Beam me up Emma – Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champions stream live from the paddock to the classroom

Parramatta Public School (12).JPGCotton Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe visited Parramatta Public School in June 2018 

Take Skype, a laptop and an interactive whiteboard and Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe, standing in a paddock of cotton stubble, was able to beam directly to Sydney school students sitting in a classroom.

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In July the classroom came to her via Skype

Emma is taking the story of cotton to Parramatta Public School as part of The Archibull Prize and with her live cross she showed students how technology such as moisture probes is used in the field and how data collected can be instantly uploaded. The paddock of stubble allowed her to ‘trash’ talk and explain the concept of crop rotation to 90 avid watchers.

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For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. “Water is a very valuable natural resource that we need to take care of and while we don’t have moisture probes the kids are able to touch and feel the soil (in their school cotton crop) to ensure enough water is being given to the plant. Emma also put us onto the Day Degrees formula, which helps us work out the growth cycle of cotton, which we are growing in our greenhouse.”

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While Parramatta Public School has covered similar units in previous years Esra feels Emma’s presentation from the paddock helped to give the students a different perspective. “It was great to see the farmer’s point of view and what they do to ensure they have a successful crop. All these things we have been learning about has enhanced our kids understanding of what farmers go through and how climate change does affect us and why we need to be careful with biosecurity.”

And it seems Emma is having an influence on the career direction of students. “Emma is amazing,” Esra said, “and the kids absolutely love her enthusiasm. I think we have some students who now would like to be an agronomist because it looks really fun.”

#agronomist #thiscottonpickinglife #archieaction #youthvoices18 #wearcotton

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Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 4

This week’s news from our Young Farming Champions across the country

In the Field

It’s been all action for our Wool Young Farming Champions (YFC) this week with the annual Australian Sheep and Wool show on in Bendigo, Victoria. Three of our “Woolly” YFC, Jo Newton, Sam Wan and Melissa Henry, and our newest Rice YFC Erica Heffer converged on the industry’s biggest event of the year and we’ve had some top stories emerge:

The amazing Sam Wan spent the weekend stewarding and speaking at the Soils Make Sense careers forum at the Careers and Technology Hub.

It’s been a huge month for Sam who has been named as one of three finalists in The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australian Annual Wool Broker Awards. She has also been recognised with the One Elders Operational Performance Award for July.  Read the full story here.  Great work, Sam!

If you’re in the world of wool you may have heard Sam speak at a recent growers function for Elders South Australia, or heard her as one of the wool auctioneer’s interviewed on the Victorian Country Hour at the last wool sale of the selling season in Melbourne last week. Take a listen here

Wool YFC and coloured wool grower Melissa Henry judged the Black and Coloured sheep section and the coloured fleece section at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. With 55 sheep entered from 8 exhibitors it was a tough task and Melissa said “The line ups for Grand Champion Ram, Ewe and Lamb were crackers!” One of her weekend highlights was the chance to see so many different breeds of sheep that you normally only see in books. We’re rapt you had such a great weekend, Mel!

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton was busy hosting our Picture You In Agriculture social media channels in between stewarding merino sheep competitions.

At Friday night’s Young Stud Masters Muster Jo was one of six wool representatives hosting a panel aimed at inspiring young people into agriculture. The New Breed initiative launch, supported by Stock & Land, discussed topics including attracting young people into the wool industry, rebranding agriculture in schools, Ag-Tech, and the culture of agriculture. Way to go, Jo!

Jo

Jo also caught up with our newest Rice YFC Erica Heffer who spent the weekend stewarding as part of her Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) Rural Achievers Experience.

