From Dagwood Dogs and Prize Dahlias, Sheep Shearing and cattle judging the local show movement is still at fever pitch in Crookwell

I have spent most of my time at local shows either showing cows or horses.

The upper Lachlan Catchment Landcare group was a great supporter of the 2014 Archibull Prize and Crookwell being part of this region their local show was a great opportunity to celebrate their local Archibull Prize 2014 entries, tell the great stories of our sheep, cattle, wool and dairy farmers and meet the locals

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So I jumped in the car last Saturday to join the wonderful Mary Bonet and the Upper Landcare Group in their tent at the Show

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 The delightful Mary Bonet

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Seeing these wonderful books at our stand created for the Cattle and Sheep industry by the Kondinin Group was blast from the past by showgoer Scott Boyle who help collate them whilst working at Kondinin in WA 

Having had quite a walk to get in the gate I was thrilled to meet Dr Rod Hoare who is the Chief Ground Steward and has access to this great little golf cart- the perfect vehicle to tour the show sites for this little black duck

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 Chief Ground Steward Rod Hoare enjoyed the traditional dagwood dog whilst touring the showground in this wonderful little buggy

First up was the local sheep shearing competition an iconic part of livestock agriculture in Australia. Competitors are judged by the quality of their shearing as well as the speed of the shear. Visit True Blue Australia to find out more

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I took this little time lapse video of the intermediate class won by the shearer at Stand 2

Next up was the pavilion. The photos share the kaleidoscope of colour of the arts and crafts and vegies, produce, flowers, cakes and everything that says the finest of rural Australian local show culture

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I caught up with some ladies working and supporting rural mental health through the Rural Adversity Mental Health program and we had our picture taken for the local paper.

Then Mary introduced me to local member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward who was very impressed with the Archibull artworks of the local schools

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Pru was keen to see the 2014 Champion Archibull Prize Winner “Ni-Cow’ and I was only too happy to show here but we seemed to be in a Tony Abbott black spot

Then we had a little tour of the cattle sheds and the cattle judging

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Where we met Ernie Stevenson an early and influential member of the Murray Grey society.

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Back at the tent I met local cattle farmer Ken Wheelwright who is part of the KLR Mastermind Group.

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More about Rod, Ernie and Ken in my next post on Clover Hill Dairies Diary

Then it was time to catch up with local Young Farming Champions and former Crookwell Show girls Jasmine Nixon and Adele Offley

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Ah the local show so much to see so little time but thanks to Rob and all the wonderful locals I think managed to fit most of it in

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Then the two hour drive home in the fog and the rain but it was all worth it

Archibull Prize judging takes us to China

Day 1 of Week 2 of the 2014 Archibull Prize judging saw artwork judge Wendy Taylor head west towards the Blue Mountains

First off the rank was Hurlstone Agricultural High School

This is what Wendy had to say about their Archie who they have called Ni Cow

“Ni Cow isn’t a bull in a china shop. She is a cow from China.

Everything about her has layers of meaning and complexity and has been well thought out. She is well balanced visually, and takes an interesting viewpoint with both her sustainability message -that of financial sustainability -as well as her viewpoint of the dairy industry. She is relevant and intrinsically unique. Her delicate patterning and limited colour palette perfectly reflect the concept. No detail has been missed and every component adds to the total picture.

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Next up was Hawkesbury High School

Wendy said “Baa-Baa Rella” has the best horns!

They are red and white striped and link perfectly with her name and elements of the wool industry (Barber’s Pole Worms). She shows us two very different views of the wool industry in Australia. One side is vibrant, lush and reminiscent of the paintings of Tom Roberts, while the other side is a graphic and complex collage. The simple map on her side is a great element which complements her story well.

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Then Wendy headed back to Caringbah where she visited James Ruse Agricultural High School

Would you like to see inside the Dairy industry? Or inside “Archie”?

The hero element of Archie is the story itself. All elements of the industry are covered in her concept, with the process line from paddock to product being the ‘inside’ story. The working milk pump is a star, as is her interactivity. Her vibrant colours stand out and she is fun and playful. She has features all over to make the viewer smile.

