Many of our Young Farming Champions are pursuing career in research with Dr Danila Marini and Max Edwards choosing careers in the wool industry with a special interest in on-farm technology
Max is a fourth generation sheep farmer who grew up in the paddocks and shearing shed of Catombal Park near Wellington. He moved to the city to study a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at The University of Sydney, and employed emerging technology as the focus for his honours project. Using remote monitoring techniques Max set up an automatic, solar-powered weigh station on water points and trained sheep to walk across it. Their weights were recorded and matched to electronic tags in their ears, and the data was sent directly to his laptop. The project provided rich information on the factors affecting live-weight change in lambs. See the full story in The Land here.
Max has long term plans to extend his honours research with a PhD and to branch into consultancy but for now is gaining real-world experience back on the family farm. Surrounded by family members with diverse careers in the agriculture sector, Max and his father are making the most of the technology and expertise available to them to run their business to the optimum level.
‘My first year full-time on the farm has seen us cope with some out of left field animal health challenges and low rainfall but it’s been very rewarding to work with my family to build business resilience.’
The challenges of running a family business will hold Max in good stead for his future plans and give him credibility in the world of consulting, allowing him to fuse the academic and practical aspects of agriculture.
Danila is originally a city kid whose first interaction with agriculture was as a 9 year old and her family bought a small property and started a little hobby farm where they had chickens, cattle, sheep and goats. Danila had always loved animals and attributes the hobby farm to sparking her interest in agriculture. The agriculture sector will be forever grateful she answered the call to country.
After finishing her PhD at UNE, Danila is putting her expertise into developing technology to get the best outcomes for animals and farmers
University of New England post-doctoral fellow Danila Marini was guest speaker at the Angaston Ag Bureau hogget competition, on training sheep in virtual fencing systems.
Sheep can be trained to remain within virtual fencing systems in the same way as cattle, according to University of New England post-doctoral fellow Danila Marini.
That is the promising early result the NSW based Uni and CSIRO has found, with sheep wearing collars responding to audio cues within three to six interactions.
Dr Marini was a guest speaker at the Livestock E-Technology for Natural Resources Management seminar, held by the Angaston Agricultural Bureau and the Society for Precision Agriculture Australia, on Friday March 23.
She is part of a team of researchers working on the three-year virtual fencing project and hopes to develop ethical training protocol for sheep.
She says Agersens is close to commercialising the technology in cattle, but far less is known about the ability to train sheep to remain within the electric fields.
The biggest challenge for sheep will be developing an ear tag or other device to deliver the electrical stimulus.
“Australia has a lot of Merinos which grow wool so a collar won’t work by itself ,’ she said.
Dr Marini’s project is now turning to finding the optimal percentage of the flock which will need collars for effective fencing, and also whether lambs can be trained with their mothers.
Danila also outlined a couple of other projects she is involved; one in SA with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources looking at using virtual collars on sheep for weed management and another with Dairy Australia looking at grazing management of dairy cattle.
“A lot of technology is coming in that can tell us a lot about individual behaviour of livestock. We can use this behaviour as a measure of their health and welfare,” Dr Marini said.
The team at Art4Agriculture gets a huge buzz from following the career journeys of our Young Farming Champions. We thank our supporting partners for investing in them
Young Farming Champions with Grand Champion Archie 2017 and Wendy Taylor our art judge
On behalf of the Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) team it gives me great pleasure to share the PYiA annual report with our loyal supporters.
Ten years ago, we started with a vision to empower young people in the agriculture to share their stories and, in doing so, engage with the community to raise awareness and increase appreciation of the Australian agriculture sector.
Ten years down the track we are delighted and humbled to know this is now a reality. With our cornerstone programs, Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize, we are exceeding our initial goals and taking our expectations to new levels.
The 2017 Annual Report highlights these successes.
Young Farming Champions highlights include:
- The creation of an events activation team, which sees YFC taking their stories to diverse audiences. A recent highlight is our partnership with industry and the RAS of NSW to provide primary school students with interactive workshops and a secondary school careers workshop at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
- Establishing themselves beyond agriculture – speaking at events such as TED talks and being selected as finalists in national Young Achiever Awards
- Leadership roles within the agricultural industry – including positions with Farmers for Climate Action, Future Farmers Network, RAS Youth Group, ASC Next Gen and NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council
- Creation of a media presence as youth with high credentials and strong reputations as witnessed in recent ABC Rural YFC interview Series on Country Hour.
- Establishment of a Youth Voices Leadership Team to mentor and support the Young Farming Champions and provide an agricultural youth leadership voice to community, media and industry.
The Archibull Prize highlights include:
- Schools now see the connection of agriculture to many aspects of their community, extending beyond food and fibre
- Post participating in the program all students had positive attitudes towards farmers’ environmental stewardship and water resource management. 73% of teachers reported having changed the way they now think about agriculture. In particular, understanding agricultural systems from farm to final product and the challenges facing farmers. There has been an increased respect for farmers, those supporting farmers, and appreciation of the high level of competence it takes to deliver food and fibre to the community. Much of this is due to two factors: contact with Young Farming Champions and other farming / agricultural professionals; and learning about sustainability challenges affecting Agriculture through topics such as Climate Change, Biosecurity, Food Security and Waste, Renewable Energy, Healthy Communities.
