogue on current issues.”

A shout-out to George Lehmann from AWI who has been supporting Sam and other Wool YFC by providing access to a range of guest speakers including Bridget Peachey (sheep health and welfare), Miles Barritt (traceability), Mark Scott (Woolmark certification) and Geoff Linden (genetics and animal welfare.) AWI also runs a wool podcast called The Yarn, which recently featured YFC Katherine Bain. Listen here.

Congratulations to Tayla Field who has started a new job with Foodbank Australia as a national program manager for agriculture.

“Foodbank is a non-for-profit business that sources a range of products including food and non-food items such as personal hygiene products for charities. In my new role I will be looking after the agricultural programs that source fresh food at Foodbank including working with growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The role will cover fresh products including meat, dairy, eggs and fresh produce, while also touching on logistics/transport and packaging. I am looking forward to building on my current skills and developing a new network within a range of agricultural industries.”

 

Out of the Field

Congratulations are in order for Katherine Bain who has channelled her love of sheep and agricultural shows to be named the runner-up in the Victorian Rural Ambassador Awards. As part of the competition Katherine spent three days at the Royal Melbourne Show in September where she not only participated in competition interviews, but gained behind-the-scenes insights into how a royal show is orchestrated. Highlights included the commentator’s box (“very impressive”), presenting ribbons to the finest Burmese Mountain Dogs (“a new but very enjoyable experience”), the show’s ‘Big Brother’ room (“where they keep an eye on everything!”) and participating in the Young Farmer Challenge. Well done, Katherine. I think you have inspired us all to have a shot at the Rural Ambassador Awards!

Staying with shows and Lucy Collingridge was recognised for her commitment to the agricultural show movement when she was awarded life membership of the Cootamundra Show Society at their 2022 Show. Lucy began her agricultural journey on a farm in Condobolin, however it was the Cootamundra Show that expanded her love and education about all things ag; from running the ute competition before she could legally drive herself, to competing in the junior judging events to now overseeing the fleece junior judging Group 9 final, and managing the website and social media for the show society from nine hours away. Lucy has been hands on wherever the Cootamundra Show Society has needed her for many years.

Lucy is pictured with her Mum, Sharon, and the Cootamundra Show President Geoff Larsen.

How can we re-imagine solutions to food security, and support SDG 2: Zero Hunger? This was the question Dylan Male took to high school students across Australia and Indonesia as a guest speaker at Asialink’s ‘Asia Education Foundation’ in early November.

“Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges shared by our global community. Climate change, an increasing population, increasing farm input costs, land degradation, biodiversity loss and conflict are just some of the key colliding challenges adding pressure to our food systems. Positively, agricultural scientists are working with farmers around the world to optimise food production and support a world of #ZeroHunger,” Dylan says. “It was great to be a part of a program that is supporting young people to develop their own solutions and action orientated ideas, which will help contribute towards a world of Zero Hunger into the future.”

 

Prime Cuts

Congratulations to Anika Molesworth, who not only was joint winner of the NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award, but has been named as Australian Geographic’s Conservationist of the Year.

Want to hear Anika talk about electric cars in the Outback? Check out this Central Station podcast.

 

 

Personal Highlights

Jess Fearnley had a lovely surprise during her holidays. Her partner Christopher Pattison proposed to her on the shores of Lake Macquarie and she said yes! Congratulations Jess; we wish you both a lifetime of happiness.

#creatingabetterworldtogether #YouthVoices #YoungFarmingChampions #Action4Agriculture

Young Farming Champion Katie Barnett and NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke are working together to take action on issues they care about

Agility Agriculture founder Josie Clarke (pictured with father Glen) and Katie Barnett are working together to raise funds for the causes they care about 

Many of our Young Farming Champions develop their love of agriculture through the show rings and continue the association throughout their careers. YFC Katie Barnett, who works as a farm manager on “Taylors Run” at Kentucky in NSW, is one such young person and earlier this year she was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.

