Teachers are the key to promoting careers in agriculture – its time to engage them using 21st Century creativity

We have all heard stories about teachers discouraging students from following career pathways in the agriculture sector. It is undeniable that teachers have a major impact on student learning and career choices.

Industry image also plays a key role in the ability to attract young people into the agriculture sector

“The language typically used in the farming sector to describe the roles of those employed in the industry is out-dated and reflects a mindset which is unattractive to young people. Farm jobs are advertised in terms such as farm hand, station hand, milker and shearer. These terms suggest low levels of skills, training, intellectual content and consequently low status. This is an inaccurate picture of the actual requirements of the contemporary farm employee. Farms require highly motivated, intellectually capable and broadly competent workers. They need people who are able to deal with a wide range of practical problems promptly and with ingenuity. Farm workers need to keep up with the latest research and developments in agronomy and business management. They need to be able to operate and maintain a wide range of technologies from the mechanical to the digital. They need to understand the impacts of global events and markets as well as local policy and market variables. They need significant financial planning and management skills, as they may be dealing with multimillion dollar budgets and regular transactions in the hundreds of thousands. These are exciting, diverse and challenging roles. Little of this comes across in the current nomenclature used to describe jobs in the agricultural sector and in the way the industry is depicted in the media and popular culture” Source 

The Archibull Prize program entry surveys reflect this outdated image of careers in agriculture with students struggling to identify careers in the sector beyond farming related activities. Most of the students’ words were about activities that farmers did i.e. feeding, harvesting, gardening, shearing, milking, watering.

In following Word clouds the larger the word in the visual the more common the word was used by the students.

Careers entry

‘In 2017, more than 323,000 people were employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing but if you consider those employed in the farm input and output sectors, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) says agriculture supports more than 1.6 million jobs in areas like transport and logistics, retail and processing. That means roughly 80 per cent of agricultural jobs are beyond the farm gate and the opportunities are wide and varied.’  Source 

With 80% of careers supporting farmers both beyond and behind the farmgate year on year The Archibull Prize evaluation shows us the key to success is exposing teachers and students to exciting young professionals working in diverse roles in the agriculture sector. A key hook for both teachers and students is the innovation, science and technology that drives 21st century farming. It is also pivotal agriculture provides them with the tools to workshop the diversity of careers.

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Students and teachers relate to exciting young professionals working in the agriculture sector 

By the end of the competition students have a specific and varied repertoire related to actual career classifications rather than jobs around the farm. This is evident with more technical words being used i.e. agronomist, vet, engineer, scientist, geneticist.

Careers exit

With a large cohort of our Young Farming Champions being scientists and agronomists their impact is evident through the high numbers of students who listed ‘Agronomist’ or ‘Scientist’ role. This is further confirmed as students listed their top three choices of careers in agriculture they would consider.

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Students as the end of The Archibull Prize were asked to list their top three choices of careers in agriculture 

The Archibull Prize evaluation Careers Teacher Response

With 89% of teachers in The Archibull Prize exit survey saying they were now confident teaching about careers in Agriculture and a 52% increase in the number of teachers who STRONGLY AGREED there are lots of opportunities for jobs and careers in agriculture its clear we have found a winning formula

The Archibull Prize program design allows agriculture to be embedded into the school curriculum across subject areas its hasn’t been traditionally able to reach. After participating in the program 83% of teachers said they would use learning activities about agriculture in other areas of their teaching.


_2017 Supporting partners Capture


Pick your favourite Archie to win the 2017 Archibull Prize People’s Choice Award

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The Archibull Prize 2017 People’s Choice Award is now open for voting by you

Chosen by an independent panel based on the photos schools participating in The Archibull Prize 2017 submitted, the People’s Choice Award is given to the school who receives the most votes.

Your favourites need your support

Its time to rally your family, your friends, your enemies, your communities, the world to vote for your favourite Archie for People’s Choice

Reach out via school newsletters, word of mouth, social media, TV and print media – the world is so connected, so many opportunities


Voting closes at 5pm on November 17th 2017

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_2017 Supporting partners Capture

The Archibull Prize in Canada


Archie Goes to Canada 

Already well regarded within Australian schools as an innovative and thought-provoking way of connecting students and farmers, Art4Agriculture’s, The Archibull Prize will now have international exposure at the 9th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Vancouver, Canada to be held in September.

