Conference scholarships on offer for young people passionate about international agricultural research

Australian agriculture has a lot to offer.  One of our key strengths is being able to offer research and development expertise to developing countries either through access to agriculture’s bright or on ground international research and development projects

The majority of people in less developed countries live in rural areas and are dependent on the land for employment and their food security. Many of our Young Farming Champions have spent time working side by side with farmers in developing countries and some like Anika Molesworth have made it their life work

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Australian farmer Anika Molesworth working with farmers in Cambodia on sustainable farming practices. Photograph: CARDI (Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute)

The Crawford Fund is an Australian organisation who have acknowledged that support for agricultural research is one of the most effective ways that Australia can assist in  developing countries (their farmers, their environment and their economies) and foster mutual understanding.

As part of the Fund’s efforts to encourage young people in their study, careers and volunteering in international agricultural research, the Crawford Fund offer conference scholarships to young Australians with a genuine interest in international agricultural development, to attend the Crawford Fund conference in Canberra.

“The Crawford Fund Scholars program connected me to world-renowned researchers in international agricultural development, and has challenged and inspired my thinking and my work life. The experience has reinforced to me the meaningful career of agricultural research and development, and has motivated me to find out more about farming in other countries and to push the comfort-zone boundaries.” Anika Molesworth

Like Anika former conference scholars confirm this is a unique learning, networking and mentoring opportunity.  The scholars are involved in two ½ days of activities in addition to the conference; engage with keynote speakers, experienced Australian agricultural researchers and educators, and other passionate young people who have experience overseas in developing countries as researchers, volunteers or mentors.

The conference this year runs over 7 and 8 August in Canberra and is titled Transforming lives and livelihoods – the digital revolution in agriculture.  The aim is to addressing the current and future likely impact of the data revolution for smallholder farmers.

Eligible costs to be met from the scholarships include conference registration fees and related reasonable transport, food and accommodation costs. Full details on eligibility and the application process are here.

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Aussie Farmers Foundation supporting development of young agricultural leaders

We are very excited to officially announce our new partnership with the Aussie Farmers Foundation  


Aussie Farmers Foundation has partnered with Art4Agriculture to spread the word about the importance of agriculture in Australia and to support young leaders in the industry.

Aussie Farmers Foundation helps rural and regional communities to thrive by backing them during tough times. Set up in 2010, Aussie Farmers Foundation has given over $1.3 million to projects which support farm sustainability, disaster relief, mental health, kid’s health and food relief across country Australia.

The partnership will see four Young Farming Champion alumni visit 10 schools in metropolitan and country areas in Victoria, NSW and Queensland in 2017 and provides a scholarship for a Young Farming Champion to take part in the 2017/18 program.

Executive Officer Julia Hunter said Art4Agriculture is an incredible way for young people to share their passion about the pivotal role Australian farmers play in feeding the world.

“Aussie Farmers Foundation is thrilled to partner with Art4Agriculture to help achieve our aims of supporting the sustainability of Australian farms,” she said.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of Australia, and it’s in our best interests to nurture the nation’s future farmers, growers and agriculture specialists, and encourage them to consider this as an exciting and viable career option while they’re still in school.”

Excitingly  this new partnership offers Art4Agriculture the opportunity to double the diversity of farming industries students can investigate and reflect on and use as inspiration on how they as part of a community and as individuals can

  • reduce their impact on climate change,
  • reduce bio-security risks
  • contribute to healthy communities
  • can find rewarding and dynamic careers in the agriculture sector

Our YFC future leaders and influencers will have the opportunity to undertake comprehensive workshops to give them skills in public speaking, social licence, marketing, media, facilitation and leading transformational change. All of which enable them to share positive agricultural stories and in doing so raise the profile of the agriculture sector. As part of the program they will expand their personal and professional networks, further develop and refine their communications skills, learn and connect to each other and the wider community.

The YFC program also links with The Archibull Prize. This program provides primary and secondary school students with the opportunity to connect with our inspiring young agriculture ambassadors and future influencers so they can learn about the agriculture sector and co-create the future they want to see.

We would like to welcome Annicka Brosnan as our new YFC supported by Aussie Farmers Foundation. Annicka’s strong background in the horticulture sector will promote the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet and  horticulture’s contribution to healthy communities .

Annicka 2 Welcome Annika Brosnan

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Sharna Holman recognised as Emerald’s jewel in the crown


There is a lot more to Sharna Holman that just a beautiful smile and a love of cotton farming. Sharna is a city girl who has embraced living in rural Australia with a burning desire to promote her region and the agriculture sector she loves at every opportunity whether as a Young Farming Champion or volunteering at her local show.

Sharna was recently recognised for her  community dedication by winning the Emerald Show Society’s Rural Ambassador  award. The Emerald Show Society’s Rural Ambassador then goes on a journey to potentially being named “The ‘Marsh Rural Ambassador’

This competition highlights the importance of young people in rural and regional Queensland, in particular those associated with the Agricultural Show movement. The competition identifies young people who are actively involved in the show movement, have a sound knowledge of current rural issues affecting their local areas,

“Queensland and Australia and have a strong affiliation with agriculture. I decided to compete in Emerald’s Show Society’s Rural Ambassador Competition as a way to meet other young people who were also passionate about agriculture and the local region and become more involved with my local show.

