Giving agriculture a fresh young face and a new opportunity to be heard and celebrated.

When we first began our journey with Art4Agriculture the aim was to use innovative vehicles and build partnerships to give agriculture a fresh young face and a new opportunity to be heard and celebrated.

This year has proved to be a highlight. Our partnerships with industry and the media have allowed our schools and students participating in the Archibull Prize and our Young Farming Champions to get mind blowing opportunities we didn’t even  know existed

A yearly highlight is our Sydney Royal Easter Show partnership with the Agricultural Development and Agricultural Education team at the RAS of NSW.

This year there is a huge buzz around the Archies and the finalist in the Archibull Prize which can be found partnering with their food and fibre industries all over the showground

A spotlight on Archies the Food Farm

Firstly looking at our Cattle and Sheep Industries and our partnership with MLA through their Target 100 and Bettertarian campaigns

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Brandon from Menai High School showcasing the delicious cuts of meat 

Fast Fact

Did you know that 99% of the cow is consumed by humans and only 65% of that is as meat in your diet

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Lim from St Brigids Catholic Parish Primary School

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Winmeatlee from Winmalee High School

Fast Fact

If you want to eat with understanding, make better choices and feel better for it then we suggest you eat 3-4 palm sized serves of beef and lamb per week

Our partnership with Cotton Australia see Archies on display in both the Food Farm and the Food and Fibre Pavilion

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Check out our flying surfboard Archie Jasper ( Chifley Primary School) and Miss Sophie ( Matraville Sports High School)

Lets not forget the Grand Champion

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Thanks to our partnership with Pauls we give you Udder Brilliance welcoming visitors to the Food Farm

And this from Jenny Hughes whose team pull this magnificent pavilion together

Congratulations go to the students and teachers who have again done a fantastic job to provide me with props that talk for themselves in the Food Farm, Natural Fibre Showcase, The Lounge and Tech Pavilion. Even the Sheep Pavilion will see an Archie during Week Two of the Sydney Royal Easter Show

I will do a separate post on the Archies in the Food and Fibre pavilion, the Sheep and Wool Pavilion and the Tech Arena

For the first time we had the opportunity to work with the The Land Showgirl Finalists through our Picture You in Agriculture “Speaking with Confidence” workshop

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Picture You in Agriculture presenter Ann Burbrook with the 2014 The Land Showgirl Finalists – photo Toby Peet

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Speaking with confidence as ambassadors for rural and regional Australia – photo Toby Peet

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Ann working on one with the showgirls – photo Toby Peet

Careers in Ag day

Some of our team are also on the RAS Youth Group committee which runs the highly successful Careers in Ag day at the show. Archie played a key role in this event as well ( as you would have come to expect)

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RAS Youth Group with Archie

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Archie says ‘There are Careers In Agriculture from A to Z’IMG_5168

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Young Farming Champion Steph Fowler made sure Archie was given lots of hugs and kisses to ally his nerves from being the centre of attention

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Our event director Kirsty Blades making sure everything runs to clockwork 

And we have only got to the end of Day 1

Lots more to follow with the Art4Ag Young Farming Champions coordinating the Livestock in the Round event

Our program director judging the Junior District Exhibits

Our art judge designing the Rice Growers and Cotton Australia display as well as this masterpiece

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Pick the winner of the 2013 Archibull Prize

The big day is tomorrow for all our finalists involved in the 2013 Archibull Prize.

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14 Schools have been selected based on their artwork to send their cows the Awards and Exhibition ceremony

Now its time for the Peoples Pick.

Who will you chose to win the 2013 Archibull Prize

Click on the pictures to see the cows in full glory 

 

Archibull Prize Judging Day 3 Menai to Matraville

Day 3 saw us visiting 4 Sydney schools from Menai in South West Sydney  to Matraville and Chifley on the east coast

We are feeling very confident and happy, after two beautiful days in Berry where everything worked like clockwork. I am sure we can manage to keep to our schedule today (mostly!)

School 11 saw us visit Menai High School

Brandon takes a very different look at the beef industry. He looks at it from the consumer perspective, rather than from the production side.

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He is wrapped, quite literally, in discarded brown paper bags which have been branded with a variety of recognisable beef related brands. These brands include both traditionally styled brands and product related brands.

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A coil of connected receipts spiral around Brandon from head to tail, and convey consumer loyalty to repurchase quality Australian beef. They show the time, love and money that the Australian consumer spends on beef each week.

Brandon is simple and concise with a sophisticated message.

