Kudos where kudos is due Woolworths

This post is a salute to Woolworths. You might just be surprised where they are investing some of their profits.

3 Serves of dairy

And that’s just the cows!

Imagine the amount of land!

The people!

The infrastructure!

Supporting business!

The technology!

It takes to get your dairy products from cow to consumer!

These are only a handful of questions and they are only for one area of agriculture.

Yes we all have to eat and that alone means that agriculture is not only important but vital.

Yet agriculture faces new challenges every day, including activist groups who see livestock farmers as the right hand of devil.

The key to debunking myth conceptions about modern agricultural  farming practices starts with the education sector. The key to success begins with partnering with the 250,000 teachers teaching the 3.5 million students in the 9,500 Australian schools.

Icecream stat for dairy

Once we have excited some of these 3.5 million students to consider careers in the agrifood sector, it is imperative that we deliver on the promise in order to retain them. Sadly we don’t do this well enough

Like our individual food and fibre industries, we need a better “supply chain” for young people to develop skills that enable them to engage, grow and take charge of their industries.

Currently, we see a number of programs aimed at developing individuals at various stages in life, but many lack the mechanisms to support and mentor and galvanize these people into roles that have meaning within our industries, in the medium to longer term.

There is no point training young people if we then abandon them; believing our job is done after holding workshops and camps for them.

If we don’t continue to develop our young people, we lose a generation of leaders, innovators and workers as they seek opportunities elsewhere.

There will be no-one to take over the farm, or work in our agribusinesses.

Excitingly we don’t have to start at the beginning. There is a great pathway in place. All it needs is more agricultural industries supporting it


This diagram identifies cross industry supported programs whose core business is developing next gen agricultural ambassadors, workforce and leaders  

This post is salute to Woolworths who is heavily investing in this space, albeit I am given to understand not as much as they have in the past.

I have spent a bit of time at Woolworths and yes there people who work there who are only driven by $ in the till and $ in shareholders pockets which ultimately mean $ in their pockets.

There also a lot of people at Woolworths who truly care about farmers. I know because I have met them and they walk the talk.

To help to develop and nurture Next Gen Ag Leaders Woolworths run a yearly program called the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship Program (WABSP) offering 24 young people in agriculture between the ages of 18 and 35 the chance to attend

The course is practical as well as theoretical, and covers topics such as:  

• Business strategy and planning

• Agricultural value chain

• Successful business leadership

• Business finance

• Logistics and supply chain management

• The role of government

• Understanding retail

• Sustainability and environmental issues

• Personal development

You only have to see what the alumni have to say to see the potential outcomes it can deliver

At Art4Agriculture, an important part of our mission is to link our Young Farming Champions alumni with further opportunities within their industry and beyond to continue the journey of growth and leadership.

We actively encourage our Young Farming Champions to apply for the WABSP

2013 Art4Agriculture/Target 100 Beef Young Farming Champion Jasmine Nixon attended in 2012

Jasmine Nixon

Jasmine applied because she wanted to gain an increased understanding of the end consumer through broadening her industry knowledge and the paddock to plate concept.

Working in the quality control and assurance team at Teys Australia’s Wagga abattoir, which supplies meat products to Woolworths and other major supermarket chains Jasmine was looking forward to learning more about the end consumer and what is trending.

The meat industry is facing significant challenges and there is a greater focus on meeting the demands of the customer and gaining a better understanding of them – this is something that Jasmine feels is crucial to her role and the success of the company.

She saw the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship program is about filling the knowledge gap and learning more about the supply chain and the logistical challenge of supplying fresh food to the nation.

Extract from http://www.beefcentral.com/p/news/article/2131

As the Australian farmers face all kinds of unrelenting changes in their environment, there is a need for individuals who are capable of turning strategy into reality.

There is a great “supply chain” for young people to help them develop skills that enable them to engage, grow and take charge of their industries.

Is your industry supporting it?