Check out this great video interview with Erica about her experiences at the Sheep and Wool Show here:

From country Victoria to the top of Western Australia, Cotton YFC Alexander Stephens is possibly the nation’s most famous cotton picker this week! Alexander is about to harvest Western Australia’s first commercial cotton crop in nearly fifty years and at the time of writing, his story had been shared across Facebook almost 300 times. All eyes in the Aussie cotton industry are on this exciting and innovative venture right now. Read more about it here:

Cotton YFC and agronomist Martin Murray is also making headlines this week, in the world of bees! Check out his story via the Young Farmers Business Project, where Martin talks about acquiring his first hive of these amazing winged creatures that keep the world of agriculture running. Read the story here

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Out of the Field

YFC Anika Molesworth is in Argentina this week. As part of her work with the Argentine Agriculture Minister and the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Anika will be visiting farms, running workshops with young farmers, presenting on global agricultural challenges and opportunities and preparing a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors.  We can’t wait to hear more about your trip Anika!

In country NSW, Grain YFC Keiley Obrien attended the @YoungFarmerBP Business Ready Workshop in Dubbo.

Keiley OBrien

as you can see from Keiley’s quote she was impressed

“ WOW what an event. We learnt a lot & found it extremely relevant given the current re-structure out contracting business is going through. Great networking op as well. Would highly recommend! #YFBP”

Archibull Prize school visits are well underway and several YFC are heading into classrooms this week. These visits are exciting days for students but for YFC they are an absolute highlight of the year. The chance to get out of the paddock, office or research lab and into schools to share their life’s passion is a thrilling and rewarding experience. This week:

Wool YFC and newly graduated vet Dione Howard is visiting Bombala High School.

Grain YFC Dan Fox is visiting Kellyville High School and Granville Boys High School.

And Casey Onus is visiting Oxley High School.

Good luck everyone!

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction

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New Partnership puts Agricultural Careers front and centre for young people

Key Points.

  • Young people’s perceptions of agriculture and regional areas are a caricature created by TV, movies, cartoons, news and limited personal experience. Agriculture needs career communications that bring to life specific roles that challenge stereotypes.
  • When young people are asked to identify careers in agriculture they can’t. Their answers revolve around farming related activities. Research (including The Archibull Prize surveys) show there is a positive correlation between knowledge and interest.

The 2017 SEED report Developing student interest in the agriculture sector identified Agriculture as a career is completely off  the radar for young  people. To turn this around and fast track putting agriculture career pathways front of mind for young people Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) and the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) are partnering to promote agricultural careers.

In late 2018 PIEFA will relaunch the Career Harvest website which is designed as a one-stop shop for prospective careers in agriculture. The site gives information on career pathways, internships and scholarships, with advice and news from graduates and industry.

Similarly, PYiA runs a careers website under their Archibull Prize banner featuring Young Farming Champions (YFC) illustrating the diverse range of agricultural careers with videos and career snapshots. The content is aimed at primary and secondary students participating in The Archibull Prize and encourages students to consider a career in agriculture.

“Our Young Farming Champions are visiting schools, sharing their stories in the community and online, showing young people, teachers, careers advisers and parents a career in agriculture is an exciting chance to be part of the solution.  A chance to undertake problem solving and see your work impact the lives of others

The new partnership between the two bodies will allow for cross-promotion of content between both sites. “Industry and schools need a platform to promote agricultural education and I believe this partnership with PIEFA is a wonderful start to positive collaborations,”

We are all in this together. Collaboration reduces duplication.  Collaboration creates opportunity and solves common priorities” PYiA Director Lynne Strong said.

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PIEFA CEO Ben Stockwin also believes this will be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“PIEFA has recently taken on the management of Career Harvest and aims to curate careers information on behalf of industry to pull together information that informs and attracts new entrants to the industry,” he said. “PYiA and YFC have been at the forefront of presenting a modern, contemporary and accurate portrayal of the industry in a way that is accessible to young people across Australia. Career Harvest is very proud to have these programs as partners.”

More than just on-farm, agriculture today offers careers across a wide spectrum including jobs in environment and sustainability, biosecurity, humanities, extension, communications and engineering to name a few. Having platforms such as Careers Harvest and The Archibull Prize will guarantee a new generation is aware of these opportunities.