School Twelve was  De La Salle Catholic College

Where would our Archibull Prize competition be without a Hipster Cow? We haven’t had one in the past, but now we do!

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De La Salle Caringbah 

The concept is centred around urban youth culture. The cow has been painted to resemble a graffiti wall with cement rendering chipping away to reveal the brickwork below. Graffiti tags adorn the wall making links to the digital world of youth culture with QR codes to lead the audience to online information on wool through posts, tweets and Instagram photos. The handle @hipstercow13 and hash tag (#hipstercow13) that has been used in our social media will continue to grow as people snap it, tag it, post it and re-post it, increasing the online profile of the cow. Stencil art on the wall depicts a sheep blowing up piles of yarn to depict yarn-bombing. While the hipsters discuss their use of wool, the cow takes on the appearance of a hipster itself.

He is wearing a school sock (the most common item of woollen clothing owned by students according to their survey) and a scarf in the colours of the school uniform.

A very well dressed hipster cow!

School Thirteen was Chifley Primary School (feeder school for Matraville Sports High School)

Jasper Co Co is the second of our very cool surfie cows, but tells a very different story.

Jasper is channelling Christo (the artist who wrapped nearby Little Bay).

Christo Little BaY

He is packaged up to represent the fact that over 50% of Australian cotton is being exported overseas to be made into products.

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He is wrapped and tied and has enough stamps on him to travel anywhere he wants to around the world –maybe a couple of times! Each stamp is an individual little piece of art showcasing the cotton industry, farmers and relevant environmental factors for growing cotton. (Jasper even manages to feature on a few himself!)

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Jasper is riding a carefully woven denim surfboard, which symbolises the finished products journey back across the ocean (as well as his local community in the Eastern Suburbs).

School Fourteen was  Matraville Sports High School

Miss Sophie reflects….. the multiculturalism of the school.

Miss Sophie reflects….. the cotton industry.

Miss Sophie reflects….. Antonio Gaudi.

Miss Sophie reflects!

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Miss Sophie employs two very different stylistic approaches (indigenous artwork and the mosaics of Gaudi) and combines them together beautifully.

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The Aboriginal motifs tell the story of the local community and the school, the city, as well as the process of growing cotton. These are then overlaid with the striking mirror mosaic representing the flowing lines of water and the irrigation systems needed for cotton. The fountain flowing from the mosaics also links beautifully to the irrigation of cotton.

She is bold, sophisticated, vibrant and truly unique.

What was particularly poignant about this school was its close relationship with its adjoining primary school Chifley and the rapport between the Matraville students who mentored the students at Chifley involved in the painting of Jasper

Meet Cassie Baille who says Wool is my future. Join me and make it yours

My name is Cassie Baile and I am a fifth generation sheep farmer from Bendemeer which is a village of 485 people on the Macdonald River in the New England region of New South Wales.

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The road to Bendemeer

I am 22 years old and lucky enough to have grown up on a farm with the wide open spaces of paddocks and the familiar surroundings of horses, dogs and sheep

I have many fond memories of running around in the shearing shed, helping to draft, drench and watching the shearing.  We always had few pet/poddy lambs at the house after lambing. It was  a great joy to care for them and watch them grow into sheep.

One of my most memorable recollections was heading with Dad to check on and/or muster the sheep. I would have been happy to do this every day, 365 days of the year.  It is all the wonderful memories and farm life experience that have fuelled my passion for agriculture and in particular the Wool Industry.

Following the completion of Year 12 at New England Girls’ School in Armidale, New South Wales, I studied and gained my professional Woolclassers’ Certificate in 2009 through Tamworth TAFE.

Following my successful selection for an Elders Traineeship in May last year, I have been provided with on-going support and training from my mentors and the Elders team and this has allowed me to progress to my career pathway in the Wool industry.

I now live and work in Sydney, for Elders as a Wool Technical Support Officer at the Yennora Wool Selling Centre. I really love my work and look forward to each day, as there is always something happening.

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That’s me in the middle at the Yennora Wool Centre

My Elders Traineeship has given me incredible exposure to the many and varied facets of the Wool Industry including

  • Ram Sales and Bull Sales, on property and regional sales

Attending sales both on property and regionally, has enabled me to gain extensive knowledge and skills, interact with clients, improve upon my networking skills and also learn how to process sales and complete buyer registrations.

Throughout the past 11 months, I have travelled the state to towns including Newcastle, Dubbo, Cooma and Walcha. Each of these have been a great opportunity to learn more about Ram and Ewe selection, wool characteristics and selling options and also to meet and interact with existing and potential clients.

