Josh Gilbert helping young people to rethink the world and create a better future.

Today I am reblogging an awesome blog, Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert recently wrote for the Foundation for Young Australians.

 

Josh recently had the honour of being named Mr NAIDOC

Awarded to the nominee who empowers their peers to stand up for the rights of their people and their community, demonstrates hope and determination in the face of personal challengers and serve as an inspiration of persistence for all those around him/her

Josh Tractor Talks (1)

The whole community stood as one, with the pride and spirit of the town’s people keeping the small town alive and flowing, no matter what the challenge or opportunity.

It’s a town where we celebrate “Woolfest” by running sheep down the main street, where the luck of the Irish flows in the streets and gold prospects filled the dreams of the early white settlers. The community was built from the hearts and the hopes of the people, even in recent times when the hospital burnt down or a nearby community hall burnt down from a bushfire.

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But while our rural and regional communities love to back a local and a community cause, Government investment in regional hubs and ideas encourages the next generation of rural entrepreneurs to stay local and develop their ideas in their own community.

This provides not only a benefit for youth who get to grow their ideas in regional towns, but also the community who benefit from an increased amount of funds in the local economy.

Entrepreneurship doesn’t just grow in the hearts and minds of people, it is nurtured in the cattle yards, thrives amongst the canola and blossoms in our orchards.

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The agricultural industry is built on same foundations as innovation, with leading farmer’s forming natural innovators in the products and markets they create. Though only recently has agriculture’s best kept innovation secrets been shared throughout our city streets. Here are the top 5 things to love about entrepreneurship in rural and remote Australia and working in agriculture:

  1. Your office is dictated by you

Although entrepreneurs often crave the caffeine hit from the constant coffee meetings and the hustle found in co-working spaces, great ideas can be found flourishing between farmers at a cattle sale, sitting on a tractor harvesting wheat or at a local coffee shop in a small town. Being an entrepreneur in the country means your office is completely dictated by you- you can be integrated into farm life and the environment as much as you would like.

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  1. W.F.F. – a completely unknown day

We all know big corporate companies are encouraging us to work from home, a great opportunity to wear your favourite pyjamas, stay in bed and meet virtually with clients anywhere in the world. In the country, we shake things up a bit further- instead we Work From Farm (W.F.F). Working From Farm means that no two days will ever be the same. You will be taking teleconferences and important calls from the cattle yards or shearing shed, moving livestock or fixing machinery in your lunch or coffee break and pitching your idea constantly to absolutely any animal that will listen.

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE hunt for the wilderpeople

  1. The industry is ready for disruption

While the innovation uptake curve was modelled off agricultural research and development, much of the industry has remained static. We have progressed in terms of water usage and climate change adaptation and agricultural greats have designed and patented leading products to help with safety and production- yet the whole agricultural industry is ready for serious disruption!

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  1. There are plenty of mentors for advice

One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is trying to get the ear of someone who has done it all before and learn from them. An experienced mentor can make the difference between your product either a success or a failure. In regional Australia, the opportunity to find a mentor who is invested in helping you succeed is easy- simply head along to the nearest auction or sale and ask away. Before long, some of the greatest and most honest feedback will be heading your way!

workaholics advice be yourself good advice just keep being yourself

  1. The whole town will back you

The greatest thing about living in a small town is that the whole town will be motivating and encouraging you to succeed.  Everyone is invested in you becoming your best and wants you to do well- they want you to put the town on the map! Whether it’s the debrief session by a campfire or coffee (or both), getting cut outs of your face in the local paper or being told over and over that you will become the next prime minister, the whole town will rally behind you and give you their support.

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Young people working with farmers to co-create the future

I am a big fan of Australian leadership guru Zoe Routh and have been lucky enough to attend some of our workshops. I look forward to Zoe’s regular newsletter and as I was sitting down to write my latest newsletter to schools participating in The Archibull Prize this one titled The Future Belongs to the Adventurist reprinted below arrived in my Inbox this morning.