2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year Competition Winners L to R Senior: Katie Barnett, Junior: Lilly Rosten, Teen: India Dowling

The Young Woman of the Year competition is held at agricultural shows across NSW and aims to find a young female ambassador to represent rural areas and the show movement. The program is designed to develop regional young women, their local show societies and their communities. During the competition participants are given the opportunity to be interviewed, public speak, present and network. Local winners, like Katie, will compete in a zone final and if successful go on to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where they vie to be named The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman of the Year.

“Whilst in this role I really wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would like to hold fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a project started by local Kempsey woman and 2022 NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke,” Katie says.

Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities working within agriculture; raising awareness and dispelling the myth that agriculture is only a career for the able-bodied.

“I started Agility Agriculture in 2021 as a bit of a passion project. When I was 5 my Dad had a truck accident and is now is a wheelchair and I am therefore aware of things like accessibility issues for him. I wanted to share stories of people with disabilities in agriculture to challenge traditional views, raise awareness, create opportunity and provide a supportive community,” Josie says.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su18Z6L7dqk

Katie, too, sees disability first-hand:

“Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”

A portion of the money raised by Katie will assist Agility Agriculture establish a not-for-profit charity, which will include a job site, scholarships to university, leadership courses and funding for families. Katie has kicked off her fundraising with a Bake Sale at the Kempsey Saleyards, which raised over $700. A raffle and a 100s club are currently running and a trivia night is to be held in late October.

“Katie’s funds will directly help me with a scholarship to send two people to an agricultural conference in Adelaide next year,” Josie says.

Thanks to Katie for bringing Agility Agriculture to our attention and thank you to Josie for making positive changes to show people with a disability can find meaningful careers in agriculture.

#CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Young Farming Champions Muster September 2022

Headline Act

What better way to headline the September Muster (when many of us are still shivering through the tail of winter) than to check in with Bryan Van Wyk as he sends his prawn fleet into warm northern waters. Bryan is a wonderful example of respecting and showcasing those we work with in fishing and agriculture.

“We currently have our fleet of 11 prawn trawlers dispersed across northern Australia over productive “prawn paddocks” ready to deploy their nets for the 2022 tiger prawn season. An incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work goes into getting a fleet like this to sea. I’m talking about a huge collaborative effort from a range of highly skilled contractors, engineers, surveyors, fleet and engineering managers, various suppliers and of course, our crews. We have 60 of the most extraordinary, dedicated, and strongest men and women from all around the world working together to produce some of the highest quality seafood Australia has to offer.

This is the tiger prawn season. Three months at sea catching what many consider to be one of the largest, most premium, and delicious wild caught prawns in the world. At the top of that list sits Skull Island prawns. Skull Island tiger prawns are renowned for their beautiful glossy red colours, versatility in high end dining rooms and sustainability. Primarily sold to Japan, it can fetch a hefty price of up to $100 per kilo retail, but Skull Island prawns are also making their presence felt in Australian domestic markets with many of the country’s best chefs instantly falling in love with the product after cooking with them. Today we raise a glass, salute the people at sea and wish them all a safe and productive 2022 Skull Island season.”

Check out this video starring Bryan talking about the career he loves.

The Team

Despite COVID complications still impacting The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, our YFC are doing their part to bring agriculture into the classrooms. Emily May made her live radio debut with ABC Illawarra talking about the successful Paddock Pen Pals program.

“I am really passionate about this program, which connects school students in urban areas with upcoming young rural leaders, allowing them to learn about the wonderful world of agriculture.” Well done, Emily.

In the Field

Also on the ABC was Danielle Fordham, alumni officer at Tocal College, speaking with Bridget Murphy from ABC Newcastle in the lead up to the celebration of 50 years of female students at the college.

“Representing the Tocal College Alumni is deep passion of mine, as an ex-student and now staff member. I have been given the tremendous opportunity to connect and promote our fantastic community. This significant milestone is not just a special occasion for the College, but most importantly a significant milestone for ‘Women in Ag’. As a proud woman in ag, I am continually inspired by the legacies of the women who have pathed the way before me and I hope to continue their ambition in breaking barriers and promoting diversity in our community.”