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Meet Sarah Saxton proving careers in agriculture are found in cities too

Meet Sarah Saxton who career in Agriculture saw her moving from the country to the city

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This is Sarah’s story ……………………

Every morning I wake up so proud of what Australian farmers are putting on our tables and so excited that I get to be a part of that process. I want every Australian to have the opportunity to feel how I feel about Australian Agriculture, because it feels great!

A one hour train commute and a desk job in the CBD might not be the first thing that jumps to mind when you think ‘career in Agriculture’ but that is how I have found myself a rewarding career in the Australian Dairy industry.

I was born in Gippsland, Victoria on the family sheep property and have moved throughout rural Victoria and NSW following my family’s mixed farming interests. After the wool crash in the early 90s my parents decided to hit the road managing farms, dad soon becoming an expert in the art of growing grass seed. This stroke of fate meant moving house 9 times and living in Omeo, Euroa, Holbrook and Khancoban to name a few!

Growing up on a mixed farming enterprise meant lending a hand to dad on a whole range of tasks, most of which (bar rock picking and cleaning the header!) I thoroughly enjoyed. When I wasn’t riding horses and travelling to rural Ag shows across the country my summers where quickly filled driving headers and handling the constant supply of agistment stock. As it happened I was not the only female driving headers in the Upper Murray region and a group of us soon became sought after for our affinity with the beastly machines. In the summer of 07/08 we were noticed by The Land and featured on the front page which we all found quite a lark!

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The female header driving crew, photographed by The Land, me second from left.

Looking back I was very lucky to have two parents so vehemently passionate about farming and engaged in progressing their farming practices. I have no doubt this positive, proactive attitude has helped propel me into a career in Agriculture.

Although my feminine touch was clearly appreciated during harvest, cows were what stole my heart. When there was agistment stock on the farm that calved I was always the first out in the paddock, a sharp eye trained to any calf looking helpless without its mother. Although dad accused me of calf robbing it was the generosity of a few soft hearted beef producers which lead me to gather a small number of orphaned poddy calves each year. A lesson in responsibility and earning money quickly developed into a lifelong passion and so after completing boarding school and going on a gap year I moved to Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science & Management at the University of Melbourne.

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I quickly took to university like a duck to water and was awarded a Dean’s Honour award and a number of scholarships for academic achievement. Although I knew I wanted to work with animals finding the right direction has been a constant exercise of probing and questioning. Whilst at University I undertook work experience assisting PhD students working on sheep metabolics in an underground lab, I worked in an abattoir in Brisbane, did vintage wines at a large commercial winery in Griffith, and spent some time helping out the local vet. And at the end of all that I was still none the wiser on what my career would shape up to be! Checking out the diversity of careers is something I encourage every young person interested in a career in Ag to do, as you have no idea how many possibilities are out there!

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Something that I believe is not adequately addressed in the current model of Agricultural education is that Agriculture is a highly valuable industry, not just a career. I hope to educate Australia’s next generation of consumers that Agriculture is an industry full of possibilities.

I want to raise awareness in kids and adults alike that a whole range of people, in country and city, are involved in getting food on their table and that those people are the cornerstone of our economy and society as we know it. I hope to open people’s eyes beyond the stereotypes of farming (as amazing as it is) to realise the plethora of career opportunities out there for people, in dairy, and the broader food and fibre industry.

By my final year at university I had developed a keen interest in the field of animal breeding and genetics and was fortunate to be offered a scholarship by the Dairy Futures CRC to study the emerging field of genomics. My research project, titled ‘Interrogating a high-density SNP chip for signatures of selection in Dairy and Beef breeds’ challenged me and opened my eyes to the amazing depth of science, innovation and technology which exists, largely behind the scenes, in the Agriculture industry. I was lucky enough to be supervised and mentored by one of the world leaders in genomics research Professor Mike Goddard from the University of Melbourne and it was with his help and support that I gained first class honours for my project. It was through the CRC’s first rate education and engagement program that I was introduced to the Australian Dairy Industry. Through this program I was able to travel to field days and present to farmers about the latest in genomic research. I was also able to assist with the program ‘Get into Genes’, teaching school kids about the science of genomics. It was these experiences that made me realise it was time to shed the lab coat and get out talking about all of that exciting Research and Development

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AgFest Tasmania, 2012

My current role as Extension Officer with ADHIS involves delivering the latest science and technology in genetic improvement to Australian dairy farmers. This is done through one on one engagement, public speaking at industry events, and designing tools to make decision making easy.