- Teachers observed a significant increase in student interest in careers in Agriculture. At the end of the program students were able to mention more than three different careers in Agriculture with a focus on STEM e.g. agronomist, engineer, scientist, geneticist. Students also identified STEM related career pathways in agriculture they would like to follow. See page 19 of The Archibull Prize report here. This is in complete contrast to The Archibull Prize student entry survey where students were only able to list farming related activities and unable to list a career in agriculture. Teachers attributed this change largely to meeting a Young Farming Champion (YFC). Students developed an appreciation of the physical aspects of farming; as well as admiration for the professionalism, knowledge, work skills and ethic and personal passion of each YFC. They gained insights into farm practices and potential career pathways through hearing the YFC’s story.
We look forward to sharing our 2018 journey with you.
Young Farming Champion Meg Rice, a UNE Bachelor of Law/Agriculture student was recently named a 2018 RAS Rural Achiever. It continues her list of achievements, which also include being president of the Farming Futures committee at UNE – a legacy generated by Young Farming Champions before her.
Farming Futures is an annual careers fair and dinner at the university, showcasing industries and businesses who are employing agriculture graduates. It was established in 2011 by Young Farming Champion Jo Newton. Sally Strelitz is an Outreach and Engagement Officer at UNE and supports student committees. “Jo identified there were four or five jobs per ag graduate, yet students felt like they had little awareness of where these jobs actually were. Farming Futures seeks to bridge this gap in the sector, “Sally says. “The inaugural careers fair had 11 booths and this year we are looking at about 40 different businesses from around Australia who are coming to exhibit and talk to our students.” Jo showed foresight in the overarching design of Farming Futures which has helped ensure its ongoing sustainability. Things like actively planning for succession, fostering a culture to support this and seeking mentors to guide future iterations of the committee are ideas rarely implemented in volunteer student organizations.
This sustainability has seen several Young Farming Champions take up positions on the committee, the latest being Meg. “Last year Meg was president of RSUS (Rural Science Undergraduate Society) and on the committee of Farming Futures and now she has moved to president of Farming Futures,” Sally says. “Meg is very open-minded. She is happy to take other people’s ideas on board, but she also knows what she wants. She is an inclusive leader. She’s not afraid to work hard and take a risk if she thinks something is a good idea. I see Meg’s career will be one to watch.”
We think Meg’s career is one to watch too
Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten will partner with intern Jessica Fearnley to deliver the Eggscellent workshop at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day.
Students will be taken on a journey to become eggsperts discovering how the humble egg is good for both their brain and body. They will be given the chance to become an eggspert starting with dressing for the part (watch this space). Then the real challenge will begin! They will be put to the test as an eggspert. The challenge is for them to determine if the egg should be stamped as consumer quality and put into the egg carton or not.
Recognising only the very best eggs reach your fridge students will perform a scientific test using a haugh machine and a yolk colour chart to determine if the inside of the egg is of the highest of quality.
Eggs provide a number of minerals and nutrients which are good for both the brain and body.
Let’s discover why they are so good for kids?
- Eggs contain choline which helps in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involve in nerve and brain functioning and memory. Without it our bodies and brain just wouldn’t function properly.
- One serve of eggs provides around a third of the recommended dietary intake of folate for children. Folate is essential for the growth and maintenance of healthy cells. Ideal for those growing bodies!!
- One serve of eggs provides around half the recommended dietary intake of vitamin A for children. Vitamin A is essential for growth and eye health. That means if we have a eyes or a body we should eat eggs!
- Eggs contain Zinc which plays a role in cell division, cell growth, and wound healing! Exactly what active and growing bodies need especially if their prone to needing bandaids!
We are looking forward to the newly minted eggsperts going home and educating their friends and family about why eggs are good for the body and brain.
Meet our Dynamic Duo Young Farming Champions Lucy Collingridge (L) and Deanna Johnston (R) who will be coordinating our Amazing Wool Workshops at Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day
Lucy is a self confessed townie finding her way into agriculture after spending January school holidays visiting family on their farm in the Central West of NSW when she was 15. Lucy now works as a biosecurity officer with Local Land Services.
Deanna grew up on her family farm 6.5 hours west of Sydney. Her earliest memories are of the shearing shed and she had already completed her Certificate IV in Woolclassing and Certificate II in Shearing by the time she was 16. Deanna loves sharing her love of wool with everyone who will listen and found the perfect job doing shearing demonstrations at Nogo Station as part of the Outback Pioneers tourism experience
Lucy and Deanna will offer the students plenty of opportunities to learn about wool, play with wool and even learn how to class wool.
If your want to be a wool classer like Deanna this is what she will share with you
- Wool has to be a certain length, between 60mm and 100mm. if the wool is shorter or longer than that farmers are charged a penalty when they sell their wool. The reason for this is wool processors have set their machines up to process wool between 60 and 100mm long. If the wool is longer or shorter then they have to recalibrate their machines to process the wool.
