Only boys can be farmers – Jasmine Whitten is blowing up outdated stereotypes

When I was fifteen my school careers adviser told me “You can’t become a farmer because that’s a boy’s job!”.

It was clear that she didn’t know me very well.  My upbringing has shown me there are no ‘boy jobs’ or ‘girl jobs’, especially in agriculture!  Rather than accepting this outdated notion, it kickstarted my journey to a career in agriculture.

Welcome to Jasmine Whitten’s story ………

The one thing everyone will tell you about me is that I ask ALOT of questions. I was fortunate to grow up on a diverse farm near Tamworth which produced beef cattle, wool and Lucerne hay. Spare a thought for my parents who were bombarded with questions from the day I learnt to talk. Anything from why are we feeding out hay or what does this broken part on the tractor do?

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I can almost guarantee I asked that exact question just before this photo was taken and I was told to go grab the hammer from the ute.

I loved life on the farm. No day was ever the same and I never missed a chance to do things better or faster than my siblings.

My first paid job was helping to unload a truck load of hay at the age of 8. When you live an hour out of town it can be difficult to make it to sporting commitments. So, I always knew it was highly unlikely that I was going to end up being an athlete, unless, they made hay moving a sport?

In high school, I joined the school cattle team to learn more about agriculture and prepare and show cattle. My parents shared my passion and it wasn’t hard to convince them to do the two-hour return trip to pick me up from the after-school training sessions.

I was very surprised to learn that most of my peers on the cattle team were urban kids and I was one  that grew up on a farm. But I had just as much to learn as they did.

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The cattle team taught me so much more than learning to care for animals. It taught me public speaking, team work, the role of a mentor and how to pass my knowledge onto others (which was perhaps the greatest challenge but the most rewarding).

In hindsight the most important discovery is I now know how important is to have role models, mentors and just people that believe in you 100%.  For me, it was people like Kate Lumber. I first met Kate at school where she passed on her cattle showing skills, coached me in meat judging at university and encouraged me to take every opportunity along the way.  She now works as an agronomist in Moree.

Going to country shows are some of the best memories as I have. I have made lifelong friendships, met people from all over Australia and built rural networks I know I can tap into for support and advice on my career journey.

I always set the bar high for myself and I was determined to be the  best I possibly could at cattle showing and judging. After every competition I would go up to the judge and saying “how can I improve?”

They were always so supportive, taking me through what I could tweak better next time. This commitment to continuous improvement paid off. After four years of showing and judging cattle I was awarded first prize at the Sydney Royal Stud Beef Cattle Judging Competition. At 17,  I was the youngest in the class and I was so proud that I had put in the effort to achieve my goal. To this day I still give back to the show movement by volunteering at youth camps and local shows whenever I can.

I am now following my dreams and studying a Bachelor of Rural science at the University of New England. This degree gives me an opportunity to gain experience all over Australia and I take every opportunity I can. I have worked as a Jillaroo on properties near Rockhampton, Hughenden and Kununurra. I have even competed in meat judging competitions, participated in animal welfare research, worked for an agricultural consultancy companies, through to product sales and learning what it takes to be an auctioneer.

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The UNE meat judging team on judging day!

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My day in the office as a part of the auctioneering team at Tamworth sale yards.

The opportunities I have been given have allowed me to find my niche in the egg industry. The technology and innovation in the industry is phenomenal.  Egg farms are continually investing in the application of new technologies which is having huge rewards for both the hens and those who work in the industry. Working on an egg farm requires extensive knowledge in the areas of environmental stewardship, animal nutrition and best practice animal wellbeing just to name a few. It’s a rapidly changing industry which has captivated my interests completely!

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I can’t wait to go back to my school and share with my careers advisor that agriculture isn’t just about being a farmer and you certainly don’t have to be a boy.

You can be a vet, IT technician, agronomist, policy maker, researcher, journalist, accountant and many more with some jobs are not even created yet!

There will always be barriers to stop you achieving your goals. Don’t let stereotypes around what careers women or men should or should not follow blind you…… You can be anything you want to be! Seek out people who have followed the career path you aspire to, ask questions, and learn from those who have gone before you.

Find a way to climb over, push through or blow up your barriers and most importantly never forget to look back to help others climb over and push through their barriers.

Great advice Jasmine and and congratulations

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Jasmine Whitten 2018 Armidale Showgirl

#youthvoices18 #youthinag #strongertogether

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

Celebrating #YouthVoices18 in agriculture for International Womens Day 2018

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Our Young Farming Champions really are remarkable young Australians. We invite you to step inside, share their stories and celebrate all that is good in agriculture.

