Young Farming Champion Dr Jo Newton wins Victorian Changemakers Leadership Award

I have worked with some phenomenal young people in my life-time and I know how well deserved this acknowledgement of Jo Newton’s contribution to the empowerment of young people is.

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Dr Joanna Newton Winner Leadership Winner in Victorian Young Achiever Awards 

Jo was nominated for this award by her employer. When she asked me to be one of her referees, I thought how do you do some-one like Jo justice.

I have never met anyone so selfless and so team focused. Jo is a city girl who discovered agriculture at school and made it her career journey. Her passion is the science, her dedication is partnering with farmers to build the trust necessary to take the science out of lab and onto the farm. She spends every minute ruminating, consulting and planning how to make this happen

In her spare time she gives every minute to agricultural advocacy and supporting youth in agriculture.

If ever there was some-one who epitomised the word champion its Jo Newton.

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Jo said on accepting her award

In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women so it is an incredible privilege to have my contributions to agriculture recognised here tonight.

Hard work, passion and determination can take you a long way, what I have learnt is the journey is much easier when you are supported by family, friends, colleagues and mentors along the way.    

Whilst young people like Jo may only  be 20% of the population,  they are 100% of the future.  Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of an uncertain future but potentially they are best-placed to push for and define the long-term societal response to the planet they envision. They are also the most vulnerable to the legacy of decisions made by older generations. Although young adults arguably have the most to gain and the most to lose their voices are not prominent, and too often engagement with this crucial demographic is in many ways limited. How do we work together to break down the barriers to Youth Voices?

To quote from a speech another Young Farming Champion gave at the Australian Farm Institute Conference in 2017

Investing in our youth will secure the future for Australian agriculture.

We can all invest in our youth

As an as an individual, you can identify enthusiastic young members of your industry.

Encourage them to tell their stories, to step up and do a leadership program, to become the voice for the future of their industry.

Invest in them.

Together we can ensure a bright future for Australian agriculture. Dione Howard AWI Young Farming Champion

Yes its that simple. Lets do it together

#YouthVoices18 #Youthinag

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

The Soil you need to Cultivate – and the journey to balancing life, career and family with leadership

 

Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team (YVLT) member Laura Phelps recently grabbed an opportunity to broaden her knowledge and share her insights with the UK Government as part of their BREXIT strategy. This opportunity has taken Laura to London where she will be based for the next six months. Laura’s sojourn has opened to door to appoint Bessie Thomas to the YVLT.

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Bessie as a grazier and young mother brings a further depth and perspective to the group and shows its commitment to supporting young people in leadership as they face the challenges of balancing work and life.

The YVLT recognises young people are going through rapid transitions from study to work and family and part of its aim is to determine how to best support and encourage them to take on leadership roles.

Formerly involved with Art4Agriculture as an AWI wool Young Farming Champion and in media and communications behind the scenes, Bessie stepped away for a time when she had her first child in 2016.

“The Youth Voices committee seems like the perfect way for me to dip my toes in and get involved with agricultural leadership and support roles again without having to move my focus away from home, farm and motherhood,” she says.

Bessie loves her career as a journalist but she also loves her family and her outback property, and although she was quite sure she could combine them all to her usual high standard, life, she has found, has meant prioritising.

“I have a husband I love, a beautiful young child and a farm currently in drought – they all need me and this is the soil I need to cultivate right now.  I can press pause on a career and involvement with external roles, but I can’t press pause on feeding my hungry sheep, supporting my husband, or feeding my hungry child.” Bessie realises she may be able to do it all – but not all at the same time.

The YVLT, now in its infancy, will grow and change as time progresses and how exactly it provides support to its members will also evolve. For now it is enough that one of its goals is to provide a flexible approach to commitment.

“Feeling pressure to over-commit or guilt about potentially letting the team down has stopped me from getting involved with committees in the past,” Bessie says. “With the YVLT I’ve been asked to only give as much of myself as I can. This means I’ll be able to throw my all at projects I’m really keen on when I have the time, or say ‘Sorry guys, I’m shearing/going away/sick and I’m going to be pretty unavailable for the next month’ without feeling guilty about it. Other members are invited to do the same and it means we’ll get the work done as a team without any one person feeling like they have to keep filling in the gaps.  It’s a way for me to get involved, use my skills and help the industries I love, but also know that I’m allowed to press pause for a day/week/month or year if I need to, knowing that I can dip back in when the time is right for me again.”