It is this blend of travelling to rural areas talking to farmers about real issues and staying up to date on the latest in science and research which I love about working in the dairy industry.

ADHIS is a non for profit organisation which means our core focus is always on getting the best information and resources out to every dairy farmer. Having organisations like this dedicated to the betterment of the industry is an incredibly valuable resource and I am not sure farmers realise just how lucky they are!

Working in the CBD in close association with organisations like Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and Dairy Australia has offered me a behind the scenes insight into the big issues facing the dairy and broader Ag industry. Issues such as milk price, animal welfare & the risk/benefits of free trade are issues which I am deeply passionate about.

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Promoting our wine at Rootstock, Sydney

 

Whilst at University I was lucky enough to meet my now husband, a winemaker on the Mornington Peninsula. Being a new member of the family winery has given me a fantastic experience in a unique sector of the food and fibre industry. The wine industry’s ‘ground to glass’  production process connects the ‘food and fibre’ and ‘food and wine’ industries in a way not commonly seen in other agricultural industries. Being exposed to and engaged in this end of the food chain has allowed me an insight and perspective into a demographic deeply passionate about food yet largely ignorant of farming.

It is one of my big life goals to strengthen the relationship between the Food and Agriculture industries into what should be a symbiotic relationship.

I have recently been appointed a board member on the Mornington Peninsula Food Industry Advisory Body, a position I hope will begin me on this journey.

Coming from the country to study and now work in an urban environment has highlighted to me the importance of maintaining and strengthening the connect between food producers and food consumers.

With declining populations in rural Australia as farms and farming communities ‘get big or get out’ there is less and less opportunity for people to engage and connect through the traditional channels of a family members or friend’s farm. With these relationships less likely to happen organically I believe it is essential that we look to new models of communication and strengthen our voice to foster passionate, informed consumers and future generations of food and fibre producers. If Australians want to remain in control of our food supply chain it is essential that we build strong and long lasting relationships with each other and every member of our community.

April Browne climbing the food chain ladder of success

Today I would like to introduce you to April Browne. I have known April since we became part of the team that bought the Dairy Youth Challenge back to the Sydney Royal Easter Show way back in 2005.  

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April is now the Science Education Officer at the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) located at University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Campus. I asked April to write us this blog to share with you her journey to what I am highly confident is her dream job. Art4Agriculture is looking forward to working closely with April and her team going forward

This is April’s story

  “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity” Ayn Rand

Opportunity surrounds us all in everything that we do. It has the potential to lead us on the path that we envisage, but more often, opportunity opens the door to unknown and exciting new experiences. If I had been asked to paint a picture of my future career when I was younger, I certainly wouldn’t have foreseen what a wonderful career I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.

In fact, growing up on the Central Coast and visiting my grandparents’ dairy farm near Alstonville, I was the girl who couldn’t peddle her bike fast enough away from the cows in the paddock; they seemed pretty scary at the time.

Yes I was quite happy staying within the confines of the backyard with its white picket fence. That was until opportunity knocked, opportunity in the form of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I was in Year 8 and my agriculture teacher was asking for students to help a dairy farmer show his cattle at the show. I thought I was in for a week of show bags and rides with an endless supply of fairy floss. I thought wrong. In fact I spent my week sitting in a very unstable camping chair catching manure in a bucket while the visiting public ogled at what was perhaps the most disgusting thing they had seen that day. For some reason though, and I am sure my industry colleagues will back me up here, the show and agriculture grew on me. Perhaps it was the rush of winning a blue ribbon or joining the big happy family that is the dairy industry.

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Whatever it was, twelve years on I still find myself sitting in the camping chair catching manure in a bucket. This time though, they are my cows and I couldn’t be happier.

After I got home from that first show, I joined the schools cattle club and became heavily involved in showing both beef and dairy cattle.

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I travelled throughout much of NSW and Victoria attending different shows and meeting industry people. I realised towards the end of high school that I had a particular interest in the food industry and conveniently happened to be good at the subject.