Literally in the field is Lachlan White who is on the tractor preparing summer feed paddocks for his beef cattle in the Hunter. Having learnt best practice pasture management from dairy farmer Butch Smith, Lachlan, who is now a farm manager with a large pastoral company, has all the skills and resources to prepare and sow 500ha of summer millet/brassica. His steers will enjoy the summer feed, alongside paddocks of existing kikuyu.

Last week Young Farming Champion and agronomist Sam O’Rafferty hosted a group of growers and fellow work colleagues to Tasmania for a cropping tour. They visited several farms in the Midlands and North West Coast regions.

It was fantastic to see many different agricultural production systems and see some of the amazing crop yields that are being achieved.

Out of the Field

Out of the field it is show season with many of our YFC involved.

NSW Rural Achiever state finalist, Lucy Collingridge attended the 2022 Narromine Young Woman competition in July. Lucy joined NSW Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Dugald Saunders, and 2022 The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman winner Molly Wright in judging the 2022 competition. Lucy was impressed with the passion and dedication the entrants demonstrated for agriculture and their rural communities:

“all of the entrants are outstanding young women and should be so proud of their contribution to their rural communities and ag industries. It’s opportunities like the Young Woman (formally Showgirl) competition that will continue to develop women across rural NSW who are our future leaders and role models for the next generation”

Katherine Bain, representing Beaufort Show, is one of 11 finalists in the Victorian Rural Ambassador awards for 2022.  Katherine is representing young people in wool. The winner will be announced at the end of September.

Continuing her duties as the 2022 National Rural Ambassador, Dione Howard, attended the Brisbane EKKA in August.

“It was an honour to judge the Qld Rural Ambassador Award and meet ten incredible young people promoting shows, agriculture and rural life. The night show at the EKKA, a tour through Qld Parliament House and an agricultural tour coordinated by AgForce Qld were highlights of a jam-packed few days.”

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Conferences are always a good place for our YFC to meet up and often present to industry.

Katherine Bain teamed up with Katie Barnett in September when they attended the SALRC Livestock 2022 conference.

“It was an exciting two days as we listened to a range of speakers talk about the potential future of livestock from a social and technological standpoint,” Katherine says. “We also got to put our thinking hats on and work through a future scenario about what farms could look like in 15 years. My table was looking at the potential of using robotics on farm, and what the opportunities and restraints of this might be. We got to meet a wide range of people in the livestock industry, from producers to researchers. I would like to thank AWI for sponsoring me to go to this wonderful event.”

Emily May was attended the 2022 Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast in August and was particularly impressed with the session on reversing the rural brain, which included insights on how to attract city kids to agriculture from friend of the YFC Scott Graham. Presenting at the conference were YFCs Liz Lobsey (discussing raingrown cotton) and Connie Mort (discussing new herbicides) while Emma Ayliffe was presented with the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust ‘Young Cotton Achiever of the Year’.

Out of the field our YFC are also stepping up to take on industry and media roles.

Florance McGufficke is revelling in her new role with the Vincent Fairfax Foundation as part of the inaugural VFFF Youth Advisory Group.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity and honoured to have been selected to be a member of this amazing group and work with such an influential and passionate organisation. ‘Backing young people’ is where it needs to start and I believe this initiative is going to create numerous opportunities. I am excited to see where this journey will take me and what I can give back to the experience. Thanks to Lynne for sharing and helping me to ‘go for it’.”

 

Young Farming Champion and NSW Rural Ambassador Jess Fearnley has also been busy. As part of her position on the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) she co-hosted a scholars day before the Annual Crawford Conference.

It was rewarding to put my presentation skills and facilitation skills to the test that I learnt with YFC.

As part of the Rural Achiever program we also had the opportunity to head to visit the Royal Adelaide Show on an exchange program to see the behind the scenes of the show!

 

Following in the footsteps of YFC Dione Howard and Sam Wan before her, Emma Turner has been announced as the 2022 WoolProducers Youth Ambassador. As part of the “Raising the Bar” program Emma will gain insights into policy development and board operations at WoolProducers, the national advocacy body for Australian wool growers. Emma currently works as the District Wool Manager for Elders in Mildura.

