About art4agriculturechat

This blog will share farming stories from our family farm Clover Hill Dairies. What you will discover however is that farming today is so much more that growing food and fibre. By opening the door to my role in our family business I am hoping you will gain greater insights into the passion and committment of the people and the places behind the land that produces our food and hands that grow it

Meet the Farmer and go Glamping – an exciting new way to bring country and city together at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

Meet Tim Eyes the young farmer who will join a total of three hundred and thirty five (over the 14 nights of the show ) very lucky Australians to go glamping at the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.

The wider community has had plenty of exposure to Tim via their TV screens and Youtube in the last two years including this feature of Tim and fellow Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth on SBS The Feed

Glamping tent

Not sure if the tents are going to be this luxurious 

Tim loves people and people love Tim ( for all the right reasons).  The last 12 months have been a highlight for the Art4Ag team working with our superstar journalist Mandy McKeesick writing a series a case studies, identifying what makes each of our Young Farming Champions like Tim unique.

Tim was over the moon when he got the call from the RAS of NSW inviting him to be the farmer the glamping participants get to share the campfire experience with over the 14 days of the show. He so looking forward to inspiring the lucky glampers to be as excited about the agriculture sector as he is.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show Glamping Expereince

This exclusive opportunity to sleep-over at the Show is being offered for the first time in 2017.

The lucky participants will meet and share a campfire meal with Tim. They will meet thousands of farm animals, see the world-famous District Exhibit fruit and vegetable displays, taste award-winning food and wine, watch world-class entertainment, experience exhilarating carnival rides and catch an evening show which features a nightly firework spectacular.

At night, they will sleep over in one of the Show’s fully-catered luxury tents, which comfortably sleep four people. Wake up in the morning to the sounds of farmyard life and help hand-feed breakfast to the  animals, before heading off to enjoy all the other attractions of the Show.

Just a handful of glamping tents will be erected at the event, for this special behind-the-scenes opportunity available to a few lucky campers each evening of the Show

The glampers will have

  • Access to a luxury 5m x 5m Glamping tent for 4 people, including 1 x queen-size bed and 2 x single beds, with pillows and linen.
  • Towels and face washers are provided, along with soap, shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser.
  • Access to shared toilet and shower unit, dedicated to the 6 tents located at the campsite.
  • Overnight Tour Host Tim Eyes will be on site to host you from 9pm to 8.30am.
  • Breakfast includes bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, muesli, tea, coffee and orange juice.

 

With any luck Tim’s fellow Young Farming Champion Dwayne Schubert, also a treat in the charm and larrikin department might just pop in one night and join his good mate for a chinwag with the glampers over a cup of tea and damper.

PS I heard a rumour the RAS of NSW may just be offering two more places. If you would like to join Tim on one night of the show keep your eyes peels on their Facebook page 

Young people in agriculture – watershed moments to expand their field of influence.

The Young Sustainability Ambassadors program is a new partnership between the team behind Art4Agriculture and Intrepid Landcare.

The program has been inspired by the success of the Young Farming Champions program and we believe a watershed moment for agriculture. Young people in agriculture reaching out to young people in the community with a burning desire to to be part of a movement that takes action to co-create the bright future we all deserve

The end goal of this partnership is to create a network of global communicators who have the skills and confidence to be the face of their hopes, their community, their organisation, their industry and share their story and their vision for the future with young people in schools and their peers right across the globe

With the launch of the Young Sustainability Ambassadors website we would love you to meet another of the programs ambassadors and hear her story

Meet Erin Lake

Megan and Erin (11)

I was always a bit of a shy and nervous person growing up, except around my family and friends who know me for being able to recite relatable movie lines from Ace Ventura at the most perfect of moments. But when it comes to public speaking I usually get that empty feeling at the bottom of my stomach. A sudden flush to the head that jumbles my words, and a tendency to blurt my speech out so fast to get it over with without even realising. Do you relate? The majority of people do, with lots of people in Australia (and the world) suffering from  glossophobia (fear of public speaking).