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I enjoyed learning about the science behind food, what it is made up of and how it interacts with producers and consumers. We often see the production side of agriculture and the end product on a plate, but much of the time the chain is not seen as a whole. We are lucky to live in a country where for a majority of the population, the food miles are relatively small and we enjoy fresh produce year round and I think this is something that should be highlighted more within the Australian community.

Having grown up with relatively little ‘farming’ experience, I wanted to see food production at the coalface before I went to study the science behind it. And so I deferred a university offer to study food science and enrolled at Tocal Agricultural College where I completed a Certificate III Agriculture.

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I have studied a lot (maybe I am a sucker for punishment) and Tocal was definitely one of the most worthwhile learning experiences I have had. I loved the variety of experiences and the chance to learn new skills and knowledge but perhaps more enjoyable were the opportunities I encountered in the broader agricultural context whilst at Tocal. I have always believed that those who dare to take advantage of opportunities no matter how unfamiliar they may be, are those who set themselves up for discovery and a journey which often in my experience leads to greater success. Tocal was not just about marking lambs and mustering cattle, I was also given the opportunity to judge shows, join committees and travel the country learning about agriculture. In addition, the networks I established whilst there within the industry and with fellow like-minded people have allowed me to broaden my knowledge of the industry and have served me well in my subsequent career in agriculture

Following Tocal, I accepted my university offer and completed a Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Aside from understanding the physics of what really makes bread rise and how many fat cells are required to successfully clog an artery, I relished the opportunity to apply what I had learnt at Tocal to a scientific realm. I also took the opportunity to use my electives in this degree to study some units of education. As something that had always interested me, the education electives allowed me to travel around a number of local schools and experience food, agriculture and science in a collective medium.

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I decided from these experiences to follow my undergraduate degree with a Masters of Teaching in 2010 and furthered my education expertise which has led me into my career as an educator. At this time I also became President of the Royal Agricultural Society Dairy Youth Committee and became heavily involved with dairy youth events whilst also starting up my own Brown Swiss stud with the help of breeders Max and Robyn Wake.

During my time teaching at Camden High School, I decided to enter the local Showgirl competition.

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I had seen the showgirls at the show and the multifaceted nature of the competition strongly appealed to my desire to learn more about the agricultural industry. And so the city girl gave the showgirl competition a go and surprisingly I was fortunate enough to be sashed as the 2012 Camden Showgirl. People often describe experiences as a ‘whirlwind’. To say this about the showgirl competition would be an understatement. If ever there was a forum to provide opportunity, learning and experiences then this was it and I relished every second. After being successful at the zone competition and with the support of my over enthusiastic Year 8 class I headed to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to represent Camden Show. clip_image010Although not feeling overly confident about my prospects of success given our showgirl had won the year before, I immersed myself in the experience, meeting new people and having those surreal moments you never think you will have the opportunity to encounter. I shook more hands and ate more canapés than I had ever before and before I knew it the whirlwind was over.

As the dust settled and I faced life without the sash I reflected on the experience and most of all the people I had met, because it was the people that I remember most and should be the inspiration for the next generation of agricultural youth. I didn’t just meet farmers, I met business people , journalists, marketers, scientists, teachers and politicians, all who have a hand in the agricultural pie and all who represent Australian agriculture.

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Agriculture is everywhere, it is the umbrella that covers many industry sectors and for this reason is something to be promoted, celebrated and supported in the future. I currently work in agricultural education, I see kids just like myself everyday who have little link to production agriculture but feel the same draw because it is an industry with something for everyone. To be in a role as the provider of opportunities just as I have had is incredible.

I look forward to the future of agriculture both in Australia and on a global scale. It is an industry that has always had to be revolutionary to remain efficient and profitable and I look forward to seeing how the students I work with today will overcome the social, ethical and economic challenges of 21st century agriculture.

What a great story April and from my perspective after working with young people in Agriculture for the past 10 years I can definitely see a pattern happening – shows, leading cattle and sheep and alpacas, chooks et al and/or being part of the Showgirl/RAS Rural Achiever experience is a great pathway to being a Young Farming Champion and leadership and being in positions of influence for our #youthinag  

There are two types of eaters at the table: The quick, and the hungry!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to our guest blogger Andrew Dallimore

In the words of Marian MacDonald ( read Marian’s blog post on Andrew here) who suggested  Andrew to me as a candidate for the Young Farming Champions program

There are plenty of dreamers out there. I can’t tell you how many of our city friends say how lucky we are to be living on the land but never take the plunge. Andrew Dallimore is not one of them.