This year, I was also fortunate enough to attend the Sydney Royal Easter Show to network with sheep breeders and take in all that the Sheep and Wool pavilions had to offer. The Sydney Royal was a great experience, which enable me to see some of the highest quality sheep and wool from all over the country on display.

  • Farmer Interaction and Networking opportunities

Meeting dedicated and committed wool growing families is an inspiration to me as I know it is to the wool industry and wider community.

My job with Elders allows me to travel meet and network with farmers in either a hands on way through face to face meetings such as attending on-farm shearings and assisting with ram selection at Studs and over the phone conversations. I particularly enjoy meeting and speaking with wool growers  at events like the Newcastle Wool Sales and Industry Functions. The positive atmosphere at each of these functions is amazing, with like-minded farmers and employees able to interact in a friendly and supportive environment and build upon as well as share their own knowledge of the wool industry.

It has certainly helped build my confidence and enabled me to become a more outgoing person.

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Elders team at Newcastle Client Night 2013

  • ·Auctioneering

Most recently, I have begun auctioneering at the weekly Sydney Wool Sales. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to learn the new skill of being a Wool Auctioneer and also to improve my communication skills.

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Me Auctioneering with Craig Brennan, Yennora Wool Technical Manager

Presentation is very important when you are trusted to sell a client’s wool clip. They are trusting you, as their broker and auctioneer, with their annual income and therefore it is very important to know the client and their product well.  Its is very important to present the clip and yourself well, to achieve the best possible price for your client and their product. I also help to prepare for the weekly sale through firstly the lotting of the client’s wool specification, the valuing of the samples located on the show floor and by interacting with buyers in order to gain an idea of how the market may perform that week and over coming weeks, depending on supply and demand at that time. The opportunity to become an auctioneer has been another, very exciting step facilitated by the help and training provided by my trusted mentors within Elders and the industry. Each week I challenge myself to improve my previous weeks’ performance and  believe with the amount of support of my mentors, lots of practice and commitment, I have the potential to become a highly valued Wool Auctioneer in years to come.

The Wooltrade selling system is an internet-based system trading 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wooltrade provides woolgrowers with an alternative marketing system for their wool that is complementary to the traditional auction system. The very nature of the Wooltrade system has opened up the Australian wool market across all states, allowing buyers to purchase wool nationally rather than just regionally.

Wooltrade is based on computer technology, but it is also a managed system providing personal support to assist users. The technology used by Wooltrade enables ease of access for buyers who are able to cost-effectively and efficiently buy wool and secure future supply. Source http://www.wooltrade.com.au/

I have been involved with all of these processes,  including selecting suitable lots of wool and listing them for sale on the computer system. These systems assist in both the marketing and selling of wool clips, and help woolgrowers have the flexibility to optimise prices for their wool clip and potentially avoid market volatility and the vagaries of prices on traditional sale days. See footnote

The wool industry has a proud history and plays a pivotal role in providing high quality fibre and clothing to countries all around the world.

My career in the Wool industry is allowing me to surround myself with inspirational people who are generously giving their time to mentor me. It is opening so many doors and I am committed to giving back by sharing my story with next generation and hopefully inspire other young people to join me and ensure a bright future for the Australian wool industry

You can watch Cassie talk about her career here

Footnote

About 85% of wool sold in Australia is sold by open cry auction. ‘Sale by sample’ is a method in which a mechanical claw takes a sample from each bale in a line or lot of wool. These grab samples are bulked, objectively measured, and a sample of not less than 2 kg is displayed in a box for the buyer to examine. The Australian Wool Exchange conducts sales primarily in Sydney, Melbourne, and Fremantle. There are about 80 brokers and agents throughout Australia

About 7% of Australian wool is sold by private treaty on farms or to local wool-handling facilities. This option gives wool growers benefit from reduced transport, warehousing, and selling costs. This method is preferred for small lots or mixed butts in order to make savings on reclassing and testing.

About 5% of Australian wool is sold over the internet on an electronic offer board.  This option gives wool growers the ability to set firm price targets, reoffer passed-in wool and offer lots to the market quickly and efficiently. This method works well for tested lots, as buyers use these results to make a purchase. About 97% of wool is sold without sample inspection; however, as of December 2009, 59% of wool listed had been passed in from auction.] Growers through certain brokers can allocate their wool to a sale and at what price their wool will be reserved.

Sale by tender can achieve considerable cost savings on wool clips large enough to make it worthwhile for potential buyers to submit tenders. Some marketing firms sell wool on a consignment basis, obtaining a fixed percentage as commission.