It is quite a challenge because I really like to analyse situations; sort ideas (being both a splitter and a lumper); develop tables and charts to present complex ideas in a way that can be instantly understood by someone who knows little of the content; and design beautiful reports and presentations to capture people’s imaginations and help them to visualise, understand and decide how they feel about a topic. Usually that topic is the intriguing and brilliant ecology of Australia’s animals and plants and the systems we use (or could use) to improve their survival.

The combination of written and oral communication to share ideas is a highly powerful tool. And I think each needs its own focus and practice as you develop in your career (and as a human). Communicating the value of an idea successfully to a global audience is not something that many appear to do well or at all. Thinking of who does well – obviously (sadly) Donald Trump, (more optimistically) David Attenborough and (incredibly) the #Kardashians.

I learnt very early that attention on a global stage (or pretty much any type of stage) was absolutely not what I wanted in life. But the ability to communicate on a global stage was something that on my journey, I realised would be a very important thing if our wildlife and environment was to be protected and valued the way I think it deserves. Slight dilemma.

I’m pretty happy with where I found the balance. I am now part of a small team who advise Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner, appointed by the Minister for the Environment to bring a new focus to conservation efforts and help address the growing number of flora and fauna in Australia facing extinction. One of the key objectives of his position is to raise awareness in the broader community about the importance of protecting our threatened animals and plants. The Commissioner reaches out to audiences across Australia, and globally, to rally behind our unique, diverse and beautiful wildlife to save them from #extinction.

There are many ways to communicate globally, and being part of a team that communicates to the world about #SavingSpecies like numbats, helmeted honeyeaters and matchstick banksias is a very rewarding and effective way to encourage people to stand up for our wildlife. Preparing presentations, developing policy and sharing information through social media are some of my daily tasks.

Being involved in the Art4Agriculture program absolutely helped me to realise that my message and my values were worth communicating on a global stage. And it helped me to professionally and sincerely present ideas that help inspire people to care about what I care about. Being supported by a suite of talented experts like the beautiful Anne Burbook (program facilitator and communications trainer specialist) nurtured my confidence to help me find my voice and a reason for using it loudly.

I don’t aspire to be a leader, but to have leadership skills.  I want to be able to help others to learn, understand and develop in ways that make them happy and make the choices that they feel are the right choices. I don’t want to tell people how they should be living, or what they should be eating. I want them to have the knowledge to be able to choose for themselves, and the information to be able to understand why.

Just by knowing what is out there can shape your decisions for study, experience and engagement and direct you in a trajectory where your passion can become part of your career. Even if it’s a bit behind the scenes.

 

Expressions of interest are open for The Archibull Prize 2017

 

Expressions of Interest to participate in The Archibull Prize 2017 are now open for primary and secondary schools in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The Archibull Prize is a world renowned art and multimedia competition focusing on the theme of ‘Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a Shared Responsibility’. 

It is an  innovative and fun in-school program, that traverses the boundaries of communication between rural providers and city consumers. Put simply, the program is an agricultural and environmental themed art competition for primary and secondary student groups.

But the Archibull’s aims are much greater than this.

The Archibull Prize brings the farm into the classroom.

It provides students with opportunities to meet young farmers and to gain knowledge and skills about the production of the food they eat, fibres they use and the environment they live in.

It creates an opportunity for students to work together to create an amazing artwork that tells the story of farming as they understand it.

It builds relationships between schools, industry, business and the community as they progress through the Archibull Prize’s different elements.

It raises awareness of exciting career pathways.

It promotes change and fosters two-way conversations.

And it builds lifelong relationships between consumers and their farmers.

Competing for cash prizes and the national title of Grand Champion, participating schools research a food or fibre industry while creatively transforming life-size fibreglass cows into amazing agricultural inspired artworks. Secondary schools are encouraged to partner with one of their feeder primary schools, which are provided with a fibreglass calf.

Schools also create a suite of digital multimedia communications and are paired with Young Farming Champions who visit schools, taking the farm straight into the classroom.