I also believed being Emerald’s Rural Ambassador was a fantastic opportunity to share my agricultural story, highlight what a great region we live for those wanting to get involved in the agricultural industry and that having an non-agricultural background isn’t a barrier to getting involved in your local agricultural shows.

It was an honour to be awarded the title of Emerald’s 2017 Rural Ambassador, and represent my town when I head to the Central Highlands Sub-Chamber finals where the winner then competes in the State Final held during the Royal Queensland Show (EKKA) is August.’  said Sharna

PigCowso is coming to a school near you


Two primary schools in NSW will have the opportunity to meet Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps and learn about the pork industry thanks to our new supporting partner the Aussie Farmers Foundation.

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Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps is looking forward to cuddling up to the the Story of Pork at this year’s Archibull Prize Celebration and Awards Day 

We are super excited about sharing how some of our Australian pig farmers are turning pig poo into power. You can read about how pork industry legend Edwina Beveridge is doing it on her farm at Young here

In the meantime here are some fun facts about pigs and the Australian Pork Industry

Fun Facts about Pigs

  • Like humans, pigs are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.


  • A pig’s snout is an important tool for finding food in the ground and sensing the world around them.
  • Pigs have an excellent sense of smell.
  • There are around 2 billion pigs in the world.
  • Humans farm pigs for meat such as pork, bacon and ham.
  • Feral pigs that have been introduced into new areas can be a threat to the local ecosystem, environment and human health.
  • Pigs can pass on a variety of diseases to humans.
  • Relative to their body size, pigs have small lungs.
  • Pigs eat anything – which means they are excellent recyclers of food waste, such as dairy and vegetable matter.

Australia Pork Industry Fast Facts

The Pork Industry

  • Australia produces around 367,000 tonnes of pig meat every year. A little over 10% is exported to countries like Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and 25% is sold through restaurants and other food service outlets in Australia.
  • Each year Australians consume around 24 kg of pork per person—this is made up of 9 kg of fresh pork and 15 kg of processed products such as bacon, ham and smallgoods
  • During 2014-15, pork products accounted for just over 10% of Australia’s total fresh meat retail consumption
  • Australian farmers produce around 4.85 million pigs a year
  • The main source of food for Australian pigs is cereal grains such as wheat, barley and sorghum, resulting in a white fat around the outside of the meat.
  • Pork production has a relatively small footprint and accounts for only 0.4% of the national greenhouse gas emissions
  • Whether housed indoors or outdoors, a pig spends more time resting than any other domestic animal.
  • Pig producers use the manure and effluent of their farms as a fertiliser to improve crops and pasture, or to capture methane gases to convert to energy.
  • Numerous pig producers are now using their manure to generate electricity to power their whole farm.
  • Australia’s pig herd health is one of the best in the world, free from many diseases found in most other pig producing countries.
  • The feed component (mainly grains such as wheat, barley and sorghum) makes up about 60% of the total cost of producing pork.
  • On average, a sow will produce 10–14 piglets per litter.
  • Grower pigs eat the equivalent of about 3% of their body weight and drink about 10% of their body weight, daily.
  • Pigs are considered to be smarter than dogs and are easy to train. This characteristic helps producers develop safe handling routines.
  • Pigs are unable to perspire and they lose heat through their mouths. The ideal growing temperature for older pigs is 20–22˚C. Source: 

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Dr Jo Newton introduces school students to latest cutting edge technology in the Australian dairy industry

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Thirty schools across NSW, QLD and the ACT have now received their #Archie17 cows and industry allocations

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17 Young Farming Champions will be visiting  the schools participating in The Archibull Prize 

Thanks to the support of the Aussie Farmers Foundation we are able to bring dairy back and showcase the Australian pork and eggs/poultry industries as well as Wool, Grains, Sheep and Cattle and the Cotton Industry

Gwynneville Public School will be getting a visit from YFC Dr Jo Newton. Wow wont she amaze them with the cutting genetics research she is involved in

You can read all about Dr Jo’s work here In Dairy New Australia

Monday, 26 September 2016 12:28

Genetic merit and profit link out from under the microscope

Jo NewtonDr Jo Newton

TWENTY-SEVEN dairy farms across Australia will be put under the microscope to prove the link between genetic merit of animals and on-farm performance. 

Speaking to Dairy News Australia as part of last month’s Future Ready Expo in Bega, research scientist Dr Jo Newton said the Improving Herds project will ensure the science behind genetics is backed up by real-world application. 

‘’It’s one thing to do genetic research in an office building somewhere, but it’s another to actually take what you’ve learned and translate it into real on-farm applications and results,” Dr Newton, from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)  said. 

The project has genomic tested each focus farms’ rising two year old heifers, totalling more than 2500. 