Jo Newton has been invited to contribute a regular column for Australian Community Media.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to be a regular contributor for Australian Community Media’s publications. It’s important the voices and images we see in media reflect the diversity of people working across the agricultural sector. Not only is it important to have different perspectives represented in media, but also to help young people identify role models and be able to visualise themselves working in food and fibre production.”

Catch Jo’s new column on FarmOnline.

Prime Cuts

The FarmOnline column is a continuation of Jo’s advocacy work. In her role as a research geneticist she travelled to Rotterdam in The Netherlands to attend the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production in July where she co-chaired a session on “Young Scientist Career Development” alongside Dr Marta Godia, Dr Hugo Toledo and Dr Biaty Raymond.

“It was an honour to co-chair the first Young Scientists Session, a valuable and much needed addition to the conference agenda. Our panellists all spoke incredibly honestly and openly about their career journeys including tackling tough topics like mental health and imposter syndrome, which was very inspiring for all in attendance.”

Photo credit European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders/Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction Technology Platform

 

Lifetime Highlights

Marlee Langfield became Marlee Gallagher in late August when she and Andrew married at The Rustic Maze and Country Garden near Cowra. Check out this beautiful shot starring their beloved dog, Ellie. Congratulations to you both Marlee and Andrew.

Photo credit to Anne Cooper Photography 

 

 

 

Agriculture – supporting A Great Place to Work culture

In their recent paper The employer of choice or a sector without a workforce? Pratley et al listed 27 barriers and challenges agriculture needs to address including:  

Many employers over a long period of time, both on-farm and off-farm, have had an expectation that it is the government’s role to provide appropriately trained labour to their industries free of charge. That is flawed thinking: other sectors seem to engage at all levels of education.

They recommend greater industry investment in education.

At Action4Agriculture we have a secret weapon – our Young Farming Champions. Everyone who meets them wants to work in agriculture

As impressive as our Young Farming Champions are at raising AWARENESS in careers in agriculture, as  McDonald, N et al. (2022), point out in their paper Career development and agriculture: we don’t need a marketing campaign the challenge is to translate AWARENESS into

… initiatives that influence people‘s career explorations, decision-making, choices and actions. Generating public awareness and knowledge about agriculture is one thing but affecting individuals career decisions is an entirely different matter. To design effective interventions to attract and retain staff requires a thorough understanding of how individuals build their careers and the different factors that influence people‘s careers decisions, choices and actions and their job satisfaction and intentions to remain in a job or industry. We need to move beyond simply campaigning for a greater public awareness of an appreciation for the types of work in agriculture.

The Action4Agriculture team are super excited to be given the opportunity through National Careers Institute funding to see what steps are required to turn AWARENESS into ATTRACTION. Visit our website here 

And we all know ATTRACTION in one thing RETENTION is another.

This is where our SUPPORT package comes in for EVERYONE involved including careers advisors, students, mentors and employers

Supporting the students ( NextGen Employees ) and careers advisors will be Liv Pennie and team from Become Education 

Our Young Farming Champions will play a pivotal role in every phase and this week we are supporting them with a workshop with Annie Simpson from Modern People 

In this workshop Annie will explore

● The power of Values & what matters most

● Exploring leading Values frameworks in positive psychology

● Understanding your own Values, and connecting them to your work and life

● Values at work, and finding the role, industry and culture for YOU

● Australia’s topic values, and values through the COVID pandemic

● 7 Traits of Change Readiness & how they show up

● How to embrace change, and grow for the better

We look forward to sharing with you the package we have put together for employers.

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether

Agriculture workforce attraction is a marathon not a sprint

As Pratley et al highlight in their excellent paper in 2022 Winter Australian Farm Journal

Australian agriculture is at the crossroads. It is charging
ahead towards its goal of $100 billion gross value
of production (GVP) by 2030 but is compromised in
that endeavour by its limited ability to find a suitable
workforce.