This young man is a dreamer, thinker and doer rolled into one. In the name of encouraging students to be ambitious, achieve their goals, and overcome challenges, he set up a charity and cycled from Adelaide to Melbourne (see more at http://thegentlewaydotorg.wordpress.com/about-2/). Now, in the name of his future family and community, Andrew’s applying those very same principles to his own life.

After meeting Andrew on his “pilgrimage”, I couldn’t resist recommending him to Lynne for Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions. After all, his journey exemplified everything the YFC program stands for: the living story of how passion can create pathways towards a truly enviable life in agriculture.

This is Andrew’s story (and as you will see he has a great sense of humour) ……

“There are two types of eaters at the table: The quick, and the hungry!” – Anonymous.

My name is Andrew Dallimore, and I had a great childhood growing up on the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula in SA. It was an area that was rich with farms, almond groves, beaches, and golden bales of hay. I went Myponga Primary School, which was surrounded by low rolling hills and dairy farms.

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Andrew Dallimore hungry for a career in agriculture

It was the kind of school where you had a decent chance of having to chase the cows off the footy oval, or of landing face first in a cowpat (which I did)! I spent a quite a bit of time just watching the cows over the fence, and collecting bugs with friends. Cow poo attracts some awesome bugs…

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Later I was able to take up agriculture studies in high school and rear my own animals after hours. This included a steer by the name of Whiskey. Whiskey was muscular, sturdy, and spectacular. At least he was, right up until the point I led him around the arena at the Royal Adelaide Show, and he mounted the poor kid’s steer in front of me. I was about 400kg too light to hold Whiskey back! With my cheeks glowing from embarrassment, and my mouth streaming apologies, we all had a good laugh about it, along with the crowd.

Despite the Whiskey incident, I have always felt the pull of the land, and more so now that I’m studying the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Melbourne. As a vet student I am able to engage with agricultural communities in a way I never thought was possible.

Through our farm placements, I have met some incredible farming families. There were kids with thousands of dollars saved up from selling cow poo; or from rearing sick animals for busy farmers; or driving at the age of eight to the farm gate.

This summer I’ve been tracking down dairy farmers to discover their pathways to farming (i.e.: what opportunity had they been shown to become a part of the industry?). I feel drawn to dairy, both as a future vet and as a future farmer. This is because of the people (and cows of course).

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Dairy farmers are tough, dedicated, and generous beyond measure. Without knowing me from a bar of soap, these people have welcomed me into their homes and helped me find my own way into the dairy industry by telling me their stories.

Thanks to them, I now have a weekend milking job in Warragul (Cows! Woohoo!) while I study my butt off to learn all I can to be a good vet. Thanks to them, and some wonderful friends and family, I have found what I truly value and want from life.

Recently, a dairy farmer named Marian Macdonald asked me what my dream is.

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Giving my dreams some serious thought

Essentially I hope to own and run my own rural veterinary practice; help run a dairy farm; heavily invest in the community I live with; and most importantly, raise a strong, healthy, intelligent, and generous family on the land.

Hearing and reading about people’s pathways to dairy farming has made me realise something incredible. Dairy farming isn’t just a way of life; it is life itself. It is survival by learning, adapting, producing, recycling, cooperating, and teaching on a day-to-day basis.

It is working with spectacular animals to feed the world sustainably, and support Australia. It is about raising a strong, healthy, intelligent, and generous family with humane ethics and values. There are few causes in our country that are greater than these.

To put it more simply, my dream is agriculture, and I’d like to share the opportunities I am being shown.

The saying at the beginning of my post has been with me since childhood.

As a kid I thought that it meant I had to wield a fork to save my plate of Mum’s roast from Scott my older brother. In my late teens, I thought it meant I should go for opportunities, lest I miss out. Yet, as a man(-child), it took on a whole new meaning.

There are many reasons why people grasp opportunities when they are in reach, but there are far far faaaaaar more reasons why people don’t. One of the biggest and often the easiest to address is when people simply don’t know that an opportunity exists. There may be a table full of delicious food in front of them, but all they can see is their empty plate and they go hungry.