“So now we already have information about the genetic merit of these animals before we know their lactation, their susceptibility to disease, etc and through the lifetime of the project we will be able to follow these cows, through their first lactation, through their second lactation and see how that performance in the dairy translates back to their predicted genetic merit,” Dr Newton said. 

“We’re looking to demonstrate the value that better data recording and high genetic merit can contribute to farmer profit.”  

Previous research has confirmed high genetic merit cows are more profitable. 

 ‘’The focus farm model enables the information to be gathered at various regions and various types of farm systems.’’ 

Dr Newton said environmental factors – such as mastitis – are accounted for within the study. 

“’One of the advantages of looking across some many different focus farms is that we can look within a herd. 

‘’And when you are comparing animals within the same herd, they are subject to the same management routines and environmental conditions.”’ 

#archie17 #youthinag #dairylove @aussiefarmers

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Agriculture – the vision making the most of it

Justin Whittle

As young people I believe we have a big role to play in being creative, to think outside the box and reshape the future we want to see …. Justin Whittle

We are currently in the process of finalising a video that gives a 4 minute overview of the Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize as a personal and professional development opportunity for young people in Agriculture.

I cant believe how long its taken to find footage of young people farming in various industries to balance the footage of over 50 males. Access to royalty free footage of this type just doesn’t appear to be out there. If some-body has some please share.

Its reinforced to me the importance of high quality inspirational footage to encourage young people into careers in our sector. To me this video from Western Sydney University School of Science & Health is a shining light of how to do it well.

How lucky is agriculture to have attracted Justin Whittle – wow I am inspired

If you want to get in touch you can find my contact details here


Meet Elly Polonowita who keeps finding her way back to her rural roots

Today’s guest post comes from Elly Polonowita who is following her career pathway into agriculture via a graduate program.

This is Elly’s story ……..

Who doesn’t like a little bit of ‘chicken fried, cold beer on a Friday night and pair of jeans that fit just right’?

Hi, my name is Elly Polonowita. I am graduate research agronomist with Agriculture Victoria. My position is funded by GRDC and is an 18 month program. I am based in South West Victoria in the high rainfall zone. Throughout the program I will spend time with the department in Hamilton, a grower group – Southern Farming Systems and a private agronomy company – Gorst Rural.

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Hand sowing a Septoria Trial, Hamilton, 2017

Winding back the clock a couple of decades I was living on 40 acres of bush land near Daylesford. This is where my sole purpose in life was to look after my baby born.

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My dream job was to be an ice-cream truck driver. In year one I moved to go to school in Essendon. For me this was the city. Houses were so close together, shops were a 5 minute walk away and there was nothing but asphalt roads.

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In year 9 and 10 I completed a certificate II in Conservation and Land Management, it helped me learn more about the environment and grow my love of wanting to help the world in which we live. I had an interest in flora and fauna from a young age.

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From year 8 I participated in Pony Club, learning all kinds of skills. I always enjoyed jumping more than dressage, I found it to be more exciting. In year 10 and 11 I completed a certificate II in Equine Industry. I did this by distance education and did an intensive week up in Wangaratta. This was when I first came across Agriculture as a subject.

At the end of school, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to take. Agriculture wasn’t originally my first choice, but I’ve never regretted studying it since. I couldn’t move out of home straight away so my options to do Agriculture were between University of Melbourne and Latrobe University. In 2014 I got offered a place at Melbourne in the agriculture degree. I did my first two years at the Parkville campus in the city and then moved to Dookie College, basically Melbourne Uni’s operational farm campus, so that I could get more hands on knowledge.

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Whilst I was at Dookie College I completed a Certificate IV in Wool Classing, got experience at the apple orchard, robotic dairy and some cropping.

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A quote that has inspired me throughout life after school is “You’ve got to be in it, to win it”. I started university in 2014 with the mind frame of taking every opportunity and experience that is offered to me. Not being from a farming family or anything to do with agriculture for that matter, I felt as though I needed to put myself out there, to learn more about the industry and the people in the industry. I bought memberships, attended events, volunteered, extended my professional network and participated in competitions such as Intercollegiate Meat Judging and AWI National Merino Challenge. Over the three years I participated in the Merino Challenge I improved markedly, going from never having touched a sheep to being able to characterise wool and giving it an AWEX ID. The first year I competed I met the famous rams Fred and Truffles, who travel around Australia.

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Fred and Truffles

I’ve always had a love for food and cooking, but never thought I would be able to make a profession out of it. One day I hope to grow my own produce and teach people how to cook it seasonally. Bringing my own paddock to plates of others.

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Homemade celebratory student dinners; eye fillet w/ pumpkin and pea purees, roasted tomatoes and blanched asparagus. 

I have a passion to teach people about where their food and fibre comes from, whilst also connecting rural and urban folks. We can all teach each other a thing or two, through our experiences and stories. No two people have had the exact same journey. Can’t wait to see you around the camp fire, I’ll provide the marshmallows.

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