Being a part of The Archibull Prize is a chance to put your school on the map, with the 2016 National Grand Champion winner, Matraville Sports High School’s ‘Cowaski ”, travelling from the iconic Sydney Royal Easter Show to the halls of the NSW Parliament.

Over the past six years The Archibull Prize has consistently shown that the students involved were deeply engaged in a range of learning experiences. Teachers saw the impacts first-hand of a successful combination of arts and multimedia activities, along with project-based processes across multiple key learning areas. Put simply, The Archibull Prize is a successful addition to any learning program.

For more information or to complete an Expression of Interest email Program Director Lynne Strong with your contact details:  lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au

Visit our website and view the winning entries in our Hall of Fame

 

Young Farming Champions announced as finalists in NSW/ACT Young Achievers Awards

Today’s post is a big shoutout to Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert who have BOTH recently been announced as finalists in the Environment and Sustainability category of the NSW/ACT Young Achievers Awards. 

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The Environment & Sustainability Award recognises young people that have demonstrated environmental leadership or a significant contribution to a sustainable New South Wales and the ACT. The award celebrates young people who have demonstrated initiatives in the efficient use of water, resources and energy, better waste management and recycling practices, the enhancement of the environment and effective, practical community action.   These young people will stimulate ideas about sustainability and the environment in their community, sharing solutions and identifying strategies for change in the future.

We are very proud of Josh and Anika and all the Young Farming Champions who are showing true moral courage to lead a movement to inspire other young people to do what inspires them

They all have a crystal clear vision of the bright future they see for agriculture. They are all champions in their own right but know their vision can only be achieved if they do it selflessly together.

_dsc8652  Young Farming Champions leading a movement to inspire other young people to do what inspires them

Young people driving change

The Picture You in Agriculture team has paired up with Intrepid Landcare to roll our the school’s based program Kreative Koalas (website a work in progress). This exciting new partnership  will allow our Young Farming Champions to broaden their networks and influence through a partnership with Young Sustainability Ambassadors ( website to be launched this week)

Today’s guest blog comes from Megan Rowlatt the CEO of Intrepid Landcare who has a long association with the Young Farming Champions program

megan-rowlatt

A state and national award winner, Megan continues to communicate on a global scale through her creative blogging, writing resources and articles for numerous organisations and publications on youth leadership, nature and conservation, and through personal one-on-one mentorship roles with young people across the world. And while she’s constantly on the road creating change in communities all over Australia, it’s not unusual to see her hiking through our rich and diverse Australian bush, swimming in a secret water hole, or getting her hands dirty pulling weeds and planting trees on an epic Intrepid Landcare adventure with a tribe of other like-minded young people.

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This is Megan’s story …….

 

Speaking to crowd-filled rooms, hundreds of people deep about my passion for the environment, the future of the planet, and how young people play a pivotal role in sustainability on a global scale, was something I never would have dreamed possible a few years ago. But today, this is my world.

I work in the environmental conservation space, co-founder of a national organisation in Australia called Intrepid Landcare [link insert: www.intrepidlandcare.org]. We focus on leadership development in young people who have a passion for the environment. It’s my life’s work, my passion, and my purpose.

intepid-landcare-board

Intrepid Landcare  Board 

The Intrepid Landcare team  design and deliver leadership programs which inspire and build the capacity of young people to step out into the community and drive change from the grassroots level. It’s environmental conservation meets outdoor adventure, adventure meets purpose, and it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

retreat

A late bloomer to the leadership space, my path has been quite a gentle meandering through little trip ups and hidden lessons, I had no idea I was as passionate about the environment as what I am, or what role I wanted to play in the world, or that I was even capable of the things that I am today. But my connection to nature and deep sense of responsibility to look after it, entwined with a series of serendipitous travel and volunteer experiences has guided me to where I am today.

soaking-with-the-tribe-in-the-mongarlowe-river

A connection to nature and deep sense of responsibility to look after it, entwined with a series of serendipitous travel and volunteer experiences has Megan to where she is today.