Many of them are Young Women. Use the hashtags #YouthVoices #IDW2018 and join us in celebrating  #youthinag on International Women’s Day.

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Through Art4Agriculture’s acclaimed Young Farming Champions program Australia’s agricultural youth have gathered to share their journeys, to influence their future and to engage with the community and the next generation.

You will meet sixth generation farmers and city-kids. You will meet those who have grown up on remote arid stations, on vast cropping plains, on coastal hobby farms and in suburban streets, but no matter their background all have been drawn to the opportunities and innovation provided by Australian agriculture.

Today these Young Farming Champions are employed across the spectrum of agricultural careers. They have become agronomists, researchers, business owners, veterinarians, and budding politicians. You will find them growing cotton on outback lake-beds, developing new varieties of wheat or new methods of animal pain relief, selling Australian beef to the world, breeding coloured sheep, advising government on agricultural policy and assisting the planet’s poorest to improve farming practices.

The Young Farming Champions are determined to influence their future. They have attended international climate change conferences and organised youth movements within Landcare. They have travelled to China and Hong Kong to follow the wool and moved motions within industry bodies to change regulatory direction. And for their efforts they have been rewarded. You will meet an Australian Young Farmer of the Year and Rising Beef Champions. You will see multiple show ribbons for excellence and meet RAS Rural Achievers.

For all they have achieved, and are achieving, perhaps their greatest legacy will be changing perceptions of agriculture by engaging with the community and the next generation and telling the positive stories. You will find them in schools with The Archibull Prize or on Facebook sharing the progress of a cotton crop. At the Sydney Royal Easter Show they will be talking about grains and biofuels, and at gala dinners they will be promoting the benefits of good grazing management.

Many of them are Young Women. Use the hashtags #YouthVoices #IDW2018 and join us in celebrating  #youthinag on International Women’s Day.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

#Youthinag – Courageous leaders step up

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Many of our Young Farming Champions have the agricultural show movement in their DNA and are committed to giving back to their local communities by taking active roles to ensure our rural and regional shows remain relevant and have longevity. Young Farming Champions Steph Fowler, Hannah Barber, Tim Eyes and Jasmine Nixon ran the Cattle Experience at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2014

We are excited and very proud to announce that a number of our Young Farming Champions are moving from leadership development to leadership roles.

We salute them. Its a courageous step moving from leading yourself to leading your team. It can be both very challenging and very rewarding

As leadership guru Zoë Routh says

None of us wants to be a dud leader. We want to contribute, we want to have an impact, and help improve the lives of others, ourselves and the planet. We take leadership as a serious stewardship opportunity. We need to develop confidence born from purpose not pride.

Leadership is both personal and public. Deeply so. Who we are and how we show up causes effects. Sometimes it’s a ripple in a pond, sometimes a deep and steady current, sometimes a tidal wave! Crafting and managing our leadership presence is as much an imperative as designing good strategy. After all, if we don’t get heard, we don’t advance our cause.

Leaders committed to making a difference and contribution face certain challenges:

  • Performance under pressure when the stakes are high demands enormous focus, energy, and nerve. We need to learn control of our emotions, so they don’t control us.

  • Leaders with strong opinions can be engaging. They can also be polarising. Our responsibility as leaders is about bringing people along for the ride, not pushing them into the car. We need to learn to express conviction without coercion.

Young Farming Champions Steph Fowler and Hannah Barber are taking this courageous journey to leadership roles through the Australian Agricultural Show movement.

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Hannah Barber (right) and Stephanie Fowler have inspired in schools as part of The Archibull Prize and are now leading the next generation of  #youthinag

Meet RAS of NSW Youth Group Chair Stephanie Fowler

Steph first entered the Young Farming Champions Program in 2012 and the skills she developed have held her in good stead in her role as Chair of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s Youth Group.

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Dr Stephanie Fowler’s day job as a meat scientist keeps her very busy but she is a multitasker giving back to the industry she loves through many volunteer roles 

The prestigious RAS Youth Group is responsible for the engagement and entertainment of both rural and urban youth at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It does this through three avenues: a social networking event, Agrichats – where topical issues are discussed –  and the Young Farmers Challenge, which highlights the technical skills and the abilities of youth working in agriculture to urban audiences in a fun and entertaining way. The Youth Group also assists other RAS committees with competitions and events.