Our Young Farming Champions know its important to engage the next generation in conversations about careers in agriculture as soon as possible

Today Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain had those conversations with 110 Kindergarten students at  Sydney Primary School as part of our Paddock Pen Pals program

Armed with a list of questions provided to teachers by the students, Katherine settled in to share her story of her farm in Victoria

Students wanted to know

  • How big was Katherine’s farm which she explained in comparison to football fields and netball courts
  • How many paddocks and what do all the colours mean. Katherine explained the difference between improved, perennial and native pastures

  • what sort of sheep do you have on your farm? Katherine explained that her farm was very rocky as it was on the site of a former volcano so they had two types of sheep on their farm
    1. Coopworth Sheep from NZ which are bred for their meat and highly suited to rocky terrain
    2. Merino Sheep highly valued for their wool quality

  • the students asked her what she did every day and she talked about how no two days were the same and the variety of jobs on farm. She talked about how she loved working with and learning from her dad. And how she loved being able to take her dogs to work

Meet Lenny, Zip and Carly 

There were lots and lots of questions about Zip

  • The students wanted to know about the difference between human hair and wool

Katherine is very proud that her family has dedicated an area of their farm to protecting endangered native grasslands

“On my farm specifically we do a lot of work in conserving the native grasslands that remain on the property. These grasslands are part of the 1% of the volcanic grasslands that once stretched from Melbourne to near the SA border. We are very lucky to have these grasslands remaining – so we work with botanists and biologists to work out the best ways of preserving and improving these grasslands”

And the questions and answers continued

It was fascinating to be a fly on the wall watching 50 students queue up to ask Katherine questions

  • How do sheep sleep?
  • Is it muddy at your farm?
  • How long does wool grow?
  • Why does wool keep you both cool and warm?
  • Do sheep often get lost?
  • How many steps do sheep walk in one day?
  • How much water do sheep drink in one day?
  • How much grass do sheep eat in one day?
  • Are some sheep naughty?
  • Does wool grow as fast as hair?
  • How heavy do rams get?

Over the past two months our Young Farming Champions have spoken at science conferences across the world, they have presented to students across the Asia Pacific and over the next two weeks they will be talking to kindergarten students.

To have the confidence and capacity to reach such diverse audiences they have had a minimum of two years of intensive training. As Katherine found out its equally rewarding talking to six year olds as it it sharing scientific research.

As the below graphic and statistics show having role models like Katherine engaging with the next generation are pivotal to raising awareness that there is a career for them in agriculture.

As Pratley et al highlight employment offerings on-farm show no signs of declining or levelling off. (See above graphic) Rather, they have intensified. On-farm over the period of 2015 to 2021 inclusive, the demand for management personnel, based on internet advertisements, increased by over 160%
and for non-management staff by around 77%.

The increase for on-farm staff overall increased by 53% in 2021 over that for 2020. In agribusiness, i.e. off-farm professional employment, the demand increased by 44% over the six-year period and by 70% in 2021
over 2020.

These increases seem extraordinary.

The question we ask is are we leveraging all the opportunities we have at our disposal to engage with the next generation from K to 12 and beyond?

Are we ready to see it as a marathon not a sprint?

Are we ready for best practice?

You can read Katherine’s story in Graziher magazine here 

 

Impact Reports – An opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary people you work with doing extraordinary things

At Action4Agriculture we work with some truly wonderful people. One of those is our journalist Mandy McKeesick. She is such a pleasure to brief and the outcomes always bring great joy.Mandy is the author of our Impact Reports and yesterday we made our 2021 report live. 

We celebrated the students and teachers we work with who are changing the world.

We celebrated the young people in agriculture we work with who are changing the world.

We celebrated our funding partners and our supporting partners who enable them to create a world we are all proud to be part of.

Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future

The research shows they are the demographic who are aware and active. They also have the capacity to bring the rest of us along with them.

Extraordinary things are happening in our schools –

Just a couple of examples – read our Impact Report to celebrate the many others

Watch this extract from an international presentation given by our founder Lynne Strong and teacher Kristen Jones

Banksia Awards finalists Hamilton Public School’s entry for the 2021 Kreative Koalas Competition

 

Visit their website here    

And the magnificent team at Penrith Valley Learning Centre – so looking forward to celebrating their win in person

2022 is the year the team at Action4Agriculture get the opportunity to deliver best practice.