I was excited as I felt it was the perfect segue for my newsletter and this graph from the 2016 Archibull Prize shows you why. It would appear this is no shortage of young people in our schools putting their hands up to co-create the future with farmers

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The Future Belongs to the Adventurist

It’s 2036. 20 years ago we were all waiting with baited breath for virtual reality, artificial intelligence, driverless cars, nano medical technology, replaceable organs, and robots to help us make dinner.

That seems so archaic now…

Jeff Kowalski says we will experience more change at work in the next twenty years than we have had in the previous 2000. Watch the video here. Prepare mind to be blown.

Are you ready?

Most of us are woefully under-prepared. Here’s why:

1.    Curse of Now. We are too busy dealing with now to think about next. This is the disease of busy-ness.

2.    Learned helplessness. Thinking about the future can be terrifying. These is so much volatility and unknown. Radical leaps in all technologies, currencies, climate can make us feel powerless. If we let it.

3.    Flabby imagination. Most of us have not been taught to deal with future possibilities. So we default to hysterical catastrophising, naïve sheep-like follow-ism, or blissful ignorance.

We are in a giant, surging river of change, and if we don’t work out how to navigate it, we will get dumped from our boat, and be cast to the mercy of the current.

This is what we need:

Attitude: We need an Adventurist mindset. We need to be curious and intrigued about what’s around the bend in the river. We also need to learn to read the threats, how to listen for waterfalls, how to see a drop on the horizon that signals potential hazards, or the potential fun ride of rapids.

Aptitude: We need mapping skills. We need to learn how to map the current reality, assess trends, and map future possibilities. These are hitherto been the domain of the wild and often weird futurist. All of us need the thinking tools of the futurist. They are the new map and compass for the modern leader.

Application: We need to undertake expeditions. The only way to see what’s around the corner is to test the waters. Short little trips to explore what’s ahead will helps us chart a safe route. We do this by making a short range plan or project, testing its viability, and then deciding whether to launch the boats.

Most of us do not choose our attitude and default to the common denominator of those around us. Most of us aren’t taught to think about the future or take time out to entertain possibilities in a structured way. Most of us are simply implementing business as usual and calling it ‘progress’ because we made more money than last year.

Make no mistake, the future world exists now, downstream through a whole heap of turbulence. If we’re going to navigate it safely, we had better learn to paddle.

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Emma and Cosi team up to have fun with grains

Today’s guest blog comes from  Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe who travelled to South Australia to join the AgCommunicators team and Cosi on the Seed to Store promotional tour to South Australian schools

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Emma (centre front) had a great time as you can see …… 

On Monday and Tuesday this week I was lucky enough to be part of the GRDC and AgCommunicators Seed to Store Tour around SA.

Seed to Store is a video competition that is run by the GRDC where entrants are asked to make a simple 1 minute video that showcases the grains industry and tells the story of the seed getting from the paddock to the store. As part of the process the GRDC asks a specialist group of people to promote the event, the grains industry and the great opportunities the industry provides as well as create a buzz around the competition. The winners of each category are shown at the Royal Adelaide Show and win themselves a cheeky $1000!

My 1,863km journey began in Hay where I live. On my 7 hour drive to Adelaide I had time to ponder on the week ahead. Would the kids be excited? Would we be able to deliver some good messages? Would I forget what I was meant to say in my talk? How much are these kids even going to care about grains? Would the schools truly be happy to have us there?

Monday morning the lovely Sarah McDonnell picked me up and we began our way to our first school, St Francis De Sales in Mt Barker. We met the third member of our team there, the iconic Andrew “Cosi” Costello who presents a show called “South Aussie with Cosi” on Channel 9. This school was amazing; we were greeted by a sea of some 120 year 6 and 7’s who were all eager to hear about grains, show off their new horticulture building but most of all excited to meet Cosi!

Fun Fact

Did you know that there are 50,000 edible plants in the world that we know of, yet 60% of our diets are made up of wheat, rice and corn?

 

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The lovely Sarah telling the students about the Seed to Store Competition

We spent about an hour at each of the schools talking about grains and our involvement in the different areas of Agriculture. Cosi had studied as Roseworthy, like myself, but had worked in the livestock industry. He now runs a charity in Cambodia called Cows for Cambodia that is focused on helping to break the poverty cycle as well as teaching Cambodians about farming practises. Sarah was a food scientist before moving into education, focused on primarily Agriculture and I am an agronomist, so it was my job to explain a bit about what goes into growing grains. Other than having to endure us talking we also played a few games such as can you guess the grain and can you match the grain to the food it becomes? Did you know that Barley is in Mars Bars?