#YouthVoices18 #YouthinAg #STEMCareers

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Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 2

This week’s Young Farming Champions stories from around the country

IN THE FIELD

This week Wool Young Farming Champion and social media superstar Emma Turner will be taking over our Art4Agriculture social media channels and showings us life on a sheep station in outback NSW. Emma’s continuing work on her Honours Research Project into six-monthly shearing of sheep and we’re super keen to find out exactly what’s involved. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages this week to catch up with Emma and her beloved sheep.

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Cotton YFC, farmer and agronomist Emma Ayliffe has finished shearing and lamb marking her first drop of lambs on her farm in Central West NSW.

This week Emma is working with her cotton farming clients to prepare their paddocks for planting next year’s cotton crop.

Cotton farmers are currently adding phosphorous fertiliser to the soil where it is needed, creating rows for planting and furrows for irrigation and preparing their nitrogen budgets.

Farmers predict soil temperature in the Riverina will have reached the required 14 degrees C for planting cotton in about six weeks.

You can find out how a cotton crop is grown here

And because safety is always the most important thing, Emma is also renewing her St Johns first aid certificate this week!

YFC and grain farmer Dan Fox says farmers in his region of the NSW Riverina are very grateful for the 44 mm of rain they received in June, with Dan’s family planting wheat, barley, canola and lentils for the 2018 season.

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Dan is looking forward to attending the Victorian No Till Farming Conference this Thursday and Friday. Dan says it’s a great opportunity to learn from and network with other farmers who share the Fox family ethos of No Till Regenerative Farming.

YFC and grain farmer Marlee Langfield is attending the annual Innovation Generation Conference in Wagga Wagga, NSW, this week.

Marlee at Innovation Generation

In far-west NSW, Wool YFC and sheep and cattle farmer Bessie Thomas is still hoping for more rain. In an average year her animals would usually eat grass growing in the paddocks but while drought conditions continue, Bessie’s family is feeding their sheep and cattle a mix of grains, seeds and hay every day. This requires driving the feed around to each watering point in every paddock and it’s a time-consuming job that doesn’t allow for much other farm work and maintenance to continue.

YFC Tim Eyes hosted students from The Lakes College at his farm. They dug for potatoes, collected fresh eggs, picked oranges from the tree and milked Joyce the dairy cow. For Tim, who has entertained children both in mainstream schools and at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, hosting the TLC students was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. Read the full story here

The Lakes Colllege

OUT OF THE FIELD

Next Monday YFC Anika Molesworth is flying to Argentina! She has been invited by the Argentine Minister of Agriculture and Uruguay Minister of Agriculture to visit farms, run workshops with young farmers, and give presentations on global agricultural challenges and opportunities.

This program coincides with the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, and part of her brief is to collaborate with young South American farmers to prepare a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors, enabling young farmers, and promoting future industry leaders. Anika will be working with Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and visiting farmer groups to discuss collaborative relationships between countries and tackling the industry’s big challenges. Happy travels and have fun, Anika!

YFC Nellie Evans, Wool YFC Adele Offley and YFC Dr Steph Fowler are going into schools in Young, NSW, for the Kreative Koalas program where they will be engaging with students about SDG Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption.

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Dr Jo Newton is sharing her leadership journey with the First National Real Estate FN squad. FN Squad is designed to bring together the First National’s under 35-year-olds for training and networking. Good luck Jo!

PRIME CUTS

Anika Molesworth has been accepted into the 2019 Homeward Bound program – a 12 month leadership program from women in STEMM to work on environmental issues and increase their strategic plans, visibility and skills development. It brings together women from all over the world, giving them personal coaches and platforms to broadcast their topics of interest. The program culminates in a voyage to Antarctica in November next year, to visit research stations, meet with scientists, and learn about climate change in this incredibly fragile region of the planet. Congratulations Anika!

Grains YFC Dee George has been announced as a state finalist in The Victorian Rural Ambassador Awards. Congrats Dee!