For the last two years of her five year term, Stephanie has held the role of Chair, a challenging position requiring her to oversee people of her own age. “As Chair it is my job to facilitate meetings and to make sure that the group is on track and on task. The biggest challenge comes from the fact we are all peers, but unfortunately sometimes in leadership there are times that you have to step up and be not popular to get something done.”

And how does she overcome these challenges? “With lots of mentoring, which has helped me get to the point where I have an understanding with everybody that I’m a friend when I need to be a friend but there will come times, and it’s nothing personal, that I’m not and that’s the way of the role.”

Her mentors, who include former Art4Agriculture events coordinator and RAS Youth Group Chair Kirsty Blades and councillors from the RAS, are people with whom she has created relationships, giving her support when the going gets tough. “They take some of that weight off when you have to make those harder decisions but sometimes it is not things you want to hear. Criticism and negative feedback actually allows you to step back and be reflective; to reassess where you are going with your leadership.”

“Being a leader is probably one of the toughest but most rewarding things I think anyone could ever do. There is something about putting yourself forward like that and stepping up that seems to highlight all the parts of yourself that you really wish you didn’t have. But in the same way being able to see people grow and develop, and witnessing their journey, which you can be a part of and have an influence on, is probably one the most rewarding things I’ve had the privilege of doing.”

Meet ASC NSW Next Gen President Hannah Barber

Young Farming Champion and secondary school teacher Hannah Barber also holds a leadership position with agricultural shows as President of the Agricultural Societies Council (ASC) of NSW Next Generation, which is designed to attract young people into show society executives.

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Hannah Barber is a busy girl . A school teacher by day and president of Agricultural Societies Council (ASC) of NSW Next Generation in her spare time  

Hannah’s role as president, which she has held since 2016, sees her liaise with the ASC as well as members of Next Gen who range in age from 18 to 35 and who have a passion for agriculture and an enthusiasm for the show movement. “The president adopts a leadership role and my duties are heavily liaison and managerial, but the entire ASC Next Gen committee are outstandingly driven and capable which makes my role very easy,” she says.

Hannah’s connections to agricultural shows began in her childhood when she competed in horse events, and was strengthened with the Showgirl Competition where she twice made it to the finals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show representing her home town of Parkes. “Most shows in NSW have been running for over 100 years and have been a key event for their communities during this time, allowing them to connect, educate and celebrate. The importance and impact of shows can never be underestimated and I’m committed to doing my part to ensure their sustainability.”

That commitment is evident in her position as president. Depending on the time of the year the job may take only a few hours a week but when events, such as ShowAll Ball and ShowSkills, are imminent the workload increases. It is then that Hannah’s experience and understanding of the show world, and her high organisational and interpersonal skills developed as a teacher come to the fore.

Despite the challenges of dealing with different personalities and personal goals Hannah finds the opportunities the leadership has given her far out-weight the negatives. “Running a non-profit organisation is not a skill many young people get to experience. To be run by, and for, youth in agriculture under the distant but watchful eye of the ASC has made Next Gen a great way to experience this. To climb the hierarchy of positions has given me skills I’ve transferred into the workplace and has resulted in direct benefits including promotions.”

Thanks Hannah and Steph for sharing your challenges and highlights with us. I am confident our supporting partners will agree the return on investment in our youth is significant in terms of creating leaders who’ll continue to contribute value to their workplaces and to the agricultural sector as a whole, in terms of advocacy, teamwork, collaboration, and turning vision into reality .

 

 

 

 

 

Check out what the Crawford Fund is offering students in 2018

This post in a replica from The Crawford Fund website see here

The Crawford Fund has a number of strategies as part of our efforts to build the next generation of Australian researchers with an interest in agriculture for development – key elements are our conference scholar program, our opportunities and encouragement in volunteering for projects overseas, and through our work with Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID).

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Each of these go some way to encourage students in their study, careers and volunteering in research for food security. This is part of our overall campaign for greater recognition of the impact and benefit of international agricultural research and development to Australia and to developing countries.

Another important strategy has been the introduction of special awards to enable involvement in overseas projects as part of university study.

In 2017, many of our State Committees supported visits to developing countries by students, so they can gain valuable experience and expertise overseas ‘in the field’. 14 awards were provided in 2017, and each of the students have reported back on their experience:

Kendra Travaille, PhD Researcher at the University of Western Australia,

“Being able to visit these areas and speak with local people in the fishery [industry] has greatly increased my understanding of how the fishery [industry] operates and some of the issues impacting FIP progress. I also gained first-hand experience with some of the challenges faced when trying to implement a FIP or similar program in a developing region, including working with minimal resources and balancing complex stakeholder interests. These insights will be incorporated into my research and published in the peer-review literature. Research outcomes will also be presented to the fishery stakeholders in Honduras who so kindly shared their knowledge and experience with me during my time there.”