As a support officer working with people in the Landcare movement who genuinely care about the land, in 2008 I had landed my dream job. But I soon noticed a gaping hole where young people just did not exist in the movement, and took on creating opportunities in my own community. The rest, is history.

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Megan’s love affair with nature 

It wasn’t until I recognised I was actually a changemaker and started investing in myself [link insert: http://myconservationcollective.com/invest-in-you], that I started to gain real momentum in my impact. And one of those investments was the ‘Art4Agriculture Young Eco Champions’ program. This program really gave me the communication skills and confidence I needed to craft my vision and message for the future. It played a pivotal role in my personal and professional development and I have since gone on to speak at regional, state and national conferences on natural resource management, youth leadership, and conservation. I’ve appeared on local, state and national radio and television programs, been keynote speaker at environmental film festivals, facilitated countless forums and events, and my work in this space has even taken me to Bhutan to join a team of global changemakers discovering different models of sustainable development.

megan-bhutan

Megan in Bhutan 

All of what I step into aims to raise the bar on the way we speak about sustainability in Australia and on a global scale, and at the forefront of this conversation is young people and the role they play in future of our planet. So it has been critical for me to get the skills down, to be able to communicate in a way that resonates with the diverse audiences I want to reach .

Thank you Megan for sharing your story.  As you can imagine we are looking forward to working with this exciting and inspiring young woman and her tribe of changemakers

 

Meet Caitlin Heppner who lives and breathes the shearing sheds of Australia.

Continuing our series on young women in wool meet Caitlin Hepper our Australia Day guest blogger

champion-junior-fleece-judge

‘The hum of the motors rouse me

As I feel the shed erupt,

For 7am has come around

And we know that we have found

The place where we belong’       

 

Verse 1: I Belong Here (Caitlin Heppner, 2014)

 Being Barossa born and bred I grew up surrounded by viticulture and it wasn’t until I was 10 that I discovered sheep and wool, when I met the Australian Shearing and Wool Handling Team at Portree Station. Up until that day I had never set foot into an operational shearing shed, and little did I know how much I would fall in love with it. Shannon Warnest, Jason Wingfield and John Dalla were the shearers and Mel Morris and Debbie Chandler were the wool handlers. I remember sitting on the catching pen rails, watching everyone, totally engrossed in the atmosphere until I couldn’t see anything…. Jason had thrown a fleece over me and the feel of the wool and the pungent aroma of the lanolin felt like home. In that moment I knew my life would revolve around the wool industry. So at 10 years of age I began working as a rouseabout in local sheds. At 14 I learnt to shear and was competing in shearing and wool handling competitions and at 18 I fulfilled my dream and became a registered Australian Wool Classer.

2014-angaston-show-novice-shearing-comp

But of course, my story is a lot more than that. I went to Nuriootpa High with a passion for agriculture and technology. I was introduced to showing cattle, both at school and through a Santa Gertrudis stud, and attended country shows, the SA Junior Heifer Expo and the Royal Adelaide Show. At these shows I also entered handlers and junior judging competitions. As a handler I have placed in every competition I entered (bar one), winning champion 3 times and  winning the beef cattle junior judging at the Melrose Show in 2014 and Reserve Champion at Crystal Brook in 2016. Showing cattle can be glamorous however most people forget the extremely early starts and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of prime cow manure removed every day!

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As much as I enjoy cattle, it is sheep directing my career. I completed my secondary schooling in 2016 through a full-time school based traineeship in Cert IV Wool Classing; working with a shearing contractor in outback SA and NSW. I worked as a wool handler under a Master Classer.

By June I had completed my senior shed and in July I gained my wool classing stencil. Leaving home at the beginning of last year was a massive step but choosing to complete my secondary education the way I did was the best decision I ever made. I not only got a head start in my career but I made many industry contacts and got the chance to live and work in some amazing parts the country.

Soon after receiving my AW stencil I decided to give fleece judging a try. Never did I imagine I would come out as the 2016 State Champion Merino Fleece Junior Judge! I can certainly say I feel at home working with wool, and I hope I have the same amount of success when I head to the National Finals later this year.