And we welcome funding and supporting partners who, like us, know success requires investing in a marathon not a sprint

Introducing our 2022 Young Farming Champions

Action4Agriculture is pleased to introduce 10 passionate agriculturists (including our first international contingent) who have joined the 2022 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program and kicked off their learning with a Goal Setting and Time Management Workshop delivered by Josh Farr.

Our 2022 cohort are:

Katharine Charles from Boorooma, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services

Sam O’Rafferty from Coleambally, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services and Murray Darling Basin Authority

Kate Webster from Gundagai, NSW, supported by Riverina Local Land Services

Lachlan White from Aberdeen, NSW, sponsored by Hunter Local Land Services

Danielle Fordham from Shortland, NSW, sponsored by Hunter Local Land Services

Florance McGufficke from Cooma, NSW, supported by AWI

Ani Dilanchian from Sydney, NSW, sponsored by Corteva

Morgan Bell from New Zealand, sponsored by Corteva

Katie Barnett from Kentucky, NSW, as an Action4Agriculture intern

Reynolds Tang-Smith from Perth, WA, as an Action4Agriculture intern

 

The 2022 cohort will each be partnered with a Young Farming Champion alumni buddy and a workplace mentor as they participate in workshops held by our Ecosystem of Expertise; workshops supported by the three pillars of leadership development, confident communicators and trusted voices.

The new cohort and established YFC recently completed a “Wants, Needs and Motivations” survey to identify areas of concern to be addressed in the workshops. Rated as very important by survey participants was the desire to increase professional self-confidence, to reduce stress, fear, worry and fear, and to set and realise personal and professional goals. As an organisation that prides itself on providing what our young people need, future workshops can be adapted to accommodate the survey results.

We are happy for the continued support of our valued partners.

Robert Kaan, MD Corteva Agriscience  Australia/NZ/Japan/Korea, explains why continued involvement with the YFC program is important:

“Corteva is supportive of the work done by the Action4Agriculture team, which is unique and highly aligned to the values of Corteva Agriscience (CTVA) in three very meaningful ways: young female leadership development, agricultural education and the development of workforce pipelines.

“The YFC are a strong and effective young leader’s network that develops key capabilities such as communication, presentation, and positive messaging around agriculture.  Our young female Australian and New Zealand CTVA employees have derived real benefit from the participation and from the support they receive in this program. In addition the YFC program supports agricultural education by creating awareness in grades K to 12 and progresses to support educators and industry to build a workforce pipeline by creating greater access to agricultural opportunities for students at post-secondary level and in both rural and urban areas.”

Meet Morgan Bell our first international Young Farming Champion supporting farmers to have economically and environmentally sound business models

Exciting news. Action4Agriculture has our first international Young Farming Champion. Today we share with you Morgan Bell’s story. Morgan works for Corteva Agriscience in their New Zealand team where she is their Western North Island Territory Manager.

 

I grew up with little knowledge about the agricultural industry. I grew up in town with my mum working as a travel agent and my dad as a builder. My first introduction into agriculture wasn’t until year 9 at high school, where I started going hunting with a friend. The farm where we hunted on, we would have to help work on during the day. This is when I really fell in love with farming and started to learn more about the industry.

I decided to join our Teen Ag club at school and changed art to gateway where I would get to spend every Monday out working on a farm learning new skills. Our class was really small with only 5 students in it. Mondays were the day I looked forward to the most, I couldn’t get enough of spending time outside and around the animals. I attended an all girls school and by the time I got to year 11 there weren’t enough students interested in taking agriculture to keep the class going, so I did it extramurally.

Every weekend and school holidays I began working on a dairy farm as work experience. I decided to go to Massey University to complete my Bachelor in Agriculture Science. My time at university was easily the best years of my life so far. Getting to meet so many amazing and driven individuals and hear their stories of why they are wanting to go into agriculture and the challenges that they face. Every day we got to learn new things and be given so many opportunities.