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Australia – a cornucopia full of opportunities

In a country as rich in agriculture as ours, we are failing generations of young Australians by not showing them the opportunities that exist. We are failing to show how wonderful and adventurous a life in ag can be. We are failing to educate, explain, and enthuse kids about this industry (see 2013 YFC Andrew D’Arcy’s blog post about jobs in ag). Yet all they need are some clear pathways, support, and a little inspiration.

This is why I want to be a Young Farming Champion. As I said, there are two types of eaters at the table, but I don’t think that anyone should go hungry. There are banquets of opportunity in agriculture, but kids just don’t know about them or how amazing these are.

In modern Australia there is no excuse for starving people of opportunity, and that includes one of an incredible life in agriculture.

Some reflections from me

I must admit I shed a few tears reading this and isn’t it extra sad the dairy industry’s governing body is yet to join wool, cotton, red meat and grains in supporting the Young Farming Champions program. Surely Dairy Australia young people like Andrew are exactly the talent you should be investing in 

Meet Emma Polson a young dairy farmer with a passion for cows and education

I love educating the youth in the dairy industry and the youth about the dairy industry.

Let me introduce myself, I’m a dairy farmer with a passion for education.

Yes, that’s right, I milk cows on my family farm, 10 minutes from the beach on the mid-north coast of NSW, and I’m about to commence my career as a teacher.

My name is Emma Polson, I’m 24 years-old and I love being a farmer.

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Every day I get to milk beautiful cows, in a beautiful area, spend most of my time outside and work alongside my family. Add to this a rewarding career supplying quality milk and I’ve got plenty to smile about.

Growing up on my family farm has given me the best opportunities anyone could ask for.

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Me and my family

Some of my fondest memories include my brother Mathew and I getting-up to mischief on the farm. We would make our own “play farm”, basically all our farm toys with pasture grown for the cows from grain collected at the dairy.clip_image006

But life as a farm kid had its responsibilities and helping my father and grandfather in the business provided me with vital skills I still use today.

At home, the cows are my passion.

My family has two herds of registered Holsteins, the “small” herd of 180 head and up the road we lease another farm and milk 300 head.

Our family stud is Blue Silo Holsteins, but there are still cows in the herd that can be traced back to my grandfather’s stud Thistleglen.

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My dad John manages both farms and my grandfather has retired.

His idea of retirement is still getting the cows in each day at 2pm, but we love him for that.

My whole family lives on the farm, including my 2.5 year old niece Miley.

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She is the fifth generation to farm at Oxley Island.

I cherish working with my family and my drive comes from wanting to make a difference in the family business.

I’m proud of our farm and I used to love nothing more than showing my city cousins around when they came to stay. We jumped on the silage bales and camped-out under the stars, eating far too many marshmallows.

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After high school, and during my gap year, I completed an agricultural traineeship through Tocal Agricultural College. During this time I was lucky to visit and learn about a variety of commercial farms, including the college property. We studied topics such as calf rearing, cattle health and breeding. Studying at Tocal was one of my best learning experiences. I met many great people I am still friends with today.

Showing cows has always been a passion of mine. I can remember sitting at my Grandma’s house admiring all the trophies my Dad had won showing cattle in his youth. I knew this was what I wanted to do and started working towards that goal straight away.

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I was always tying-up calves to prepare them for shows. As I got older I attended industry youth camps and major shows such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It was there, in Sydney, that I had a crash-course in showing. I was helping my friend’s family and can remember thinking ‘I didn’t know anything’ but they didn’t care. They taught me so much about showing and welcomed me into their family. Showing at Sydney was nerve-racking but one of my best experiences of my life.

Today my role in showing is a little different. Showing has been a great vehicle for teaching the next generation. I still show our stud cattle, but my primary focus is on up-skilling the local youth.

I am secretary of the Manning Dairy Youth. It’s an association supported by the Manning Holstein sub-branch and includes members from the age of 2 to 25. Part of my involvement includes organizing youth events within the region, including the annual calf day. The group has also been involved in a photo-shoot at my farm to help with promoting its activities. Taking countless photos was loads of fun.

Here’s a link to the photographs which were later used for a group promotional video.

Supporting the Manning Valley is important to me. I was supported locally and welcomed into the show circuit, so I want to ensure other young people have the same positive experience.