- To measure the wool, wool classers use their finger as a ruler. Each wool classer will know how long his/her finger is. This is so you don’t have to carry a ruler around with you in your pocket and measuring the wool against your finger is quick and easy. Do you know how long your finger is? Well you might need to know when you become a wool classer!
- Another test the wool classer will do to ensure the quality of wool is high is a strength test. You hold the top of the staple (a clump of wool fibres) and hold the bottom of the staple and pull it. If it doesn’t break the quality is high. If the wool breaks it means that the animal may have undergone some sort of stress and put more energy into recovering from the stress than growing wool.
- The wool classer feels the wool by running the wool between their fingers. This is to feel how soft the wool is. Softness of the wool is an indicator of how fine the wool is. The finer the wool the more suitable the wool is for clothing. If the wool feels less soft, the wool will be better suited to jackets, and maybe even carpets and curtains. Have you ever worn an itchy woollen garment? Well that’s probably because that garment wasn’t made from fine Merino wool, it was made out of broader wool.
- The last thing a wool classer does is look at the colour of the wool. The wool should be a bright white colour. The small discolouration is just dirt and can be washed out. We want to eliminate is wool that is black and brown. Wool can only be dyed darker than the colour it is and there is no colour darker than black so black wool cannot be used in commercial processing. The way the black fibres are formed they don’t soak up as much dye so that’s another reason why we want white wool. White wool can be dyed to whatever colour.
Deanna and Lucy are looking forward to the students telling everybody how much fun they had learning about Amazing Wool
Its clear that Deanna thinks the wool industry is a great place to be
Meet Young Farming Champion Sharna Holman. She is crazy about cotton. Have a 10 minute conversation with her and you will be crazy about cotton too.
Read Sharna’s story in AGWomenGlobal here
Sharna will be presenting the Cotton or Not workshop at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Primary School Preview Day. Sharna’s hands on workshop will share with the students how Cotton plays a big part in our everyday lives. We sleep in it, dry ourselves with it, wrap our bodies in it and we even cook with its oil. And it’s produced by Aussie cotton growers right here under the Australian sun.
In fact right down Eastern Seaboard from Clermont in Queensland to just over the Victorian border. You can even find Cotton at the back of Bourke
Sharna is a city kid, introduced to agriculture at school. She fell in love with the cotton industry and is super keen for young people to follow her into the industry. In fact there are careers in Cotton from A to Z
We can all be very proud of our Cotton industry and Australian Cotton farmers
Some interesting facts for you
- In an average year, Australia’s cotton growers produce enough cotton to clothe 500 million people.
- Australia is the most water efficient cotton producing country in the world. Source
- Australia and Egypt produce the best quality cotton in the world. Our cotton is the whitest and strongest. Source
- The Australian Cotton industry attracts young people like Sharna. Even their farmers are young. The average age of Cotton farmers is 39 and 40% of cotton farmers are female
- And its good for the planet. Net on-farm emissions of greenhouse gases on cotton farms are negative because cotton plants store more carbon than is released from production inputs used during growth.
Primary School students can meet Sharna at Stand No 13 on 22nd March 2018
Secondary Students can hear from and chat to Sharna at the Careers Workshop below
#youthvoices18 #youthinag #welovecotton #wearnatural
A passion to link consumers with producers … to promote public understanding of farming, and the interconnectedness of health and well-being and the agricultural sector … is the driving force behind the role of the Young Farming Champions (YFC)
Our YFC help agriculture to build its fan base and encourage young people from all walks of life to join them and follow their career pathway into the agriculture sector. Since 2010 they have being doing this very successfully through The Archibull Prize.See our 2017 Annual Report here. The Archibull Prize is a world first. A competition that uses art and multimedia to engage school students in genuine farm experiences, and gain knowledge and skills about the production of the food they eat, the fibres they use and the environment they live in. Young Farming Champions (YFC) participate in The Archibull Prize by visiting and mentoring schools, sharing their stories and insights into contemporary farming practices and inspiring students to consider careers in agriculture.
Over the past three years the YFC have been spreading the agriculture love far and wide as keynote speakers at conferences, delivering TED talks and running events and workshops across the country.
In 2018 our YFC will be participating in a smorgasbord of events to hone their skills and deliver their unique style of engaging and inspiring future generations of agriculture ambassadors and the best and brightest to join the sector
I cant think of a better way to kickstart 2018 than a partnership with the agriculture education team at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. In the lead up to the show we will be inviting Primary School students to sign up to meet the YFC team on Primary School Preview Day in The Food Farm. Students meeting the YFC will participate in hands on workshops for the Cotton, Wool, Horticulture and Egg Industries. They can also chat to YFC and farmer Tim Eyes who will be the star attraction at the Thank a Customer workshop.
Get a taste of Primary School Preview Day here
Secondary students will also get the opportunity to hear from and meet the YFC at the Careers in Ag workshop in Cattle and Horse Experience Arena
We look forward to profiling our Event Activation Team over the next 10 days. Get a sneak peak and meet them here