See Next Gen Ag Leaders Pathway supporting partners here



Horizon Scholarship Program

Art4Agriculture plus NSW Farmers who have just signed on and you can find our community Partners here

Woolworths Agribusiness Scholarship Program

Climate Champions This page needs updating Dairy Australia has withdrawn and AWI have come on board



If you take the time to look you will notice some industries and supply chain partners pop up in every single one or almost.

Sadly the dairy industry is very much missing in action

What about the supermarkets who rely so heavily on our farmers.

Did you see Coles? No I don’t thinks so. But you may have noticed Woolworths directly sponsors 4 of the 7 and has provided support to another two in the past and commits more than $140K per year to its own Woolworths Agribusiness Scholarship Program

Kudos where kudos is due I say

Just before I go Here is another great idea Woolworths from one of our Young Farming Champions Kylie Stretton who has certainly crowd sourced for you here 

This post is another in the series. “Success is the journey not the destination and it’s the people you partner with that determine how fast you get there and how rewarding it will be”

The lighter side of life

Todays guest blog post comes from Kirsty McCormack. Kirsty is a lover of horses and all things cotton,a converted Ag ‘fag’ and 2nd year Rural Science student at UNE.

Photo shoot for Science Taking you Places

My story starts 19 years ago in the little country town of Inverell.

Inverell Map

My hometown is situated in the New England North West region of New South Wales and is a thriving commercial and service centre with a district population of 18,000.

I have been immersed in the rural side of life every since i was a youngster, which to me is much like the bright side of life. I have ridden horses since I was two with my family and I campdraft most weekends.

Family Photo of me and my brother i was 3 years old on my first horse

I have played Polocrosse, competed at state and national horse riding events and won national titles – all for a great love of horses.

Pony Club Captain winning overall Zone 13 aggregate Highest point scoring club 2009

As well as having a passion for sport, I have definitely tried my hand at a range of things and found that I haven’t completely embarrassed myself 100% of the time!

After growing up on a 75 acre property 8kms out of town with a multitude of 20 plus working dogs, 15 or so horses and a few cattle and sheep which has provided meat for our freezer it is a wonder that I did not have my heart set on a future in agriculture. But that was not the case, I was a head strong driven young girl who had decided that being a lawyer was the ideal occupation for someone that would go head to head with her mother on a regular basis, claiming that she was ‘always right’. So at Holy Trinity School Inverell I nurtured my skills, studying Japanese and Commerce as electives and avoiding agriculture at all costs, assuming that it was only associated with dead end jobs with poor pay. How wrong was I!

It was not until I left the familiar surroundings of Inverell and went to Calrossy Anglican School that I was introduced to this ‘brighter side of life’!

My lines for year 11 did not match up so I had to take Agriculture instead of Religion, and was pleasantly surprised when my teacher Brony Nielsen stepped into the room.

Calrossy Primary Industries class 2012 - having fun on the farm

Fun on the farm

In 2011 with Brony’s encouragement I led a cow for the first time, took up meat judging, attended the biannual Cotton Australia Cotton Conference, went to RYAG Cattle Camp and was voted Karrawarra House Sporting Captain.

House Captin and Mad entusiast for all aspects of shchool life. house Won ALL events that year!

Calrossy opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed. Being able to lead cattle at Sydney and regional shows has allowed me to make some great contacts in the cattle industry

Leading at Tamworth Show 2010 Zone finals for selection for sydney

Being the Junior Inter Collegiate Meat Judging Champion at Scone Beef Bonanza in 2011 is another amazing notch to have on my belt. One of the most astonishing experiences was the opportunity to attend the Cotton Conference thanks to WinCott and Georgie Carrigan.