Forward selling: Some buyers offer a secure price for forward delivery of wool based on estimated measurements or the results of previous clips. Prices are quoted at current market rates and are locked in for the season. Premiums and discounts are added to cover variations in micron, yield, tensile strength, etc., which are confirmed by actual test results when available.

Another method of selling wool includes sales direct to wool mills.

Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool

Strong cultural message steals the show

Last Thursday was the 1st day of the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013 and as has become a highlight of my year, once again I ventured to the show to judge the Schools  District Exhibits Display.

My goodness after judging this section for 3 years wow is the competition heating up. This year just four points separated 1st and 4th.

Firstly a bit of background. The competition has the dual purpose of showcasing talented young people and their team work from NSW schools as well as identifying, encouraging and mentoring young people to feed into the iconic District Exhibit Display teams.

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The Iconic District Exhibits in 2013

This year everyone agreed ( including a number of judges of the big displays) that all four schools had taken the competition to a whole new level.

It wasn’t just the quality of the design, creativity, artistic merit and innovation that caught the judges attention. Equally impressive was how the students engaged with the judges (and the general public) and their levels of energy. I was so impressed with the professionalism of the students. They energised me. They really knew their stuff. How to tell the story of the development of the big ideas, why they were so passionate about their theme and how well the teams came together. I could go on for ever they were all just mind-blowing         

Winner 

But we can only have one winner and this year’s winner of the Schools District Exhibits Display competition was Woodenbong Central School who bravely addressed a very powerful cultural issue through there very thought provoking display.

Woodenbong Central School District Exhibit

Building Respect in Our Communities

My two fellow judges Andrew Barnum and Nicole Punt are both well known in the art and design world and once again I benefited immensely from their broad experience and expertise.

As Andrew explained this was a “an artwork with a simple clear message that takes a viewer into the artist’s world and holds them there, makes a connection and leaves a lasting impression”

I approached the judging from a farmer perspective being highly appreciative that all of these wonderful young people were helping me tell farming stories to my urban customers – the lifeblood of every farmer’s business.

Tying for second place was Muirfield High School who reached out to the Art4Agriculture ethos in me with their display that showed how their school agriculture department was ‘opening the door to a green future by inspiring young people to take up careers in the agri-food sector’  

Muirfield High School

Agricultural education opening the door to a greener future

Equal second this year was Calrossy Anglican School whose display had a strong sustainability theme and an equally strong sense of community. You could even smell the Lucerne in their backdrop, their country region just wafted out to you

 

And a very close third was Menai High School who also had a strong focus on sustainability. Using a big foot as the central focus the display moved in the background from the drab colours of the smoke stacks and cooling towers of the mining industry to the bright green fields of produce and very clever examples of sustainable energy use

As you can see months of preparation and blood, sweat and tears goes into the displays and I am confident you will join me in saluting everyone involved

Giving next gen a voice at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

One of the major objectives of the Archibull Prize is to give students a voice through their artwork to not only promote the program and its key messages to hundreds of thousands of people, but to showcase the students’ opinions, learnings and values to the community.

Art4Agricultures partnership with the RAS of NSW (through the Sydney Royal Easter Show) and the RNA of Queensland ( through the Ekka ) gives us a wonderful opportunity to do this

This is how the clever team in the Food Farm have achieved this in 2013 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

Archibull Prize in the Food Farm

James Ruse Agricultural High School and Model Farms High School

De La Salle

De La Salle College

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Shoalhaven High School

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Hills Adventist College and Macarthur Anglican School

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Cranebrook High School

Wyong

Wyong High School and Muirfield High School

Tuggerah Lakes

Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School, Berkeley Vale Campus 

Caroline Chisholm College and Winmalee High School

Caroline Chisholm College and Winmalee High School

The Farming Game

It is often said that young people are the leaders of tomorrow but like our guest blogger today and so many of our Young Farming Champions have shown young people are also the leaders of today. If you give them half a chance they will astound you with their energy and idealism. More importantly, they will impress you with their maturity and willingness to engage constructively in the process of improving our local communities and the future for agriculture.

Our guest blogger today in Martin Murray who also pens his own very impressive blog the The Farming Game.

Martin is another superb example of the new generation of talented young people from across our agricultural industries working together to help address the negative image and perceptions about agriculture in the wider community.  clip_image014

This is Martin’s story……………………

G’day my name is Martin Murray and I know that agriculture is essential to Australia and its future. I’m a blogger.  I’ve worked on a cattle station in the Northern Territory and currently work on a cotton farm outside of Moree. This year I am about to start a Rural Science course at the University Of New England. clip_image002

I was born in Griffith in the Riverina; our family had rice and sheep property called Kulki on the Sturt highway between Darlington Point and Hay, it was here where I developed my passion for agriculture and farming.