Grains YFC Calum Watt is a state semi-finalist in the agricultural section of the Western Australian Young Achiever awards for 2018. This week Calum was in Darwin for the Northern Food Futures Conference in his role as an AgriFutures scholarship holder, hosting a panel discussion about opportunities in the northern region. Well done Calum!

LIFETIME HIGHLIGHTS

Beef YFC Prue McCormack and Wool YFC Dione Howard are both completing their final veterinary studies exams at university this week and we wish them all the best!

Cotton YFC Casey Onus has just finished her Master of Business Administration. What a fantastic effort, well done Casey!

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#Youthvoice18 #YouthinAg #ArchieAction

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Youth off the streets and onto the farm

Using primary industries to reach and teach disadvantaged students is one benefit of The Archibull Prize.

Each year The Archibull Prize engages with a wide range of amazing students and teachers and this year The Lakes College (TLC) from the NSW Central Coast has partnered with Picture You in Agriculture, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and  Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes to study the beef industry.

TLC is a small alternate high school for Years 9 and 10 and is part of Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program. The school only opened in 2017, which makes this Archibull journey extra special and with 5 staff members and 24 students everyone is involved.

“We like to view The Lakes College as a strong team who all support each other day to day. We are based in Blue Haven Community Centre. We are first and foremost students, but we also cook our breakfast, recess and lunch at school in our kitchens, make sure the place is clean, tend to our veggie garden and work and play on the brilliant sporting facilities our school so fortunately has around it.” Source TLC blog 

TLC are “Raising the Steaks” as they learn about the beef industry with their Archie and mentoring them is Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes. Tim is an agricultural contractor and co-founder (with his partner Hannah) of the successful Food Farm situated in Wyong Creek less than 10km from TLC. Tim and Hannah raise grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and vegetables and regularly invite the public through the farm gate to see their sustainable brand of agriculture.

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Tim and Hannah

On July 2 the students of TLC found themselves amongst the animals of the Food Farm. They dug for potatoes, collected fresh eggs, picked oranges from the tree and milked Joyce the dairy cow. For Tim, who has entertained children both in mainstream schools and at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, hosting the TLC students was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience.

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“It was really refreshing having unfiltered, blunt questions – they were just very honest kids,” Tim says. “They had real questions about red meat and feeding people under the poverty line so we spoke about exploring the secondary cuts such as mince, which is accessible, diverse, and quick and easy to use.”

The potato patch proved particularly popular. “They spent probably half an hour there, digging potatoes and getting their hands dirty and thinking it was the most exhilarating thing, and that was so good to see,” Tim says. Indeed the wonder of the potato patch was commented on in the school’s blog with one student saying: “Potatoes grow in the ground – seeing that blew my socks off!”

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Another aspect of the visit that impressed Tim was some of the kids said they could see a future or a progression into a job with farming. “For them to even consider, for a split second, that maybe a career in agriculture was a good idea was pretty exciting; and it definitely made me think how the agricultural industry could have an effect on the poverty line and how it could employ people who wouldn’t have an opportunity otherwise.”

The Archibull journey of The Lakes College will be one to follow in 2018. “A lot of the students are quite artistic and I think they will be incredibly surprising on what they bring to the Archies,” Tim concludes.

You can read all about The Lakes College’s visit to The Food Farm here on their Archibull blog.

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Cotton Young Farming Champion Casey Onus takes farming technology into the classroom

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology is often a challenge but Cotton Young Farming Champion Casey Onus is keeping cotton farmers abreast of changes in big data and farm-based technology such as drones.

“Big data is basically a fancy term for collecting all the information that comes off your farm,” Casey says. “Collecting big data enables us to make smarter decisions about where we spend our money and where it is going to have the most impact, and also allows us to pick up problems in paddocks that we can then rectify.”

The simplest example of big data is yield information. Data can be collected straight off the header and processed into paddock images. It can also be combined with satellite imagery such as NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index), allowing management plans to be made of paddocks, which in turn can lead to more targeted application of inputs such as fertiliser.