Cotton Conferene 2010 - Calrossy

Attending 2010 Cotton Conference with Calrossy Anglican College

The opportunity to meet so many interesting and diverse professionals in the cotton industry and seeing what the cotton industry has to offer I was absolutely blown away by the innovation, eagerness and pride that everyone there exuded about their passion – cotton. To start with I was going in blind, after only wearing the fibre I had no idea when the plant was grown, what it entailed or the mechanisms used to actually produce a real of cotton, so naturally I came home a little overwhelmed and all hyped on information thinking, about all the possibilities that this little plant had to offer me.

So as I entered year 12 my aspirations and goals began to change, I started investigating degrees and universities that had a strong agricultural line and program.

PICSE Youth Round Table - Ambassador 2012 Canberra

PICSE Youth Roundtable 2012

Here is where I was introduced to PICSE (Primary Industry Centre for Science Education) and the student industry placement scholarship. PICSE provided me with a week jam-packed with sessions, presented by the most energetic scientists, farmers, growers, researchers and students imaginable. I got a taste of what could be really achieved by the agricultural industry, through being able to witness the latest research in mitigating methane production in cattle, rotating dairy’s, greenhouses and grain operations I was no longer hoodwinked by the dead end, bad pay idea. Instead I now think agriculture is one of the most forward thinking, innovative, young industries in this country and the world today. You can have a look at what other young PISCE graduates have to say here

Within my year 12 syllabus we also carried out a Cotton Study which entailed a field trip and farm visit. This trip definitely re-enforced what I had been so awe inspired by the previous year and only fuelled my fire towards being involved in the cotton industry. I got to jump in cotton, be in cotton, feel cotton and help grow cotton. We got in, on and around the module builders the buggies, and pickers. This was enough to send me over the edge – in love with cotton. Cotton trip 2011 that changed my direction

From this trip and PICSE I continued through my final year with a new direction and new motivation, getting involved in all aspects of boarding school life and loving every moment. I graduated with great marks and a great time, enough to get me straight into university the following year at UNE studying a Bachelor of Rural Science.

So through the summer naturally I went bug checking and nutrition sampling.

Bug checking with CGS in summer of 2012

Carol Sanson at Cotton Growers Services at Gunnedah took me on after meeting on the excursion earlier that year, and I thoroughly cherished and enjoyed every moment of it. From literally counting bugs, to meeting farmers, sending leaf and petiole samples and driving the forklift, the whole experience was amazing and has benefited me throughout my studies at university. I was sad to leave the job and not finish the season as the end of the week came around all too soon before picking started.

I am definitely one very lucky university student though, on arriving in first year I was lucky enough to have been awarded financial assistance in the way of four amazing scholarship. With my ATAR I was awarded the UNE Country Scholarship, and three industry prizes, the Royal Agricultural Society Foundation Scholarship, Australian Wool Education Trust Fund Scholarship and RIRDC Horizon Scholarship. Within these amazing opportunities my 2012 year was full of motivating and exciting events that I was able to participate on and present at. I had two trips to Canberra one being awarded as a PICSE Ambassador, going into parliament house and presenting the findings from out Youth Round Table Discussion, and another with the Horizon scholars where we had an opportunity to make invaluable contacts and be heard on the Country Hour LIVE! Attending the 2012 Cotton Conference where I spoke to students, presenting at numerous PICSE events/functions and going to Sydney Royal, has all made for a busy year! Through participating in college life I am now an Academic advisor and on a leadership scholarship at St Alberts College and loving being able to help students learn about science.

I think the agricultural industry has a lot to offer every individual, through the little chunk I have been able to experience and been apart of thus far has only spurred me on towards aligning my future with the future of agriculture. I will never give up my horses and the link I have to the land through my dogs and cattle but with this newfound passion for cotton I can definitely see myself being a plant fanatic. When I finish my Rural Science degree I would like to complete a diploma of education to inspire other students the way my agricultural teacher did, I would like to go on an “agriventure”, be involved in research, be a cotton agronomist and one day a farmer’s wife! – But not just yet.

I am so excited to be involved in this great opportunity to show others how Bright a Lighter Side of Life can be!