One of the visions of the YVLT is to let young people share their dreams and design the future they want. By attracting one of Art4Agriculutre’s brightest alumni back to the fold and into a leadership position, the YVLT can already call itself a success.

Welcome Bessie #youthvoices18

News from the Moos – #ArchieAction18

Schools across NSW and QLD are celebrating the arrival of Archie with lots of fanfare in the press and in the community

At Hurlstone Agriculture High School Archie was treated to a welcoming party

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Read all about it on their blog here

Following on from their success in 2017

Miller Public School has been sharing their #ArchieAction far and wide via Twitter

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Follow them on Twitter  @MillerPS_Archi

Kinross Wolaroi School are sharing their journey on Facebook

and in the media

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Follow Kinross Wolartoi’s journey  on their blog here

and Beaudesert State High School and their partner Primary School have hit the ground running with a feature in both the Beaudesert Times and Queensland Country Life 

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Calvary Christian School has also taken to Facebook to create a buzz around their Archie journey.

Our team is enjoying the content  – like this little gem

Also very active on Facebook is Croppa Ck who has partnered with other small schools in the Barwon/Moree region to put their schools on the map

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The Henry Lawson High School have grabbed the pig by the tail and got stuck into the research

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we look forward to the next 6 months of #ArchieAction18

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_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

Shorn No Bull puts the spotlight on NSW smallest high school

The 2018 Archibull Prize is now in full swing with schools receiving their Archies, connecting with their Young Farming Champions and starting their blogs. I was very taken by this heartfelt blog post from the smallest high school in NSW

Welcome ‘Shorn No Bull’ to Bombala High

Hello and welcome to Bombala High School’s Archibull journey.

This is our very first year of participation and we hope you’re as excited about the Archibull Prize as we are!  In this, our very first post we thought we would take the opportunity to introduce our school and address the white bovine in the room… Why Archibull?  Situated in the southern most region of the Snowy Mountains shire, Bombala High is the smallest high school in New South Wales. Everything we do at Bombala High centres around our school values which are personal best, respect and responsibility and we pride ourselves in our ability to deliver a high standard of secondary education to the children of our rural community.

So why is Archibull right for Bombala High? I hear you ask. Well of course we are motivated by the generous prizes on offer however; there is more to Archibull than mere accolades. Participating in the Archibull competition will provide a variety of valuable opportunities to our students, most notably the chance to be part of something larger than themselves, as well as the ability to give their small, remotely situated school a voice on a national platform.  Being situated on the Monaro it is very apt indeed that our assigned industry is wool. Agriculture and specifically the wool industry make up a large component of the local economy. This means that the Archibull is particularly relevant to many of our students, whose families are employed within the wool industry. A major component of the Archibull is research into the allocated industry and consequently, the Archibull will provide an invaluable opportunity for students to explore the wide range of employment opportunities on offer within the wool and agriculture sectors, as well as furthering their understandings of how these industries operate and contribute to local and national economies.

The creation of our Archibull also provides a range of opportunities for students with different strengths and skill sets. Participation in the Archibull is designed to be inclusive and is not limited to those with artistic abilities. The compulsory blog component of the Archibull is an invaluable chance for our budding writers and information technology students to participate and further their skills. We will also be calling on our agriculture and primary industries students to provide us with information about the wool industry, sustainable agriculture and biosecurity.  All in all we have a lot to do in the upcoming months and we look forward to sharing our Archibull journey with you all.

Bombala High School will be working with Young Farming Champion Dione Howard who knows what its like to grow up in a small town in rural NSW. She looks forward to inspiring the students to follow in her footsteps to a career in the agriculture sector.

 

Special shoutout to the Monaro Team at South East Local Land Services for supporting Bombala High School on their Archie journey

Image: Northlakes High School entry in 2015 Archibull Prize

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Outback to the Future – enabling the next generation of landcarers

 

In a testament to the drive of young people within agriculture, our Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth was one of the key organisers for a recent conference in the far west of NSW bringing climate change and technology together.

On May 12 approximately 50 people travelled to Fowler’s Gap, about an hour north of Broken Hill where Anika farms with her parents, to attend the seminar Outback to the Future. Held in conjunction with the University of New South Wales, the seminar brought together scientists, industry leaders, government representatives, graziers and the general public to discuss the future of these fragile arid lands.