Fun Fact

The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”

 

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Me Presenting 

From here we headed to Unity Collage in Murray Bridge in the Cosi Car. Once again the excitement of having Cosi visit the school became apparent quickly. It was also here that I learnt that Cosi was quite hilarious as he retold of his stories of struggles at high school with having a police officer as a father. After a quick lesson on “how not to pick up chicks” we chatted about grains, careers and tested everyone’s knowledge.

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Helping the Girls team win at guessing which grains become which foods at Unity

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Checking out the Rhino that Cosi Bought Tailem Bend

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The Cosi Car…it was hard to miss and attracted a lot of attention

The final school for day one was Keith Area School, and after a bit of a delay we got there about 45 minutes before the end of day bell. I thought this could be interesting, right before home time all these guys are going to want to do is get out of here but they were great fun! They were very interactive and attentive and an absolute laugh. Cosi was grilled about what they needed to do to win the big bucks with their videos.

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As he is one of the judges its smart for entrants to know Cosi’s Pearl Barley’s of Wisdom 

After staying the night in Keith we headed to the Area School at Coomandook. We had nearly half the school come to listen, and what a way to start the day. Everyone was highly entertained by Sarah story about “sensory analysis”, or taste testing to you and me, and how her love of Arnott’s chocolate biscuits had driven her to date a guy who worked there! The questions were fired thick and fast at the end of the session about grains as well as careers.

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Selfie with the year 7-11’s from Coomandook

From here we headed to Birdwood High School in the Adelaide Hills. It was quite a long drive and Cosi couldn’t resist a snack on the way…and what is better than one that he promotes!

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Coz it’s a Bargin!

The final school of the day was Birdwood High where we managed to get a whole range of students from year 8 to year 12. We got to the school right before the end of lunch bell. Our first port of call was the Ag Block where we got to cuddle some orphaned lambs.  Once in the hall with everyone they were really involved which was awesome, and as a special treat I got to see my cousin who goes to school there.

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Playing guess which grain is which food at Birdwood High School

We all said our goodbyes and I was on my way home again. On my 7 hour drive home I once again got time to reflect on the couple of days that had just been and all the laughs and things I had learnt. I learnt that the kids in a lot of these schools are genuinely interested to find out where their food comes from and their teachers genuinely want to teach them that.

I learnt that, once I got over my nerves and worry about forgetting what I had to say, interacting with students like this is very rewarding. And I leant the Seed to Store competition is a great opportunity and incentive for students, and community alike to learn about and showcase grains and pick up a lazy $1000! Most importantly I learnt that it is important for people like myself to go and showcase the good news stories and highlight the positives of the industry because for a lot of these kids it is probably something they have ever thought of looking at as a career, and to show them there is a lot more to agriculture then being a farmer.

Check out some of the previous winners here

The 2014 Winner – The Australian Grains Industry has a Great Story to Share

 

This is a great video entrant and runner up, from last year

 

And this guy won himself $1000, that’s a lot of chocolate!

 

 

Thanks to Belinda from the GRDC and Lynne from Young Farming Champions for this amazing opportunity and to Sarah and Cosi for the laughs and memories and I can’t wait to (hopefully) do it all again next year!

The Archibull Prize 2016 is up and running

Archibull

The Archibull Prize will roll out in 40 schools up and down the Eastern Australia in 2016

In 2016 The Archibull Prize aims to build on is successes and influence the pace of change for Australia famers and the community to move towards a sustainable energy future

The program has been acknowledged as a world class program in its ability to use creative arts and multimedia to connect business and agriculture with the community and school students to:

  1. Investigate the positive initiatives undertaken by farmers and businesses every day to make a better future;
  2. Consider agriculture related careers;
  3. Expand their understanding of farming;
  4. Understand the challenges of farming and opportunities for farmers and the community to work together to ensure a bright future for all and
  5. Create unique linkages between farmers, business and the community that allows the two-way flow of information in a way that is rarely seen.