WEEC promotes education for environment and sustainable development and attracts teachers, researchers, government agencies, NGOs and private companies from across the globe. Previous congresses have been held in Sweden, Morocco and Brisbane with attendance rates in excess of 2000 people from 105 nations.

The 2017 congress is titled ‘Culturenvironment: Weaving New Connections’ and will address themes such as the use of art in environmental education, social responsibility and environmental communication. Larraine Larri from Art4Agriculture will present ‘The Power of the Cow’ outlining how The Archibull Prize has used art, in particular the painting of a life-sized fibreglass cow, and multi-media in primary and secondary schools to provide a connection to agriculture, biosecurity and climate change.

“This is very exciting news,” Ms Larri said. “The World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) is the penultimate international gathering for environmental and sustainable development educators. Policy makers, academics, researchers, community and school-based educators come together every two years for international agenda setting and collaboration. Being able to showcase The Archibull Prize on the world stage gives it international credibility and is an important opportunity to benchmark our Australian innovation with other art and/or agriculture programs.”

Thirty schools across NSW, QLD and the ACT have been selected to participate in the 2017 Archibull Prize and will explore the theme why Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a shared Responsibility’. Students and teachers will be assisted in their journey by agricultural professionals in the form of Young Farming Champions.

2017 will be the seventh instalment of The Archibull Prize, which is proud to have supporting partners in NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cotton Australia, Aussie Farmers Foundation, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Local Land Services and RAS of NSW.

_ 2017 Picture You in Agriculture Supporting Partners

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 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




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.



Pick the winner of The Archibull Prize 2015


It is with great excitement that we announce the finalists in The Archibull Prize 2015 .

The judges decision is in and now it’s your turn to decide the People’s Choice.


Click on the photo to see a larger version and vote for your favourite Archie.

We know these photos don’t do the entries justice so if you would like to see more elements and both sides of all these masterpieces and meet the students who created them you will find them in our Flickr Album here 

2015 Archibull Prize Sponsors

Tayla Field’s journey from city girl to hooked on the bush and a career in agriculture

Today’s guest blog comes from Tayla Field who often gets asked “How does a girl from Sydney find herself here?”

This is Tayla’s journey from city girl to hooked on the bush and a career in agriculture

Bug Checking Cotton

Born and raised in Inner West Sydney, my family connections spread from Rockhampton to the South Coast of New South Wales, with no clear rural connections. Similar to most young children I went through all the phases of potential career choices while growing up, with being a teacher, vet and policewoman crossing my mind.

Tayla Field

However during school I gained an interest in environmental issues locally, where I saw the opportunity to work in areas of sustainability and environmental management when looking into potential university courses.

Commencing study at the University of Sydney in a Bachelor of Environmental Systems, I had the opportunity to mix and converse with students from an Agricultural background, along with teachers, farmers and industry professionals.

Tayla Field 2

The idea of an established, changing and exciting food and fibre industry career was put forward  and now realised a career in Australian Agriculture and Horticultural industries was now an exciting and very real option for me

As I was so very excited to start my second year in Agricultural Science, the end of my first year at uni saw me hassling some very helpful members of the faculty to facilitate a course transfer,  Since transferring I have not looked back and have somehow had the the environment comes first knocked out of me by fellow students, leading to a dual interest in sustainable food an fibre production systems working side by side with getting the best outcomes for our planet.

My experience so far has been a diverse tasting plate of livestock, cropping and agronomy, all of which have interesting areas but come with their own challenges.

Walking Heifer

Working in cattle and sheep yards and leading a heifer for the first time are all experiences with livestock that have been challenging for me, but with the experience comes confidence, control and respect for the animals that you are working with.

I enjoy the livestock side of things, however I am majoring in agronomy in the coming year and have gained a lot from spending some time, with mainly cotton agronomists in the Riverina. I have visited the area at different times of the season and have gained a strong interest in the management of cotton, while recently spending time looking at some wheat and barley production in the winter. I can’t wait to get back out there in late November.

Garlic Trials

These are all first time experiences that have only taken place since beginning the course in 2013, and I can only think of how great it would have been to learn this when I was younger or have more contact with agriculture.I see an exciting future for me ahead in an industry where every day is a new learning experience

“How did you end up here?”

The answer is

” I have discovered agriculture is an exciting forward thinking career  and I am Hooked!”.

I am hooked on the innovation and technology, the wonderful people I meet and a career in an industry that underpins a bright and sustainable future for Australia .


After all would you agree an office like this – could it get any better