“In the room, we had people from many different disciplines, different ages, from people who have careers studying life under microscopes, to people who spend long days in dusty sheep yards. What we all had in common was a fire in the belly to look after this land, and everyone in the room had unique perspectives and skills that brought value to the conversation. Our focus – how to best manage the fragile environment of the Far West into the future, so as to ensure sustainable farming businesses and vibrant and resilient rural communities.

With ten research organisations represented in the room, we asked the questions; What solutions are at hand? What solutions do we need to create? What research needs to be done, and what technology do we need to develop?

We started the morning session with the big picture. Our first two speakers set the scene with perspectives on research and technology  in Australian agriculture, and climate change. We then moved into livestock management and welfare, and the importance of looking after our natural resources for the benefit of our farming businesses. The afternoon sessions had a more personal perspective, as we heard from members of our community – from young members of the community in high-school, to seasoned graziers, and a university lecturer who brings Sydney students to the outback, some for the very first time. The discussions and viewpoints were varied and unique – bringing great value and depth to the seminar.” Anika Molesworth

In the spirit of collaboration another Young Farming Champion, Danila Marini from the University of New England, gave a presentation on virtual fencing and how it could be applied to the vast stations of western New South Wales using a system of smart collars and GPS coordinates. Danila has previously worked on pain relief methodology for sheep and is becoming well known for her animal welfare advocacy.

Another #youthinag highlight was the Landcare Youth Network ( see footnote) presentation with the speakers using no paper notes, preferring phone notes instead and talking about their hopes, their concerns, and the next generation of farmers.

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Kagen Pearce, Maggie Tavian and Chloe Roberts from the Landcare Youth Network 

Kagen spoke about the importance of educating youth and giving them the skills to thrive. He highlighted the importance of programs like the Youth Network.

Maggie told the audience of the importance of investing more time, money and research into the sustainable farming future of the Far West.

Chloe said we need more from our leaders, including scholarships and grants to develop the capabilities of land mangers and young people in the region.

All three said they were interested in a future owning land in the Far West region, and recognise the need to develop their own skills and knowledge, and promote a supportive local and regional community.

Anika’s take-home messages from the seminar were:

  • The importance of having research stations like Fowlers Gap in the Far West, where arid-zone research can take place and provide a fostering environment for learning and experimenting.
  • There is exciting research being undertaken and technology being developed nationally and internationally, which could be applied to farming systems in the region with a few tweaks, and we in the Far West need to demand that it is made accessible and affordable to land managers.
  • The importance in having seminars and discussions that include the voices and perceptions of people from many different disciplines, industry and ages, in order to promote collaboration and creative thinking.

Congratulations to Anika and Danila, two Young Farming Champions blazing paths in agriculture.

Footnote

The Western Landcare Youth Network is an annual program aimed at providing young people with a platform to explore a future in agriculture and the environment with access to skills training in these fields. The Network allows Far West youth to connect with each other and make a difference to their communities under the guidance and assistance of mentors. Students also make a difference to their communities by developing local environmental projects that they carry out. The three pillars of this group are; learning, developing and contributing.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain gets the Cow Girl experience in Canada

Our Young Farming Champions are finding a career in agriculture offers many opportunities and opens exciting doors.

A number of our Young Farming Champions are travelling overseas and blogging from far flung places

Today we hear from Katherine Bain who is ticking off  her ‘See how the World Farms’ bucket list on a cattle ranch in Canada

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 Katherine Bain with her dog, Pluto, on the family farm near Stockyard Hill in Victoria 

Hi everyone, my name is Katherine Bain, and I am a 2017 wool Young Farming Champion.   At the start of this month, I began an adventure I’ve had on my bucket list for as long as I could remember – to head to Canada and work on a cattle ranch!

The ranch is located in British Columbia, a province on the west side of Canada, in the Chilcoltin region. It’s a beautiful area surrounded by snow-capped mountains and tree-covered hills. So pretty much the opposite to the rolling grasslands I’m used to back home in in Victoria!

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The ranch is called Dane Ranch and is run by Cordy Cox-Ellis. It runs roughly 1000 cows and calves, 160 replacement heifers and 90 breeding bulls. They also produce hay  to feed their cattle in the winter. The ranch runs Angus cross cows which are usually 75% Angus, and 25% either Simmental or Gelbvieh. They cross black or red Gelbvieh or Simmental, or Charolais bulls onto the cows that are more Angus in type, and then Angus, SimAngus, or Gelbvieh Balancer bulls onto the cows that look more exotic in type. The ranch also has a small herd of purebred Angus and Gelbvieh cattle.