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Over the past five years The Archibull Prize program has consistently shown that the students involved were deeply engaged in the range of learning experiences the program provided.

The Archibull Prize encourages students to record their STEM learnings through artistic expression and was recently acknowledged both by teachers and government as a leading example complementing the Australian Government’s initiative to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in primary and secondary schools

The agricultural industry, by its nature, incorporates all the aspects of STEM learning and can showcase the careers built around science, technology, engineering and mathematics – careers that will shape the future of Australia.

The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions bring agriculture to the nation’s students. Using creative thinking, imagination, innovation and digital technology the aesthetic values of art in The Archibull Prize support the understanding and application of all the STEM subjects.

Put simply, The Archibull Prize is a successful addition to the learning program for students, teachers love it because it meets the needs of the curriculum and enhances classroom engagement, and communities are able to engage with the program and schools in a meaningful way.

The schools will be studying the Australian Grains Industry, the sheep and cattle industry, the cotton industry and the wool industry

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We would like to welcome the following schools to the program

Calvary Christian College – Carbrook Campus Jnr
Calvary Christian College – Carbrook Campus Snr
Calvary Christian College – Springwood Campus
Campbelltown Performing Arts HS
Dungog Public School
Elizabeth Macarthur High School
Erina Heights Public School
Eurongilly Public School
Genesis Christian College
Glasshouse Christian College
Granville Boys High School
Gwynneville Public School
Hurlstone Agricultural High School
Irrawang High School
James Ruse Agricultural High School
Jugiong Public School
Kellyville High School
Kildare Catholic College
Kooringal High School
Kyogle High School
Little Bay Community of Schools
Malabar Public School
Mareeba State High School
Mater Dei Catholic College
Matraville Sports High School
Morton Downs State School
Murwillumbah High School
Muswellbrook High School
Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School
Northlakes High School
Northlakes Public School
Seven Hills High School
ST John’s College Woodlawn
The Henry Lawson High School
Toowoomba SHS Wilsonton Campus –
Tumbarumba High School
West Pennant Hills Public School
Wilberforce Public School
Winmalee High School

 

Celebrating youth in wool for Wool Week

We are celebrating #woolweek by sharing with you these wonderful stories written by young people who are very proud to be connected to the Australian wool industry

Fred the Ram might be attracting all the attention in Martin Place but our young people in the wool industry are forging the future for industry .

Fred the Ram

Please join us and celebrate youth in wool by sharing their stories   #youthinwool

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Meet Max Edwards who lives and breathes Wool here

Meet Melissa Henry who has found her niche in the sheep industry with a little help from Sauvignon and Shiraz here

Meet Cassie Baille who says Wool is my future. Join me and make it yours See Cassie’s story here

Meet Peta Bradley whose world of agriculture is taking her to the cutting edge of technology here

Meet Dione Howard who is addicted to agriculture  here

Meet Emma Turner who knows every day three times a day you need a farmer here

Meet Tom Tourle whose attraction to the big toys in the sky in agriculture found him with his feet firmly on the ground here

Meet Pat Morgan has red dust running through his veins here

Meet Lauren Crothers who is proud to help produce your woolly jumpers here

Meet Steph Grills who is proud to be carrying on her family tradition in wool here

Meet Sammi Townsend inspiring young people to join her as a wool rural ambassador  here

Meet Deanna Johnston proud rookie wool farmer here

Meet Bessie Blore loving the man, the land and her career in wool here

Meet Jo Newton who began her career in wool in a suburban sheep stud here

Meet Danila Marini who thinks sheep are smart and shee is determined to prove it here

Meet Adele Offley whose greatest passion is wool here

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Wool an Australian Icon #wearwool

 

 

 

Meet Deanna Johnston proud rookie farmer

Today’s guest blog post comes from Deanna Johnston who is very proud to be a rookie farmer.

Another great story from the inspiring new generation of farmers

With my Kelpie pup I trained

If day care consists of riding shotgun with Dad in the tractor when sowing and harvesting; sleeping in the tender wool bin during shearing time then this has been the best start to my rural career. Hi I’m Deanna Johnston and I’m a rookie farmer.

Our breeding ewes with their lambs

I had already started shearing, doing the long-blow on our Coolalee rams before I was going to primary school. My Dad worked as a shearing contractor before settling back down to the farm which gave him invaluable insights as to how  other farmers run successful farm. Dad had always had an interest in sheep, especially Merinos and he began to get more serious about the sheep enterprise on the farm in the year 2000. We turned to the SRS strain of Merinos and started breeding for a purpose – dual purpose merinos. Currently we are experiencing an  extended dry period  and are grazing  2000 breeder ewes with another  800 little mouths in the feedlot.

After primary school the next step for me to broaden my knowledge  and an early start to my career calling to the agricultural industry was to attend Yanco Agricultural High School. Right from year seven I was part of the sheep show team in which I was able to become part of the McCaughey White Suffolk stud where we started to implement Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer into the breeding program.

Supreme Ewe at Holbrook

Completing my Certificate IV in Woolclassing and Certificate II in Shearing by the age of 16 proved to me that this was the industry I wanted to be part of. Since then, shearing competitions and wool handling competitions have become my weekend hobby.

Competiting in Fleece Judging

In March this year I came out in fourth position in the State Final Fleece judging competition in Sydney. These competitions are great for refining the skills that are taught in TAFE Certificates. An added bonus is you meet other young people with the same passion for the wool and sheep industry.

4th in State Final Fleece Judging

In 2014 I was runner up the National Young Guns competition at LambEX in Adelaide which over 1000 people attended. This competition involves writing an essay on the topic: “attracting young people into the prime lamb industry” and creating a poster to go with it. When in Adelaide I had to speak on my topic, answers questions posed by the judges who also adjudicated on the essay, poster and speech component. This was an incredible experience for me as I met many industry leaders, local and overseas producers and scientists and academics who all had the same passion: the future of agriculture  in Australia and the the world.

The PETA campaign against the shearing industry was released while I was attending the LambEX conference. It hit me hard as I was very disappointed that industry my family was part of was being portrayed in this negative light   This made me even more determined to share the positive stories far and wide about the wool industry I love and the farmers I know who care deeply about their animals.

Shearing competition at Yanco (1st place)

Having been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by the sheep and wool industry I know it has a lot of offer. I want to share this message with other young people who haven’t had the same opportunities. The Australian wool industry provides thousands of jobs both in Australia and overseas. No matter where your interests lie, the wool industry has a career path suited to you. Careers in the wool industry can be divided into two main areas — on-farm and off-farm. By attracting young people into the sheep and wool industry, it will only grow and become more successful, not only focusing on the producing side but through the whole chain from paddock to plate and in this case clothing.

With the end of my HSC year nearing I have been fortunate enough at my age to have to have met some amazing industry professionals including Dr. Jim Watt and Errol Brumpton (OAM). When I finish school my ambitions are to study a double degree in Agriculture and Business at the University of New England in Armidale with the prospects that I will come back on the farm and take over the sheep enterprise (I haven’t told Dad yet I might tell him about this a bit later).

So how I spent day care wasn’t so bad at all as it left me with a great passion and a dream. Being in this agricultural industry is where I want to stay as the world is going to become more reliant on what the industry can offer. The future is exciting and I am lucky I will be a part of it along with many other young and enthusiastic people.

Breaking news – The 2016 National Merino Challenge results are in and Deanna has taken out 3rd palace in the secondary school division and her school Yanco Agricultural High School have won Champion Team

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Well done Deanna and Yanco

For Sharna Holman a career in cotton sparked by Ag in the Classroom

Today we are catching up with Sharna Holman who I invited to write a blog in 2012. You can find it here  Its so rewarding to find four years later a young girl from the city so inspired by her journey from Ag in the classroom to the Sydney Royal Easter Show and a scholarship to the Australian Cotton Conference now fulfilling her dreams with a career in Cotton

This Sharna’s update ……..

My name is Sharna Holman, a born and bred Sydneysider and since I could remember I have had a love of animals, being outside and working with others. However these days while a lot of that is the same, home is in Emerald, Central Queensland and I work in agriculture loving everything it has to offer. But the real question is how did a Sydney girl end up in Central Queensland working in the cotton industry?

Over four years ago I spoke to and wrote a blog titled Sydney Show a Career Maker for Lynne Strong about how influential the Sydney Royal Easter Show and agricultural shows can be on young people thinking of becoming involved in the agricultural industry. I was extremely fortunate in attending Muirfield High School, in Sydney’s north-west, which had a farm where my passion for agriculture was quickly sparked. Students had the opportunity to participate in competitions at agricultural shows as well as being involved in Art4Agriculture’s own The Archibull Prize program. It’s these opportunities that encourage students like myself, particularly those who don’t come from agricultural backgrounds, to find out more about the industry and the different career paths available.

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Muirfield High School’s food and vegetable display at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
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 Muirfield High School’s Archie on display in the Food Farm in 2011.

At the end of school, I definitely knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture so began studying a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Sydney because of the diverse subject options and professional development available. I went into the degree not being exactly sure what I wanted to do but throughout the four years I went through so many options: geneticists, agricultural marketing and communications, researcher, agricultural teacher, agronomist? Whatever I was learning during the semester I loved and wanted to learn more. Throughout my degree I grabbed as many opportunities as possible that helped me learn more about the agricultural industry and interests within the industry.

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The University of Sydney team coming 2nd place at the Grain Growers National Universities Crop Judging Competition in 2015.

In 2014 I was awarded a Cotton Australia scholarship, having the opportunity to attend the 17th Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast. I left the conference having learnt about Cry proteins toxins used in plant breeding, pickers, fibre quality, marketing Australian cotton as an ethically and sustainably produced fibre and so much more, as well as having had the chance to network and learn from the experience of growers, researchers, and people who work in the industry in many capacities.

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A really good question would be, ‘Sharna, cotton? Have you ever seen a cotton plant before going to the cotton conference?’ and the answer would be a definite no, but did I want to learn more, yes!

It was through networking with researchers at this conference that I organised my honours project investigating the development of tolerance to toxin in Helicoverpa moths, one of the main pests in the cotton industry, with the assistance of a CRDC Summer Scholarship. So in the Summer of 2014 – 2015 I moved to Narrabri and began working on my honours project at the Australian Cotton Research Institute. It was here that I learnt so much more about the cotton industry, agronomy and pest management through having the chance to spend time with researchers and assist with trials. I finished university knowing that I would love the chance to work and be further involved in the cotton industry.

Early this year I was fortunate in getting a job I love, in an industry I love and made the 16 hour journey from Sydney to Central Queensland. I work in the cotton industry as an Extension Officer working with growers helping them connect to research to improve their productivity and profitability, while also having a role in CottonInfo, the cotton industry’s extension program, as Technical Specialist for Disease, Ratoon and Volunteer Management. Even though I have only been working in my role for a short period time, I absolutely love the feeling of waking up to a job I love.

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I  assist with research trials occurring around Central Queensland. This trial is exploring the different planting windows growers have the opportunity to plant in with the release of Bollgard III in the 2016 – 2017 season.

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 I get to meet, work with a variety of different growers and people.

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 I have the chance to learn new things everyday

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I don’t have a ‘normal’ working day. Some days I will be in a field working on a trial, other days I might be in a meeting, or you could find me at my desk analysing results or writing up an article on crop protection for growers. Some days I even get to have an awesome view from the picker.

I am so lucky to be involved in an industry where the growers, researchers and industry members are incredibly innovative and passionate. The cotton industry is constantly trying to look for new ways to be sustainable and efficient while remaining productive throughout the entire production chain. Everyday I look forward to helping growers find and obtain information through resources, trial results and workshops.

I believe anyone can find a role they would love within the agricultural industry, whether that be within research, business, marketing, farm management, mechanics and robotics – there are so many different career paths. However for someone without an agricultural background, often agriculture is misunderstood and people only see the surface. Opportunities like participating in events ( or volunteering) at agricultural shows and the Art4Agriculture’s Archibull Prize program allow you to get a hands on view and see the exciting agriculture sector I see with boundless cutting edge career opportunities.