“Big data helps to make the agricultural industry as a whole more efficient,” Casey says. “By monitoring and collecting various forms of on-farm data we can really tweak efficiencies. This enables us to minimise the overuse of fertilisers and other products, and responsibly manage our environmental impact well into the future. It also aids biosecurity. When the Russian Weed Aphid came in and caused problems for the grain industry, it could actually be mapped across a geographical area from advisors scouting using some of these big data programs. If all of these programs talk to each other you can literally map that across Australia. And that’s huge. That gives potential to know what is happening at any given point in time and allows us to react accordingly.”

Although Casey believes satellite imagery and big data remain more economical for large-scale crops, she knows smaller technology such as drones has multiple uses on the farm from stock scouting in rugged terrain to monitoring water troughs and weed populations. At the recent Tocal Field Days she took drone technology to interested members of the public. “We set up a drone simulator on the big screen in the Hunter Local Land Services’ tent to encourage people to come and ask their questions about using drones on farm and to have a go at flying before they make the investment to get one,” she says. “The drone simulator was quite popular, especially with the school kids on the Friday, but we had quite a lot of landowners come with questions about CASA rules, utilising drones on-farm in their individual situations and even questions from people who had already purchased a drone but didn’t quite have the confidence to fly it yet.”

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Casey will continue the story of cotton and technology as she goes into schools as part of this year’s Art4Agriculture The Archibull Prize. Working with students from Oxley High School, Irrawang High School, Raymond Terrace Public School and Muswellbrook High she will help foster relationships between the community and the Cotton industry.

#WearCotton #WeloveCotton #ThisCottonPickingLife #YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Young Farming Champions Muster June 2018 Week 4

This week’s top  stories from our Young Farming Champions across the country

In the Field 

With almost all of NSW in mild to severe drought and the NSW DPI Drought Hub  providing a one-stop online destination for information on a vast range of services and support available to  farming families and communities to prepare for and manage drought some of our Young Farming Champions are reporting some good news .

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Marlee Langfield now making all the on farm management decisions on her farm at Cowra took a gamble and sowed her first crop.

Its was a very nervous wait and a great relief to get two small rainfall events which give hope for the season ahead  

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After planting her canola in what some may describe as a dust bowl Marlee was very pleased to see the rain which has encouraged the canola to shoot

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Photos Marlee Langfield 

Likewise Emma Ayliffe purchased her first farm this year and planted her first crop of barley and along with fellow Riverina farmer Dan Fox  was pleased to see the clouds open up.

Many other YFC farmers like Emma Turner, Bessie Thomas and Anika Molesworth are looking forward to the day the rains return in their region and grass can replace hand feeding with grain and hay

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 Photo Emma Turner 

Out of the Field 

Our Cotton young farming champions are visiting schools in Sydney and the Hunter this week

James Kanaley will be visiting Airds High and Mamre Anglican School and Casey Onus is visiting Irrawang, Muswellbrook and Oxely High School and Raymond Terrace Public School.

Wool Young Farming Champion Sam Wan and Youth Voices Leadership Chair Jo Newton are attending the Heart of Victoria Gala Dinner . 

Wool Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge is doing a great job keeping us uptodate on UNE IFAMA tour 

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Photo L-R: Jasmine Whitten, Meg Rice, Macarena Calderon and Lucy Collingridge

Updates from our global travellers

Today three Young Farming Champions (YFC) had the opportunity to meet with Macarena Calderon and discuss the issues agriculture is facing in Argentina.
Macarena is a member of the Pergamino Rural Society, particularly the youth section of the organisation.
The Pergamino Rural Society, which is like a combination of NSW Farmers and YFC, supports their rural members through political advocacy, education and training, networking and extension services. The society also supports rural youth, aged 15-35, and provide educational opportunities.
Experiences were shared, with both Macarena and YFCs understanding the difficulties their respective industries faced in educating the broader communities about where their food comes from and attracting young people to careers in agriculture.

 

Until next week #youthvoices18 #youthinag #archieaction