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They do a lot of work on horseback. This day we were moving cattle into a new paddock

Currently, we are in the middle of calving! There is lots to be done including checking the pens a couple of times a day to ensure all the calves are healthy, cleaning out the barn where sick or mis-mothered calves are kept, processing newborn calves and feeding cows. Processing is a similar process that we follow with our lambs.  The calves are generally processed a couple hours after being born, as it is important to know who the mother is, so they can trace the genetics and know where they go on the range during the summer months. This is a similar process to how I ran my Coopworth Sheep Stud, to make sure we can follow the genetics and assess which ewes are the best breeders.

Processing allows Dane Ranch to inspect each animal and assess their overall health, vaccinate them and attach identification tags. They get two tags – an RFID tag and a large number tag to link it to its mother. The cross bred bull calves are castrated

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Tagging the calves – they do grow into their tags!!!

Processing can be like doing a puzzle as we have to work out which calf goes with which cow. Often the calves are sleeping while their mums are off eating, so we have to wait until they are back together to be certain we don’t make any mistakes.  Because of all the snow on the ground during winter, the cows are calved down in smaller paddocks and “containment” pens. This is to make it easier to check them throughout calving and for feeding them.

There is no grass yet, so they  get fed hay and have salt licks and mineral tubs to ensure they have a balanced diet. The snow is almost all gone now, so they will soon be put back out to bigger paddocks with fresh grass before going up onto the range!

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Feeding the cows

My jobs at the moment are mostly helping in the barn. My day starts with feeding and watering any cows in the barn and in the small pens. The water has to be refilled with a hose as the pipes freeze! The main troughs have heated pads and insulation to keep them going  throughout the very cold winters. The temperature in the winter can go as low as minus 35 Celsius with an average from December 1st to March 31st around minus 13 Celsius !!!. Thanks goodness we don’t have to worry about this at home

After feeding I help treat any calves that are unwell.  Its very important to watch them closely to ensure they don’t get scours which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is treated with electrolytes and antibiotics if necessary.

So far working on the ranch has been pretty different to working on my sheep farm back home. Dealing with the freezing weather and snow means that extra care and planning needs to be done well before Winter sets in – mainly ensuring they will have enough hay to see them through! Learning to work with cattle has so far been an awesome experience, but I’ve got a long way to go to become a “cowgirl”!

In the coming month calving will finish and the next big thing will be branding and moving cattle onto the range. So stay tuned for the next instalment!

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

The Archibull Prize Stampedes into Schools

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, tasking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun

The Archibull Prize was officially launched in 2010 with this magnificent display by Wendy and Craig Taylor of  Red Blue Architecture + Design   

 

Now its its ninth year The Archibull Prize will see life-size fibreglass cows stampede into over 30 schools across New South Wales and Queensland

Conceived by the team at Picture You in Agriculture, The Archibull Prize is an annual program designed to give young people the skills to connect farmers and the community and to co-create a bright future for Australian agriculture. Armed with a life-sized fibreglass cow (or calf) and a paint kit, students will have the opportunity to research a specific agricultural industry and present their findings in art form. Multiple cash prizes, up to $1,000, are up for grabs as well as the coveted title of Grand Champion Archibull. Learn more on The Archibull Prize website.

Schools will be studying either  the wool, dairy, cotton, beef, eggs, horticulture or pork industry and along with their creative Archie students will develop multi-media presentations and explore issues such as biosecurity, climate change, water use and renewable energy. Assisting them on their journey will be a Young Farming Champion who works  in their allocated farming industry

The Archibull Prize continues to influence how Australian agriculture is perceived.

“As consumers, understanding where our, food, clothing and power comes from will inform decision-making and encourage leadership that benefits the community and the producers when providing sustainable agriculture and resource management for our future needs,” said a teacher from the 2017 competition. “The Archibull Prize allows students to demonstrate decision making and leadership skills by planning, organising and making a visually exciting object and digital media project and presenting it to the school and wider community.”

The theme for the 2018 Archibull Prize is ‘Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a Shared Responsibility’. Archies  must be completed by September 20 and the Awards Ceremony will be held in Sydney on November 20.

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Parramatta Public School super excited to be participating in The Archibull Prize 2018 for the first time

The 2018 Archibull Prize is proud to have supporting partners in Aussie Farmers Foundation, Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Local Land Services, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture