Farmers Unite, Stand up and Say Yes to Investing in Next Gen Farmers

Art4Agriculture dedicates this post and salutes the industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people.

But we ask the following questions

  • Why doesn’t all peak industry bodies share the same ethos?
  • Why aren’t all peak industry bodies adopting a coordinated and collaborative
    approach to efficiently and effectively achieve the best outcomes for agriculture?
  • Why is it too many of those who hold the purse strings can’t leave their egos and
    personalities at the door and work for the common good

As the debate around long term food availability and affordability intensifies, Art4Agriculture believes it is vital for all organisations involved in the food supply chain to adopt a leadership position to help safeguard Australia’s future food security
and this must start with investing in the next generation of farmers.

How right is Senator Ludwig when he says “We need to invest in the youth of today to ensure our agricultural sector is equipped with a skillful workforce to face the challenges of the future,”

Art4Agriculture is committed to ensuring we have a sustainable food supply chain long into the future by providing capacity building programs that invest in developing future industry leaders.

We are equally committed to fostering and providing opportunities to attract young people to join the agriculture sector.

But we are disappointed that some peak industry bodies do not appear to share our vision

Surely in an era where farmers are less than 1% of the population and communities who make up the other 99% hold the power and are prepared to wield the power that
determines our farmers social license to operate alarm bells would be ringing in
all peak industry body bell towers

Extraordinarily we have found there is confusion inside some of our peak industry
bodies about whether investing in cross industry partnerships that give our young
farmers the skills set to engage with consumers to share stories and build
trust and understanding of modern farm production systems is “core business” or
not

There is also confusion at the top over whether programs that send clear messages to our peers that meeting or exceeding consumer expectations are high priority and “core business”

Art4Agriculture’s strategy is help create a culture of change at industry level and engage with peak industry bodies and partner with visionaries who in the first instance recognise there will be no future without investing in youth and in the second instance are prepared to lead by example.

We celebrate those industry peak bodies and value chain partners who are investing in our young people through programs like the Investing in Youth Program which provides financial and mentoring support to Australian students who are committed to contributing to Australia’s rural sector.

This program aims to encourage more young people to study agriculture
courses at university, which will help to ensure Australia has an adequate
supply of primary industry graduates in the future. Successful recipients are selected on the basis of their commitment to a career in primary industries.

Successful applicants receive $5,000 annually for mentoring partnerships,
and leadership and skills development workshops.

Visit http://www.rirdc.gov.au/programs/national-rural-issues/dynamic-rural-communities/investing-in-youth-studentship-program/investing-in-youth–program-sponsors.cfm and join us in saluting the visionaries who see investing in youth as core business. Can you find your peak industry body here if not may we suggest you ask them why not?

Art4Agriculture has personally seen the benefits of this joint industry and government collaboration project that has delivered us some of our Young Farming Champions like Naomi Marks.

Read Naomi’s story here:

Dorrigo dairy farmer Naomi is keen to make her mark

Naomi Marks had no hesitation in putting up her hand to become a Young Farming
Champion.  Citing a passion for agriculture and a particular interest in promoting agriculture to schools Naomi was chosen to tell the dairy industry’s story to Sydney school children.

Growing up on a 200 cow dairy farm on the Mid North Coast, where she also runs her own herd of Jersey stud cattle, Naomi is keen to lead by example when it comes to
demonstrating that agriculture is full of young and vibrant people.

Naomi has recently completed visits to Maraylya Public School and Model Farms High School where she was able to share her farming story and check out the students’
progress in preparing their entry for the Archibull Prize.

The Primary School class I spoke to was so impressive! There was not enough time to answer all questions…they were enthusiastic, interested, keen to know more and absolutely loved my video.
All of them paid attention the whole time and loved it when I involved them by
asking them questions. Their level of knowledge also blew me away!  They had so many questions that they are going to email me the rest!

Young Farming Champions provide students with the human face of farming; allowing them to interact and share stories that create a bridge across the rural-urban
divide.

The sessions with the students are not designed to be lectures about agriculture,
but rather a two-way conversation about modern farming techniques and how
farming benefits city based consumers.

I think the three most important  messages I’d like students to take out of my presentations are:

 1. Farmers produce clean, safe and fresh food and fibre with high quality assurance standards, second to none.

2. Agriculture is a large contributor to Gross Domestic Product.

3. Farmers preserve land and other resources, whilst agriculture keeps small
towns alive and provides many jobs.

The students at Maraylya Public School and the Model Farms High School are
participating in the Archibull Prize and will undertake a range of curriculum
activities aimed at showcasing the importance of getting the balance right
between the involvement and agricultural production.

Each school has been provided with a fibreglass cow on which they will paint an artwork
that explores the themes they have studied.

Naomi’s presentations were an important part of the process, allowing the students to
ask questions and clarify their knowledge around the topic.

The next step for Naomi is to focus on her own studies as exams loom for her Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of New England.

Naomi prepared resources for her school visits.

A great story from ABC Rural on Naomi here

s3296420.htm

You can see why the students loved  Naomi’s video here. Its a ripper Naomi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjgOiz1NNS8

Art4Agriculture salutes the Cotton Research and Development Corporation for sponsoring Naomi Marks Investing in Youth Scholarship

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