Emily Lamberton, Graduate Research Officer at ACIAR

“It created a fantastic opportunity to learn first-hand the struggles and barriers experienced by farmers and the factors that influence on-farm decision making.”

Based on the success of our former awards, in 2018 all of our committees are offering these awards so students in every State and Territory have access to this great opportunity.

Requirements in different States are not the same. There is a different number of these competitive awards in different States, and the application requirements and the award amounts also differ, so please read the background information and complete the application form for the State in which your tertiary institute is located.

Please find more information and application forms below for each State. A contact is provided should you require more clarification.

The closing date for all awards is Thursday, 29 March 2018.

All the very best of luck! In the meantime, please sign up for our e-newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and follow RAID so you don’t miss any other interesting opportunities and get-togethers. In particular, in March 2018 we will be launching our 2018 Conference Scholarships.

 

Check out the website for more info here

 

The Archibull Prize now open to Central Qld secondary schools

The annual Archibull Prize program is now open for secondary schools in Central Queensland.

Competing for cash prizes and the national title of Grand Champion, participating schools will research the Australian cotton industry while creatively transforming life-size fibreglass cows into amazing agricultural inspired artworks.

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Which Cotton School will meet Costa in 2018

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Schools also create a suite of digital multimedia communications and are paired with Young Farming Champions who visit schools, taking the farm straight into the classroom.

As a former participant in The Archibull Prize, Central Queensland agriculture extension specialist Sharna Holman says she appreciates the opportunities the program gave her.

Sharna now works in the cotton industry for the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) and CottonInfo as a Regional Extension Officer and continues to be involved with The Archibull Prize by speaking with participating schools.

“Being involved in the Archibull Prize while at high school gave me a better understanding of where my food and fibre came from and highlighted the exciting pathways and careers available in cotton.” Ms Holman says.

“I’m looking forward to visiting schools in the region in 2018 to talk with students about the Australian cotton industry and share the passion and stories young people have for the industry and agriculture.’

Participation in The Archibull Prize is a chance for students and educators to put their school on the map, with the 2017 National Grand Champion winner travelling from Brisbane to the iconic Sydney Royal Easter Show to the halls of the NSW Parliament.

“Over the past seven years The Archibull Prize has engaged more than 160,000 students in conversations about agriculture and consistently shown that the students involved were deeply engaged in a range of learning experiences,” says Archibull Prize program director, Lynne Strong.

“Teachers saw the impacts first-hand of a successful combination of arts and multimedia activities, along with STEM project-based learning activities across multiple key learning areas. Put simply, The Archibull Prize is a successful addition to any learning program.”

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay says the organisation has proudly supported the Archibull program for many years.

“The Archibull Prize is a fantastic way to inform young people and educators about our industry and farming in general,” Mr Kay says. “When coupled with the Young Farming Champions program, we have a powerful way to engage with future and current generations about the value of the cotton industry and agriculture as a whole.”

“We encourage schools NSW and Queensland to participate in this extremely worthwhile program and look forward to seeing the products of their efforts on proud display.”

James Kanaley

Teachers and  students will be inspired by Cotton Young Farming Champions like James Kanaley 

Watch the video and hear what teachers are saying they value about The Archibull Prize

Visit our website and view the winning entries in our Hall of Fame 

For more information or to complete an Expression of Interest Contact Program Director Lynne Strong

E: lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au M: 0407 740 446

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

 

 

 

A strong biosecurity system – ‘Come Clean,Go Clean’ a winning formula

Tail of Pigs – The winner of The Archibull Prize 2017 Best Biosecurity Animation was Little Bay Community of Schools

The NSW Government sees a strong biosecurity system as vital for protecting our primary industries, our economy and our community.

Agricultural production alone provides:

  • $12 Billion NSW Primary Industries contribution to the economy
  • 39,000 Agricultural businesses in NSW
  • 42,000 Farms in NSW
  • 66,000 People employed in NSW Agriculture Industry
  • $8 billion value of NSW Agricultural exports

With a vision of Government, industry and the people of NSW working together to protect the economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of animal and plant pests, diseases and weeds for the benefit of all, the government is investing heavily in education programs for farmers and the community including schools.