 

University semester breaks I worked on dairy farms, sheep and beef farms and a deer farm. I wanted to experience as many different farming systems as I could. Following university, I started my current role with Corteva Agriscience as a territory sales manager for Western North Island of New Zealand. Three years in and I have learnt so much and had the opportunity to work with so many amazing and inspiration people. Every day there are new opportunities and challenges to keep me on my toes.

 

One thing I would love to change is for young people to have access to see all the amazing opportunities out there in the primary industries. Especially coming from an urban background, it would be great to be able to showcase the variety of pathways and jobs in our industry. I think it’s important for people to realize they don’t have to be born into agriculture to help make a difference in the future.

Sustainable agriculture and farming are important to New Zealand. I find it very rewarding to be able to support farmers to understand the regulations for chemicals, fertilisers, and product requirements used in agriculture. New Zealanders are very proud to have a world wide reputation for being committed to a economically and environmentally sound business model that allows farmers to work closer with nature.

Interesting fact

Here is a picture of Morgan with some ginormous thistles

Did you know – Weeds aren’t all bad news – they can tell you a lot about your soil too.

For example

Capeweed and Stinging Nettles are signs of nutrient-rich, cultivated soil. If the growth is stunted or leaves are yellow, it would show the soil is lacking in nitrogen.

Thistles, chickweed and purslane also indicate fertility. Source 

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Meet Ani Dilanchian – A city kid choosing agriculture as a career and advocating for others to follow her lead advocating for agriculture 

Action4Agriculture has selected 10 passionate agriculturists (including our first international contingent) to join our  2022 Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program

Today we are sharing Ani Dilanchian’s story. Ani adds to the diversity of young Australians not from a farming background choosing agriculture as a career who are committed to life long learning, building their networks and advocating for agriculture

Ag camp at Barker College 

Growing up in Sydney I had very little exposure to the agriculture industry. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was offered as an elective at schools. My first introduction to agriculture came when I made the move to Barker College in year 10 and was able to study it as an elective in my final years of school. With an equestrian background, I travelled throughout NSW to compete in shows from a young age and felt my passion for riding helped foster an interest in studying agriculture, and I quickly went on to develop a strong interest in the industry.

After finishing school, I went on to study a Bachelor of Food and Agribusiness at the University of Sydney, where I was exposed to many different areas of the industry from both a business and science perspective. During my degree I attended several field trips, practical sessions and an industry internship, including travelling to Indonesia to research the sustainability of the palm oil industry.

Palm Oil Plantation in Indonesia 

This trip changed my view of the industry and its importance both locally and internationally, and I became increasingly aware of how my initial perception as a consumer was heavily influenced by how it was portrayed in the media. This realization cemented the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships between the industry and community. This is something that I believe is very relevant in the Australian agriculture industry and one I feel my generation can positively contribute towards.

 

After graduating from university, I spent a year working in the fresh produce industry at a time when the labour shortages were extremely prevalent. The severity and impact of these shortages on growers was evident, with roll-on effects to the consumers. However, I noticed a sense of disconnect and unawareness from consumers concerning the challenges within the industry. There is an opportunity for my generation to contribute towards improving awareness of the complexities and challenges from paddock to plate, and fostering meaningful communication between the industry and community to work towards strengthening the sustainability and resilience of the agriculture sector.

 Graduating with a Bachelor of Food and Agribusiness 

Having a passion and interest in sustainability within the agriculture industry, my current role with Corteva Agriscience is allowing me to gain knowledge and exposure across different areas in addition to being a part of a company committed to advancing the sustainability of the industry.

As someone who grew up in the city and wasn’t exposed to the agriculture industry until late into my schooling, I feel it’s important to encourage other young people to consider a career in the industry regardless of whether they have a background in farming. This industry offers a diverse range of career opportunities with many located in urban areas, a point that was very influential in my decision to pursue a career in agriculture, and hopefully leads others to consider joining the agriculture industry as well.

Catch Ani and some of her fellow Barker alumni being interviewed by the winner of the Prime Minster’s Prize for Secondary Science teaching Scott Graham

We are looking forward to going on Ani’s journey with her

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

 

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