Improving my cattle judging is a personal goal of mine. Last year I was reserve champion in the junior judging competition the Sydney Royal Easter Show, representing the Manning Valley-of course.

I have just finished a primary teaching degree at the University of New England. Throughout my university studies I have embraced the fact that I am a dairy farmer. During my last year of study I helped the Taree Christian Community School with their Cows Create Careers Program. I also produced an educational video about where milk comes from for one of my assignments. It has been an invaluable classroom resource. I love educating the youth in the dairy industry and the youth about the dairy industry.

Recently I spoke as part of a careers day at a school. The most important point I stressed was that anyone can be involved in the dairy industry, you just need to have the passion. I told them to find someone who is prepared to invest their time in them and help develop their dairy farming skills. I grew up on a farm, but I have found you can never stop learning.

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact me epolson@myune.edu.au.

Dairy good for my bones good for my soul

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the second on our Young Dairy Farming Champions for 2013. We previously profiled Cassie McDonald here

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My name is Andrew D’Arcy and I am a 5th generation dairy farmer from the Bega Valley.

I am passionate about the future of agriculture and believe that there are endless opportunities in this industry.I was born in Bega, a beautiful coastal region located on the far south coast of New South Wales.

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Bega is a great place to live as it is in close proximity to untouched, pristine beaches, situated a few mere hours away from the capital city and the snow fields, and is surrounded by a vast valley of hills to occupy my leisure time with motorbike riding, surfing, snowboarding, fishing, and wake boarding.

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Cow painted by Bega Primary School students in 2007

I was educated at the local primary and secondary schools before I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue further education in agriculture at the University of Melbourne (Dookie campus). Over a period of four years I obtained a Bachelor of Rural Business. During this time I worked in different fields of agriculture such as beef cattle, sheep, horticulture, and dry and irrigated cropping. I believe that this experience allowed me to gain an understanding of how other agricultural enterprises work as well as obtain valuable knowledge that I have bought back to my own property. In 2007, I came back to Bega to work alongside my father, who also was born, raised and worked on the property for over 35 years.

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My dad Tom D’Arcy

Currently, together we are both able to work and manage the family owned dairy farm, ‘Daisy Bank’ which consists of a milking herd of 420 cows. We are proud supplier to the iconic Australian brand Bega Cheese.

03.06.02 - Bega

Recently in mid-2012, after many years of research our family decided to install a Lely robotic milking system. See the robotic dairy working at the Dornuaf farm in Tasmanian here

Currently we are operating a six unit system which operates on a pasture based voluntary milking system. This means the herd are able to move around the farm in a relaxed manner and come into the milking shed based off the desire to be milked, stimulation (cow brush) and feed incentives. The benefits of this innovative system include improved cow well-being, udder health, quicker mastitis and sick cow/illness detection, increased milk production and the opportunity to feed the cattle according to production thus an increased feed efficiency. Additionally, they provide the opportunity for a more flexible daily routine to allow more time to be spent on pasture development, environmental care, and calf and heifer rearing and training. Most importantly, the robotic milking system has allowed for an improved lifestyle, reducing the usual 7 day a week, 365 days of the year, early morning starts required for milking in a conventional herringbone or rotary dairy.

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Over the years the dairy industry has created many great opportunities for me. I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout Australia & New Zealand on several different educational tours and conferences which has allowed me to gain a broader perspective on all different aspects involved in the dairy industry. These experiences have allowed me to view how far the Australian dairy industry has come over the past 100 years as well as highlighted the potential for the future of dairy and Australian agriculture.

With an ever increasing world population, the importance and need for agriculture is going to strengthen. This necessary demand will generate more career opportunities with boundless positions within the industry, not limited to farming alone but incorporating other fields such as agronomy, nutrition, marketing, engineering, research, science, accounting, veterinary, mechanical – the list is endless. Currently only 3% of Australians are working within agriculture which has decreased by 20% in the past decade. Additionally, at present Australian agriculture requires at least 6000 tertiary qualified graduates per year however there are only 800 students graduating annually in agriculturally associated degrees. These statistics alone highlight the importance of encouraging new people to get involved in agriculture.

We, the next generation need to be the driving force behind this positive change for the future of Australian agriculture.

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