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.

Humbert River Station  Map

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

Archibull Prize draws new patronage from the arts community

Our special guest of honour at the Archibull Prize Awards and Exhibition Day was Sara Leonardi- McGrath.

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Sara McGrath and Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley announcing  the Archibull Prize 2012 Winner

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and the winner is …. James Ruse Agricultural High School

Sarah had some exciting news for the schools in the audience and we are ecstatic to announce that eight of our 2012 Archibulls will go on exhibition at MCLEMOI GALLERY, Sara Leonardi-McGrath’s contemporary art gallery, in Sydney next month.

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Sara with some of the team from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School, Berkeley Vale Campus whose cow will be on display her gallery from Jan 15 to 25th 2013

I was first contacted by Sara on twitter just after the launch of the Australian Year of the Farmer. We had coffee and it was clear she was a great admirer of women in the farming sector and was keen to promote Australian farmers in a hands on way.

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Sara is keen to promote Australian farmers using her unique talents and Art4Agriculture couldn’t be happier

It is also highly evident that Sara was passionate about the development and education of next gen and enabling young people to reach their full potential. Excitingly for me and the team, Sara felt Art4Agriculture offered her a unique opportunity to deliver her vision for the promotion of our farmers and development of youth using her area of speciality the arts sector.

At that time Sara was spending every spare moment searching inner city real estate for the prefect place to open her art gallery and in June this year she opened MCLEMOI GALLERY at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.

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MCLEMOI GALLERY – a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls” 

The gallery is known for representing Australian and international, established and emerging contemporary artists; and it certainly is a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls.”

Sara has been in contact all year and is a huge supporter of the program and is always interested in our progress and the students’ artworks. We are thrilled she has invited the Archibulls to MCLEMOI.  Sara is a great believer that educating our children is the most important role we have as a society. “While MCLEMOI’s main focus is on exhibiting Australian and international contemporary art, we are also committed to creating a sense of community and learning. We choose to support initiatives that focus on education, specifically in the arts. Providing an opportunity for these students to have their works exhibited in a commercial gallery, introduces them to professional artistic practices and hopefully instils in them a stronger interest and knowledge with art and culture” Sara said  

Sara considers the fact that their artworks explore agricultural concepts builds an even more compelling reason to showcase their works. “Children need to be better informed when choosing what to eat as well as understanding where our food comes from.  This is a vital  first step in making informed choices. If we at MCLEMOI are able to encourage even one child to look further into the arts, if even by exploring other artists we work with; then we believe we have achieved our goal of fostering a generation of people who will also have a love and appreciation for the arts. This may only be achieved through exposure and creating an opportunity to be involved in the arts through galleries, whether it be commercially or not” Sara said  

Hopefully the students will have an opportunity to explore the Museum of Contemporary Art and the White Rabbit, which are only stone throws away from MCLEMOI, while they are in Sydney .

We thank Sara for agreeing to host the Archibulls and invite you to visit them in Sydney.

The Archibulls will be on display at MCLEMOI GALLERY from 15 – 25 January 2013.

The gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday, between 11am – 6pm at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.

Exhibiting schools are:

· Model Farms High School

· Macarthur Anglican School

· James Ruse Agricultural High School

· Cranebrook High School

· Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Berkeley Vale Campus

· Winmalee High School

· Hills Adventist College

· De La Salle College Caringbah

Not just for Young Picassos

The Archibull Prize is an engaging, fun and interactive way of connecting communities with the people who produce their food and fibre.

The program builds a bridge for farmers and communities to reach out to each other, share stories and improve understanding and work through potential solutions together.

As part of their quest to win the Archibull Prize the students have to complete 3 elements and prizes will be awarded on the 6th December 2012 in the following categories .

  • Best Cow – $500
  • Best Blog – $500
  • Best Project video or PowerPoint – $500
  • Overall Winning School – Archibull Prize – $1000
  • You can take a sneak peak of the video and PowerPoint entries here

Videos

James Ruse Agricultural High School

James Ruse Agricultural High School talks about their Archie

Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus

De La Salle College

Caroline Chisholm College talks about their Archie

Winmalee High School talks about their Archie

Shoalhaven High School

Gunnedah High School

St Michael’s Catholic School

Wyong High School – to be loaded shortly

Hills Adventist College

Abbotsleigh College

Macarthur Anglican School

Elizabeth Macarthur School

Jamison High School

PowerPoint

Muirfield High School

http://www.slideshare.net/coolcows/the-beef-industry-by-muirfield-high-school

Model Farms High School

http://www.slideshare.net/coolcows/cotton-model-farms

Cranebrook High School

http://www.slideshare.net/coolcows/cotton-cranebrook-high-school

Camden Haven High School to be loaded shortly

You learn something new everyday

This weekend Art4agriculture hosted the 2012 Young Farming Champions for Workshop 2 in Brisbane.

We chose Brisbane as the venue to coincide with the Ekka. All the moons were aligned  including our superstar videographer Tay Plain being in the country and able to join us for the full three days.

I will do a blog post on the workshop component shortly but first I would like to share our Ekka big day out with you Tay and Ann IMG_4584

Tay and Ann set up at the Ekka

It started with breakfast at Southbank…….

Breakfast at Denim atI South Bank MG_4238 

We did the smart thing and picked the restaurant with most patrons ( well done Kirsty) and we weren’t disappointed with what Denim dished up for us. Those large lattes in the soup bowls were to die for.

As we had Tay our videographer whizz and and our producer, script writer extraordinaire Ann Burbrook both with us at the same time  we were determined to share as much of the Ekka agriculture story as we could.

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Tom and Jess at the Dairy Youth Challenge

Using our 2012 Young Farming Champions as both “talent, producers and interviewers” we spent the day  learning from each other, other exhibitors and the punters.

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Sammi gets up close and personal with the Woolley Jumpers

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Lauren, Hayden, Ann and Tay set up the sheep shearing story

 

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Madie spruiked the Archibull Prize

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Kathleen and Lauren talked all things fleece

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Kylie discovered that bottled water was liquid gold at the Ekka

 

We tasted the prime beef which we washed down with Ekka cocktails

 

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Jess made new friends

and we all discovered much to our delight that the general public where not the least bit concerned about dining in the paddock to plate experience

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We visited Heidi at the Ekka Target 100 display which featured QLD primary schools painting Archies at the show 

 

Ann and Jersey Calf IMG_4363

Ann found the perfect house cow

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Steph inspired Next Gen F at the Junior District Exhibits

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We even met the famous @auscottongirl Bess Gairns with her new pride and joy

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Megan talked a lot of bull

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and the bulls did a little dance

Little MiraclesNew borns

This was a very interesting concept. No lambs were born whilst we were there so we didn’t get to gauge audience reaction!!! 

It was a great day but sadly every now and then, thankfully in the very small minority there was an industry naysayer determined to ruin the day. There was the whinging beef stud breeder who just couldn’t understand why his animals had to share the showground with non stud breeders. Yes that’s right the general public. Yes you heard right. The most important people in the food supply chain. Yes he was lucky enough to have that once a year opportunity to talk to and share his story with the people who buy what he produces and he them found quite irritating. 

Then there was the guy in the dairy shed I just wanted to hit over the head when I found out later he told the YFC’s they were wasting their time talking to non farmer audiences.  

But nothing dampened the spirit of the YFC’s. Today they are back on farm or at uni organising school visits and media interviews doing whatever it takes to continue the  journey and spread the great story of agriculture across all the bridges.

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