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Kulki from the air

My two younger brothers and I used to have be up a six and ride down the 1km driveway to the bus stop for the two hour bus trip to school in Coleambally.

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The Murray brothers

Other great memories include taking the late lunch down to my dad who was driving the tractor at 5pm in the afternoon, the crop dusters flying low across the water seeding the rice paddies and swimming in the channels.

Rain

My bothers and I singing in the rain

Martin on the quad bike

Unfortunately there were big gaps between the wet and the dry seasons and drought eventually forced us to sell up and move to Moree in northern NSW.

For a while after that I wasn’t that heavily involved in agriculture but I still always thought that it would be in my future. My dad started working in town and we had a small a hobby farm of just 27 acres with about six head of cattle from time to time. I went to boarding school in Sydney were I soon learned the many misconceptions and lack of understanding about agriculture outside of rural areas, but I’ll get to that later. While at school I studied agriculture and started working on a cotton farm outside of Moree during the school holidays mainly irrigating the cotton and also driving tractors.

After finishing school I got a job working on Humbert River Station, a cattle station with plenty of history in the Northern Territory.

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Humbert River is located 5 hours from the nearest town of Katherine. It is a relatively small station of only about 1500 square kilometres running 13000 head of Brahman cattle and turning off around 3000 head of cattle a year. Humbert River Station

Working on Humbert was a very unique experience not just because of size, location and isolation but because of the size of its crew. Unlike previous years where they had a crew of six stockmen in 2012 they were trialling the use of contractors for stock work so there was only the manager and his family, me and a cook/jillaroo that left half way through the year. This made my time on Humbert River different to the majority of other people’s experiences working on stations as instead of primarily doing stock work I mainly did other tasks such as fencing, bore runs, loader work and putting out cattle lick blocks

Due to the unique nature of Humbert River Station I also had a lot of spare time on my hands so I started writing my blog, The Farming Game. The aim of my blog is to show my daily life and what we do and why we do it. Around the time I started writing Four Corners aired “Another Bloody Business” about the slaughter of Australian sheep in Pakistan. Like the the forerunner program “A Bloody Business” this program used highly emotive images to portray Australian agriculture in a negative light.

These images are only increasing consumer wariness of modern farming practices and it concerns me greatly that agriculture is constantly being portrayed in the media as having  bad environmental practices as well as the negativity around genetically modified crops and excessive water use.  I have since found issues like these have been around for a long time and the day before writing this article I heard a song by Slim Dusty “To Whom It May Concern”  which was released in 1978 that highlights that the rural urban divide was an issue even back then. I hope my blog The Farming Game will help people rethink and see agriculture more positively.

Whilst I was at school I heard some pretty amusing things from my fellow students who have never crossed the Great Dividing Range and had the opportunity to discover all the exciting things rural and regional Australian has to offer. The most amusing one I came across was from a city class mate who believed that Dubbo was just a one street town with a population of no more than 100. Although I found this hilarious at the time it really highlights the problem of the divide and the need to change perceptions of, and promote rural Australia and it’s importance to the national economy and society as well as all the opportunities in rural cities.

Underpinning my strategy to bridge the divide is to make our country shows more interactive and to bring more farmers to events in the cities where people can hear the farming stories and see the faces behind the produce they buy.

Social media such as twitter and the many blogs written by farmers are also having a great effect on bridging the divide. Bringing the farm to schools and introducing students to young farmers like the Art4Agriculture programs is a great way to get the message across to children. Programs like this not only help build awareness of, and interest in agriculture, they help create a new generation of agricultural-savvy Australians. Some may even choose agricultural careers whilst many others will know more about where their food comes from and appreciate the care and commitment that goes into growing the shirt on their back or putting the steak on their dinner plate. Hopefully Art4Agriculture will be able to spread their programs to all states in Australian and reach more Australian children.

As for my future my biggest challenge starts this year studying Rural Science at the University of New England while hopefully being able to continue writing my blog as well as working on my other two websites Farming Photo’s and Cotton Careers. My major goal in life is to own and run my own mixed cattle and cropping property, while continuing to promote agriculture and bridging the rural urban divide.

 

Congratulations Martin, Art4Agriculture look forward to following your journey. Maybe you might even find the time to join the team for 2013