2016-state-finals-merino-fleece-judging

I’ve always enjoyed helping and teaching people. I loved being a mentor for my school’s steer and merino teams and in 2014 I was awarded the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Award for leadership and teamwork. In 2015 I was SA’s inaugural representative at Country to Canberra, an initiative that focuses on gender inequality and empowering young rural women.  While I was in Canberra, I met an amazing group of girls, all who were extremely passionate about gender equality. Their interests ranged from STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) Fields, through to Rural Mental Health and Feminism. Together, we learnt how to deal with gender stereotypes and just how powerful women can be!

sas-first-ever-winner-of-country-to-canberra-2015-1

Canberra gave me a chance to be a youth voice for our farmers and the agricultural issues they face daily.

As a consequence of Country to Canberra I am in the planning stages of an advocacy campaign called Farmers Not Forgotten, which will aim to raise awareness of agricultural issues with the community and Canberra politicians.

I am only 18 years old but I know my future lies with wool. I hope to continue as a wool classer, run my own merino stud (and maybe a brahman herd to keep up my cattle skills!), encourage more youth into agriculture, and to bridge the gap between the producer and the consumer. As the title of my poem says: “I belong here.”

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The place where where I belong       

 

Meet Wool Producer Katherine Bain who loves the magic of white wool from red soil

As part of our series on Young Women in Wool meet today’s guest blogger Katherine Bain

Growing up surrounded by agricultural history has instilled in me a passion to ensure agriculture, and particularly wool, is a valued industry for the future.

I am a 6th generation farmer. Old family photos and the physical remains of my ancestors’ homes have shown me how important this land has been to people, and has helped me decide I want my career to be in agriculture.

Shearing time at home is always an important time of the year, with most events and holidays being discussed as pre-shearing or post-shearing. In my early days, I would often be found shadowing dad as he filled pens up with woolly sheep, and I would then count them out freshly shorn. Living on very red soil I always thought this colour transition from red to white in the sheep quite magical. At smoko time, I would often run off and have a quick nap in the wool bins before getting back on the bike to bring in the next mob.

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I’ve never been one to hang back and watch from the sidelines so whenever an opportunity presents itself I take it with two hands. I’ve always been Dad’s right-hand woman on the farm but when I was 14 I became more invested in agriculture when, after much discussion, we bought 50 Coopworth ewes and a ram and I started the St Enochs Coopworth Stud. The Coopworth is renowned for its maternal instinct and high weaning percentage (not so much its wool), which were the genetics the farm was missing at the time.

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Delving into the world of sheep genetics was very new to my father and me but it opened my eyes to the wider world of agriculture. It’s not all just driving around paddocks, drenching and shearing. Since founding the stud I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of the sheep industry by attending sheep judging workshops (where I learnt what to look for in terms of sheep confirmation) and volunteering at ram sales.

It wasn’t until 2012, when I did a Rotary Exchange year to Japan, that I really began to understand the global interest in Australian wool. My time in Japan was fascinating. I found a society with similar technology to Australia, but with a strong sense of tradition and appreciation for quality. Wool clothing is a staple in their wardrobes – they wear it almost daily and value its warmth and comfort.

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As a girl from an Australian sheep farm the Japanese people were excited to speak to me about wool and learn about what I did on the farm. It was a great conversation starter. I learned what our Japanese consumers value in the end-product and so came to understand the importance of ensuring our Australian products meet consumer expectation.

Since Japan I have worked hard to understand the different facets of the wool industry. I have worked with a wool brokerage firm to gain insight into how wool is traded on the global market, seen the scouring process and toured the Australian Wool Testing Authority, and completed my wool classing certificate so I can work in sheds, which I feel is a great grounding for a career in the wool industry. Heading into my second year at Marcus Oldham College I am directing my study towards a career in commodity trading with my main interest being in wool.

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I am excited to be a part of the rapidly expanding and evolving wool industry. It allows me to pursue my passion, gain knowledge and share my experiences of Australian wool production on a global level.