Concepts relating Biosecurity are considered by school teachers to be complex. The Archibull Prize gives students a concrete mechanism for these very abstract ideas. Using farmers as role models and agricultural examples students are encouraged to appreciate the ways in which farmers are actively addressing biosecurity challenges in Australia and to think about applying this to themselves.

Biosecurity was an issue that 91% of students reported discussing during their Archibull Prize projects with half of those students looking at the topic in-depth

Teachers reported significant shifts in students gaining greater understandings of farmers concerns about biosecurity and the community’s role in preventing biosecurity breaches

Students were particularly inspired by the Cotton Industry ‘Come Clean Go Clean’ program and the concept of the pork industry Pig Pass.

Typical students’ comments about their role in preventing biosecurity breaches included

We need to keep our country free of disease and pests. This can only be done if every single person tries to follow the rules that are put in place to keep Australia bio secure. Students can help be bio secure by respecting the regulations and restrictions on other people’s farms and obeying the rules of our border security. We should wear clean shoes and have clean cars. Remove weeds and don’t drop them in areas where that weed isn’t already growing. Look after their own pets and keep parasites from spreading from them.

The Archibull Prize design allows agriculture to be embedded into the school curriculum across subject areas its hasn’t been traditionally able to reach.

And its had a ripple effect with 83% of teachers saying they will use learning activities about agriculture in other areas of their teaching

 

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Hurlstone Agricultural High School took our the winning biosecurity entries with these phenomenal infographics in 2016 

Check out these tongue in cheek biosecurity adventures of our very own Young Farming Champion biosecurity expert  Sharna Holman here

 

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

What teachers value most about participating in The Archibull Prize

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Expressions of interest are now open for The Archibull Prize 2018. Make the finals and you too can meet Costa

We have listened and delivered. After a three week judging tour, over 40 video interviews and written teacher case studies we are sharing the secret to success.  See The Archibull Prize teacher insights page here. As you can see the definition of success varies greatly

We asked our Lead Teachers questions like.

What are the highlights of being involved in The Archibull Prize?

The growth and the confidence you see in the students and the pride they take in it. How can, as a teacher, you not engage in a project that embraces the students so thoroughly? How can you not give them the opportunity to experience something they
take great pride in, that they work above and beyond in, and they’re prepared to give up their time and stay back till 5pm of an afternoon? How can you say no to that?

Jillian Reidy The Henry Lawson High School

The highlights are seeing how engaged and enthusiastic the kids are, and the relationships you develop with them through collaboration and teamwork. Our whole class presents our work, meaning the kids have to get up in front of their peers and they gain such confidence from that. The kids get a real growth through the Archibull – and it’s fun! Teachers and parents all love it.

Tracy Devlin Gwynneville Public School

What outcomes have you seen beyond a painted cow?

  • We have seen many layers of upskilling of students and educators to work in a large collaborative team on a STEAM project
    • Project Based Learning in action and on a public forum
    • The Archibull has been influential in St Raphael’s decision to teach agriculture as a subject from 2018 for the first time.

Inel Date St Raphaels Catholic School Cowra

Can you tell me two things you have learnt about the industry you studies that you didn’t know before The Archibull Prize?

What stood out for all of us were the career opportunities available in the industry – for example we had never given any thought to what an agronomist was. The other highlight was the impact cotton has on the community. I kept asking the girls “What would we do if we didn’t have the cotton industry?

Khanthamala Gifford Blacktown Girls High School

Our Young Farming Champion Peta Bradley told us that wool absorbs odours. She told us of a guy who wore the same woollen shirt for 27 days and it still wasn’t smelly at the end of it!

Melinda Adderly Granville Boys High School

What is the impact of the Young Farming Champions visit on your students?

It’s very important to get the Young Farming Champions into the school as soon as possible, because the kids are literally sitting there thinking that a farmer is going to be some old guy in a hat with straw hanging out of his mouth. So, when they see these young, dynamic people and they’re like, “Whoa, what? You’re a farmer?” It shocks me. It happens every year and they’re still doing that because they don’t know. It really opens their eyes up

Sarah Robinson Matraville Sports High School

Dione Howard was really amazing. Its fantastic to see young women in agriculture. Being a young person off the land, the ideas that she could share, it was very real. It was so cool for the kids to meet her and hear about her life. 

Lisa Bullas Calvary Christian College Carbrook Campus

Now is your chance to sign up and be a part of The Archibull Prize 2018.  Send me an email for an EOI at lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au